You have decided to move to Costa Rica, or at least buy a vacation home in one of the world’s most popular places for living abroad.
How do you choose where is the best place to buy a home in Costa Rica?
The five most important things to consider are: lifestyle, climate and geography, infrastructure, community, and pricing. Your best strategy is to rent a place for a few months to see how you like living in that area.
1. Think about what kind of lifestyle are you looking for? What are your hobbies? Do you want a quiet rural or beach life, or do you need the hustle and bustle of a big town or city?
2. Costa Rica has many diverse regions and microclimates, but for the most part you can boil down Costa Rica climate and geography to:
- Beaches – North, Central and South Pacific Coast, and the Caribbean
- Lake Arenal and Volcano Arenal
- Steamy lowland jungle in the southern Pacific region – basically from Dominical south
- The Central Valley highlands
Expect heat at the beach, no matter which coast. Costa Rica is between 9 and 11 degrees north of the equator, and the beaches are HOT! On average, temperatures are about 90+ F with humidity. Air-conditioning is available, but can easily run $400 or more per month. Costa Rica’s beaches, however, really are spectacular, as are the sunsets.
To get cooler, you have to go up in elevation. In the mountains, you can find daytime temperatures in the low 70's, with nights around 40-60 F. However, there are often more clouds and rain in the mountains. The Central Valley is the most moderate, with daytime temperatures varying from 60 to 80 F, and 50 to 65 at night, depending on the time of year. This is why the capital city of San Jose and most of the population of Costa Rica are located here.
3. Infrastructure is crucial in Costa Rica: quality medical and health care facilities, international airports, good roads, services, and entertainment like restaurants, theaters, cultural performances and shopping. If these are high on your list of priorities, then you want to be in the Central Valley.
4. There are many large foreign resident communities around Costa Rica – in the North Pacific, Central Pacific, Caribbean, and especially in the Central Valley. Quality education and many private, bilingual schools are easily found in the Central Valley.
5. If you want to live at the beach, expect to pay higher prices for a home. The Central Valley has a wide range of affordable real estate. In Atenas, Costa Rica, a 2,100-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bath, furnished home on a half-acre lot with a pool and views, and even a car included, is listed at $350,000.
Atenas is not only a top place for international living, but also a fun vacation destination for its ideal location in the western Central Valley, halfway between San José and Pacific Coast beaches. Atenas is close to the San Jose/Juan Santamaría International Airport, top public and private health care facilities, and has easy access to major highways.
For more information about Atenas, check out the Guide to Living in Atenas, Costa Rica and the list of restaurants in Atenas from Atenas real estate agency Pure Life Development of Atenas.
Article by Shannon Farley