This Central American country of around five million people is also a perfect vacation destination for family travel, offering something for all ages, interests, and abilities. You may opt-out by. Santa Ana is 15 minutes from the Country Day School and 35 minutes from the American International School. With a population of approximately 12, 200, Santa Ana is another one of the more popular expat towns. It is about a 5 hour drive from San Jose but well worth it. Arenal. Lets explore the best places to visit in Costa Rica: 1. There are outside events, nature related, clean ups, hikes, etc. If you're going to Costa Rica to live near the beach, the coastal towns in Guanacaste Province are gorgeous. Expats talk about the cost of living in Panama and Costa Rica - housing costs, gas, car, electric, internet, groceries, budgets for various lifestyles and more. Many expats warn newcomers about... Expats talk about some of the biggest challenges they've faced living in Latin America. Here are the best resorts for traveling with kids of any age. At The Springs, you can ride horses, go tubing on the river, and hike through rugged mountain terrain without leaving the resort. La Fortuna, in Costa Rica's northern highlands, is centered around an attractive park … It may be unrealistic to drag your kids … Actually, they are convinced, theirs is the world’s best climate . There are nice living areas not far from the airport and City Mall, the largest mall in Central America. While our article 7 Best Places to Live in Costa Rica covers an amazing list of places to live in Costa Rica, it doesn't specifically focus on the needs of families. "The Central Valley is one of the most popular areas for many expats. Featured products are independently selected and linked to for your convenience. Excellent Expat communities but integrated with the local culture. All Rights Reserved, This is a BETA experience. “ We chose to stay longer (almost 2 weeks) and get a family … drive up the mountain from me, it is even cooler. Its homicide rate is 10.3 people per 100,000, second in the … There's a large expat community in the area between Uvita and Ojochal, great beaches, a weekly farmer's market and some of the best restaurants in the country are in the area. Enjoying Costa Rica beaches as a tourist on a vacation vs living working and having kids are two different worlds. Supervised explorations might include searching for local reptiles and plants, treasure collecting on the beach, building sand castles, birdwatching, and soccer. An expat in Guanacaste said, "There is a wonderful school here called La Paz. A mutual friend had mentioned that Jaco would probably be the best place for the park because it has a high concentration of tourists from around the world and it is only 1.5 hours away from Costa Rica… This school is small, less than 300 students, but the atmosphere is safe and friendly with a focus on student success. Bordered between Nicaragua and Panama, Costa Rica boasts the world’s largest density of flora and fauna in addition to a varied terrain of mountains, valleys, forests, volcanoes, beaches, lakes and rivers. Before you jet off to the rainforest or the beach, considering staying in San Jose for a night or two, as you will get a good sense of the Costa Rica … The Central Valley has some very popular cities and towns and offers one of the best climates in the world, good shopping, entertainment, and above all, excellent health care. I rented a home in Cariari with a teenage son and felt relatively safe because I/we took precautions. Be prepared for sticker-shock. 30 minutes south of Brasilito, is the popular surfing town of Tamarindo. Whether you're moving to Panama City or Punta del Este, this article is a must read to help you prepare (hint: you'll be much happier if you learn the language) and adjust your expectations (realities: the roads are rough, the pace of life is slower and bureaucracy is unavoidable). From lower cost of living to affordable healthcare and beachfront living, expats discuss the top reasons they moved to Central America.... 13 Best Places for Families to Live in Costa Rica. An overview of the best places to visit in Costa Rica: The challenges he found in Montezuma where terrible roads, power outages, the language barrier and the prohibitively high cost of shipping into the country. Many public schools operate with either morning or afternoons classes. Escuela Verde in Costa Ballena is a bilingual school located in Utiva (described below). Costa Rica’s Pacific coast is dotted with beaches and towns that attract expat retirees. If you like nature, just up the mountains there are amazing the forests and parks such as Barva Volcan. Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo. Many expats warn newcomers about the high cost of housing and food. There are 27 different weather patterns in Costa Rica... hard to imagine in a country smaller than West Virginia! "The most well known [town in the Central Valley outside of San Jose] is Escazu, popular with the more affluent and younger crowd, loaded with shopping, great hospitals and lots to do and almost in downtown San Jose. With rent costing 60% less than rent in the United States, it’s an excellent way for expats, especially retirees, to get the best bang for their buck. Kids love the variety and vibrancy of the various attractions, from the buzzing hummingbirds to the impressive power of … "My son graduated from high school at Country Day School, Guanacaste Province [now CRIA]. An expat talks about what it's like living in Montezuma, Costa Rica. At the Four Seasons, perched above the ocean in Guanacaste, the notion of luxury extends to every member of the family. Costa Rica is an incredible place to live, and if you’re looking to move somewhere where you can stretch your dollar, it should be near the top of your list. I love walking on the beach and buying cheap red snapper. ClimateIf you chose to live by the beach or the coast, you should expect temperatures in the high 90s with very high humidity.Costa Rica’s rainforests typically have a milder climate with averages hovering in the 80s; however, as the name implies, you should expect plenty of rain.Finally, the mountainous regions of Costa Rica … Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. And, they inquire, "Are you planning to send your kids to public or private school?" Do you like the heat? The same thing with 2 condos next to mine. When it comes to choosing a place to live, Costa Rica has a lot of choices. There's lots to do there, close to Domincal for live music events, an easy drive to San Isidro for big city things and close to Panama when you want to shop duty free. 2020 Best Places to Raise a Family in Puerto Rico About this List Explore the best places to raise a family based on public schools, crime rates, cost of living, and family-friendly amenities. Many travelers to Costa Rica will arrive and depart from the capital city of San Jose. Do I have to leave the country every 90 days? Plus, it’s only a three-hour drive from San Jose international airport. La Fortuna. The Best Place in Cartago for Expats to Live in: Cartago The capital city of Cartago is home to approximately 156,000 residents. FYI, there are about 4-5 Playa Hermosa's up and down the Pacific coast here," explained one expat. It's academically great and has a hydroponics garden out back! If you want to be surrounded by familiar institutions like Walmart, Pricemart and OfficeMax -- and designer stores, like Ralph Lauren, this is the area for you," advised Steve Linder in his insightful article. We lived in Playa Flamingo and felt quite safe," explained one expat whose son graduated from the school. My family moved here in 2001 with the same focus, and after 6 months of HEAT and humidity and all the other things mentioned, we headed for the Central Valley, and visit the beach whenever we want, it's only 30-45 min away now," said one expat who moved from the beach to the Central Valley. For lows, the coolest I have ever seen it get at night is 77 degrees F (just recently), a few degrees higher in dry season. CRIA was originally founded as the Guanacaste campus of The Country Day School. Despite all of the challenges, the list of what expats like about life in Latin America far exceeds the challenges. Costa Rica is a land of beautiful beaches, dense rain forests, and majestic mountain ranges. So at least on her I am impressed. EY & Citi On The Importance Of Resilience And Innovation, Impact 50: Investors Seeking Profit — And Pushing For Change, Michigan Economic Development Corporation with Forbes Insights. This hacienda-style hotel offers beautiful views of Guanacaste, a Costa Rican province in the northwest known for its biodiversity and stunning beaches. I enrolled the kids in private school, signed a condo lease and even bought a car. I would definitely check out Flamingo/Potrero," advised one expat. It has a larger percentage of foreigners than nearly any other town in Costa Rica. Costa Rica International Academy (CRIA) is located in Brasilito. While it is possible to live on $1,000 per month in Costa Rica, you will enjoy life more by expanding your budget and allowing for extra activities and events. Do I need an attorney? In the article, The Costa Ballena Region of Costa Rica, Steve Linder describes Costa Ballena saying, "This area is also home to a number of well known beaches in Costa Rica and noted for the large enclave of north American and foreign baby boomers, retirees and expats living in