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Home / Preface
5 - Costa Rica in Brief
6 - Map of Costa Rica
8 - Symbols of Costa Rica
9 - Introduction
12 - Getting a Bird's Eye View
14 - Why Choose Costa Rica?
18 - Costa Rica Has Many Firsts to its Name
22 - A Place That Accepts All Races
30 - The Friendliness of the Costa Ricans
33 - Ticos are Individualistic
35 - Ticos Are Different and Procrastinators
38 - Why Others Have Gone Abroad
42 - Specific Reasons for Leaving Home
45 - Culture Shock
48 - Enjoy Your Retirement by Adjusting
49 - Ways to Adjust to Your New Life
56 - Making Your Stay More Satifying
58 - Cost of Living
67 - Addresses and Directions
69 - Your Car and Driving
71 - How Not to Be Obnoxious to Locals
74 - Adjusting to the Weather and Climate
76 - Choosing the Right Climate for You
77 - City Living versus Country Living
79 - Where to Live in Costa Rica
82 - Living in Your American Style
84 - Top Quality Health Services
87 - Medical Centers in San José
89 - Dying in Costa Rica
91 - Security and Safety in Costa Rica
94 - Personal Experiences of Petty Thievery
98 - Sex and Romance
101 - Going into Business Yourself
105 - Expatriates Production Enterprises
110 - Expatriates Service Businesses
114 - The Business Environment
120 - Helpful Tips for the Newcomer
125 - National Holidays and Festivities
128 - Religion, Churches & Support Groups
131 - The Optimism and Health Link
133 - The 8 Point Formula for Anti-Aging
134 - Obtaining Insurance
136 - Early Colonial History in Brief
139 - English Language & Tico Expressions
144 - Misdemeanors That Are Now Felonies
146 - Closing Words
148 - Bibliography
149 - For More Information and Contacts
151 - Appendix
155 - Index

You Can Live Economically and Well

Monthly living costs are still low for the retiree who has an income in dollars. But, of course, you have to be a selective buyer and shop around. One of the facts of life in most Latin American countries is that inflation is a continuous process which is here to stay and Costa Rica is no exception. In recent years the annual inflation rate in Costa Rica has ranged from 9 to 12 per cent. So the retiree with an income in dollars finds that his money is stretched and goes further for him.

A couple can enjoy a high quality lifestyle on a monthly income anywhere from $1500 to $2500. And that includes renting a house in a good area, full-time domestic help and a gardener who comes in to do your yard. Weeds and grass grow fast in the tropics, especially during the rainy season, so it's a good idea to have them trimmed at least every two weeks at that time of the year. In the dry season your garden can stand a trimming once a month or more.

I know several single foreign retirees who live on $700 to $800 a month and who have no problems making ends meet. Of course, they're very selective in their expenditures, but it's not an exaggeration to say that two persons can live in Costa Rica for less than what it costs one person to live in a similar lifestyle in the States. As I mentioned before, a couple can easily live comfortably well on $1500 a month which includes employing a maid for $200 a month working 8 hours a day Monday through Friday and renting an apartment for $300 to $400 a month and maintain an economy car or jeep.

Once you're settled, you can cut down on expenses and budget them according to your expected monthly income, likes and dislikes, and the type of lifestyle you want to maintain. It's always possible to cut down on some expenditure which is really not entirely necessary. Try to differentiate between wants and necessities. You'll save by doing so.

Living expenses can be lower if you should decide to locate in any of the various nice small cities and towns within the Central Intermountain Valley instead of staying in San José. Most stores and the availability of needed services can be found generally within walking distance from the house where you would be living. Products and services will be less expensive than they would be in San José. For that reason, and to follow a slower pace of life, many retirees have decided to live in small towns away from the larger cities. And many have bought small farms to keep themselves closer to nature or simply to dabble in gentleman farming.

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All texts of How to Retire Happily in Peacefull Costa Rica are copyrighted © by Frank J. Thomas Gallardo and Editorial Texto Costa Rica. We recommend to buy a hard copy of How to Retire Happily in Peacefull Costa Rica.