The Best Places to Retire in Costa Rica

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Embarking on the golden years in a tropical paradise is a dream many retirees harbor, and Costa Rica stands as a prime contender for those seeking an idyllic retirement destination. Many reasons make Central American Haven an attractive option for those looking to embrace a slower pace of life, and we will provide more information about them below. In this article, we’ll also explore the best places to retire in Costa Rica, where vibrant communities, excellent healthcare, and a pleasant year-round climate converge to create an ideal haven for those looking to savor the richness of life in their post-professional years.

Reasons Behind Costa Rica’s Popularity as a Place to Retire

Several intriguing elements contribute to Costa Rica’s appeal as a retirement destination. These include:


Stable Political Environment

Costa Rica has long been known for its stable political environment, having enjoyed more than seven decades without a military force. This political stability has contributed to a peaceful and secure atmosphere, assuring retirees of a haven to spend their retirement years.


Affordable Healthcare

One of the key considerations for retirees is access to quality and affordable healthcare. Costa Rica’s healthcare system is highly regarded, and the country consistently ranks high in global healthcare indices. Retirees benefit from excellent medical facilities, well-trained healthcare professionals, and the option to purchase affordable health insurance.


Tropical Climate All Year Round

Palm trees on the beach with the ocean in the background.
Temperatures in Costa Rica average between 72 and 82 °F.

The year-round pleasant climate in Costa Rica, characterized by warm temperatures and abundant sunshine, with temperatures averaging between 72 and 82 °F (22 and 28 °C), serves as a compelling reason for people to choose it as a retirement destination. Costa Rica’s magnificent climate offers a comfortable and pleasant environment for outdoor activities all year round, even during the rainy season from May to November, when rain is usually present with intermittent showers for only part of the day.


Pura Vida Lifestyle

The essence of “Pura Vida,” meaning “pure life,” permeates Costa Rican culture. This phrase embodies the country’s laid-back and positive way of life, emphasizing simplicity, gratitude, and a connection to nature. Retirees often find the Pura Vida lifestyle conducive to a more relaxed and fulfilling retirement.


Natural Beauty and Outdoor Activities

People kayaking through the mangroves, surrounded by lush greenery and calm waters.
Retirees can engage in hiking, birdwatching, surfing, or simply relaxing on the beach.

Costa Rica’s diverse landscapes, including rainforests, great beaches, and incredible national parks, provide a playground for outdoor enthusiasts. Retirees can engage in hiking, birdwatching, surfing, or simply relaxing on the beach. The country’s commitment to environmental conservation ensures that these natural wonders remain preserved for generations to come.


Tax Advantages for Retirees

Costa Rica offers attractive tax incentives for retirees. The Pensionado Residency Program provides significant tax breaks for retirees, including exemptions on certain types of income. This program, coupled with the country’s cost of living, makes Costa Rica a financially appealing destination for those looking to maximize their retirement income.


Friendly Local Communities, Gated Communities, and a Thriving Expat Community

Three people smiling at the camera while holding coconuts. There are bananas in the background.
Expatriates often find themselves embraced by local communities in Costa Rica.

The warmth and friendliness of the Costa Rican people contribute to a welcoming atmosphere for retirees. Whether in small towns or larger cities, expatriates often find themselves embraced by local communities, fostering a sense of belonging and making the transition to retirement in a foreign country more seamless.

Gated communities in Costa Rica provide residents with a heightened sense of security, offering controlled access and often including amenities such as private parks, recreational facilities, and communal spaces. These exclusive enclaves appeal to retirees and expatriates, providing a peaceful and well-maintained living environment within the country’s naturally scenic settings.

Costa Rica also boasts a thriving expat community known for its inclusivity, with retirees and individuals from around the world finding a supportive network while enjoying the country’s natural beauty and cultural richness. Many expats in Costa Rica enjoy the type of life they always dreamed about.

Top Towns to Retire in Costa Rica

A Costa Rican town at dusk with mountains in the background.
Costa Rica offers a variety of towns that would make a great retirement destination.

Discovering the perfect haven for retirement in Costa Rica becomes a delightful exploration as we unveil the top towns that seamlessly blend tranquility, community warmth, and stunning landscapes for an idyllic retirement.



Nestled in the heart of the Central Valley, Atenas has earned the title of one of the world’s best climates, with temperatures averaging between 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. This small town boasts stunning mountain views, a welcoming community, and easy access to the capital city of San Jose. Atenas’ tranquil pace of life, low crime rates, and affordable cost of living make it an ideal spot for retirees seeking a peaceful and comfortable retirement.



For foreign retirees who dream of having the perfect beach life, Tamarindo on the Pacific coast offers a great blend of natural beauty and modern amenities. Famous for its pristine beaches, excellent surf conditions, and vibrant expat community, Tamarindo provides a laid-back lifestyle in a tropical paradise. The town’s amenities include diverse restaurants, grocery stores, and healthcare facilities, making it an attractive destination for those seeking an active retirement with access to the ocean.



Grecia, another gem in the Central Valley, is renowned for its charming red metal church and the nearby orange grove, which gives the town a unique character. With a mild climate and a friendly local population, Grecia offers a peaceful retirement setting. The town’s central location provides easy access to both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts, allowing retirees to explore the country’s diverse landscapes and ecosystems.



Situated just west of San Jose, Escazú is an upscale suburb that caters to retirees seeking a more cosmopolitan lifestyle. Known for its luxurious amenities, including high-end shopping malls, fine dining restaurants, and modern healthcare facilities, Escazú provides a comfortable retirement option for those who want to stay close to the capital city while enjoying a higher standard of living.


Manuel Antonio

For retirees who want to be surrounded by nature and wildlife, Manuel Antonio on the Pacific coast offers a unique blend of tropical rainforests and stunning beaches. The eponymous national park is a biodiversity hotspot, home to a variety of wildlife, including monkeys, sloths, and colorful birds. The area’s natural beauty, combined with a range of outdoor activities and a vibrant expat community, makes Manuel Antonio an attractive choice for retirees seeking adventure and connection with nature.



Known for its colonial architecture and rich local culture, Heredia is a charming town in Costa Rica’s Central Valley that provides retirees with a taste of this country’s history. The town’s central location allows easy access to San Jose and the Juan Santamaría International Airport. Retirees can explore local markets, visit historical landmarks, and enjoy the town’s cultural activities, making Heredia an excellent choice for those who appreciate a blend of history and modern amenities.

Let Special Places of Costa Rica Find your Retirement Paradise

A couple strolling on the beach, holding hands. The woman is holding a coconut in one hand.
At Special Places of Costa Rica, we can help you find your dream home.

Costa Rica, with its diverse landscapes, stable political environment, and commitment to a Pura Vida lifestyle, has rightfully earned its place as one of the best retirement destinations in the world. Whether retirees seek the tranquility of the Central Valley, the beachside bliss of Tamarindo, or the cultural richness of Heredia, living in Costa Rica offers many options to suit different preferences. If you are thinking about retiring in Costa Rica and would like to buy your piece of paradise, feel free to explore the many options available to you here.

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