Costa Rica is a beautiful country with great places to visit and a great place to live after you retire. Given its warm temperature and beautiful scenery, it’s not surprising that Costa Rica has become a popular place to retire. If you want to retire in Costa Rica, finding the right place to settle down can be challenging. In this piece, we’ll talk about the best places for retired people to live in Costa Rica if they want to live in a city and have great weather all year long.

Living in the City

Escazú and Santa Ana are two of the most popular places to settle in for those seeking a more urban lifestyle. Located just 25 minutes from the Juan Santa María International Airport, these cities have elegant apartment complexes and tower condominiums, making them ideal for those who enjoy city living.

Escazú Centro is the first district of the canton of Escazú, with a population of around 13,529 people. Known for its commercial activity, Escazú is one of the most important cities in Costa Rica. Surrounded by mountains, the city offers incredible views and a cool climate. The Multiplaza Escazú is the most important shopping center in the area, with various restaurants, banks, cinemas, shops, entertainment venues, schools, and colleges, both public and private.

Santa Ana is another modern city with a pleasant climate that is part of the Greater Metropolitan Area of Costa Rica. It is known for its gourmet restaurants and multiple options to enjoy international dishes. Despite its urban development, Santa Ana has managed to preserve its agricultural and rural style, making it a significant financial and economic center and a favorite place for investment.

Living in the Mountains

If you prefer living among nature, Monteverde is an excellent option. Located three hours northwest of the Central Valley, Monteverde is known for its lush forests reaching the clouds and the famous Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. With a population of around 250 to 750 inhabitants, Monteverde attracts many tourists and naturalists interested in biodiversity.

Living in Monteverde means being surrounded by various flora and fauna, making it an ideal location for nature lovers. You’ll also find supermarkets, banks, handicraft stores, restaurants, cafes, and schools in the area.

Living on the Beach

Costa Rica is renowned for its breathtaking beaches and thriving expat community. If you’re contemplating a move to this tropical paradise, you might wonder which beach towns offer the best living experiences. While opinions among expats may differ, conducting thorough research and finding a town that aligns with your desired lifestyle and preferences is crucial. In this article, we’ll explore some of the finest beach towns in Costa Rica, each exuding its unique charm and appeal.

South Caribbean: Embracing a Laid-Back Lifestyle

Discover the South Caribbean region of Costa Rica, where a laid-back atmosphere and a rich blend of cultures await. This area boasts picturesque beach towns, perfect for individuals seeking a tranquil and relaxed lifestyle. Consider the following towns as potential places to call home:

  1. Cahuita: Known for its pristine beaches and national park, Cahuita offers a serene environment and abundant opportunities for outdoor activities.
  2. Puerto Viejo: This vibrant town is famous for its lively music scene, mouthwatering Caribbean cuisine, and world-class surfing spots.
  3. Cocles: With its lush rainforests and beautiful beaches, Cocles is an ideal destination for nature lovers and surfing enthusiasts.
  4. Playa Chiquita: Nestled between the jungle and the sea, Playa Chiquita offers a peaceful retreat with stunning natural beauty.
  5. Punta Uva: If you’re searching for a secluded paradise, Punta Uva’s pristine beaches and tranquil ambiance make it a perfect choice.
  6. Manzanillo: Situated near the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge, this charming town is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and snorkeling lovers.

South Pacific: Nature’s Playground

The South Pacific region of Costa Rica is renowned for its untouched natural beauty, lush rainforests, and abundant wildlife. Consider the following beach towns as potential places to settle down:

  1. Dominical: Surrounded by verdant hills and boasting world-class surfing waves, Dominical attracts adventure seekers and nature lovers alike.
  2. Uvita: Known for its iconic Whale Tail formation, Uvita offers a blend of beautiful beaches, cascading waterfalls, and diverse marine life.
  3. Ojochal: Embracing a culinary scene influenced by international flavors, Ojochal is a paradise for food enthusiasts and those seeking a peaceful coastal lifestyle.

Central Pacific: Where Contrasts Meet

The Central Pacific region offers a delightful mix of modern conveniences, natural wonders, and vibrant entertainment options. Consider the following beach towns:

  1. Manuel Antonio – Quepos: Home to the renowned Manuel Antonio National Park and a wide range of amenities, this area is perfect for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers.
  2. Jaco Beach: Known for its lively nightlife, Jaco Beach is a popular destination for surfing, water sports, and beachfront relaxation.
  3. Esterillos: With its long stretches of pristine beaches, Esterillos offers a serene setting ideal for those seeking a slower-paced lifestyle.

Nicoya Peninsula: A Blend of Serenity and Adventure

The Nicoya Peninsula showcases a mix of serene coastal towns and vibrant communities, each offering a unique experience. Consider the following towns as potential places to call home:

  1. Mal Pais: This bohemian surf town boasts world-class waves and a relaxed atmosphere, making it a popular spot for surfers and free spirits.
  2. Playa Carmen: Known for its vibrant nightlife and beautiful beaches, Playa Carmen offers a mix of entertainment and natural beauty.
  3. Santa Teresa: Renowned for its stunning beaches, excellent surf breaks, and thriving yoga and wellness community, Santa Teresa attracts those seeking a holistic and active lifestyle.
  4. Tambor: Surrounded by lush greenery and pristine beaches, Tambor is a tranquil paradise that appeals to nature lovers and those seeking a peaceful retreat.
  5. Montezuma: With its bohemian vibe and enchanting waterfalls, Montezuma offers a unique blend of artistic expression and natural beauty.
  6. Cabuya: Nestled near the Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve, Cabuya is a small fishing village that provides a quiet and authentic coastal experience.

