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Best Places to Live in Costa Rica

Moving to another city can be a challenge since the factors that will influence the final choice must be carefully weighed. But what if you want to move to another country? Maybe Costa Rica? The

Moving to another city can be a challenge since the factors that will influence the final choice must be carefully weighed. But what if you want to move to another country? Maybe Costa Rica? The decision becomes a bit more complicated when there is a range of options and you do not know which one will best suit your preferences and lifestyle. Let me guide you through this list of the best beach, mountain, and urban places to live in Costa Rica.

By the beach

Costa Rica stands out in Central America for its beautiful beaches. According to the ICT (National Chamber of Tourism), around 600 beaches surround the entire national territory. If what you are looking for is to settle in a place close to the sea and at the same time enjoy a social and multicultural environment, Cóbano is the best place for you. Located in the southern area of the Nicoya Peninsula at an altitude of 158 meters above sea level, it has a population of 7494 inhabitants.

The average annual temperature is 27 °C but higher temperatures happen during March and April. The economy mostly revolves around tourism since the beaches attract many tourists, most notably Montezuma, Santa Teresa, and Malpaís.

This paradisiacal place has nature reserves, waterfalls, and exciting nightlife during the busy season. You can find an urban and commercial center made up of supermarkets, restaurants, gas stations, the National Bank, as well as public and private schools. It is also considered ideal for those who practice surfing and yoga, two activities that often go hand in hand. Almost all hostels and hotels offer personalized lessons and retreats, especially in Santa Teresa.

In the mountain

Three hours from the Central Valley to the northwest of Costa Rica is an exotic and beautiful place called Monteverde. As its name denotes in Spanish, everything is green, green, and then greener. 1330 meters above sea level, it is known for forests that reach the clouds and it’s home to the famous Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.

Monteverde attracts a significant number of tourists and naturalists since it is the perfect place for the study of biodiversity. It is also considered one of the seven wonders of Costa Rica. It houses a small population of between 250 and 750 inhabitants, mostly bilingual (Spanish and English). The place has an enjoyable gastronomic variety, as well as endless opportunities to observe the flora and fauna that its forests are home to. It is simply the dream place for those who prefer to live among nature.

You can also find supermarkets, banks, handicraft stores, restaurants, cafes, a post office, a clinic, and public and private schools.

In the city

If you plan to live in the city, Escazú and Santa Ana have become two of the most popular places to settle in. Twenty-five minutes from the Juan Santa María International Airport, with elegant apartment complexes and tower condominiums, these places are ideal for those seeking urban style and looking to be close to high-end restaurants and distinguished shopping centers.

Escazú Centro is the first district of the canton of Escazú in the province of San José, located 1101 meters above sea level and with an estimated population of 13,529 inhabitants. It is one of the most important cities in the country due to the commercial activity that has been in development for some time now, which has generated much added value and has made it an attractive place to live.

The area is easily accessible since it has different access points to the east and west. Its great scenic beauty is one of the advantages of living in Escazú as it’s surrounded by mountains that make the city’s views incredible. The climate is generally cool, which makes it possible to enjoy terraces and gardens.

The most important shopping center is Multiplaza Escazú and in the vicinity, there is a variety of restaurants, banks, cinemas, shops, entertainment venues, schools, and colleges, both public and private.

Santa Ana is one of the most modern cities and it has a pleasant climate. It is characterized by being part of the Greater Metropolitan Area of Costa Rica as well as its high rate of urban development. It has a variety of gourmet restaurants and multiple options to enjoy international dishes.

The canton is characterized by preserving its agricultural and rural style while also developing from a commercial and residential standpoint. Thus, it is considered a significant financial and economic center and a favorite place to direct investment.

Whichever place you choose to live in Costa Rica, the important thing is that before you do so, you take the time to see and explore in person the different options that this beautiful country offers.



Melissa Espinoza serves as the Immigration Client Services Lead at Outlier Legal. She holds a Law degree from the University of Costa Rica, and considers herself a responsible, committed and organized leader. She has worked as assistant for three different departments at the University of Costa Rica and as a counselor for the International Travel Agency CWT.

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