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Top 10 Reasons Why Costa Rica Is a Good Place to Grow Old

If you receive a $1000+ pension for life, you qualify for the Pensionado category of temporary legal residency in Costa Rica which will provide you with many benefits including "opportunities" to reduce your cost

Top 10 Reasons Why Costa Rica Is a Good Place to Grow Old
  1. If you receive a $1000+ pension for life, you qualify for the Pensionado category of temporary legal residency in Costa Rica which will provide you with many benefits including “opportunities” to reduce your cost of living

You will find more information about the Pensionado residency category in this link.

  1. If you have legal residency in Costa Rica, you qualify for low cost universal healthcare (CAJA) which covers all expenses related to health

Access to healthcare is excellent in the Central Valley but may require travel for specialized services if you live outside of the Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM). Specialists with the most up-to-date diagnostic equipment and treatments are more readily available in the capital, where most of the population lives. This is true for both private and public healthcare.

  1. If you have legal residency in Costa Rica and are 65+ years old you qualify for FREE public local bus transportation and discounted bus transportation to travel around the country

Costa Rica’s bus transportation system is reliable. Buses provide handicap access which can be important as we grow older and might not be able to drive. I find it easy to live without a car in Central Valley where buses run more frequently and there are more taxis and Uber drivers.

  1. If you are 65+ years old and have legal residency in Costa Rica you are eligible to apply for a CCSS Gold Card which provides senior citizen discounts at many commercial locations around the country

You can apply for your Gold Card and find a complete list of available discounts on Costa Rica’s CCSS (Social Security) website.

  1. As a Costa Rican legal resident of any age, you will have access to “precios para nacionales” (citizen/resident discounts valid at most public attractions)

For example, national parks might cost US $2 instead of US $10 and museums might be free or cost US $5 instead of US $15. You will also be entitled to discounts at many hotels, tourist attractions and local flights.

  1. You can choose your perfect climate because there are many micro-climates in Costa Rica

The older I get, the more intolerant I am of heat, cold and extreme weather events. Costa Rica has many micro-climates that do not have extreme temperatures or extreme weather events. Beaches are hot and require AC for most people and you might experience tropical storms if you choose to live at the coast. Central Valley is somewhat protected from the winds that accompany tropical storms and temperatures are cooler in the mountains.

  1. Costa Rica is a beautiful country

If you are considering moving to Costa Rica, the beauty of the country might be what is drawing you to this Central American paradise. Living surrounded by the beauty of this country is a blessing during the final chapters of my life. As I often say, “If you can’t afford to travel, live where you can be on vacation every day”.

  1. Costa Rica is a peaceful and happy country

Costa Rica has a stable democracy with elections every 4 years. Political parties are relatively tame compared to many other countries in the region. I believe peace and happiness in Costa Rica are the result of the decision to put Costa Rica’s military budget into education and healthcare when the army was abolished in 1948. Costa Rica’s universal education and healthcare system, provides a great deal of “social security” for individuals, families and the country as a whole. Countries with these characteristics tend to be happier and more peaceful.

  1. Costa Rica is ranked as the country with the best English language skills in Central America

The level of Costa Rica’s English proficiency skills and the country’s desire to become 100% bilingual makes it easier to move to Costa Rica without being fluent in Spanish.

I am NOT saying that learning Spanish is not important if you live here. Learning Spanish is essential, especially if you live in areas where you find fewer English-speaking people.  The more fluent in Spanish we become, the higher our quality of life will be in Costa Rica.

  1. Senior citizens are provided preferential service at healthcare facilities, government offices, banks and many commercial establishments in Costa Rica

There are separate preferential lines, waiting areas, windows and checkout lanes for senior citizens, which provide faster service. Seniors are allowed to board buses first. When separate lines are not provided, it is not uncommon for younger people to allow seniors to go first or to stand and allow senior citizens to sit if there are not enough seats. It is also not uncommon for younger people to offer assistance of various kinds, such as helping you get on and off buses, carrying things, crossing streets and communicating. Costa Rica is a good place to grow old because senior citizens are valued and respected.



Margaret Aliff is a true Outlier who chose to work as an independent contractor in different fields for most of her career. She is a US citizen who lived in many places but found her forever home in Costa Rica 15 years ago. Margaret finds fulfillment in retirement by helping people who want to move to Costa Rica.

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