North Pacific: Sun, Surf, and Vibrant Communities

The North Pacific region of Costa Rica is renowned for its world-class surf breaks, breathtaking beaches, and vibrant communities. Explore the following beach towns as potential options for coastal living:

  1. Tamarindo: A bustling beach town with vibrant nightlife, amenities, and excellent surfing conditions, Tamarindo offers a lively and energetic atmosphere.
  2. Flamingo: With its upscale resorts and marina, Flamingo attracts those seeking a luxurious coastal lifestyle and access to world-class water activities.
  3. Playas del Coco: Playas del Coco offers a lively atmosphere, many restaurants and shops, and convenient access to the nearby Liberia International Airport.
  4. Playa Hermosa: Renowned for its consistent surf and relaxed atmosphere, Playa Hermosa is a popular destination for surfers and families seeking a laid-back beach lifestyle.

Other Notable Beach Towns in Costa Rica

In addition to the regions mentioned above, there are a few notable beach towns in Costa Rica that deserve consideration:

  1. Samara: Located on the Nicoya Peninsula, Samara offers a laid-back vibe, stunning beaches, and a close-knit community.
  2. Nosara: Famous for its world-class yoga retreats and eco-conscious lifestyle, Nosara is a haven for wellness enthusiasts and nature lovers.

When choosing a beach town in Costa Rica, remember that the country has over 763 miles of coastline, providing numerous options. It’s crucial to visit each location, experience its unique charm firsthand, and assess if it aligns with your desired lifestyle and preferences.


Living in a beach town in Costa Rica offers the opportunity to embrace a tropical paradise, enjoy outdoor activities, and immerse yourself in a vibrant expat community. Whether you’re drawn to the relaxed Caribbean vibes of the South, the untouched beauty of the South Pacific, the contrasts of the Central Pacific, or the sun-drenched beaches of the North, there’s a beach town in Costa Rica that can fulfill your dreams of coastal living.

Conduct thorough research, visit the towns of interest, and consider amenities, accessibility, and the community atmosphere. With careful consideration and an adventurous spirit,

-Written by Glenn Tellier (Founder of CRIEand Grupo Gap).

[email protected]

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cost of living in Costa Rica?

The cost of living in Costa Rica varies depending on your chosen area and lifestyle. Generally, the cost of living is lower than in many developed countries. For example, a single person can live comfortably on $1,500 monthly in San Jose, the capital city. However, the cost of living in coastal and tourist areas tends to be higher.

Do I need a visa to live in Costa Rica?

You will need a residence visa to live in Costa Rica for over 90 days. Several visa types are available, such as the pensionado visa for retirees, the rentista visa for those with a guaranteed monthly income, and the investor category for those who invest in the country. You can apply for a visa at a Costa Rican consulate in your home country.

What is the healthcare system like in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica has a universal healthcare system, meaning everyone can access healthcare services. The healthcare system is affordable and of high quality. There are public and private healthcare providers, and many doctors and healthcare professionals speak English.

Is it safe to live in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica is generally a safe country to live in. However, like in any country, there is some level of crime. Taking standard precautions to protect yourself and your property would be best. Be aware of your surroundings, lock your doors and windows, and avoid walking alone at night in isolated areas.

What is the weather like in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica has a tropical climate, which means it is warm and humid all year round. The temperature varies depending on the altitude and the region, but it typically ranges from 70°F to 90°F. The rainy season is from May to November, and the dry season is from December to April.

What is the education system like in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica has a well-developed education system. Education is compulsory for children between the ages of 6 and 15. There are public and private schools, and the education system follows a similar structure to that of many Western countries, with primary, secondary, and tertiary levels.

Can I own property in Costa Rica?

Yes, foreigners can own property in Costa Rica. There are no restrictions on foreign ownership, and buying property is straightforward. However, it is recommended that you work with a reputable lawyer and real estate agent to ensure that the transaction is legal and secure.

What is the best way to get around Costa Rica?

The best way to get around Costa Rica depends on your area. In cities, you can use public transportation such as buses and taxis. You may need to rent a car or use a private shuttle service in rural areas. Costa Rica also has domestic airlines that can take you from one part of the country to another quickly and easily.

Were is Cóbano in Costa Rica?

Cóbano is a town located in the southern area of the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica. It has a population of 7,494 inhabitants and is considered one of the best places to live in the country, especially for those who love the beach and a social and multicultural environment. Cóbano has an average annual temperature of 27°C, and the economy mainly revolves around tourism since it is close to some of the most beautiful beaches in the country, such as Montezuma, Santa Teresa, and Malpaís. Cóbano is known for its nature reserves, waterfalls, and exciting nightlife during the busy season.


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