the area. ", Lakeside International School serves students from 3 to 12th grade. "Having been to both towns [Jaco and Puntarenas] in the past month, I would recommend you skip Jaco and go to Tamarindo if you want waves/surfing, or to Playa Hermosa about an hours drive north of Tamarindo if you want small waves. The Best Places to Retire in Costa Rica Costa Rica has natural wonders, intriguing wildlife and an affordable cost of living. Costa Rica is a family travel playground, specializing in big adventures guaranteed to get your kid’s heart pumping; whether you are zipping through the leafy canopy or spying a lazy sloth, this little dynamo of a country offers a plethora of fun experiences that every family member can enjoy. While many families thinking about moving to Costa Rica first dream of living at the beach, the majority end up in this region. San Jose – Best places to stay in Costa Rica. View from the fire pit at Hacienda AltaGracia. Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste Province is often confused by readers with the popular surfing town of Playa Hermosa de Jaco in Puntarenas Province. Actually, they are convinced, theirs is the world’s best climate . On the other hand, residents of Atenas, Costa Rica believe their town has the best temperatures during the whole year. Other popular towns in the Central Valley are Grecia, San Ramon, Atenas and Puriscal. The Central Valley, which lies at an elevation of 3,000 to 5,000 feet, is the area of Costa Rica where the majority of expat retirees settle. Proximity to great hospitals and healthcare is one of the key reasons that expat families choose the Central Valley. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Summary: Expats in Costa Rica talk about the best places for families to live in Costa Rica. Compared with Belize, Costa Rica is actually expensive. standards and busy. Stand-up paddleboarding at the Andaz Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo. There are great options in the surrounding area, including places that are closer to the coast than San Jose. After a day of soaking with the whole family and walking the forest paths to see the waterfalls that punctuate the area, retire to your understatedly elegant, supremely quiet room set in the lush gardens that are an extension of the rain forest. Eco-Lodge, remote rainforest. Best of luck y pura vida!". One expat summed it up perfectly when he said not to let your desire to live in paradise get in the way of thinking about the logistics. The European School is located in Heredia. There are a number of high end hotels and restaurants and the region is also home to the Marine National Park Playa Ballena.". Where to Live in Costa Rica. As mentioned above, you will hear many expats advising newcomers, especially those with kids, to focus on The Central Valley. "My wife and I live in Tamarindo - it has a very nice beach with many restaurants close … Temperatures of about 90+ most days and high humidity. … As soon as we returned to California, I made arrangements to get back to Costa Rica within 4 weeks. Every weekend in San Jose there are music and art shows, with many open to the public at no cost. North Pacific= Playa Panamá – Hermosa – Playas del Coco – Potrero – Flamingo – Brasilito – Tamarindo – Langosta. One big advantage to living here is the … The high temp typically varies between 86 and 89 degrees during the daytime (a bit hotter in dry season). If you are on or near the beach, expect heat. An American guy put his 3 condos for sale and in a few weeks a Canadian lady bought them. Set on top of a hill in the middle of the … But the real draw is the property's 28 artesian hot springs, perfect for whiling away the hours with the whole family. Aerial view of The Springs Costa Rica Resort. Get a Quote. For just $175 per person, you can also take a private plane chartered by the hotel. See Tripadvisor's 237,480 traveler reviews and photos of kid friendly Costa Rica attractions Higher elevation makes for cooler temperatures and there are a variety of smaller towns outside the downtown area that are popular," wrote Steve Linder in his article, Tips for Buying Property in the Southern Pacific region of Costa Rica. The relaxing environment, abundance of fresh fruits and the reasonable living expenses make a strong case for Costa Rica being counted among the best tropical places to live. Best Mountain Resorts For Families In Costa Rica. Overall, living in Costa Rica is comparable to Mexico in food, culture, and costs. The weekly farmers market, known as the feria, is the largest one in the Southern Zone… "Take a look at Cariari - Belen, within the Province of Heredia. Traveling with small children adds excitement, laughter and difficulty to any vacation, but moving