When considering a move, location is a big part of the equation – choose from balmy beaches, cool mountains, or the spring-like weather of the Central Valley. The northern Pacific beaches of Guanacaste province are a very popular choice. Gorgeous coastline, modern amenities and dry weather lure hundreds of expats to hotspots like Tamarindo and Flamingo. These Gold Coast beaches have their perks, but air conditioning is often necessary due to the heat, and the cost of living is high compared to the rest of the country. By contrast, the Central Valley has 75-85 °F temperatures year-round, city conveniences and affordable housing. Here’s a look at several prime living locations throughout the country:
Famous for having the world’s best climate (according to National Geographic), Atenas is a slice of quintessential small town Costa Rica just 40 minutes from universities and city resources of San Jose. Green and fertile with rolling hills, it is a flourishing agricultural town known for its animal husbandry, coffee and fruit orchards.
Alajuela is ten minutes from the international airport and one of the Central Valley’s up and coming relocation destinations. Its compact downtown is home to inviting parks, museums, and small shops galore. Known for its friendly residents, Alajuela feels like a big city masquerading as a small town.
Often called “Little America,” the San Jose suburb of Escazu has a large expat population and some of the country’s best shopping, nightlife and fine dining. Compared to other areas, the cost of living is high, but upscale residential communities and quick access to Pacific coast beaches lure many families and retirees.
Grecia, rated the cleanest city in Central America, offers residents mountain landscapes, friendly neighbors and provincial charm. The Central Valley town, located just 45 minutes from San Jose, centers around the Cathedral de la Mercedes, a brick-red metal church imported from Belgium that features a unique gingerbread trim. Though Grecia is a mid-sized city (population 16,000), it doesn't lack in creature comforts.
Nestled between the foothills of Barva Volcano and urban San Jose, Costa Rica’s “City of Flowers” is one of the most sought after relocation hotspots. Families take advantage of the city’s first-rate bilingual and English language schools, and young newcomers love the nightlife and thriving under-30 expat community.
Costa Rica’s most developed beach town, Jaco is a metropolis of high-rise condos, surf shops and gourmet restaurants, just an hour’s drive from San Jose. The town’s myriad amenities complement its Pacific coast setting, offering residents the perfect blend of beach locale and city conveniences.
Surrounded by evergreen mountains and natural hot springs, the Orosi Valley has yet to be completely discovered, so the region’s few expats enjoy the charm of small town life and traditional culture. Temperatures hover between 70-80 ºF, and San Jose amenities are less than an hour away.
This hip San Jose suburb houses Costa Rica’s top university and features all the accompanying amenities like great nightlife, shopping malls, and top-notch restaurants. With a central location and excellent public transportation, San Pedro is a fun and convenient place to call home.
Less than an hour from San Jose, San Ramon woos expats with its combination of idyllic countryside, urban amenities and affordable real estate. If its spring-like weather and low cost of living aren’t enough, the town’s proximity to an incredible waterfall and secluded cloud forest seal the deal.