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10 Best Places to Retire in Costa Rica

For those of you wanting a variety of choice, our list of best places to retire in Costa Rica is a must read piece. The country has everything; from modern cities to rural and traditional villages, from mountains and green forests to sandy beaches. Your task is just to find the scenery that suits you the most.

Costa Rica is a desirable location for lots of people, especially expats from the United States. According to some estimation, there are more than 50,000 Americans who reside in Costa Rica, with many of them being retirees. So why are people attracted to Costa Rica? Besides the fact everything is affordable, the country has a high standard of living and is rapidly developing. Also, Costa Rica has some of the most progressive environmental policies in the world and got the title of “greenest country in the world” in 2009. This all contributes to a healthy and comfortable lifestyle that residents of Costa Rica have. If you don’t believe us, believe the World Happiness Report, which placed the country in 12th place of the happiest countries in the world. For comparison, the United States is behind Costa Rica in 12th place.

10 Best Places to Retire in Costa Rica

Mihai-Bogdan Lazar/

When you know all of the things above, it isn’t surprising that Costa Rica has one of the best health systems in Latin America, spending 9.3% of GDP on health. Universal healthcare is provided by the government to every resident of the country, while the private system is affordable and offers even higher quality medical care. Both private and public hospitals are mostly new, well equipped, employing highly qualified physicians. The slight downside is that there are only 1.1 physicians and 1.2 hospital beds per 1,000 population according to Trading Economics. Thanks to so many positive things related to health happening in Costa Rica, the country has become a hotspot in terms of medical tourism.

Although safety is an issue in Costa Rica, the crime situation isn’t so serious like in some other countries of Central America. OSAC’s (The United States Overseas Security Advisory Council) report about Crime and Safety in Costa Rica for 2017 underlines the thefts and petty crimes as major concerns for both residents and visitors. The thieves use large crowds to their advantage and mainly operate around popular touristic locations. The violent crimes, although not so common, do occur. The fact that safety situation isn’t ideal is also confirmed by WEF’s (World Economic Forum) report which placed Costa Rica in 68th place in terms of safety and security. In case this isn’t your primary concern when picking retirement destination, take a look at our list of 10 best places to retire in Brazil.

Before we present you with the list of best places to retire in Costa Rica, let’s quickly cover the methodology. We took recommendations about best places to retire and/or live in Costa Rica from multiple sources including International Living, Expat Exchange, and The Real Costa Rica. Then we awarded points to each place based on the ranking in terms of apartment rent cost (Numbeo, Expatistan, and internet users’ experience), hospital to population ratio (Google Maps) and cost of a one-way flight to the United States (Google Flights). We also added extra points based on the number of the law of weapons and explosives violations (FES America Central) occurring in the city or province. Keep in mind that for some areas and provinces we took, we couldn’t calculate an accurate score, so we left it at the end of the list. Also, note that flight cost takes into consideration the bus ticket to the nearest airport when applicable, and that hospital to population ratio is there to give you an idea about the number of people assigned to one hospital in a particular city. Let’s take a look at the list then, shall we?