Best Places to Live in Costa Rica - Expat Community

Best Places to Live in Costa Rica

Sep 14, 2023 | Costa Rica, Knowledge Base | 0 comments

With its tropical climate and ‘Pura Vida’ lifestyle Costa Rica emerges as an enticing destination for those seeking to embrace a new chapter in life.

Of course, choosing where to relocate will depend largely on personal choices, preferences, the lifestyle you’re looking for, the climate you prefer and what type of scenery or natural beauty you like the most.

In this guide, we will explore some of the best destinations in Costa Rica, each with its own unique charm and appeal.



Located in the northwestern corner of the country, it brushes against the Pacific Ocean and shares its northern boundary with Nicaragua.

It boasts beautiful beaches and National Parks that enchant both locals and foreigners. Its beaches are not only enchanting, secure, and pristine, but they also cater to a multitude of interests and lifestyles.

El Coco, Flamingo, Tamarindo, and Nosara are particularly preferred by expats due to their mix of essential amenities, commercial potential, and recreational activities. Furthermore, Guanacaste’s coastline is peppered with emerging towns, and it’s not uncommon to find expats residing in these areas.


La Fortuna/ Arenal 

Arenal, with its verdant rainforests, soothing hot springs, renowned lake, and the iconic Arenal Volcano majestically dominating the landscape, embodies a haven for those passionate about nature.

This magnificent area belongs to the Alajuela province, and its city center is just a few hours away.

Communities like Nuevo Arenal, Tronadora, and Tilaran, nestled around Lake Arenal, present breathtaking panoramas of Costa Rica’s enchanting beauty.

Arenal has cemented itself as a hub for eco-tourism, thanks to the colossal volcano and Lake Arenal. At the volcano’s base, the Tabacón River’s thermal waters spring forth, making hot spring baths an immensely popular activity amongst visitors and locals alike.

Preserving its natural splendor, the Arenal region remains untouched by excessive commercialization and urban sprawl, rooted deeply in the unspoiled beauty that Costa Rica is celebrated for.

In this serene setting, farmers’ markets and open-air stalls brimming with fresh produce dot the communities, giving a sense of rural tranquility without compromising on essential connections to the broader world.


Quepos/ Manuel Antonio

Manuel Antonio, tucked away alongside the world-renowned Manuel Antonio National Park on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, stands as a jewel of nature.

This picturesque town has carved a niche for itself in the world of travel, drawing tourists with its pristine sandy beaches, verdant rainforests that echo with the calls of diverse wildlife, and azure waters. From playful monkeys to vibrant toucans, the region is a biodiverse hotspot, offering nature enthusiasts a chance to immerse themselves in the wild.

Manuel Antonio boasts a fusion of Tico traditions with international influences, given its appeal to expatriates from across the globe. Numerous expats, having arrived as curious travelers, have found themselves so deeply enamored by the town’s charm that they’ve chosen to establish roots.


Caribbean (Limon Province)

The Caribbean side of Costa Rica has a unique Afro-Caribbean influence, visible in its culture, food, and music. The pace of life here is laid-back with beautiful beaches like Punta Uva, Cahuita, and the bustling town of Puerto Viejo.

Its exuberant natural paradise has captured the heart of many who love a tropical climate and living surrounded by a lush green.

While Puerto Viejo has certainly seen growth and modernization, it retains a bohemian, relaxed vibe. Expats are drawn to its combination of nightlife, beach life, and the opportunity for sustainable living.

Nonetheless, for those who enjoy a calmer and more tranquil lifestyle Cahuita is the perfect destination, as it’s a smaller town with a tight expat community.



Uvita, located in the Costa Ballena region of Costa Rica’s southern Pacific coast, has seen a steady increase in its expatriate population over recent years. Renowned for its iconic Whale’s Tail sandbar formation and as a launching point for Marino Ballena National Park, Uvita offers a blend of natural beauty and modern amenities.

Over the past decade, Uvita has seen significant improvements in its infrastructure. There’s increased access to high-speed internet, well-maintained roads, and a growing number of businesses.

It’s also a a hub for holistic and wellness retreats. Expats interested in yoga, meditation, and sustainable living will find a welcoming community here.

Uvita is well-equipped with essential amenities. There are international schools, healthcare facilities, supermarkets, farmers’ markets, and an array of dining options.


Orosi: A hidden gem

Orosi, located in the Orosi Valley of Cartago Province in Costa Rica, is a hidden gem that’s slowly gaining recognition among expatriates. Known for its lush landscapes, historic landmarks, and tranquil environment, Orosi presents a unique blend of cultural and natural richness.

Nestled in a verdant valley surrounded by mountains and coffee plantations, Orosi offers breathtaking views at every turn.

In addition, it benefits from a moderate climate, with temperatures generally more tempered and cooler than the coastal regions.

Though Orosi retains a rural charm, it’s not far from the provincial capital of Cartago, providing easy access to larger supermarkets, hospitals, and other essential services.


It’s always a good idea to visit and spend some time in potential locations before making a long-term commitment.

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