By Ivo Henfling
Before you retire to a new country, you need to find out which country to retire to or buy a 2nd home first. Once you have decided Costa Rica will be your retirement destination, in 3 weeks you can tour the country and find out where to concentrate the search or scratch it off your list.
Doing your online due diligence is only the start. I know some people who bought a house in Escazu years ago and still only do the trip airport – Escazu and vice versa. Please don’t be one of those; you don’t know what you are missing. The real fun starts when you come to Costa Rica rent a car for a couple of weeks and hit the roads. Leave you GPS at home and just get lost. When you hit ocean, you know you will have to make a turn.
Hundreds of retirees and buyers of 2nd homes before you have done their own due diligence on where to live in Costa Rica. This decision should be made on 5 objectives you need to nail down
• Your lifestyle
• Beach, city or rural area
• The weather you like best
• Your budget
• The amenities you want and need
To be able to find out which area in Costa Rica can satisfy all five objectives, you will need to travel the country, feel it, sweat it and taste it. Don’t start looking at property for sale like crazy. Ask our real estate agents to recommend the best places to stay in each area and to schedule a tour of 2 properties that would fit your lifestyle and budget. Don’t fall in love with anything yet. Just monitor what you see and what you feel. Use the flyer our agents give you on each property to take notes on your findings.
While reading and investigating on the different destinations, you might already have a pretty good idea but these are the top 10 places you should visit to decide where to retire in Costa Rica
1. Cariari. The first place you hit when going from the airport to San Jose. Suburbia, clean and organized neighborhood, no shacks in sight. Good mall, great golf, nice country club, even better weather. Great real estate agent, knows his job and the area.
2. Escazu. City, malls, culture, shopping, wining & dining, condos, centrally located, hospital, luxury homes and shacks, me.
3. Santa Ana. Growing like crazy, good investment, great food, warm weather, nice communities, golf too, closer to beaches, no pressure from our most laid back agent.
4. Atenas. Retirement lifestyle, close to all but away from city, best weather in the world, views, views and more views. Agent who can show you how to take it easy and enjoy life.
5. Grecia – Naranjo – San Ramon. City mixed with the rural, views & views, local culture, Tico food galore, lower budget living, choice of many temperatures in relatively small area, wow nature. Agent went native and you’ll love her for it.
6. Tamarindo – Coco – Flamingo Beach. Long drive from Central Valley but once there: palm trees, beach, surf, sunshine, golf, dry heat, piña coladas, Liberia airport to fly in & out and great food. Honest agents, one a sea captain and fishing expert gone realtor, the other almost retired.
7. Samara Beach. Just past earthquake but still standing, beauty, awesome white sand beaches, shallow waters but also beach bums and surfers, tropical rainforest, isla Chora. German, English and Spanish speaking beach bum realtor who knows Samara better than anyone.
8. Jaco beach – Hermosa - Los Sueños. Beach closest to San Jose only 2 hours’ drive, great amenities, golf, closest to hospitals, marina, incredible surf, seafood, American pizza and fish tacos, crocodiles in Tarcoles. Our prettiest realtor and a smart one too.
9. Dominical. South Pacific paradise, sand beaches and pebbled beaches, whale tail, national park, sunshine and jungle, live perpetual vacation. A team of knowledgeable gringo realtors gone native.
10. Los Santos. Rural living, no English – learn Spanish, nature everywhere, local culture, gallo pinto & mushrooms. Agent who grows the mushrooms, the edible ones.
11. Cahuita – Puerto Viejo – Punta Uva. Costa Rica Caribbean, Rasta culture, rice ‘n beans, patti, best snorkeling and surf, coconut, white sand beaches and coral, tropical rainforest, french realtor with Tico name.
With these top 11 places to visit, I made you drive a circle with never more than 5 hours to drive from one place to the other. We have real estate agents in each of these locations and plenty of places to stay, no matter what your lifestyle and budget is.
While going from place to place, you should go and see some national parks and volcanoes, at least get a taste of what you can go and see after you have taken the decision to retire to Costa Rica an buy Costa Rica real estate from any of the agents just mentioned. Don’t worry; you’ll be in good and expert hands. Need any help planning your due diligence, contact us now.