Escape to Paradise: Property in Costa Rica
With its friendly people, first-world amenities, and excellent medical care, it's no wonder that Costa Rica is home to one of the world's largest communities of North American expatriates. With a lush interior and two beautiful coastlines, Costa Rica is ideal for a vacation home or a second home, and its relative affordability and mild climate do much to endear it to retirees.
With a democratic government going back to 1949, Costa Rica is also one of Latin America's most stable and peaceful countries. Compared to surrounding nations, it enjoys low crime rates, a 94% literacy rate, and low poverty rates. It's also the "greenest" nation in the Americas, and in 2007 announced plans to become the world's first carbon-neutral nation by 2021. A whopping 25% of the country is designated as national park in order to preserve its vast biodiversity.
While owning a piece of this beautiful land is not as cheap as it used to be, nor as cheap as other Latin American countries, owning property in Costa Rica is still an affordable option for many North Americans or Europeans seeking a second home, investment property, vacation home, or retirement home. A contemporary home in an upper middle-class area can be found for about U.S. $100,000 to $300,000 – perhaps around the same as one might pay for a decent house "back home."
The difference is that in Costa Rica, the cost of utilities, transportation, food, hired help, and especially health care, are all substantially less than they are in the U.S. While a couple in most regions of the U.S. will feel that they are barely scraping by on an income of $2,000 per month, that same amount feels fairly luxurious in Costa Rica. Given the country's peaceful ambience and how far a dollar goes, many expats wouldn't live anywhere else.