Relocation Location for the Single Male

Ever think of moving to Costa Rica or living here for a significant amount of time? No? Okay, you may be excused. Yes? Read on.

There is no one best place to live for everyone in Costa Rica. Even if you think you know what you want, you may be surprised to find you actually want something else after you’ve been here a while. But to start with, we can pose some basic questions that will go a long way to steering you in the right direction.

Question 1: How important is it to be near ‘the beach?’ For some guys, the dream retirement wouldn’t be a dream unless it’s got a beach nearby. I understand the appeal. Jimmy Buffet made a career of it. I kinda like ‘the beach’ in theory, at least. Any reason why not? Read on.

Question 2: Do heat and humidity bother you? In Costa Rica, temperature is pretty much a matter of elevation, though being inland can increase daytime temperatures as well. As you would expect, humidity increases the closer you get to the ocean, and is generally higher on the Caribbean side of the country.

Question 3: Do you intend to do a LOT of pay for play? Although you can often find ‘company’ in almost any location in the country, the biggest ‘talent pool’ is in San Jose, with Jaco second.

Question 4: How much do you feel the need to economize?

Question 5: Do you need/want to live in a ‘nice’ (posh/Gringo style) area?

Question 6: How worried are you about crime?

First let’s talk about ‘the Beach.’ If you just have to have the beach but heat and humidity bother you a lot, then there’s no place in Costa Rica suitable for you unless you don’t mind spending daylight and early evening hours indoors in your air conditioned bachelor pad. If you have enough moolah, Las Suenos might be just your cup of tea. It’s close to Jaco, where there are always plenty of available girls. If that’s out of your price range, there are lots of other options in Jaco. But other than Jaco, pay for play options are limited in Costa Rica’s beach towns.

If ‘the Beach’ isn’t essential, then you are pretty much stuck with the San Jose area if you want proximity to ‘action.’ Just how far away from the ‘gulch’ you want to be is an important consideration. If you would be happy being an hour away, your choices are very wide. If you want to be within a 5 minute walk, very narrow.

Nobody wants to live in a crime infested slum. But just what constitutes a ‘crime infested slum’ varies from person to person. I live downtown, mostly for the sake of convenience. It’s also not all that expensive. On the down side there is a lot of noise; car alarms, buses, honking horns and whatnot. The neighborhood isn’t posh, and some folks would get bad vibes and feel like they were in danger. I don’t feel uncomfortable here, but I’ve heard the area described as ‘dangerous’ by others. I haven’t had any problems in 5.5 years but if you don’t feel safe it doesn’t matter.

There are some very nice areas within a half hour of the gulch: Barrios Escalante and Dent, Los Yoses, Sabana Norte, Rohrmoser, Escazu, and parts of Curridabat. One thing to keep in mind is that the concept of zoning is foreign to Ticos. You will find some very nice houses that are within hearing distance of somebody raising chickens (and roosters). My first apartment was in a nice setting, some open space nearby, almost rural but don’t think it was quiet. Dogs barked off and on all night. If you are considering a house or apartment it’s a good idea to spend as much time as possible there before making a decision, including being there at night. Assuming you are among the unfortunate few who can’t sleep through absolutely anything.

Getting back to the issue of distance from the gulch, it poses no problem at all for some guys I know to be a half hour away by taxi. They don’t mind paying the taxi fare or paying taxi fare home for their ‘companions.’ Even if that’s not a problem, there are some girls who don’t want to leave the gulch area, and even some who don’t want to leave the premises of the Del Rey hotel. It’s not a giant issue but it does happen.

Another big consideration is whether you want to have a car or not. Most neighborhoods have little local stores (pulperias or abastacedores) you can walk to, but this isn’t always the case. I don’t always like to cook, so for me it’s important to have some places nearby to eat. If you are okay with taking a taxi to have lunch every day, then this is not a concern.

If you are of the ‘thrifty’ persuasion, you will want to be near a bus stop. Most buses head in towards central San Jose, but just where they let out varies quite a bit. If you live in Escazu or Santa Ana you’ll have a 20 minute walk to get to the gulch on top of your bus ride, assuming you don’t take a taxi. The same is true more or less for all buses except those coming in from the East (San Pedro, Curridabat, Los Yoses, Barrio Dent).

To sum things up, it’s a good idea to take it slow and get familiar with your choices. For those who want to live in a Gringo setting and don’t worry much about costs or longer travel time to the gulch, Escazu or Santa Ana may be perfect for you. If you want to be in the heart of things, there are places to be had near the gulch. The main point is that there is no one ‘best place’ in Costa Rica. If you take some time thinking about your priorities you’ll be halfway to finding the right place for YOU.

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  1. Esparza is 15 minutes from the beach and several whore houses with just as good of quality as san Jose. Also in esparza you don’t need AC or heating and there are several areas that are quite as can be at night. The girls here locals are feeling the recession also. There are several 18 try 22 year olds around here that are what I call semi pro don’t work out of bars just word of mouth among friends. The girls like this go for 40 dollars and are not in a hurry to get you off and get gone. They usually just do a trick when needed to get some fast cash and most don’t mind staying the day to party hang out at your pool and do it more than once for same money and tip if you feel so inclined.

  2. Excellent information. I was thinking of buying a condo in Jaco any recommendations

  3. No MPS….In Jaco. Stay in San Jose if you want MP

    • thomasobrien says:

      Are you answering your own questions, Wilson? My advice to anybody interested in buying a condo in Jaco is 1) realize it is a major buyer's market. 2) don't buy anything that is mostly vacant or unfinished 3) Don't take anybody's word for anything, and have 2 good lawyers, one to watch the other and make sure they don't know each other. No joke.

      That ought to cover it.

  4. Despite an unwise exposure of my legs to mosquitos one evening on a beach trip to the Caribbean I found the trip superior to a Pacific beach in any but one way. The daytime temperature was warm but not hot and there was certainly no need for air conditioning. The beaches themselves were much cleaner and the water temperature just right. 
    The negative was this was not a good spot to 'pick-up' a date for an older p4p gentleman but it is certainly recommended for those who bring their own company.