Are You and Costa Rica a Good Match?

If you want to hear why Costa Rica is a great place to live, you can visit one of the seemingly infinite real estate sites and hear all about the positives of Costa Rica. Just a few quotes, to get us going:

tropical sunset Osa Penninsula

Real estate is booming in Costa Rica, one of the world’s most popular vacation destinations.

“Paradise. The climate and nature are beautiful. It’s also cheaper living and the people are friendly.”

“I came down here partly because of the economic aspect. In the United States utility bills are unbelievable; in Florida air conditioning is necessary but expensive. Nature is nice and I prefer the weather because I’m a hot weather person. C.R. is centrally located so you can travel to other countries in the region.”

Buying property in Costa Rica is a sound financial venture: the country’s stable government, solid return on investment, comparatively low prices, and protective real estate laws make Costa Rica an ideal location for real estate investment.

Some of the above is actually true. Nature and the weather are definitely nice. You don’t (necessarily) need air conditioning here. The cost of living CAN be cheaper. Costa Rica does depend on tourism. Some of the above is pure hype. Real Estate is NOT booming, it is going through a nasty slump and when or even if it will recover is anybody’s guess.

Whether or not you should consider relocating to Costa Rica involves more than whether you like nature, or a nice climate, or which way real estate prices are going. To help potential expats avoid making a mistake, I have devised a devilishly simple little questionnaire.

Do you hate waiting in lines?
Does it bother you when rules and procedures aren’t black and white?
Does slow service in restaurants and bars irritate you?
Do you expect people to be on time for appointments?
Does government inefficiency drive you up a wall?
Does ANY inefficiency bother you?
Do people who don’t speak English irritate you?
Do you believe ‘time is money’ and hate wasting time?
Will you need to supplement your income from a job or business in Costa Rica?
Do you think every country should be like the USA (or Canada)?
Would it annoy you to pay higher prices for things in Costa Rica than you would pay at home?
Does it bother you to live knowing that there are hordes of people ready, willing and able to steal your ‘stuff?’

I think you get the picture. If you had a lot of ‘yes’ answers to the above, you might want to reconsider your relocation plans. The alternative is to realize that you will be frequently annoyed and frustrated and learn to accept it on some level. There is one other alternative I should mention. You can be rich and have other people do as much of the hassling as possible for you. I rather like that last option, but haven’t quite got the cash to do it.

Fill her up, mai

Now, in all honesty, I have to admit that I would answer ‘yes’ to quite a few of those questions. My coping mechanism is to tell myself that I can always return to the USA. Thinking about that is usually enough to calm me down. Not that I am knocking life in the USA. It was a great place for me most of my life. But my situation changed and the country changed. At the moment I am pretty well satisfied and well adjusted here in Costa Rica. You may be too, or you may find the place exasperating. If you had mostly ‘yes’ answers on the mini quiz, think may want to think long and hard before moving here. Pura vida, mai.

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