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Anyone Living In Costa Rica or Panama?

Anyone Living In Costa Rica or Panama?

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Old Mar 13, 19, 11:01 am
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Anyone Living In Costa Rica or Panama?

Hi all,

My wife and I are flirting with the idea of moving to Costa Rica or Panama. We bounce around every few years and although Vegas has been good to us, it is time to move on.

Would like to hear from anyone who has lived or is currently living in either country.

If you have time please do reach out.

Cheers
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Old Mar 13, 19, 1:49 pm
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I’ve written a lot about this topic over the years. I know much more about Costa Rica than I do Panama.

For the legalities of retiring in Costa Rica go to the Association of Residents of Costa Rica/Asociación de Residentes de Costa Rica website:

www.arcr.net

The Residency in Costa Rica link tells you the different types of residency Costa Rica allows foreigners. For most, you legally cannot work. Make sure you realize that.

The point I emphasize in every article I write about this subject is not to jump into anything. Do a temporary rental and see if living day to day in the location is for you. So many people move here, thinking that living here is just like being on vacation. It is not. As a non-resident foreigner, you can stay in Costa Rica for up to 90 days. That’s a good length of time for a trial run.

Areas with large foreign communities

COSTA RICA

Escazú and Santa Ana: western suburbs of San José. (San José and suburbs sit at 3,500-4,000 feet elevation, so you have a perpetual spring-like climate all year.)

North Pacific coast: especially Tamarindo, Flamingo, and Potrero. (Potrero has a large Canadian population.)

Southern Nicoya peninsula: especially Nosara and Sámara. (Nosara has a large German and Swiss population.)

Costa Ballena: an up-and-coming area on the Central Pacific coast, stretching from Dominical to Ojochal. (Ojochal has a large Québécois population.)


PANAMA

Panama City: especially the former Canal Zone or the myriad high-rises in downtown Panama City. (Panama City gets very hot and humid.)

Again with the perpetual spring-like climate are:

Boquete: a higher elevation mountain town. (I love this place.)

El Valle de Antón: another higher elevation town, not as developed as Boquete.
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Old Mar 14, 19, 9:11 am
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Join Date: Aug 2012
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I live in Costa Rica 5 months a year and I'm a national.

Apart from what SJOGuy mentioned, I think the big thing is if you're ready to leave all of the commodities of living the in the US when you come here. It's not an easy to country to live in, it's expensive, I would classify it now as unsafe (against popular thoughts), and it's not as easy to obtain things in the US.

I also reside in the UK during summer and I miss how easy everything is, how diplomatic everything is and how smartly everything is set out to be. I just don't see that down here.

The pro's: Everyone is extremely nice, is warm and receptive and you do have a very happy life if you're retiring in one of the beach communities or rural areas. If you're looking for year round sun and endless things to do then I would consider it. But you kinda already have that in Vegas.

I love this country, I love the people. I just don't like living in it.
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Old Mar 14, 19, 10:50 am
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One advantage to Panama is that its currency is the US dollar. You have no money exchange issues the way you do in Costa Rica.
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Old Mar 14, 19, 7:57 pm
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10+ years working in Panama City. As SJOGuy says, it is NOT like the promotional media say: "just like living in the US! for $400/month!" In fact, I find only local staples cheaper (at best), everything else is more expensive, except for labor. It's very hot and very humid every day of the year in the city and most of the country. The city is chaotic every work day. Anything you want to do is generally a bit more dysfunctional, or aggravating. The dollar is good. Flights to here are good. The main highway crossing the country is now very nice. Internet is pretty good. Cell service is poor. I have little or no safety concerns, although my windows all have bars. Water system is iffy. Electricity goes out once a month or more for no apparent reason. I am very pleased with medical care.

That being said, I would have no qualms retiring to Volcan, with its clean, crisp air up in the mountains. Boquete is similar, just more expats and more developed. El Valle de Anton is not as cool, but it's closer to beaches, and the city. Lotsa expats retire to the pacific coast west of the City. The beaches aren't that good, and the weather is still too hot for me, but I understand the appeal. Some decent golf courses throughout the country as well.
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Old Mar 14, 19, 9:51 pm
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Volcan! Thank you, YadiMolina. I forgot about that one. Another wonderful place in Panama.
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Old Mar 17, 19, 9:30 pm
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Thanks for the responses guys, much appreciated.

When you say things are expensive, what are we talking about? Is food expensive? Is rent expensive? From doing research I can see that house prices are on the higher end.

One thing I did notice was that there are a lot of new homes that have been constructed. Is construction generally expensive?

@Redwood839 - nice that you get to spend the time between the two countries. I am actually originally from the UK. I have been in the US for 5 years now.
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Old Mar 21, 19, 10:47 am
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Originally Posted by SgtRyan View Post
Thanks for the responses guys, much appreciated.

When you say things are expensive, what are we talking about? Is food expensive? Is rent expensive? From doing research I can see that house prices are on the higher end.

One thing I did notice was that there are a lot of new homes that have been constructed. Is construction generally expensive?

@Redwood839 - nice that you get to spend the time between the two countries. I am actually originally from the UK. I have been in the US for 5 years now.
I'm going to say everything is expensive. Food, fuel, hotels, travel. I live in a serviced apartment, so I can't speak for building.

To give you an idea, my family travels to the US for vacations because it's cheaper to go to the US then to go the beach here for 3-4 days.

I live in Cheshire while in the UK. Will be returning next month now that the snow is going away and the non stop drizzle begins.
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Old Mar 21, 19, 11:40 am
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Originally Posted by SgtRyan View Post

When you say things are expensive, what are we talking about? Is food expensive? Is rent expensive? From doing research I can see that house prices are on the higher end.

One thing I did notice was that there are a lot of new homes that have been constructed. Is construction generally expensive?
While I've never lived in either country, I have spent several weeks looking at real estate in Panama, both in PC and near the beach (Pedasi area). I'll assume you would want to live in an apartment or house that is somewhat similar to what you'd find in the US (if not, I met people who were renting for ~$500/mo in Pedasi, but not up to my standards).

In Panama City, I found housing prices to be similar, if not higher, than I'd pay here in Chicago. In the Pedasi area, it was cheaper than the Chicago area, but realize that this is a 4-5 hour drive from PC. I'd actually expect it would be more expensive that many areas of the US that are that far from a major city with a large airport. There were some new housing developments being built near a couple of the beaches while I was there. Not sure what those will ultimately sell (or sold) for or what the demand will be.

Most things I purchased, including food, was similar to US prices. In the smaller towns, I found some cheaper restaurant meals, but other than the occasional Comida Del Dia, I'd say they were only slightly cheaper.

Others who live there are a better source of info than I am, obviously, but I found much of the infrastructure to be pretty good -- the main highways and roads were in very good shape. Banks, gas stations, etc. were plentiful and modern. Thankfully I've had no reason to experience a hospital in the several times I've visited .
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