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Moving to Costa Rica

If you are planning on moving to Costa Rica, you may be considering purchasing a vehicle to make your new home more accessible. There are plenty of housing options that do not require you to have a car, but simple things like getting water,
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Americans Moving to Costa Rica

Many Americans move to Costa Rica each year and the number of Americans living in Costa Rica is growing. This means it is easier now than ever before to make the move, whether you are planning on retiring to Costa Rica, buying your dream vacation home, or simply wanting to live abroad for a year, the possibilities for Americans moving to Costa Rica are almost endless. If you have visited Costa Rica before or never set foot in Central America, there will be some things that can take some getting used to. This is a quick guide to help you prepare for living in a new culture and how to best enjoy it.

First off, language. Some Americans speak Spanish and some don’t. Depending on how much Spanish you know, you will have a different experience than someone who speaks no Spanish at all. If you are unfamiliar with the Spanish language, you may want to take a course before you move to Costa Rica, or find a language program near to where you will be living in Costa Rica. Spanish is the national language of Costa Rica and while you may end up living in an American community where you don’t need to speak Spanish, you will find speaking even a little bit will make your new home that much more enjoyable. Speaking Spanish will be important if you are planning on starting a business in Costa Rica, but it will also allow you to make friends more easily.And simple things, like asking for directions or ordering food, will seem like less of a chore.  Please visit our translation and interpretation page to see how our bilingual staff might be of help.

Next, think about where you would like to live. Costa Rica is a small country compared to the United States, but it offers a variety of climates and regions. Whether you are moving to the metropolitan San Jose area, the mountains and cloud forests of Monteverde, or the Pacific or Caribbean coasts, you will find a multitude of housing options. You will want to decide if you would like to buy a house, buy property to build your own house, or rent a house or an apartment. Send me South has a full team of realty specialists to help you find the perfect home, for any length of stay, in any budget. If you have visited Costa Rica and know which region you want to live in, you may decide to buy something. If you are new to the country, you may find that renting something first can be a good way to help you figure out where you would like to live. There are many furnished homes and apartments all over the country, so have fun looking at what’s out there and take time finding something that’s right for you. The team at Send me South includes expats that have lived in every part of the country, so feel free to contact us with any specific questions.

The last big ticket item you need to be aware of is your visa status. Upon arrival to Costa Rica, all foreign visitors receive a 90-day Tourist Visa. If you are planning on staying longer than 90 days, you will need to look into applying for residency. There are a few types of residency that you may qualify for. A Pensionado Residency applies to a person receiving a lifetime pension such as Social Security, state retirement benefits, or a military pension, in the amount of no less than $1,000 (US) per month. The Rentista Residency requires a deposit of $60,000(US) into a Costa Rican bank which is paid back to the depositor over the course of 2 years at a rate of $2,500(US) per month. After the two years, you must either make another deposit of $60,000(US) or leave the country. This option allows you time to see if you really do want to move to Costa Rica. If you are an investor with more than $200,000(US) invested in Costa Rica,  a person associated with a foreign government assignment or international mission, or a representative of  an executive of a company doing business in Costa Rica, you may also qualify for residency. After two years of any of these temporary residency options, you can apply for full residency. If you are planning on working in Costa Rica, please keep in mind that residency is required and you are not allowed to work on a Tourist Visa. Please visit ourimmigration services page for more info.

There are a growing number of “Permanent Tourists” who do not hold residency, but simply leave the country every 90-days and receive another Tourist Visa when re-entering the country. This can work if you plan on simply spending some months out of every year in Costa Rica. If you plan on living in Costa Rica year round, this method of leaving and re-entering is not recommended as you may not always receive a 90-day visa when crossing the borders between Costa Rica and Nicaragua or Costa Rica and Panama. For these reasons, as Americans moving to Costa Rica, you should decide how committed you are to living in Costa Rica year round or living  in Costa Rica a few months out of each year.

Of course there are other things to consider when deciding to move to Costa Rica. Do you enjoy warm weather almost year round? It can be quite hot in parts of the country, while the mountains do offer some cooler days. There is also a lot of rain in Costa Rica. Think about the environment you enjoy most when deciding where to live. The food in Costa Rica is great and more populated areas offer a variety of eateries. Grocery stores usually have imported food as well, but if you have any dietary limitations or preferences, you will want to learn about your options for food in your desired location. Many restaurants cater to Americans living in Costa Rica and you can find some of your favorite dishes all around the country. Also, think about your hobbies and the past times you enjoy, like golf, baseball, or going to the movies. Be sure to see what activities are available in your surrounding area before you decide to live in a place permanently.  Please visit our scouting trips & orientation page for more info on how we can help you choose the right area to suit you.

