Many people dream about becoming a Costa Rica expat but they worry that they might not succeed at such a big, life-changing move. We all know that retirees and free-spirited types love Costa Rica. We frequently read about Costa Rica in retirement blogs and magazines and we hear talk about a different kind of pura vida life in festival circuits and eco-communities. This country touches those who visit in a special way and these people go on to share their experiences with those in their realm. But not every retiree is going to get along with the laid back attitude of most Costa Ricans. And not every environmentalist will love to live in a tiny, tropical nation. So, we want to take this chance to describe what we’ve learned to be the 6 most common personality types to fall in love with life in Costa Rica.
The Adventure Seeker
This personality type wants to take the road less traveled. They love that this is a tiny nation on a small strip of land that is still largely inaccessible to those who need convenience. Most roads are long and winding in Costa Rica but they are powerfully scenic and around every turn is another vista that will take your breath away. Scaling mountain passes, braving volcanoes and relishing in thermal pools set amid lush, tropical forests. Cruising the coastal highways while beach hopping from popular surf beaches to hidden gems with caves, crabs, and hardly a human footprint in sight. Costa Rica is a country that provides exhilarating experiences for all levels of adventure seekers looking for refreshing and beautiful locations.
Ideal activities: swimming, diving, atving, off-roading, surfing, hiking, climbing, kayaking, road tripping, learning spanish and a new culture, dance classes
Perfect location: Dominical, which is a cult surfing destination for Costa Ricans from all over the country and international surfers in the know. In recent years, fashionable restaurants and a brewery have brought more traffic to this burgeoning tourism destination that is surrounded by gorgeous cliffside homes with strong rental business. Tour companies take advantage of their close proximity to mangroves on the coast and waterfalls in the mountains. Most of the Costa Ballena features these types of environments but none as impressive as Dominical.
The Nature Lover
Probably more than anything, you have to be a nature lover to enjoy living in Costa Rica. You can possibly get away with not loving nature but you surely will not get away from nature. Even in the capital city, birds will wake you with the first hint of the sunrise. This cacophony is all the more powerful in our much more sparsely populated Southern Zone, where homes are enveloped by contiguous corridors of jungle passes that act as natural roadways for wildlife passing through. Even in our landscaped tropical garden properties, we can witness a substantial amount of birds, butterflies, reptiles, and the occasional tree-dwelling mammals looking to snack on our fruits. Nature lovers who move to Costa Rica will often choose to plant the species that will draw the animals they want to see. They know that some of the “least beautiful” trees are the most likely to draw in sloths, toucans, and more.
Ideal activities: riding horses, nature photography, trail hiking, grounding, whale watching, gardening, fishing, napping, puzzles, photography, crafts
Perfect location: Tres Rios is one of the southernmost communities in the region known as Costa Ballena. It is the least developed and therefore the most likely to see species that are more shy and less likely to be seen in some of the more populous communities. People in Tres Rios most regularly catch glimpses of elusive jaguars and other smaller cats.
The Hopeless Romantic
An unexpected side-effect of moving to Costa Rica with your partner or spouse is that you will naturally spend more time together. Couples begin to reflect more on their relationship and although some pairings unfortunately do not survive the scrutiny, those that do tend to become stronger as a result of more understanding, patience, and quality time spent together. Sharing magical experiences with your daily partner becomes the norm, like watching a colorful sunrise from bed or sitting out under the stars, sipping a nightcap. Romance is thick in this misty, tropical air like a never ending steamy holiday. Lasting partners count themselves lucky to share in this bliss with their favorite person in the world.
Ideal activities: watching sunsets, fine dining in a gorgeous outdoor environment, sipping drinks under the stars all year long, cuddling up during a heavy rainfall, waking up with the sun to bird calls and light gently pouring into your bedroom, napping, puzzles, watching movies
Perfect location: In the foothills above Ojochal, where you can find many secluded properties with gorgeous landscaping and scenic views. Ojochal is filled with stunning sites ideal to share with a loved one in a community that is home to a number of incredible restaurants with sumptuous foods and enlivening tropical ambiance.
The Health Buff
As one of the most environmentally-progressive nations making a number of forward thinking policies that put nature as number one, it’s no surprise that Costa Rica draws health-minded people into its midst. The variety of pristine ecosystems provide an inspiring set of locations from which to get in tune with our bodies, minds, and spirits. Eating right is easy when you have a year-round climate that makes subsistence farming possible in a sustainable way as long as you work with your environment, not against it. Working out is possible all year long, with no excuses for it being too cold to go out for a run and a vast amount of options of exercise classes, meditation groups, and environmental workshops. There are no excuses for not connecting with your environment when living in such a spectacular location that’s also filled with so many inspired people who want to share their passions.
Ideal activities: shopping at farmer’s markets, cooking freshly grown foods, subsistence gardening, visiting thermal pools, herbalism, water aerobics, spending time enjoying the peace and tranquility of being in nature
Perfect location: San Josecito, above Uvita is at the beginning of a mountainside corridor of farmers and people who want to create a permaculture homestead. At over 1000ft above sea level, this community is cool enough to be able to grow a larger variety of fruits and vegetables than you can along the coast. And it is not a far drive to Uvita, which is the commercial hub of the Costa Ballena and home to a diverse community with farmer’s markets and organic restaurants.
The Social Butterfly
Costa Rica is known all around the world for its incredible butterfly populations, especially the electric blue Morpho. But is it known for the social variety? As remote as the Southern Zone of Costa Rica may seem, there are thousands of expats and many more locals who have made this place their home. We have crafted communities that benefit small businesses and independent farmers and we are therefore home to a swath of different types of extroverts who want to leave their mark on the world. Dominical, Uvita, and Ojochal are all host to many restaurants, community retreat centers, public parks, and recreational areas that bring together many different crowds. Whether you like sports, music, literature, or drama, there is likely a place for you to fill your social calendar.
Ideal activities: poker, live music, trivia, volleyball, social media engagement
Perfect location: Uvita is the most populated of the Costa Ballena communities and therefore the place with the most activities for all age groups going on. Young families find Uvita to be the most fostering to their family needs.
We’ve heard the idioms before: wise investors put their money into real estate. Land is a finite resource and so staking your claim on a well-positioned bit of it is a great way to ensure the growth of your financial assets. The early expat adopters of pura vida living were able to score some of the best pieces of ocean view land in Costa Rica for ridiculously low sums, especially when compared to that same piece of land selling on the market today. We realtors in Costa Ballena know that this area is still developing and there are still a few great lots for sale and many homes on fantastic lookout properties, although the prices keep going up every year (even in 2020). We can hardly believe the growing global interest in this tiny country, except that we actually do know how wonderful it is to live here and how easy it is to rent a home. Ask around the area today and you’ll quickly learn that even in a pandemic, it is nearly impossible to find a rental home right now.
Ideal activities: real estate investment, development, import, tourism, investing in yourself
Perfect location: anywhere with a great view in the high-growth and up-and-coming regions of Costa Ballena, Costa Rica.