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Retire in Tamarindo, Costa Rica?
Overview: Guanacaste Province is on the northern edge of Costa Rica's Pacific Coast. Called the Gold Coast, it has boomed with expatriate developments in recent years and is known for its beautiful beaches and biodiverse parkland. It is also home to the lively village of Tamarindo.
One of the most accessible towns along the coast, Tamarindo sits at the end of a paved highway and is where many people from surrounding villages come to shop. The village is very walkable and has modern hardware stores, markets, yoga studios, pharmacies, a tennis club, and more than 40 restaurants, including BBQ, Italian and Middle Eastern. The upscale AutoMercado includes a deli and liquor department. The beach is long, clean and busy during the high season but very quiet during the low season. Consistent waves make it a popular place for surfing. Leatherback turtles nest along the shore, and howler monkeys and giant iguanas are not far away. Fishing charters, eco-tours, golf, and kayaking are always possible. The Arenal Volcano National Park and the caves at Barra Honda National Park are potential day trips. Bus service runs to and from San Jose and Liberia's international airport is a little more than an hour away.
Population: 1,500, but it swells to 5,000 during tourist season (November through April).
Expatriate Community: No estimates but this is a favorite Costa Rica expat destination.
Living Costs: A single person can live on about $1,500 per month and a couple on about $2,000 to $2,500 per month.
Home Prices: Small condominiums start at around $165,000 USD. Rentals are hard to find.
Climate: Costa Rica has two seasons, dry (November through April) and wet (May through October). Temperatures are between 80 and 95 degrees year round.
Local Medical Clinic or Hospital: Yes, a small clinic. Liberia, about an hour and a half away, has a large public hospital that is open to legal residents, including expats.
Public Transit: Yes, a public bus
Crime Rate: Below U.S. national average
Relocation: Costa Rica encourages expat retirement. Its Pensionado Program requires at least $1,000 USD per month in pension income which can come from a public source, such as the U.S. government, or from a private source (IRA, etc.). The income much be deposited into a Costa Rican account in colones, not dollars.
Nearest Airport: In town, Tamarindo Airport is is served daily by SANSA and Nature Air.
Notes: English is spoken here and there, along with Spanish, Italian and other languages.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes
Costa Rica: Costa Rica, slightly smaller than the state of Michigan, is in the Central American isthmus. Its rugged terrain is covered in rainforest and it has 800 miles of both Pacific and Atlantic coastline. It is also the only Western Hemisphere country without a permanent standing army.
Population: Five million
Capital: San Jose
Government: Democratic republic
Monetary Unit: Colon
Ethnicities: Mestizo, Mulatto, Indigenou, Black/Afro-Caribbean
Literacy Rate: 98%
Air Travel Time from San Jose to Miami: Seven hours
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