Why Move to Costa Rica?

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A new life
More and more North Americans are looking for a place to start a new life—whether it's retirement, career change, or plying one's current profession in a new market. Many fantasize about a place where life is cheaper, the pace more humane, and the government less prone to declare war. Parents of young children may long for an environment where kids can be immersed in another language and culture, one that emphasizes basic human values over relentless accomplishment and acquisition.

Political and economic stability
Costa Rica has one of the most stable democratic governments in all of Latin America, and an economy that has long attracted foreign investors. Multinational corporations with branches in Costa Rica include Intel, Johnson & Johnson, Colgate-Palmolive, Monsanto, and Pfizer. Big and small companies come to Costa Rica because of the solid telecommunications network, a very educated workforce, and a high standard of living.

It's easy for a foreigner to start a business here—you can do it even if you only have a tourist visa. Many expats work successfully in the burgeoning tourist sector, starting restaurants, hotels, and tour companies. Many say that although there are of course regulations to learn about and follow, in general there exist fewer constraints on businesses here than in their home countries.

Retirees need their pensions to go further
For those approaching retirement age (or already there), places like Costa Rica are looking better and better. Between 2003 and 2007, the number of U.S. citizens over 65 is expected to grow from 36 to 40 million. The availability of public services has already declined and nursing homes have reduced the number of Medicaid admissions. In 2003, 79% of U.S. citizens retiring had total assets of less than $45,000 and yearly incomes—including pension and social security—of less than $15,000. That's not much money to live on, at least in the United States. But $15,000 a year goes much further in a place like Costa Rica.

I was called here
I've spoken with a surprising number of foreign residents who talk of being "called" here. It comes in different language depending on the slant of the speaker, but I've heard "I came here in trust," "I followed my heart/gut/dreams," and "God/Spirit/the Turtles told me to come." These people aren’t crazy—in fact they’re average North Americans, which is to say logical, restless, and driven. It's just that they've chosen to pay attention to the signals we all get but usually ignore--the messages to slow down, to open up, and to get yourself to a place where life slows down enough to let you jump on board.