When it comes to places to live in the world, there are certainly a lot of good options out there. That being said, not everyone wants to move so far away from America that it can take days just to get back. Costa Rica is a beautiful country in Central America that has so much going for it. You will find that there is a lot to do here and that there are numerous opportunities for more personal and professional pursuits. This is why so many people are finding it fit to actually relocate to Costa and set down roots.
If you have decided that Costa Rica is for you, one of the first things you will need to decide is where to actually live. There are many great options. It really comes down to personal preference and what you are looking to get out of your new home. That being said, there are some cities that might very well be more appealing to you than others. That is why we have put together the following list of the 20 best places to live in Costa Rica. Take some time going through each of these and decide which of them sounds the most appealing. You might just find yourself getting ready to pack everything up and move.
If you are looking for a small city that has an established infrastructure, this is the one for you. It has a population of just over 35,000 people. One of the main features of the city is its tourism industry, so you have a lot of amenities here that you may not find in other smaller cities. You can also take part in a number of outdoor activities, with whitewater rafting being among them. One of the crowning features of this city is its cheese. It is something of a national secret.
Here is a city of just over 30,000 people that you will find not from San Jose. It is situated in the Eastern part of the country. You will love the laid back lifestyle here. It was founded back in 1929 and is made up of about 2.5 square miles of land. With an elevation of 4,000 feet, you will benefit from mild winters and comfortable summers. You can get the benefit of four seasons here without ever having to worry about dealing with the snow.
Here is the capital city of the region that bears the same name. It is also in the same district of San Jose. You will find that the population is just over 30,000 residents. Being over 1,000 meters above sea level has its advantages as well. There is a distinct downtown area that is popular with the locals. This is a place where you can relax among friends in cafes and restaurants that have been there for decades. There is also a thriving industry here if you are still want to work a bit.
Guadalupe is another suburb of San Jose, so you are probably noticing a trend here. The land size of the city is roughly 2.5 kilometers. Within that area are 21,000 residents. You will notice that the city was formed back in 1920, so there is a fair bit of history here. With San Jose located just southwest of the city, you are never far away from everything that big city life has to offer while being able to return home to a quieter pace of life.
With just 15,000 residents, this is a quiet city that has a lot to offer. It is also one of the younger cities in the country, with nearly half of the population being under 20 years of age. If you are looking for a place that has a great deal to offer, this would be the city for you. It was founded in 1929 and is located not far from San Jose. There are ample medical services in the city and the infrastructure is designed for comfortable living.
Teja is the capital city of El Guarco. You will find a lot going on in this region of the country. You will live in the midst of nature, with plenty of opportunities to go hiking, swimming, and to engage in a wide host of leisurely pursuits. The city has a small town feeling to it where everyone seems to know at least a few other people walking around. It should not take you long to feel right at home in Tejar.
Siquirres serves as one of the centers for commerce in Costa Rica. As such, it is an ideal place to live if you enjoy having access to a wide variety of products. It is also just a short drive away from Puerto Limon. You will enjoy living here because you get to benefit from the many amenities that Costa Rica has to offer such a lower cost of living, relatively low crime rate, and a distinctly hospitable people.
Liberia is the capital of Guanacaste. It also happens to be the largest city in the region. This is a tropical paradise. You are never very far away from the beaches, and there are many of them to choose from. There are also plenty of mountains to explore in the region as well. In short, it is a city of contrasts. You will be living in a city with more than 50,000 people. The weather is consistently hot throughout the year, with a dry season coming every January through March. This is a place where a lot of expats call home the entire year. There is also a major international airport not far from the city.
This is the capital city of the province of the same name. It is home to more than 55,000 people. This is a unique city in that it has a diverse culture that traces its roots back more than a century ago to a mix of Chinese, Jamaican, and Italian immigrants. Those early days had laborers working on the railroad. This is a major location for Costa Rican exports, as it is so close to the port. There is a lot going on in the city all year round.
11. San Vicente
If you like to live in a small city, San Vicente fits the bill. It only has 30,000 people living there, but it is close to the San Jose area. It is in the center of the country, so you will not be close to any beaches. That being said, the nature is unbelievable here. You will always have something to see and explore right outside your front door.
10. San Rafael
San Rafael is a huge city in terms of land but only has about 7,000 residents. This makes it a great place to settle down. If you like to watch birds, there is no better place to do that than here. Given the sparse human population, birds seem to thrive in the jungles that are home to the surrounding area. You will also want to note that the Tenorio Volcano National Park is located a short drive away from San Rafael.
9. Mata de Platano
Here is a small city of fewer than 10,000 residents. It is located right on the coast, putting it just 20 feet above sea level. You will wake up every morning to a nice coastal breeze, yet benefit from not having the hoards of crowds that the more touristy areas seem to bring.
If you want to get away from the touristy areas and really Costa Rican culture, Mercedes is a great place to live. That is why it has made eighth place on our list. It is almost exactly in the center of the country and has a population of 35,000 people. You will find that the culture here is distinct and the way of life to be rather traditional. It will be like taking a step back in time, while still having access to all of the modern conveniences.
7. San Pedro
You will find San Pedro in the province of San Jose. It is actually the capital of Mondes de Oca. This is a suburb of the largest city in Costa Rica, so you will want to live here if you like being around a lot of people. There are a lot of jobs here, with industry really starting to take off. At the same time, San Pedro offers quiet living with easy access to the capital city of the country. It is the best of both realities.
6. San Juan de Dios
San Juan de Dios is the sixth best place in the country to live. You will find a lot going on in this region of the country. You will live in the midst of nature, with plenty of opportunities to go hiking, swimming, and to engage in a wide host of leisurely pursuits. The city has a small town feeling to it where everyone seems to know at least a few other people walking around. It should not take you long to feel right at home in San Juan de Dios.
In fifth place on our list of the best places to live in Costa Rica is Nicoya. It is in the Guanacaste Province. This means that you will never be far away from the water. This is a great location because you will have the tourists right outside your door, meaning that the area is well kept up and looked after. You will find about 13,000 people living here. Another benefit of living in Nicoya is that you are so close to a major international airport.
Paraiso is located not far from Cartago in the southeastern part of the country. You will love the laid back lifestyle here. It was founded back in 1929 and is made up of about 2.5 square miles of land. With an elevation of 4,000 feet, you will benefit from mild winters and comfortable summers. You can get the benefit of four seasons here without ever having to worry about dealing with the snow.
3. San Jose
This is the capital city of the country so it should come as no surprise that it ranks so high as one of the best places to live. That being said, you will be among 300,000 people. In terms of other capitals in Latin America, this is a small town. That makes it a wonderful place to live. You will access to all kinds of transportation options, making it one of the few places in the country where you might not even need a car.
2. San Francisco
This is not a Bay area city, but it is a great place to live. It has a popular of just over 24,000 people and is made of a series of traditional neighborhoods that provide a nice and peaceful way of life. This makes it the second best place to live in Costa Rica.
The number one place to live in Costa Rica is Quesada. With a popular of under 45,000 people, you will benefit from being amongst farmers and people involved with the tourism industry. There are also a number of hot springs in the area that you can visit whenever you want.
This list is by no means final, but it should give you a great launching place from which to conduct your research. Get to know each of these places. Perhaps you should plan an extended holiday to try out the locations you are most interested in and determine if you could see yourself living there for the rest of your life. The memories that you make are certain to last a lifetime.
Written by Dana Hanson
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