Exploring Costa Rica First as a Tourist May Motivate You to Move Overseas

All I’d heard was that Costa Rica was a hot vacation destination.  Great beaches, lots of activities, beautiful women, and reasonable prices were the descriptions thrown around.  Needing to get away from the grind for a few weeks I booked a flight into San Jose and planned a three-week trip to Jaco beach for some sun, sand, and surf and relaxation.  That was six years ago and I’m still here.  Only now I’m married to a Colombiana, have a beautiful baby girl, and I’m the Broker for the most prestigious real estate firm in the country 2 Costa Rica Real Estate.  I’m a radio host and expert on expatriation to Costa Rica for Overseas Radio Network, and there’s no limit to how far this can go.  So how did I do it?  Moreover, how can you?

The first step is: Prepare to take small steps.  Packing it all in and moving to Central America sounds great around the water cooler or over a pitcher after work.  The reality of making these decisions is much more complex.  That said, make the first move small and easy.  Book a vacation to Costa Rica and sample what this country has to offer, but make that vacation a chance to do a little scouting at the same time.    There are many great areas of Costa Rica to consider.  Though I fell in love with (and in) Jaco beach, this community on the Pacific coast is just one of several incredible destinations to explore.  What makes Jaco Beach great is you can make it your home base in Costa Rica and travel on day trips to everything from museums in the city to active volcanoes.

Jaco Beach at night is stunning

The clear choice for many is Jaco beach.  This beautiful town on the west coast of Costa Rica is known for its perfect weather, friendly laid-back atmosphere, and enough amenities to satisfy the most discerning tastes.  Jaco is a short 1hr drive away from the capitol city of San Jose and its international airport (Juan Santamaria – SJO).  Jaco is not only a great place to stay, it serves well as a central point from which you can easily explore the coast and visit communities north and south of this beach town.  Long and short-term real estate and investment opportunities abound in this region, and development is booming.  English is widely spoken and the people are friendly and accommodating to foreigners.  This is a great place to settle in, have a cold drink and a great meal, and plan your ‘battle strategy’.

Getting around the country is a breeze – sort of.  There are countless ways to navigate Costa Rica, from the dozens of rental car companies, to in-country flights, to busses, taxis and private shuttles.  Many of the hotels provide shuttle services, and most day trips can be booked with transportation provided.  If you are the adventurous type, a car rental with a GPS certainly provides you with the most freedom.  If you’re planning to explore several different regions on your trip, then a day tour with small company is the way to go.  For example, a day trip to Arenal volcano with a jungle canopy tour and horseback ride can run you around $150 per person with hotel pickup and meals included.  This is a great way to have a guided, hassle-free trip and see some of the popular destinations in Costa Rica.  If you’re scouting investment opportunities and considering purchasing real estate, then a rental car is optimal.  Costa Rica is a small country and has a decent network of highways and roads.  Though driving around the Central Valley surrounding San Jose can be an interesting experience, a few hours behind the wheel here and you’ll easily settle into navigating the roads.

One thing that is true of Costa Rica is that once you’ve been here there’s a great chance you’ll be back.  Taking your first trip here as an exploratory vacation often leads to a second, third, and for many an eventual permanent move.  With reasonably priced homes, great vacation rentals, and a country whose economy is heavily rooted in foreign investment, Costa Rica is one of the best choices for those looking to escape the day-to-day grind.  Even with all the people coming here, opening businesses, buying property, and living their dreams, I can still walk out on the beach in front of my home, look to the left and the right, and find myself to be only one of a handful of people strolling the shoreline.  There is a lot of room here to grow, and there’s no way I’m leaving paradise.  It’s just too good here.   If you want to book a vacation to Costa Rica contact us at www.cb-jaco.com and we will point you in all the right directions and maybe one day we will be neighbors.

To learn more about living, investing, retiring and traveling in Costa Rica please request our Free series of 12 reports by CLICKING HERE

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  1. Chris June 12, 2012 at 10:23 am

    You left out “unsafe”.

    Yes, every place in the world has an “unsafe” enclave or enclaves….so do not use this tired excuse of an explanation. There are areas of the US or within its States and cities that are “unsafe” yes….but the vastness of the US make it easier to avoid the lack of safety in certain areas…..you cannot say that about a small country. When a small country has unsafe areas…..no one is ever too far from that ‘unsafe’ area.

    I have unfortunately heard of many expats saying that Costa Rica, is beautiful yes, but simply unsafe. I guess this hasn’t been your experience? If not, then you are the first as far as I’ve heard…..If so, then you must report a balanced experience..

    ….but again, you are trying to sell reports so you can’t talk about any type of danger…..

  2. Alex June 17, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    I’m packing my bags now! I can’t believe how much valuable information you have here!
    I’m hooked on your site!

  3. noel rhoden November 21, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    i agree,all he talked about is how beautiful the country is.the dominican republic is also beautiful but there are places on that island that you do not want to go especially at night.he is trying to sell something…fine,but tell thewhole truth,knowingly leaving the bad aspects out is a LIE!!!!

  4. Koty November 25, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    Sure, parts of Costa Rica are unsafe like any other country but during my time in both Costa Rica and in Panama for several months traveling alone as a 27 year old female I never felt unsafe and I had no experiences with theft or crime or sexual harassment as I was so often told I would before I left on my trip. Use common sense when traveling just as you would in the U.S. and you’ll be fine.

    I’m not saying that crime doesn’t occur in Costa Rica but during my time there I never came across any and I think it’s ridiculous to say the entire country is “unsafe” when there are so many vast landscapes and different types of towns (ie; the Pacific side is a much different feel and culture than the Caribbean side). Deeming an entire country unsafe is just American propaganda to try to scare people into not traveling. Out of all of the places I’ve been I can honestly say Costa Rica is one of the safest places I’ve ever been. Every where I went people I met, both locals and travelers, were open and friendly and always looking out for me as a solo female traveler.

  5. Critterhill May 5, 2013 at 2:55 pm


    I’ve been all over Costa Rica and have NEVER felt threatened or been in an uncomfortable situation. I can’t say the same here in the states. My husband and I plan to move to Costa Rica very soon and would not do so if we believed it to be a crime zone.

    Common sense and courtesy go a long way when in Costa Rica as it will in any place. When I travel with a girlfriend or my husband, we stay in a night, keep our valuables hidden, and just enjoy the people.

    Chris, I have nothing to sell and my guess is that for every expat you say believes it to be unsafe, I will find you one that does feel as safe as being in the U.S.

    Pura Vida……

  6. Larry West July 4, 2013 at 10:15 pm

    Costa Rica is very safe and I have never had a problem in the 9 years I have been visiting. I lived there for the first time for 3 years and only had to visit the Panama border for a quick re-entry. Last year I married a beautiful woman there who has three children and as soon as I can figure out how to make a living there I will be packing my bags and moving. Winters there are much nicer than in Canada…lol
    Pura Vida

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