Join InterNations

The world's largest expat community

A Comprehensive Guide on Moving to Costa Rica

  • Connect with fellow expats in Costa Rica

  • Join exciting events and groups for expats

  • Get information in our expat guides

  • Exchange tips about expat life in Costa Rica

  • Emanuele Casabona

    Finding other expats to share experiences in San José with, helped me a lot. Thanks to InterNations.

Do you need to know how to move to Costa Rica? Is it simple to relocate there or difficult? How do you get a visa? What is the health system like? This InterNations guide will walk you through everything you need to know about the relocation process: from the initial planning stages to the Know Hows of settling-in.

Why are so many expats moving to this Latin American country? Because the benefits of living in Costa Rica are many. For starters, its healthcare system is one of the best in the world, surpassing even the nearby US. The cost of living is also low, and foreigners will not face any restrictions when trying to rent or buy a home. Where expats may face hardships, however, is in finding a job with a Costa Rican company.

Interested in learning more? Whether you are moving to Costa Rica for work, retirement, or adventure, this relocation guide will serve as a reference for everything you need to know. When you are done reading, contact our experts to see how you can start planning your expat journey today!

Connect with like-minded expatriates

Discover our welcoming community of expats! You’ll find many ways to network, socialize, and make new friends. Attend online and in-person events that bring global minds together.

A Comprehensive Guide on Relocating to Costa Rica

All You Need to Know about Relocating Your Household Goods and Pets

The process of relocating to Costa Rica is easy, but there are a few unique challenges that may catch expats off guard if they are not prepared. For example, coming to this country with pets does not require a microchip or quarantine for your furry friend, but they will need vaccinations other than the standard rabies one. People, too, are also required to receive standard vaccinations before arriving in Costa Rica. This includes a rabies shot if you are from a country deemed as high-risk.

Other challenges expats should be aware of is that they will need to provide several forms of receipts and documents in order to claim their items from customs. This includes documentation on the value of your car, should you wish to import it into the country.

This section of our guide will help you prepare for your Costa Rican journey. Expats should read it before arriving in the country, as it is full of useful information that is needed from the start. We include tips on what you should pack in order to feel more at home in the land of sloths and volcanoes, and tips on what items you can leave behind.

Unsure of how to ship your household goods to Costa Rica? Our guide recommends the easiest solutions dependent on your timeline and budget.

Need to know more? Read on so that you are fully prepared to start your life in the beautiful land of Pura Vida.

Read our complete guide on relocating to Costa Rica

The Guide to Visa Types and Work Permit Requirements

How do you get a Costa Rican visa or work permit? Depending on your circumstances, it may be difficult. If you are a retiree looking to spend your Golden Years here, you should have no problem getting a visa as long as you plan to live only off your pension. If you are a working expat, you may have a harder time. In this country, only permanent residents are allowed to work, and it takes either Costa Rican blood, marriage to a citizen, or five years of residency to achieve that.

This section of our guide will walk you through all you need to know about the Costa Rican visa application process. We cover the requirements for different visas, whether you are relocating to open a business, as a freelance, or to buy a house. The country offers several types of visas foreigners can apply for, and the total costs for each range around 226,400 CRC (400 USD). We also talk about the steps you can take towards permanent residency, and even citizenship, if you want.

Read our complete guide on visas & work permits in Costa Rica

Everything You Need to Know about Finding a New Home

Finding accommodation in Costa Rica is both easy and difficult for expats. It is easy because foreigners have all the same rights as local residents when it comes to renting or buying a house. The difficulty comes from competing with all the other expats for your perfect tropical home.

There is no limit to the type of house non-residents can rent or buy in Costa Rica. Housing here is generally affordable, with the average rent staying below 1,000 USD per month. The average price to purchase a house fluctuates depending on whether you want a beach or mountain home, but most properties start at around 100,000 USD. The main document most foreigners will have to produce to secure a place is a valid passport.

Whether you want to know how to rent a house in Costa Rica for the short-term or you are looking for a second home in which to spend your retirement, our guide is the perfect reference to get you going. We cover such information as how to pay for utilities in this country and even which countries can easily access their favorite TV shows. Read on to find out how you can make your Pura Vida expat dream a reality.

Read our complete guide on housing in Costa Rica

Health Insurance and the Healthcare System of Costa Rica Explained

The healthcare system and public health insurance in Costa Rica are some of the best in the world. The country is consistently ranked among the 20th percentile of top country healthcare systems by the United Nations.

Public health insurance in Costa Rica is available for all residents and non-residents. In 2010, the government made it mandatory that all foreigners register with the public scheme in order to obtain residency. In turn, expats are able to receive free healthcare at public facilities.

Not interested in public healthcare? Many residents of this Latin American country opt for private healthcare in addition to the public coverage. This allows greater access to private facilities and the option to visit more specialists, if needed.

Want to learn more? This section of our guide will explain Costa Rica’s healthcare system and all you need to know to join either the public or private sector. We include what it is like giving birth in this country, how to find a doctor, and whether myths about Tico medical providers are true or not.

Read our complete guide on insurance & healthcare in Costa Rica

Connect with like-minded expatriates

Discover our welcoming community of expats! You’ll find many ways to network, socialize, and make new friends. Attend online and in-person events that bring global minds together.

Apr 19, 2024, 4:30 AM
38 attendees See the attached Map and seating chart.. Join Me along with the great members from the Internations San J
🎉🎟️ Get ready for an epic night! Tickets are just 7,000 colons each and they're selling fast! Don't miss your chance to secure prime seats for the season's biggest game! Check out the seating chart
Apr 24, 2024, 1:00 PM
6 attendees
1) The cut-off date to sign up is 21/4/2024 2) A 25% deposit is due on 21/4/2024 3) Please let me know where you are coming from and I can point you to the nearest pickup location. Mínimo 9 personas p
Because many of you asked for it! Due to the large number of attendees and how much fun we had at our first event of 2024, many have asked us to hold another event at Cervecería Republica in La Saban

See all upcoming events for expats in Costa Rica

Our Global Partners

  • Emanuele Casabona

    Finding other expats to share experiences in San José with, helped me a lot. Thanks to InterNations.

  • Victoria Arrington

    When I first heard about InterNations, I thought: This is exactly what I was searching for. What a great site.

Our Global Partners

Communities in Costa Rica

Like-Minded Expatriates in Costa Rica

Costa Rica Guide Topics