Embraced by the Pacific Ocean on one side and the Caribbean Sea on the other, Costa Rica is a country of great natural beauty and a rich cultural heritage. It is also forward thinking, with aspirations to be the first carbon neutral nation by 2021. According to the Happy Planet Index, which ranks countries based on factors such as personal satisfaction, life expectancy, and per capita ecological footprint rather than more traditional markers such as gross national product, Costa Rica ranked number one in 2009.
It is a perennially popular tourist destination and, for some, a desirable option for a long-term move abroad. According to former Portland resident and author Erin Van Rheenen, who wrote the book Living Abroad in Costa Rica, there are very practical reasons to consider relocation to or retirement in Costa Rica.
Costa Rica has proven to be one of the most stable of all democratic nations in Latin America. That stability has grown its economy, which often attracts foreign investors. According to Ms. Van Rheenen, it is not difficult for foreigners to start businesses in Costa Rica, even on a tourist visa. Finally, the cost of living in Costa Rica makes it an attractive option for retirees who want to stretch their retirement dollars.
If you peruse your local bookstore or library, you will undoubtedly find several books offering insight and guidance about the factors to consider when making a move abroad. Ms. Van Rheenen’s book offers that same insight and guidance, but it has the added benefit of being written by someone who has made already endured the intricacies of such a move firsthand. According to her website, Ms. Van Rheenen splits her time between San Francisco and Costa Rica. She continues to make Costa Rica a focus of her writing and is currently updating her popular Living Abroad in Costa Rica guide.
Costa Rica is a stunningly beautiful country and an appealing relocation and retirement option for many reasons. If after an extended visit, the fantasy of moving to its tropical climate becomes a reality, Ms. Van Rheenen’s book will prove an invaluable guide. Not only does the author detail various parts of the country and attempt to give a feel for what it might be like to live in each, she also provides practical information about visas, schools, real estate, and the type of social life those moving into the country might encounter.
If you’re intrigued or seriously considering a move or visit to Costa Rica, visit Erin Van Rheenen’s website or blog for a wealth of information, including details about upcoming events in Costa Rica. Her helpful book is also available at Powell’s or your local library.
View from Boca de Cielo Restaurant in Costa Rica. Photo by Armando Maynez.