Retiring In Costa Rica

Retiring in Costa Rica was my choice because I was sick and tired of big city life and Costa Rica gave me an opportunity to  live out in the country or "campo". Here we have birds, monkeys, exotic insects, beautiful sunsets and all that goes with living the "country life" instead of horns honking and helicopters hovering!

Living here, too, is an "adventure" - more than I ever imagined it would be. The weather, for one thing, is full of surprises. The rain can come in incredible volumes,  the thunder can be incredibly loud, and the lightning can be incredibly dramatic and beautiful to watch. This is truly weather. And every day here there is a surprise of some sort: a strange insect or exotic bird in a nearby tree, a lizard in the side yard, or a strange toad coming by the porch for a visit!

When I lived in the big city in the USA all I did was sit all the time. Almost literally. Days would go by where I went nowhere other than to commute to work, sitting in traffic for an hour, then on to my job where I would continue to sit at my computer all day. Then I would sit in the car on the way home, and then sit the rest of the day at my computer and tv!

I was gaining weight and feeling very unhealthy. My cholesterol was high and my belly was fat and getting fatter by the month! (I had always been thin until the last few years.) I told my wife that one of the advantages to retiring in Costa Rica would be that we would live a much healthier lifestyle: more walking, more doing, more moving our bodies!

Here, I sit no more than a few hours a day most days, and when I'm not sitting I am often working: sweeping, cleaning, fixing, planting, walking, digging, lifting, pulling, pushing... all the things the experts tell you to do.

And my cholesterol and my waist size have both gone way down without even trying!

I wake up to the sounds of toucans, and I sit in my hammock for awhile each day and enjoy the sounds of various birds over coffee after breakfast.

In the evening I sit and enjoy a glass of wine or a beer while watching some of the most incredible sunsets I have ever seen! Sometimes there are thunderstorms to watch out over the ocean without a drop of water anywhere near here, and the lightning gives us a "light show" that is better than the 4th of July fireworks! These are just some of the things that make Costa Rica retirement so attractive to so many retirees!

Oh, there are negative things too... Anywhere you live in the world, there will be negatives. There is no utopia, no paradise anywhere! Humans have a way of making life complicated, creating problems; that's just how life is. Governments. Bureaucracy. Banks, insurance, corporations...

Retiriing In Costa Rica

Retiring in Costa Rica gave me the chance to live in the country!

But when I take my afternoon walk now, I thank goodness for retiring in Costa Rica at age 62 instead of waiting for "more money"!

Sure I could have worked 3 more years and accumulated more money and that would have enabled us to live a little less "on the edge", financially. And you may want to do that...

But me, I am so glad I didn't wait and that for almost a whole year now I have been waking up to the dream-become-reality of retiring in Costa Rica!

Retiring In Costa Rica for this view!

Retiring In Costa Rica for this view!

As we get older we begin to realize our time is running out and we value different things, appreciate different things. We may begin to examine "What is really valuable?" in our lives...

When I lived in the big city  in the U.S., I had a neighbor who had a bad heart attack. He was probably 60-something when I saw him one day walking with the help of his wife down the stairs from his house. I said hello and commented that "It's a beautiful day today!"

He stopped and looked up at me, and smiled, and not without some effort said, "Yes, it is!"

It struck me at that moment that he perhaps had realized that he may not have a whole lot of these beautiful days left to enjoy, and he was truly appreciating this one, as much as he could, under the circumstances.

My neighbor took his last breath about a month after that.

I made up my mind right then that retiring in Costa Rica was something I had to do as soon as I could and not delay any longer than I had to!

No matter how old you are, you never know how much time you have left. That's a fact. So however old you are, or wherever you live or want to live, please spend your time wisely and don't waste any of the precious time you have left!
For me, that means retiring in Costa Rica and appreciating every sunset, every toucan sighting, every thunder and lightning show! And every morning that I wake up healthy to face another beautiful day!

For me, retiring in Costa Rica is one of the best decisions I ever made!

5 Comments

  1. Michelle on October 27, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    I love this! Were you able to establish residency & if so what do you estimate costs. How us healthcare there? What area did you settle in?
    We’re looking at retiring early in Guanacaste along the coast, but still have two teenage son. Do you think adventurous young men who enjoy outdoors would fit in well there? (We home school.)
    Any additional input is appreciated,
    The Buschinis

    • miguelbgood on November 6, 2016 at 3:52 pm

      Hi Michelle, we’re in the western Central Valley area. Costs for residency run around $3,300. for two people with our attorney.
      I would think two teenagers would do well along the coast if they like to swim, surf, paddleboard etc and if they are willing to learn Spanish.
      The #1 most important thing is that you all visit the area you want to move to for as long a period as possible before making the move. A few months or more would be smart, preferably the worst season (dry season there maybe?) to see if you can take it. Here where we are the worst season is October through January in my opinion, when we get the most rain, fog and wind. On the other hand it’s the most beautiful season when everything is green green green!
      Thanks for your comments. Feel free to add more.

    • miguelbgood on November 6, 2016 at 3:57 pm

      Yes we were able to establish residency. It’s easy enough as long as you pre-qualify yourselves for it to make sure you are eligible, then gather your documents. Here is a good site re what is required for residency:
      http://outlierlegal.com/services/immigration/temporary-residence/

  2. Doug on July 9, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    My wife and I are planning to visit Costa Rica in December – what do you know about Escazu? What can you suggest for a one week visit?

    • miguelbgood on July 13, 2017 at 6:26 pm

      Doug, all I know about Escazu is that it’s pretty close to San Jose, a lot of gringos live there, it’s one of the most expensive places to live, but a lot of gringos like it apparently.

      If you are seriously interested in Escazu I would recommend renting a place in the part of town you think you might like and then doing things as if you live there.

      For example, unless you plan to eat out all the time, don’t eat out, cook (requires renting a place that has a stove/refri etc). Do what you can to see what it’s like to live there vs. just “vacationing” there.

      So for example, buy your food at grocery stores and eat at home.
      Go inside a bank and ask about opening an account even if you don’t open one.
      Find out where gringos congregate in Escazu and talk to as many as you can to get an idea what it’s like to live there.

      Ask a lot of questions, most people will be willing to answer them.
      (If you speak Spanish ask Ticos about life there as well. Taxi drivers are often a good source of info.)

      Get the money converter app on your phone and check prices at stores: groceries and clothes, gas, pharmacy items etc – so you get an idea of cost of living. Write down prices or take photos of posted prices of stuff you use. If you need certain US type foods see if they have them and write down the prices. Like Jiffy Peanut butter is double or more the price! And organic almond butter… forget it.
      Do you use protein powder or other health items? See if you can get them and how much they cost.
      Going to furnish a house, rental or owned? Check prices of stuff you’ll need to buy at various stores.

      Ask about rentals and health care etc, doctor visits, all kinds of prices, and what are the wait times to see a doctor, or whatever – practical stuff you will encounter.

      Is noise an issue for you? Ask about that.
      Is traffic an issue? Ask how it is around there.
      Is there internet? how fast is it? how expensive? how reliable?

      Make a list of questions of concern and ask everyone you meet.
      Meet people via forums before you go. Line up some cafe’ or bar meetings with residents there who are willing to answer your questions!
      Hope this helps!

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