When Moving to Costa Rica From the United States, Why Choose Guanacaste?

moving to costa rica from the united states

If you are one of the fortunate people moving to Costa Rica from the United States, this blog is for you. Even if you are still only fantasizing about it, what’s the harm in finding out about its culture, expat communities, housing opportunities, healthcare, shopping, traveling within the country and international schools in Costa Rica for your children? Be it you have any… No moving-to-paradise dream can become a reality without some prior research. So if you are still on the fence, this is the sign you’ve been waiting for to evaluate your possibilities.

Costa Rica is a popular country for people searching for a different lifestyle, hence, there are more than a few areas attracting expats such as yourself. The province of Guanacaste, however, has quickly become a favorite due to its outstanding natural scenery, abundance of pristine beaches, warm and welcoming attitude, good connection, and educational facilities close by. If you were to choose this destination, we guarantee that the process of relocation can be smoother than imagined. 

BUYING PROPERTY IN GUANACASTE 

Foreigners buying property in Costa Rica have practically the same rights as locals. Nevertheless, to find your dream home we would strongly advise getting professional help and traveling to the country to assess your options first-hand. This is mostly because the Real Estate Market in Costa Rica is not as regulated as in the US, and if you were to rely on what you find on the Internet alone, you’d be missing out on some great opportunities. 

moving to costa rica from the united states

If you are certain about investing in Real Estate already and care about specifics, here’s an article for you. If you are still making up your mind, you might be wondering: why Guanacaste? Because it strikes the perfect balance between being a natural tropical paradise and offering decent urban amenities. Its convenient location is near two of the country’s main airports, its infrastructure is improving exponentially compared to the rest of Costa Rica due, mostly, to its high immigration flow. Most expats choose to call this province their new home and by doing so, they’ve made it rise from a rustic beach town to a comfortable and accessible urban beach area, so that you can still enjoy the wonders of a natural habitat without resigning a good internet connection nor adequate concrete roads. Here’s a list of top-notch communities in Guanacaste for you to consider. 

Mar Vista

A sustainable luxury gated community located in the up-and-coming Flamingo area where you’ll have 24-hour security, paved roads, infinity pools, tennis courts, a clubhouse, hiking trails, a fitness center, and a yoga pavilion, all with an exquisite ocean view and close connection to some of Guanacaste’s most beautiful beaches and best international schools. If you are looking for spectacular tropical comfort, this is the way to go.

Senderos

The new kid in town is still in the making, but you can already have a virtual tour of their luxury homes or even request one in person. Located in the heart of Tamarindo, this gated community enjoys all the comforts of being in one of Guanacaste’s liveliest towns: close to Auto Mercado, the country’s best gourmet market, a cinema, not common in other beach towns, and some of the best local and international restaurants and shops you’ll find as well. Like a home away from home, Senderos will count with all the comforts you had back home but immersed in the beauty of a tropical paradise. 

Tamarindo Park

The perfect mixture of eco-friendly and modern-comfort lifestyle, this gated neighborhood aspires to create a tight community within itself, with its own commercial area exclusive for community members, a club house and a beach club, and a municipal park to enjoy nature’s best without leaving your home.

CULTURE

Probably the essence of Costa Rica’s allure resides in its Pura Vida culture, a laid-back, positive and grateful approach to life that influences every aspect of it. Ticos are warm, open-hearted and friendly people who prioritize the simple things above anything else, for them, life is worth living slowly and appreciatively. Abundant in natural rainforests, beaches, mountains and volcanoes, Costa Ricans are all about integrating with nature and taking care of it as it takes care of them. Their main cultural activities are outdoor ones, like surfing, swimming or fishing, and their food is mainly organic, freshly harvested and prepared by themselves. 

moving to costa rica from the united states

Spirituality and wellness is also a big thing here, making experiences like yoga retreats, meditation gatherings and holistic rituals very common. If you are moving to Costa Rica from the United States, the country’s slow pace might impress you at first, we suggest taking it as an invitation to switch your mindset, from future-orientated progress to abundant present-time awareness, and you’ll sore into your new life like a native.  

EDUCATION

You’ll be glad to know that education is highly valued in Costa Rica, with various options available for enrolling your children. Naturally, the bigger cities or more touristic towns have more resources and better quality teaching, plus, expat communities are more likely to gather around those centers, which can make the transition easier for anyone moving to Costa Rica from the United States, either way, the choice will reside on your personal objectives. The public educational system in Costa Rica is mandatory until 11th grade and lessons are taught in Spanish, the academic level will vary from institution to institution. For those already fluent in the local language and looking to immerse deeply into the culture, this can be a good option. But for parents looking for something similar to what they are used to, there are a number of international schools in Costa Rica that are US accredited and MEP accredited. They provide an atmosphere that will feel familiar to your kids while learning new languages and exchanging with children from all over the globe. 

