We always knew this one and could kick ourselves for not adding it to our “Why we chose Costa Rica” list earlier. The longer we’re here, the more we’ve come to realize just how amazing the people are. They have welcomed us from the start. They’ve been civil, courteous, and warm. In some other countries frequented by expats, animosity towards foreigners has impacted their enjoyment of the country. But here in Costa Rica, we have always felt welcomed, without any anti-American sentiment. Since tourism is such a big part of their economy, Ticos are used to foreigners, both those who visit and those who choose to stay.
Also, Costa Ricans are really appreciative when we try to speak Spanish, despite our many mistakes. It’s the fact that we’re trying that they like, and in response, they are patient, tolerant, and humble towards us.
So, here’s our updated list of why we chose Costa Rica (and why we’re still here):
- Stable democracy since 1821 (this may be the biggest factor of all).
- The people are warm and welcoming.
- Can drink water in 95% of the country. In some countries, like Mexico, it’s bottled water all the way.
- Energy self-sufficient (85% hydroelectric, plus wind and geo-thermal energy)
- Improving infrastructure (roads, communications, etc.) – we’ve seen the improvements just in the last 3 years.
- High literacy rate (97%)
- 20% of the population speaks English, with the goal of being a bilingual country
- Excellent and cheap transportation system
- No Army so defense funds go to other areas
- Freedom without major restrictions to do, say, and be what you like
- Good national universal healthcare system and affordable private healthcare
- The weather in the Central Valley is outstanding, with comfortable spring-like temperatures. Take a look at our San Ramon climate articles for specifics.
- Costa Rica is SAFER, and has a lower crime rate, than its neighbors, with 10.3 homicides per 100,000, and decreasing.
- It’s a small country, 51,100 sq km (19,730 sq mi) – twice the size of the state of Maryland and just under the size of West Virginia