to an unfamiliar country with small … Riverstone showers are adjacent to open-air balconies with expansive ocean views, and there are three distinct beaches and four pools, including a kid-friendly shallow pool and an adults-only tranquility pool. It's a small town with a low-key, local vibe. Whether you're moving to Panama City or Punta del Este, this article is a must read to help you prepare (hint:... People considering a move to Central America often narrow down their list to Panama and Costa Rica. We skipped these and several other expat-friendly towns, because they are further from international schools, employment opportunities and tend to mainly attract retirees. The Best Family Vacations in Costa Rica La Paz Waterfall Gardens : This multifaceted attraction features paths and suspended walkways alongside a series of impressive jungle waterfalls. We also had to find local grocery stores where the meat is much cheaper. What is a cedula? In the end, it's all about personal preference. A provisional visa or a temporary residence permit will allow you to spend time with your family or close friends in Costa Rica for longer than 90 days. Crime is relative. What is a cedula? There are five active volcanos in this small country and some of the best hiking, bird-watching, and horseback riding in the world. Another expat added, "My wife's niece recently graduated from the American School and had scholarship offers from 6 US Universities. Locals sometimes affectionately refer to San Isidro by its nickname, Pérez Zeledon, since it’s the main city in a district of that name. 15 min. Applying for residency in Costa Rica can be a daunting process. Where to Live in Costa Rica The Central Valley, which lies at an elevation of 3,000 to 5,000 feet, is the area of Costa Rica where the majority of expat retirees settle. Soaking up the sun from a private perch at Arenas del Mar. Tempe… . The Cariari Country Club is there and it would be possible to live within walking distance to the American International School a great school with great teachers. An expat in Jaco, Costa Rica shares 6 fun activities for expats (and tourists) to do in Jaco. Although the decision to live in Costa Rica was quick, the seed was planted years before. Nicoya Peninsula= Nosara – Guiones – Samara – Santa Teresa – Mal Pais – Cabuya – Montezuma – Tambor. We like things off the beaten path and not too touristy but we want to include beach time that is safe. There's also a club for kids (ages 5-12), and the property is exceptionally pet-friendly. Located in Ciudad Cariari in Heredia, the American International School (AIS) is one the most well known K-12 international schools in the Central Valley. We have over 750 miles of coastline. For the best views in all of Costa Rica from a hotel, or perhaps the best in the world you have to stop by Hotel Three Sixty. Best Rainforest Resorts For Families In Costa Rica. By Kathleen Peddicord , Contributor Sept. 11, 2019 International Living also listed and reported below the top 5 regions within Costa Rica to live and retire in the land of Pura Vida that include: The Central Valley Expats have been flocking to Costa Rica's Central Valley for decades. Do I have to leave the country every 90 days? We don't have our A/C on. Costa Rica was one of the original retire overseas destinations which means prices have had a long time to increase. The challenges he found in Montezuma where terrible roads, power outages, the language barrier and the prohibitively high cost of... An expat in Montezuma, Costa Rica talks about learning to live more simply, let go of material things and enjoy the fresh air, sunshine and life. Costa Rica is about 10 degrees north or the equator, and the beaches are HOT! It's very close to beautiful mountains to the north and good proximity to San Jose," described one expat. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. Pan-American School is located in Santa Ana. Many do! I really like the ocean and I knew that's what I wanted. This story was written in collaboration with. Cheaper to live there as beach living does cost more, especially when using AC as electricity is not cheap. If you would … I enrolled … Read on for the best family hotels in Costa Rica. Another one of the most prestigious schools in Costa Rica is The Country Day School. Three Sixty Boutique Hotel, Ojochal. She is to study International Relations, perhaps a future Ambassador? We put window screens in our condo and we have ceiling fans and now that we are more used to the heat we only turn on one of the AC splits for a few hours during the night. Expats interested in expat health insurance should take a minute to get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA. Arenas del Mar is set in the rain forest