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We are Mary and Chuck who have both lived in San Diego California for all of our combined 125+ years. We love to travel and vacation in warm weather beach destinations. Maui, Kauai, St John and St Thomas U.S. Virgin Islands, Cancun, Costa Rica, Cabo San Lucas, Miami, Key West, Bahamas, St Marteen, Turks and Caicos and the British Virgin Islands are some of the places we have been to.
While San Diego's weather is probably the best in the world, we hardly consider it a warm weather beach destination. If we are lucky the water temperature will get into the low to mid 70s for a few weeks in August or September but usually remains in the 60s.
Every trip raised the question, could we live and retire here? The results have always been, for one reason or another, no. However, something different happened in late 2017. We realized that California has made it nearly impossible to remain in the state and retire due to never ending tax increases, extremely high cost of living and horrible traffic. People are fleeing the state by the millions in search of a better environment. Arizona, Nevada, Texas, Florida, Mexico and Latin/Central American are the top destinations for people who want to escape and find a better life for their family. Several of our close friends picked up and left California before us. One couple recently hit the wall and said they were done with California and moved from San Diego to south of Guadalajara Mexico in the town of Lake Chapala and love it. Another friend moved from San Diego to southern Virginia and bought a house on Chesapeake bay, right on the water, with a dock and boat. All are as happy as can be and at a fraction of the cost of their previous lives in California.
Our first trip in March of 2015 caught our attention but we didn't fall in love with Costa Rica until a second, more exploratory visit, in November of 2017, just a few weeks after tropical storm Nate impacted the country. The friendly people, great food, healthier lifestyle, lower cost of living, uncrowded and beautiful beaches all surrounded by abundance of nature, national parks and a wide variety of micro-climates started to draw us closer.
The more we explored the central valley and Pacific northwest, we started to feel that this was going to be our new place to live. Sitting on the beach at sunset one night, after dinner at Coco Loco in Flamingo beach (shown below), I said, "I could live here forever". Mary had been waiting for me to say this for at least five years, as she was done with California along time ago. The timing was right, home prices in California were peaking and the stock market was at an all-time high. Being in our 60s, there was no time to wait and get caught by the next recession and having to wait for the next bubble. The time was now and we needed to get started with our due diligence process and confirm our decision.
We returned home and started to research everything from cost of living, healthcare, outdoor activities, crime rates, history of the country, owning land, getting permanent residency, different areas to live, weather, whether to buy, build or rent. At first it was information overload and pretty confusing. During our visits, we met a few people, both Costa Ricans and people who had moved, that provided great insight into what to expect. They also put us in contact with some local experts and professionals.
Costa Rica is a very networked country in which information isn't always obvious but rather passed along person to person. The results of our research was mostly favorable but not everything was perfect.
This website was created to share our journey, successes and mistakes, and to help others who are considering a transition to the pure life of Costa Rica.