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Moving to Costa Rica

Moving to Costa Rica can be an exciting and fun adventure, if you follow certain simple steps. If you do it the wrong way, it can be hell. Here are some quick tips with do's and don'ts.

DO:

  • Realize that you are in a different country. This may seem a very obvious statement, but it is not. You will find enough McDonalds and English speaking people to get confused for a moment. You need to understand that there is a cultural difference.
  • Leave a way out. Do not burn your bridges. Before you decide to retire here and invest your life savings in a condo, rent a place for a couple of months.
  • Try to learn some Spanish. Even if it is just enough to order a pizza or get directions. People will like you and respect your effort.
  • Try the local food, in local restaurants. Learn about it and allow the experience to help you grow. Why travel half around the continent to eat at Applebee's?
  • Understand that you will miss your current friends and family a lot, much more than you think. You may have fall outs with friends but when you move away you will really miss them. Make sure you have means of communication with them and make sure you have their phone numbers, email addresses etc.

DO NOT:

  • Let people scare you. When you talk to other people that have moved here, you will find a lot of them that had many problems. Use their experience to avoid potential problems, but do not let their experience completely define your decision.
  • Limit yourself to thinking in dollars. Understand the currency and the exchange rate.
  • Set strict plans. Be flexible. Many things will not go as planned. If you have strict rules, you will get very frustrated.
  • Expect things to move at New York's speed. Costa Ricans will take their sweet time, for everything. You will NOT be able to change that.
  • Try to do everything on your own. You will need help sometimes. Make sure you have someone to go to.