right on the beach, with full beach services and amenities that make it possible to never leave the property during your stay, including comfortable day beds, boogie board rentals, and surf lessons. One of the most beautiful and most exclusive resorts in Costa Rica is Hacienda AltaGracia, an experience-driven luxury property in the foothills of the Talamanca Mountains, where you and your family can ride horses, hike through the rain forest to see raging waterfalls, learn firsthand how to process sugarcane, or even milk a cow. Locals operate on a spirit of pura vida, or pure life. As for preparing for repatriation, AIS employs a College Counselor that is active in preparing high school students for college. There is a good mix of Americans, Canadians, Costa Ricans and other nationalities in the area. Located in a valley, it boasts a moderate climate, a public hospital, good shopping, movie theater, a variety of restaurants, a thriving expat community, entertainment venues and assortment of recreational activities. This story was written in collaboration with Forbes Finds. As soon as we returned to California, I made arrangements to get back to Costa Rica within 4 weeks. Expats talk about the cost of living in Panama and Costa Rica - housing costs, gas, car, electric, ... Expats in Costa Rica answer the question: If a friend of yours was thinking of moving here, what other advice would you give them. A member in Costa Rica said, "I wanted to let you know about a really cool school in Sardinal (Carrillo, Guanacaste). Best beach area All the beaches of Costa Rica are beautiful but many carry a very dangerous undertow or a questionable cleanliness level -- especially the ones on the Pacific side and closest to San Jose. Costa Rica is incredibly safe, as long as you use good sense. This... An expat in Jaco, Costa Rica shares 6 fun activities for expats (and tourists) to do in Jaco. It's called Lakeside International, and it's private and bilingual. 2. Escuela Verde in Costa Ballena is located in Uvita and 15 minutes north of Ojochal. The Springs Resort is possibly the most famous hotel in the Arenal area and definitely one of the best places to stay in Costa Rica. When someone asked about the temperatures, one member replied, "Right now it is 88 degrees F and 58% humidity. #30 Best Value of 100 Family Resorts in Costa Rica “ Family friendly and in a near perfect spot to access some amazing activities, wildlife and places of interest. You can buy whatever you need locally and it is a fairly short trip to San Jose (capitol) which has museums and other attractions. Source: flickr. Expats in Costa Rica talk about the best places for families to live in Costa Rica. Come for the hot springs and stay for the service in a luxuriously tranquil setting. One of the most popular destinations in Costa Rica, Manuel Antonio is high on most traveler’s lists. Where to Stay in Costa Rica Best Places to Stay in Costa Rica San Jose: Where to Stay in Costa Rica for Culture Buffs. Family suites are ideal for groups seeking more spacious accommodations; they include a dining and living room so the everyone can hang out together. © 2020 Forbes Media LLC. Best Beach Resorts For Families In Costa Rica, Arenas del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort. Days are warm and evenings are … There are computer facilities, the buildings are all open and airy, what the facility lacks in physical aspects is more than made up for by the dedicated staff and excellent curriculum. Often, future expats believe we can custom fit the climate to their request. This K-12 American school was originally located in Atenas, but moved to its new campus in San Rafael, Alajuela in 2016. When it was necessary to address a weakness in a particular subject, the teachers were very helpful and wasted no time in proving support and communicating with me along the way. JW Adventure Kids Club (for ages 4 to 12) offers foosball, a sand playground, and excellently trained staff to supervise both indoor and outdoor activities. Costa Rica has a lot to offer expats with its tropical climate, eco-friendly culture, beautiful beaches, welcoming people, good healthcare system and relative safety. This does not automatically entitle you to work in Costa Rica, or to live in Costa Rica … I love this place! It was renamed Costa Rica International Academy and became self-governing and independent of Country Day in 2014. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn. Not much extracurricular activities are offered by schools so you have to search them out and be willing to travel around the area. It is cooler where I live. I like it here but it would not be for everyone," said another. Although the decision to live in Costa Rica was quick, the seed was planted years before. Made famous by "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" and featured as the host hotel for ABC's "The Bachelor in Costa Rica," the Springs Resort & Spa is more family-friendly than the shows let on. From surfing to bar hopping to shopping for organic fruits and veggies at the local markets, Jason Mueller shares some great activities. Kids can learn to make tortillas, go ziplining, and venture out after dark with a headlamp looking for tree frogs. The majority of expats in San Jose, actually choose to live not in the city, but outside of it. Supervised explorations might include searching for local reptiles and plants, treasure collecting on the beach, building sand castles, birdwatching, and soccer. Most fruit we get from the fruit stand. This beautiful park is home to some of the most breathtaking beaches in Costa Rica. It is a bit cheaper and MANY expats and Ticos send there children here.". 3. In other words, everyone can be happy at the Andaz. The condos here are selling like crazy. Soaring more than 1,600 meters above the jungles of Alajuela north out of San Jose, the Arenal Volcano remains arguably Costa Rica’s biggest draw. The Southern Zone. But, you'll also have to adjust to living without Sta... Expats living in Costa Rica talk about Pura Vida, deciding where to live in Costa Rica, meeting people and more. With a population of nearly 15,000, Escazu is about 25 minutes from both the American International School and the Country Day School. San Jose – Best places to stay in Costa Rica. Costa Rica is incredibly safe, as long as you use good sense. Below are 13 of the best places for expat families to live in Costa Rica including information on nearby international schools. The best place to live in Costa Rica may not always be the beach communities simply due to the fact that the cost of food, utilities, housing and property tends to … Costa Rica was one of the original retire overseas destinations which means prices have had a long time to increase. The Best Family Vacations in Costa Rica La Paz Waterfall Gardens : This multifaceted attraction features paths and suspended walkways alongside a series of impressive jungle waterfalls. Other notable schools for expat students in the Central Valley include the British School of Costa Rica in San Jose, Lincoln School in Heredia, Tree of Life International School in Santa Ana, European School in Heredia and Pan-American School in Santa Ana. It’s a winning combination of rainforest, beaches, and wildlife that’s hard to beat. Expats talk about some of the biggest challenges they've faced living in Latin America. As with all things the effort put into it determines the results.". Situated in Arenal Volcano National Park, this resort is the ultimate choice for families who want to be as close as possible to the natural world. Tamarindo. Here's what other expats had to say. Lakeside International School (described below) is located 15 minutes inland from Playa Hermosa and Playas del Coco. For families that love nature, Costa Rica is a great pick. Costa Rica costs $2,531 per month to live and work remotely. Many retired expats call this area home. Our pool and grounds are so beautiful!" Climate here is very important. Applying for residency in Costa Rica can be a daunting process. The beach area we felt was the best is the Puerto Viejo de Talamanca area on the Caribbean side of the country. What I will do here is generally discuss the various locations in Costa Rica and things you might wish to consider before you make a final choice. Arenal, Costa Rica. So you have plenty of choices. You can live well in Costa Rica for less than at home, but it is no longer a bargain here. Costa Rica cost of living, internet speed, weather and other metrics as a place to work remotely for digital nomads. One parent described the school saying, "The buildings are new. Find her @throughtraveler. If you buy something using a link on this page, Forbes may receive a small share of that sale. This article answers these and many other questions. Playa Flamingo and Potrero are just a few minutes up the coast from Brasilito. The Central Valley includes San Jose and nearby mountain towns like Escazu, Atenas, Grecia, San Ramon, Heredia and many others. You can get by in Costa Rica … Luxury and family travel, food destinations, wine and coffee trends. Costa Rica for a Relaxed Culture. Healthcare is a breeze since CIMA hospital is right in Escazu. Children are invited into the culture of Costa Rica to learn about the surrounding environment with programs designed to entertain and educate. Costa Rica is a fun-packed place and a total playground for any adventure-loving families out there.

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