Make sure and have some fun while researching Costa Rica. Remember, each year there are more Americans moving to Costa Rica, which means there are many great resources to help you with your move.  The more time you spend finding a place in Costa Rica that suits your needs, the happier you’ll be with your decision to move and the more you will get out of your new home.

Moving to Costa Rica with Children

Costa Rica is one of the world’s top destinations for tourism and relocation. Many Americans, Canadians, and Europeans are moving to Costa Rica with children every year and their children are very happy. In order to make sure your move goes smoothly and your children enjoy their new home, you will want to consider using a company such as Send me South who can help you move here seamlessly.  Send me South can help you identify the right schooling options for your kids and give you background on all the appropriate schools worth looking at.  Furthermore, Send me South helps families by setting up interviews, taking you to the schools, showing you neighborhoods close the schools, and giving you orientation tours of the areas you are considering living in.

It is a good idea whenever you move to a new place with your children, to let your child finish his or her current school year. This is helpful to assign your new grade level to your child after you move, as different school systems use different standards to place children. In Costa Rica, in addition to the public school system, you will find a number of private schools. You will want to research if you want your child to attend a public or private school. Once you know the region of Costa Rica you will be moving to, you will need to see which schools are available for your children. The public school system in Costa Rica has two levels, primary and secondary. This can differ from your current school system, so you will need to be in touch with the Costa Rican school in advance to see what level your child will be placed in. Keep in mind as well, the Costa Rican school year runs from February to December, with the longest break of the school year spanning December and January. You should plan your move accordingly to start your child at the beginning of a new school year, if possible.

Moving to Costa Rica with Children

Sunset tag on a desolate beach.

You will also want to consider the language factor. Spanish is the primary language spoken in Costa Rica. If your child attends public school, he or she will be immersed in Spanish, which can be great for your child to learn another language. This may be too difficult or intimidating at first though, so you may consider placing your child in a private school, or look for a bi-lingual public school, so your child can slowly learn the language. Again, this will depend on which part of Costa Rica you move to, as there are more options for schooling closer to San Jose.

Costa Rica can seem like one big playground for children, with monkeys, sloths, toucans, frogs, and lizards running all around, beaches and jungles to play in, and soccer games galore! But do make sure that your child is aware of the dangers of Costa Rica as well. There are venomous snakes and other harmful wildlife that you will want to teach your children about so they can avoid encountering them. Learning how to stay safe in a new environment is important to ensure you and your children enjoy your move to Costa Rica. As the parent, you will want to do your own homework so you can help your child adjust to his or her new surroundings as safely as possible.

If your child is a picky eater, you may want to start introducing Costa Rican food before you move, so that he or she isn’t shocked by the food choices when you arrive. The main staples of Costa Rican food are beans and rice and a casado, or set meal, usually also includes a type of meat and side of veggies. If your child only eats grilled cheese sandwiches and mac n cheese, you’ll be able to find restaurants that cater to foreigners, but it’s nice if your child can adapt to the Costa Rican flavors, as this will open you up to a new world of food and restaurants. If you are along the coast, there is no end to wonderful, fresh seafood. The supermarkets throughout the country offer many imported products from around the world, so you will be able to stock your kitchen with favorites from home. This can make the transition easier for your children as well.

Lastly, before you and your children move to Costa Rica, you will want to look into health insurance to keep your family safe and healthy. Costa Rica has socialized health care, which means coverage is easily accessible, but you may also purchase private health care, which gives you access to more hospitals and clinics throughout the country. Send me South offers several medical insurance programs for our clients to consider.  Take some time looking into different policies before making your decision on which provider to use.  Also, be sure and speak with your current doctor to make sure you and your children are up to date on vaccinations and check-ups before moving to Costa Rica with children.

Moving to Costa Rica with Children

Learning to sail the high seas!

With a little bit of planning, you and your children will be happily moving to Costa Rica. It is a beautiful country with so much to offer and can be a wonderful place for children to grow up. Just be sure and do some research in advance to ensure you and your children have as easy a time as possible when you move to Costa Rica. Pura Vida!

Retiring in Costa Rica

Every year, many people from all over the world decide that retiring in Costa Rica is right for them. With the warm weather, friendly people, and affordable housing, it’s a wonderful idea. Once you have visited Costa Rica and decided that it’s right for you, you will want to handle a few things to make transitioning to your new home that much easier.

Once you have your housing secured, you will want to look into other aspects of life, like getting a local cell phone, setting up a bank account, and making sure utilities for your house are in your name. Companies like Send Me South, have systems in place to help you handle these affairs so that you can enjoy your retirement in Costa Rica. Local cell phones in Costa Rica are inexpensive and easy to use. Having a local cell phone will allow you to start making friends and have a way for people to contact you regarding other business you may be handling, like buying a car, or finding a doctor. Send Me South can have a phone waiting for you at the airport, and they can help you with transport to your new home.

