What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about the best place to live in Costa Rica?

Most people picture relaxing on a gorgeous beach, with a gentle ocean breeze, watching a breathtaking sunset while sipping on some sort of fruity umbrella drink. Sounds amazing right? While beach life could be the right choice for you, let me tell you why I personally believe that the best place to live in Costa Rica is not the beach.


Best Place to Live in Costa RicaEverybody thinks differently about where the best place to live in Costa Rica is

I am by no means here to detour anyone from living by the beach, nor do I have something against the beach or the people who have decided that the best place to live in Costa Rica is the beach and are loving life there!  My goal is to  help you expand, or better yet elevate, your horizon a bit with a different perspective from someone already living in Costa Rica. Undoubtedly, I don’t think there could ever be a bad choice of where to live. I mean, come on, it’s Costa Rica we are talking about here! There are 4 main points that helped me make my decision on where I live currently and caused me to believe.

  • Cost
  • Temperature
  • Proximity
  • Population

Whether you are retired (or soon to be), looking to enjoy your golden years, or just in need of a change of pace and lifestyle, cost of living is a major factor in making the move to Costa Rica. Tourism is one of the major driving forces in Costa Rica’s economy. This is great because it means that there are many fun things to see and do in this small but vibrant and beautiful country. Eco-tourism, coffee, canopy and national park tours, surfing, fishing, hot springs, volcanoes, beaches…. Ok,  I will stop now, but you get the point. The best place to live in Costa Rica may not always be the beach communities simply due to the fact that the cost of food, utilities, housing and property tends to be higher in those touristic and coastal areas.

Because budget can be a huge factor when considering the cost of living in Costa Rica, the choices you make with a $2000 per month versus a $5000+ per month budget could be vastly different. The average cost for a retired couple living quite comfortably in Costa Rica is somewhere in the ball park of $2000 per month. If you are considering purchasing a house in Costa Rica, there are much better prices away from the beach and larger cities. To better understand why I say this,  you may want to check out this article on the top 5 things to know to not overpay when purchasing property in Costa Rica.

Best Place to Live in Costa


Snow birds and warm weather dwellers alike might find this to be an odd point to bring up as many look to Costa Rica’s tropical climate as a huge plus. Although the coastal climate can be a much welcomed change to some and a needed comfort to others, I find that the upper 90s with close to 100 percent humidity takes its toll on your body as well as your electric bill. Don’t get me wrong –  I love a weeklong visit to the beach as much as the next person, but I prefer it to be just that  – a visit. I have found that the perfect place for me is in the Central Valley hills of San Ramon, Alajuela with 75 to 80 degree temperatures and a calming mountain breeze with no need for heating or A/C. From strictly a numbers perspective, I am much happier when my electric bill is well under $50 – $100 per month year round! 


From the lush tropical parks, to the volcanic hot springs and tranquil beaches on both Costa Rica’s Pacific and Caribbean Coasts, there is much to be explored while you are deciding where the best place to live in CR is for you. I believe that it is best to set your roots in an area that allows you to easily explore all of what the land of “Pura Vida” has to offer. Some important considerations are proximity to life’s necessities, such as medical facilities, airports, supplies, shopping and other modern conveniences. In all honesty, if you ask any expat living in Costa Rica, a large percentage of them will tell you that there is always something that causes the need to travel into the San Jose metropolitan area.  Being more centralized in the country definitely makes those necessary trips much easier.


There is a large population that enjoy the city life. But for those of you looking for some modern convenience mixed with a more quiet, laid back way of life living like the local people, the traffic and the crowds of the big cities may not be your Costa Rican “cup of coffee”. My advice, and what I have found best for me and my family, would be to choose a place that has the necessary amenities you are looking for as well as a little more room to “stretch your legs”.

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These are just some of the reasons why San Ramon in Costa Rica’s Central Valley wins in my book for being the best place to live. If you would like more information on San Ramon, Costa rica click here. Contact us at Why Not Costa Rica to allow us to help you find the best place to live in Costa Rica for you…. beach or not!

Tyler Burke

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