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Best Places To Retire In Costa Rica

  • Uvita Costa Rica

With lush rainforest, scenic mountains, and pristine coastal areas it’s easy to see why Costa Rica is a popular place for expats to retire. Having warm weather all year round with no snow makes it ideal for North Americans.

5 % of the world’s biodiversity is right here in Costa Rica. It’s no wonder you’re considering moving to the “happiest place on earth“. With an abundance of wildlife, renewable sources for electricity, and most of all the friendly people it’s definitely worth considering.

—Here are 5 cities to consider retiring to in Costa Rica —

best places to retire in costa rica
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Iglesia Mercedes

With a perfect climate of daytime temperatures in the mid 80’s and evenings with a low in the 60’s it’s easy to see why many expats choose Grecia as their home to retire in Costa Rica or at least for part of the year.

It’s only 30 minutes from San Jose airport making it easy to commute. Quality built homes boast views of rolling hills with lower property taxes compared to US and Canada.

Pick up your farm fresh produce from the farmer’s market open on Fridays & Saturdays will help save on your grocery bills each month. Just another way to save money if you’re on a pension.

Car rentals– Adobe


  • La Casa de Miguel
  • Donde Papa Antojitos
  • Restaurante Los Barriles


Located in the Central Mountain range Atenas offers a small town feel with picturesque landscape views and volcanos. San Jose city is less than 1 hour away and a quick drive will have you at the airport in 30 minutes.

Nearby towns of Alajuela & Escazu offer advance health care as well as large stores for shopping needs.

Warm days consist of temperatures between 70-85 degrees and cooler nights of 55-68 degrees. You’ll probably find little use for air-conditioning and no heating required.

Crime is low here in Atenas making this town more appealing to retire. Get all your fresh tropical fruits, vegetables and meats at the market located in the center of town. Open daily but shorter hours on Sunday.

Car rentals – Adobe


  • Arrillada Androvetto
  • Soda 3 Hermanas
  • Pizzeria Olivera
  • Restaurante Hermanos Castillo


sunsets in Tamarindo are beautiful

The town of Tamarindo is a touristy area so if you like to frequent restaurants and bars with lots of surfing during the day, this could be the town for you.

Tamarindo is 1 1/2 hours from Liberia airport. The town has a mix of surfers, locals, and expats. While it’s very easy to walk around the town over time you may find it too congested with visiting tourists and crowded restaurants. You may like to live just outside of town if you have a car.

Car rentals – Alamo, Budget, Hertz, Adobe, Avis

Surf shops – Iguana Surf shop, Kelly’s Surf shop


  • Dragonfly Bar & Grill
  • Pangas Beach Club
  • Enea’s La Vera Cucina Italian
  • Antichi Sapori Tamarindo
  • Green Papaya Taco Bar
  • Pura Vegan
  • Longboard BBQ

Playa Hermosa (Guanacaste)

This beautiful tranquil beach town is located on the Papagayo Peninsula with 25 minutes commute to Liberia airport. Don’t be confused as there is actually 2 Playa Hermosa’s in Costa Rica.

By living at the beach the temperatures rise with daytime highs between 80-90 and lows of 70-80 so you could find yourself in need for air-conditioning. I live 3 blocks from the beach so believe me it’s hot & humid. This will also raise your monthly expenses.

Since Playa Hermosa is in a protected cove, you’ll experience smaller wave without riptides and undercurrents. This could be perfect if you like swimming or have small grandchildren.

This beach is very clean and listed as one of the Blue Flag beaches in Costa Rica. Deep sea fishing is in abundance with roosterfish, mahi-mahi, and many others.

Some fish charters are catch and release but it’s still fun and exciting trying to catch that big one. A fishing license is required and can be obtained on-line. If you are able to keep some of the fish you catch it’s always appreciated to share with the crew.

Many North Americans and Europeans live comfortably in this safe community in condos or single family homes. Rentals can run you from $1000 USD + per month so definitely not the cheapest in the country.

With small boutique hotels, open-air restaurants, bars, grocery store, and pharmacies in town it’s easy to drive to nearby Liberia for banks, world-class hospitals, and a large Wal-Mart for everything else.

Car rentals – Budget, Avis


  • Roberto’s
  • Pacifico Beach Club
  • Restaurante Niromi by Bosque del Mar
  • Abbocato Restaurant


Photo: [Atanas Malamov-unsplashed]

If you prefer southern coastal living Uvita could be the place for you. Close to Dominical & Ojochal, Uvita has more basic services with a few grocery stores, restaurants, banks, and organic market.

It’s not the best surfing location but a short drive to Dominical will have you surfing in no time.

In this small community you’ll find expats from North America and Europe. The drive is long from San Jose Airport. It will take you about 4 hours and you’ll want to have a 4X4 for this remote area especially during the rainy season when the roads can get complicated.

From December to April Uvita is an amazing location to take tours to see the humpback whales or head to Marino Ballena National Park which is so pictureque itself in photos for hiking or kayaking.

Car rentals – Adobe, Hertz, National/Alamo

Surf shops

  • Nana’s Surf
  • Costa Rica Dive and Surf
  • Colo Tico Surfboards


  • Cafe Mono Congo
  • Sabor Espanol
  • Pizza Time
  • Mosaic
  • Bar Restaurant Los Laureles

As with any major decisions in life we suggest visiting for longer periods in different locations that interest you before purchasing property to retire in Costa Rica and find out it’s not for you.

Costa Rica definitely has a slower pace to it. It may take longer waiting in lines at the bank or for licenses but the Pura Vida lifestyle can work for you if you want a simple life.

Our thoughts are always our own.
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About the Author:

Laurie Johnson is travel writer, agent, and founder of Pura Vida Vacations. She finds her inspirations from travelling of the beaten path, meeting the locals, and sharing her travel stories, reviews, and tips with her readers.

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