Costa Rica has long been a sought-after destination for expats, with its captivating “Pura Vida” lifestyle and high living standards. However, recent trends indicate that a significant number of expats are choosing to leave the country for various reasons. In this article, we will delve into the data and explore the factors behind this growing Costa Rica expat exodus.

Key Takeaways:

  • Expats are leaving Costa Rica for reasons such as rising costs of living and limited career opportunities for their children.
  • The affordable cost of living and excellent healthcare facilities continue to attract many expats to Costa Rica.
  • Safety concerns, particularly regarding increasing crime rates, are driving some expats to seek a more secure environment.
  • Ultimately, the decision to leave Costa Rica is subjective and dependent on individual circumstances and priorities.

The Cost of Living in Costa Rica

Costa Rica, known for its stunning natural scenery and laid-back lifestyle, has long been a popular destination for expats seeking an affordable and enjoyable place to live. However, as the country continues to grow in popularity, the cost of living has also been on the rise. Expats considering a move to Costa Rica should carefully evaluate their budget and financial expectations to ensure a comfortable and sustainable lifestyle.

While the cost of living in Costa Rica remains relatively affordable compared to countries like the US and Canada, it is important for expats to be aware of the increasing expenses they may encounter. Housing costs, in particular, have been on the rise, driven by high demand from both locals and expats. Depending on location and amenities, expats can expect to pay between $800 and $2,500 per month for a rental property. Purchasing a property, while an option for some, may require a significant investment.

Expense Cost (USD)
Rent (1-bedroom apartment in city center) $800 – $1,500
Groceries $200 – $400
Dining out $10 – $25 per meal
Utilities $100 – $200
Transportation $50 – $100

Other common expenses to consider include healthcare, transportation, and leisure activities. Healthcare costs can vary but are generally lower compared to the US. Expats should budget for insurance premiums and out-of-pocket expenses, as well as any specific medical needs they may have. Transportation costs can vary depending on whether an expat chooses to own a car or rely on public transportation. Leisure activities such as dining out, entertainment, and travel should also be factored into the budget.

Healthcare and Quality of Life in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is renowned for its excellent healthcare system and high quality of life, making it an appealing destination for expats seeking a fulfilling and healthy lifestyle. The country’s healthcare facilities are well-equipped and offer a wide range of services, including both public and private options. Expats can access affordable medical care, with costs significantly lower compared to countries like the United States. The accessibility and affordability of healthcare in Costa Rica are among the primary factors that attract retirees and individuals looking for a better quality of life.

Moreover, Costa Rica’s natural beauty and serene environment contribute to a high quality of life for expats. The country is known for its breathtaking beaches, lush rainforests, and diverse wildlife, providing residents with numerous opportunities for outdoor activities and exploration. The stable democracy and peaceful coexistence in Costa Rica further enhance the overall sense of security and contentment.

However, while Costa Rica offers many advantages, there are some considerations that expats should be aware of. One concern is the quality of education for expat children. While there are several international schools available, the options may be limited in certain regions. Expats with school-age children may need to carefully evaluate the educational opportunities before making the decision to relocate to Costa Rica.

Table: Healthcare Facilities in Costa Rica

Hospital Name Location Services Offered
CIMA Hospital San José San José General medical services, specialized treatments, emergency care
Hospital Clínica Bíblica San José Medical and surgical specialties, maternity services, diagnostic imaging
Hospital La Católica San José General medicine, surgery, pediatrics, gynecology
Hospital Metropolitano San José Specialized medical services, emergency care, laboratory services

In conclusion, Costa Rica offers a desirable healthcare system and a high quality of life for expats. The accessibility and affordability of healthcare services, coupled with the country’s natural beauty and peaceful environment, make it an appealing destination for retirees and individuals seeking a better way of life. However, expats with children should carefully consider the available educational opportunities. Overall, Costa Rica presents an enticing package of healthcare and quality of life for expatriates.

Healthcare in Costa Rica

Safety and Security in Costa Rica

When considering the decision to relocate to another country, safety and security are crucial factors that expats take into account. In the case of Costa Rica, while it is generally considered safe, rising crime rates have become a concern for many expats. Petty theft, such as pickpocketing and bag snatching, can be an issue in busy tourist areas and crowded public transportation. Expats are advised to exercise caution, be mindful of their surroundings, and avoid displaying signs of wealth to minimize the risk of becoming a target.

While the overall crime rate in Costa Rica is relatively low compared to neighboring countries, there has been an increase in theft and property-related crimes in recent years. Home burglaries and vehicle thefts are among the most common offenses reported by expats. It is recommended for expats to secure their homes with alarms, install security cameras, and practice good personal safety habits.

Expats with families may have additional concerns regarding the safety of their children. While Costa Rica offers a tranquil environment surrounded by natural beauty, some expats may find themselves worried about their children’s well-being. Limited career opportunities and concerns over the quality of education may prompt expat families to explore other countries that provide a more secure and promising future for their children.

The Importance of Being Informed

It is important for expats to stay informed and updated on the current safety situation in Costa Rica. The US Department of State provides helpful resources, including travel advisories and safety tips, for American citizens considering or residing in Costa Rica. Local news outlets and expat forums can also provide valuable insights into specific areas and neighborhoods that may have higher crime rates.

Ultimately, the decision to leave Costa Rica based on safety and security concerns is a personal one. While the country offers an attractive lifestyle and natural beauty, the rising crime rates may lead some expats to seek a more secure environment for themselves and their families.

safety in Costa Rica


The decision to leave Costa Rica is a personal one, and expats have various reasons for their migration. While many are initially attracted to the “Pura Vida” lifestyle, affordable cost of living, and stunning surroundings, certain factors are causing others to consider relocating from Costa Rica.

Rising expenses, including increasing food prices and housing costs, have made it more challenging for some expats to maintain their desired standard of living. Although still relatively affordable compared to countries like the US and Canada, these financial pressures can contribute to the decision to leave Costa Rica.

Additionally, limited education opportunities for expat children and concerns over the quality of education have driven some families to explore alternative destinations. While Costa Rica offers excellent healthcare facilities and affordable medical care, these educational factors may weigh heavily in the decision-making process.

Safety concerns can also play a role in expats’ decision to leave Costa Rica. Although the country is generally considered safe, rising crime rates and incidents of petty theft have prompted some expats to seek a more secure environment for themselves and their families.

In conclusion, expat migration is influenced by a combination of financial, educational, and safety factors. While Costa Rica continues to attract many with its appealing lifestyle and affordability, the decision to relocate ultimately depends on individual circumstances, priorities, and the desire to find a location that best suits an expat’s needs.


Are rising expenses a common reason for expats leaving Costa Rica?

Yes, rising food prices and increasing housing costs are contributing factors that may be pushing some expats to leave.

Is the quality of education a concern for expat families in Costa Rica?

Yes, concerns over the quality of education and limited career opportunities for expat children may be driving some families to explore other options.

Is safety a concern for expats living in Costa Rica?

While Costa Rica is generally considered safe, rising crime rates and petty theft can be a problem. Expats may be leaving Costa Rica due to concerns over personal safety and the need for a more secure environment.

Are there other reasons besides the ones mentioned for expats leaving Costa Rica?

Yes, the decision to leave Costa Rica is a personal one, and each expat may have their own reasons for doing so. Factors such as limited education opportunities, rising expenses, and safety concerns are some of the common reasons.

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