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Expats Living in Costa Rica have Lifestyle Choices BY HELEN DUNN FRAME

AS YOU APPROACH retirement, do you picture a place where you can live either full time or part time in peace and enjoy the goodness of nature and life? Living in the province of Guanacaste in Costa Rica may be your solution. Guanacaste derives its name from a native word for the Guanacaste tree that is the national tree of Costa Rica. Its cultural heritage originates from the first indigenous groups that populated the area about 10,000 years ago. Some pre-Columbian elements still remain. You deserve the best in retirement because you have earned it by working hard all your life. Experts agree that Costa Rica’s cost of liv- ing depends entirely on what you need (or think you require) for living comfortably. The country provides an opportunity to live well because modern amenities and a high standard of living that costs less than that in most cities in the U.S., Canada, or Europe are available. For example, if your expenses in a major city in the States run $6600 a month, then it will be about $3000 or less depending on the city or town you choose in Costa Rica (assuming you rent in both cities). As a result, you will have discretionary income to create a more special lifestyle. Costa Rica, home to one of the oldest democracies in the Americas, has been acclaimed for its friendliness, preoccupation with peace, and tropical sandy beaches, especially on the Pacific coast. The temperature varies in different parts of Costa Rica. It’s about 10 degrees warmer in the coastal areas of Guanacaste and may fall beneath freezing at night in Chirripó National Park. If you navigate the country roads in the Northwest Province, you probably will see cowboys called 'vaqueros' or 'sabaneros' herding cattle down the byways followed by a faithful dog. An increasing number of Baby Boomers choose Costa Rica because they seek new lives, fresh starts, and the ultimate eco experience. Properties that clone ones found in the United States or Canada may be rented or purchased. For example, condos with ocean views in Guanacaste range from $65,000 for a studio to $650,000 for larger accommodations. Or you can buy or rent a modern house. Brazilian fashion model Gisele Bundchen (and husband New

England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady) led the way for luxury living with their multimillion dollar beachfront property on the Nicoya Peninsula. The US Department of State estimates that more than 20,000 U.S. expatriates live in Costa Rica, many of them retirees. Some Expats choose to be semi-retired, and to have more free time when they settle early and pursue a business. Due to family obligations or preferring to forgo resi- dency, some opt for a flexible life by living the Pura Vida only part of the year and leaving every 90 days if necessary. When you visit Costa Rica as a tourist or prospective buyer, rent a private home or condo to experience the feeling of being a resident versus that of a tourist with all the hotel services. Don’t expect things to work at the same pace as they do in the US or Canada. Make the right choice by doing due diligence. Look for communities where you feel comfortable and choose your information sources carefully. Talk to as many residents as you can. Read books about the country and its culture, and join an expat forum to engage people and learn about personal experi- ences. Make an effort to learn Spanish. 'Ticos' appreciate your trying and will be much more helpful. Above all, get yourself a good real estate consultant. For assistance with your adventure from your exploratory visit, planning to rent or buy, or to arrange transportation, do not hesitate to contact Linda Gray, owner/broker of Coldwell Banker Coast to Coast Properties located in Playas del Coco and an expat for nearly 17 years. From Laguna Beach, California, she delights in sharing her relocation/transition experiences as well as offering her professional services to aid people in deciding how to make good choices in Guanacaste, Costa Rica.


Toll Free: 1-877-589-0539 Direct: 011-506-2670-0805 e-mail:

Helen Dunn Frame, author of Greek Ghosts; and Doctors, Dogs, and Pura Vida in Costa Rica, editor, writer and world traveler from New York City, lives in Costa Rica.


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