Setting up a bank account in Costa Rica can be difficult without residency. If you are in the process of applying for residency, but would like to get a bank account set up to make your retirement easier, you can create a corporation. A personal corporation in Costa Rica can hold assets such as cars, real estate, cell phones, and utility accounts. Retiring in Costa Rica can be that much easier with a personal corporation, and the process of setting up bank account to manage your finances is faster with a corporation. Send Me South can help you set up a corporation so that you can begin to put your retirement life in order.

Depending on where you will be retiring in Costa Rica, your utilities will be handled differently. If you are renting a house, utilities can probably stay in the name of the home owner. If you purchase your retirement home, you will want to put utilities in your name. Utilities in Costa Rica work essentially the same as in your home country. Many houses in Costa Rica have hot water through electrical heaters, not gas, and often times you purchase a gas tank at the local grocery store to cook your food, so gas is not commonly a utility you have to set up. As Costa Rica enjoys so much rainfall year round, some houses are set up to collect rain water, so you may not have a water bill at your new retirement home either. Again, Send Me South can help you figure out which utilities you will be responsible for and which ones you don’t have to worry about. Using the personal corporation that Send Me South can help you form, putting utilities in your name can be hassle-free.

Whether you are planning on retiring year round in Costa Rica, or simply wish to spend the winter months in a warmer climate, you will find that Costa Rica makes an excellent retirement location. Making use of Send Me South and the services they provide will allow you to enjoy your retirement and not worry about some of the more mundane or tedious aspects of moving and retiring. After all, you’ve spent years working; now it’s time to enjoy and let someone else do the work for you! And, if you are still a few years away from retirement, it’s never too early to start thinking about Costa Rica. If you have any fears, concerns, or worries, don’t hesitate to contact us and see how we can help you with the process of retiring in Costa Rica.

Retire to Costa Rica

After years of hard work, you have reached that golden age where you get to put your feet up, relax, and enjoy some down time. If you are ready to retire, and have decided that Costa Rica is right for you, then congratulations! You are joining a community of other retirees who have decided to retire to Costa Rica.

If you are still just planning your retirement, the first thing that is highly recommended is visiting Costa Rica before moving. For your first visit to Costa Rica, you will want to see the country and learn about different housing options, health care, and finances. Send Me South can help with all these topics and more. With Send Me South, you can arrange to have one of our representatives waiting for you at the airport. Once you have been picked up by your Send Me South representative, you will be shown around San Jose and the surrounding area. If you decide you would like to visit either the Pacific or Caribbean coasts to discover if your dream retirement home is waiting for you there, Send Me South can arrange that as well. Just visit the Scouting Trips and Orientation page for more details.

Once you have spent some time in different regions of Costa Rica, you will have a better idea of where you would like to retire. Now comes the fun part. You will want to return home, settle your affairs there, and then begin the process of packing what you would like to bring with you to Costa Rica. Whether you decide to rent or purchase a home when you retire to Costa Rica, Send Me South can help with the process of bringing your belongings through customs. Many of your belongings can come with you on the plan, but if you have additional items that have been shipped, Send Me South can help get all of your items, and you transported, to your new home in paradise.

Retirement should be easy, which is why many people choose to retire to Costa Rica, as the pace of life is very relaxed, and the stable infrastructure of the country allows you to enjoy your retirement. If you are worried about how to access your finances, set up internet to keep in touch with your loved ones, or find a doctor in your new area, don’t be. Send Me South can assist you with all these concerns. When you retire to Costa Rica, Send Me South will make sure your move is as smooth as possible.

If you are retired and receiving a pension of $1,000 (US) or more per month, you can apply for Pensionado residency. This is very common among people who have retired to Costa Rica. Send Me South can help you file your paperwork and put you in touch with the proper people to get your residency set up. Having residency will make it easier for you to do things like find a good doctor, purchase a car or house, or set up a Costa Rican bank account. After you have retired to Costa Rica for 2 years as a pensionado, you can apply for permanent residency, if you choose to do so. Don’t be afraid of this process. If you speak Spanish, you will find you may be able to do the paperwork on your own, but it is still advised to get help. If you don’t speak Spanish, Send Me South offers assistance with anything you may need while you are enjoying your retirement in Costa Rica.

Again the first step of your journey will most likely be a visit to Costa Rica to see if you really do want to retire to Costa Rica. If you need any help in planning your initial trip to Costa Rica, contact us and start planning your retirement today!

 

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