These schools offer great support systems for meeting like-minded parents that have moved to Guanacaste and live the pura vida life such as yourself, providing a number of afterschool activities and events for all school families to create a sense of community and a home away from home. 

THINGS TO DO WITH FAMILIES

As previously stated, one of Costa Rica’s main attractions is its connection with nature, life in Guanacaste is intertwined with it completely. Typical extracurricular activities include surfing, skating, hiking, swimming, biking, kayaking, and the list can go on and on. You and your family can try out as many as you like, choose a favorite, and go wild. Tennis courts, golf and pickleball are also pretty common, yoga too! 

Giving back to the community is also a big thing here, you could participate in activities such as beach cleanups, nighttime events for local charities with silent auctions & more, and actively develop the awareness that understands us linked to our environment, if we want to keep on enjoying it, we need to take care of it! 

Other things to enjoy are visiting local farms, horseback riding, go ziplining or spending the day out on a catamaran! In Guanacaste, the line between routine and vacation is very slim, you can live and act like a tourist at the same time!

international schools in costa rica

HEALTHCARE

Crucial when considering relocation, especially if you are moving with family. There’s a public health system in Costa Rica that offers standard services but it is only given to locals or foreigners with legal residency. This can serve as a buffer for small nuisances, and as it is free, it can’t hurt to subscribe to it once your residency is ready but, for more serious procedures and better attention, private healthcare would be the way to go. Good quality and fairly cheaper than in the US, Guanacaste counts with several facilities for check-ups or quick tests, for larger-scale needs such as surgery or giving birth, going to an urban area would be advisable.  

There are a number of private clinics in Guanacaste while the larger private hospitals are in San Jose. 

GETTING AROUND

Buses are, hands down, the most common means of transportation in the country. They connect every town and city but, their frequency and predictability may vary, especially in the less touristy areas, don’t get us wrong, they’ll come, just don’t expect them to infallibly respect their schedule. To get around within a smaller territory, Uber is gaining popularity and taxis can always be relied on, just make sure the meter is running correctly or set up a price before boarding. Colectivos are shared taxis that you can stop on the street and will get you close to your destination by paying a small price, they have no schedule but they are constantly passing by through town centers. 

Last but not least, renting or buying a car to suit your personal transportation needs. Roads are usually not in the best conditions and traffic may be clumsy, but if you are able to adapt, it is always the most comfortable way to go. Keep in mind that foreigners can use their original license for 3 months, after that time, they’ll have to request a Costa Rican one. 

SHOPPING

Guanacaste has one of the richest grocery shopping scenes in all of Costa Rica. From day and night markets where you can find fresh local products – raw ingredients such as vegetables, fruits, grains and cereals, but also home-made goods ready for consumption, organic hygiene and beauty products, clothes, jewelry and crafts of all sorts – to large stores like Auto Mercado, that brings everything from the US so that you don’t miss any of those back-home goodies. 

Tamarindo offers a Saturday market from 8am to 2pm and a Thursday night market that offers local products, groceries and entertainment. You will find these in most of the beach towns and are a great way to support locals and mingle with the community you are a part of.

If you are looking to have something shipped here there are number of companies that can assist you in shipping Amazon products or more from the States. There are fees and import taxes that apply. 

moving to costa rica from the united states

EXPLORE THE COUNTRY

One of the great things about Costa Rica is its size. Being able to travel short distances from one extreme to the other of this landscape-rich and biodiverse country is one of the pros of moving here, particularly to Guanacaste! The Guanacaste Airport, located in Liberia, is only within 30 minutes to 2 hours from most of our main popular beach areas and, SJO, located in the capital, San José, is but 4 hours away. You can reach any destination on one of the small airplanes flying daily in all directions across Costa Rica and explore freely to your heart’s content.

You can travel within the country to experience all types of trips! Head to Arenal for a cold mountain retreat to see volcanoes and explore the jungles or head south to deep jungles in the Osa Peninsula for a remote getaway or take a trip to the city to go shopping and explore the central valley or head to Puerto Viejo for Caribbean vibes and surf. There is truly so much to see and explore in this beautiful country!

If you were already certain about relocating, then we hope this list of reasons to choose Guanacaste came in handy. If you were still indecisive, we hope it has not only helped you make up your mind but also triggered your enthusiasm!  Moving to Costa Rica from the United States can be one of the most soulful decisions you can make for your life, and one of the richest experiences! Get down here and see for yourself, pura vida!

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