Is Costa Rica an expat retirement alternative to Europe?

Is Costa Rica an expat retirement alternative to Europe?

Is Costa Rica an expat retirement alternative to Europe?

Nowadays, Costa Rica isn’t just a favourite destination for USA expats.

Traditionally, British expats looking for a change of lifestyle after retirement kicks in head for Spain, Portugal or another sunny, warm European destination with an established expatriate community. In a similar way, USA retirees have always favoured Mexico, Costa Rica or one of a number of other ‘south of the border’ Spanish-speaking countries. With Brexit looming and Europe’s cost of living rising, many of the UK’s would-be expatriates are also setting their sights on non-European havens with good weather and a far cheaper lifestyle.

For many, the off-putting aspect of Central American countries such as Costa Rica is that they’re crime ridden and dangerous, especially for older expats. The truth is that no country is crime free and most retirement destinations including Costa Rica are safer than the home country as there are strict gun laws in place. It’s true the world is becoming a far more dangerous place nowadays, but mass shootings and other violent crimes don’t occur as often as many people believe.

Telling it like it is in Costa Rica includes the fact that burglaries and thefts are common crimes, but the country is safe provided measures are taken by householders as regards basic security, similar to the UK. Living in a gated community is one way, and making sure your home is difficult to break into is another. No-one thinks twice about installing a burglar alarm system in one of the UK’s big city homes, and it’s the same in Costa Rica. Once you’ve reassured yourself about the risk of becoming a victim of opportunistic crime, Costa Rica becomes a real possibility as regards expat life and a reasonable cost of living.

As with many other popular expat destinations, living like a local is the best way to save money, with buying groceries and foodstuff at regular weekly markets fun as well as economic. Choosing a location offering affordable rental rates is another, and is also a good way to get to know the local people. Public buses are the least pricey means of transport, and routes run literally all over the country. As regards self-drive, cars are horrendously expensive due to high import duties, and local driving habits leave a lot to be desired. The one, and perhaps the most important, aspect of this small country as a retirement hub is that Costa Rica regularly hits high rankings in the happiness category.

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