How to Retire to Costa Rica as a digital nomad

Take advantage of the new digital nomad visa to start a new life in Costa Rica




Climate and General Appeal

Costa Rica has a year-round tropical climate. It is situated between the Caribbean and the Pacific and features quiet rural beach and mountain towns and lush valleys on the one hand or modern central valley and coastal cities if you still want some action. It also has one of the highest standards of living in the tropics, excellent health care, reliable transportation and travel services, high-speed internet and accommodations for most budgets and reaching to extremely luxurious.

Cost of Living

According to Numbeo, the cost of living in Costa Rica is, on average, more than 37% lower than in the United States. A single person could live on around $600 per month (without considering any housing cost). We @MLS Costa Rica estimate this figure to be more in the range of $780 adjusted for our own estimation for inflation and rising rent prices. Rentals range from $325 and upwards for a one-bedroom in the city to only $410 for a three-bedroom more remotely. Remember, much will depend on where you choose to place your roots and how you live. It’ll cost more if you want to run your A/C around the clock or eat out every night, or own your own motor vehicles.

Choosing the Region

Even though Costa Rica is a relatively small country, you can still find plenty of variety when it comes to choosing your region.

  • For example, you could pick the Gold Coast, (Nicoya Peninsula) situated on the North Pacific shores and home to many expat communities. Playas Del Coco,  and white sand beaches of Flamingo, Conchal and Tamarindo which have always been popular spots, and you could choose between resort towns or quiet fishing villages.
  • Beach yoga, and surf lovers may flock to Playa Grande, Guiones, Santa Teresa, Montezuma especially if they love the bohemian lifestyle. It’s a place to unwind, enjoy amazing beaches, nature, yoga, or relax next to the ocean.
  • The Central Pacific boosts cities like Puntarenas, Jaco and Quepos/Manuel Antonio with the famous and most visited national park and beach. 
  • The South Pacific is much more remote with a large portion being the Peninsula de Osa with only Dominical, Punta Uva, Golfito, and Puerto Jimenez as major coastal towns with incredible rain forest beauty
  • On the Caribbean side, you will find more of an island vibe. It’s far less developed if you clearly want to get away from it all during your retirement.
  • Or perhaps you’ll want to enjoy the highland region in Arenal. Here the temperatures can be more manageable during the summertime (if still quite humid) due to the elevation. You will love the verdant green hills surrounding pretty lakes.
  • Head to San Jose in the Central Valley if you want bustling capital city life instead, where two thirds of the country’s population calls the fresh eternal spring their home.

How to Immigrate

If you simply want to visit, North American and European do not require a visa to enter Costa Rica as a tourist. (check with your embassy based on citizenship) You can then check out the various regions and lifestyles before you decide. Then, if you want to apply for residency, you will have several options for most foreigners.

The Pensionado program requires you to provide proof of Social Security, disability, or pension funds to at least $1,000 per month. This retirement plan should be guaranteed for life. With this program, you can own a company and receive dividends or work as a freelancer if your clients are outside the country.

The Rentista program is for you if you do not have a fixed retirement income. Instead, provide proof of $2,500 per month (for at least two years).

Finally, you can invest at least $200,000 in the country to qualify under the Inversionista program.

Find out more about the procedure involved through this embassy website.


About Me

Hello Rodgers Bestgen here from Cape Cod. I write about field to table cuisine, clever ideas in sustainability and Costa Rica. The Guanacaste Experience will highlight a place I dearly love and wish to share. Expect image intensive articles highlighting this beautiful place and other subjects important to our region, including economic and business articles on occasion.
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