1) Cost of living: Those pension dollars will go a long way here, compared to most places. San José's prices are among the second lowest of any city in the Americas, and the cost of goods and services is among the lowest in the world. You can hire a full-time maid for a couple hundred dollars per month and utilities run about 30 percent of their North American cost. A bus ride across town costs approximately 25 - 50 cents and taxi travel is very reasonable. A gallon of gas costs about 1.75, cars aren't really required because of the low cost of public transportation.
A couple can live very well on 1200 per month, and live quite luxuriously for 2000.
2) A chance to catch some rays. The year round sunshine offers average annual temperatures that range from 31.7 C (89 F) on the coast to 16.7 C (62 F) inland. There is a long rainy season which lasts from April to December.
3) Lack of punctuality is a common complaint about the Costa Rican lifestyle. This is a Caribbean culture that does not feel the need to rush, and isn't that what retirement is all about?
4) Unsurpassed beauty with a tropical climate and miles of white sandy beaches. Explore the ocean and jungle wildlife in a preserved and protected environment. Fill your days lounging by the ocean or golfing on a variety of challenging courses set in lush, tropical surroundings.
5) No complicated immigration laws. Moving to some countries can prove to be an administrative nightmare for some retirees. Not so, in Costa Rica where you will apply for either of two legal statuses:
"pensionado" (retired) status - you must receive a minimum of 600 per month or
"rentista" status - you must earn a minimum of 1000 per month for at least five years
In either case, these cards must be renewed every two years at an expense of 100. The applicant can run their own business if they choose, but must obtain a permit if they want to work someplace else.
6) Low taxes. Foreign residents are not taxed on income that is earned outside of the country and qualified pensioners are eligible for certain tax exemptions and incentives.
7) Investment opportunities. There are a number of investment choices in Costa Rica, such as agriculture, ornamental plants and flowers, livestock, tourism, real estate and the stock market. Small businesses can be very successful, especially if they offer a unique product with a high demand.
8) Real estate and housing costs. The timing for purchasing property in Costa Rica is now! Prices have started to go up as a result of the increased popularity of the island, but it is still a bargain overall.
9) Costa Rica has a low incidence of violent crime and strong political stability.
10) You'll feel right at home. There are more Americans living in Costa Rica per capita than in any other country outside the US, and this has created a very Americanized environment.