Living in Costa Rica

Did you know that Costa Rica has more North Americans per capita than any other country outside the United States? So what is it with Costa Rica that so many people want to come and live here?


One obvious reason is the weather. Costa Rica enjoys a spring-like climate all year around, with an average temperature of 72° F in the capital. We don't have four seasons like many other countries, just a dry and rainy season, with an abundance of sunshine the whole year.


But most important is the beauty and peace that the country has to offer. Travelers just fall in love with it. Costa Rica is considered one of the most beautiful countries in the world. It’s an exotic land surrounded with incredible mountains and beautiful beaches on both oceans, and has one of the richest flora and fauna on the planet. There are more different species of birds in Costa Rica than the whole North America combined.


Besides having a significant lower cost of living than many other countries, others just come here for the excitement and way of life. The country enjoys a low rate of inflation, which combined with a favorable exchange rate makes life very affordable for tourists and people moving here. Many just love to live in a country with a more laid-back way of life, full of exciting activities and interesting experiences.  


One of the main reasons Costa Rica is called the Switzerland of Central America is its educational system. Compulsory education exists since 1843. Costa Rica's high education levels - besides the absence of a military - are probably what make it the most politically stable country in Latin America.


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Facts and Figures

Official Name The Republic of Costa Rica
Population 4,148,500
Capital City San José (337,000) metro (1.5 mil)
Languages Spanish (official), English widely spoken
Official Currency Costa Rican Colon. US Dollar Widely used.
Religions Catholic (76%), others
Flag View here
Land Area 51,060 sq km (19,714 sq miles)
Latitude/Longitude 9º 93N, 84º 08W
Highest Point Chirripo, 12,533 ft. (3,820 m)

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Residency in Costa Rica

Becoming a resident of Costa Rica is easy:



All foreigners included in the following categories will qualify for permanent resident status:

  1. FAMILY TIES WITH A COSTA RICAN CITIZEN: Parents, spouses, sons, daughters, and siblings of a Costa Rican.
  2. PENSIONADO. People who receive at least a monthly income of $600 from retirement benefits.
  3. RENTISTA: People with a minimum monthly income of $1000.
  4. INVERSIONISTA: People with investments of at least $200,000.00 in the country or $50,000.00 in specific areas defined by the Government of the Republic of Costa Rica.



People who meet the following criteria can qualify as temporary residents:

  1. Professional scientists or specialized personnel hired by established companies, or that will develop activities related to their field of specialty, in the country.
  2. Business persons, entrepreneurs, high level management staff of national or foreign companies.
  3. Students
  4. Religious persons dedicated to worship related or teaching activities.
  5. Those who receive Political Asylum protection or refugees.
  6. Spouses or minor children of the people listed in the last paragraphs.
  7. Those who are not included in the last paragraphs but are specifically authorized by the Dirección General de Migración.
  8. Owners and crew of tourist or leisure ships.

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Interesting Information (External Links, New window will be opened)

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