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4 Reasons Why Americans Retire in Costa Rica

Author: Matthew Taylor

Part of the American Dream is the ability to retire in style. However, with the variability of Social Security payments, pension payments and 401(k) cashouts, many Americans may need to find thrifty ways to retire with the lifestyle they want. With reasonable health care costs, good infrastructure, a growing economy and a laid-back tropical lifestyle, Costa Rica has become a popular tropical retirement destination for Americans. In fact, the country is quickly becoming known as the Switzerland of Latin America. However, before running off to retire, it is important to look at some of the top reasons why Costa Rica has become so popular. The following are the top five reasons why Americans are retiring to Costa Rica in 2015.

1. Low Cost of Living

While the retirement population of Costa Rica has swelled in recent years, the country still remains an inexpensive place to live. It is possible to live in the capital of San Jose or in smaller cities such as San Ramon for a very small amount of money. The former city has a population of 300,000 while the latter city has a population of around 70,000.

Regardless of the city, property taxes are very low for those looking to make Costa Rica their principal residence. In fact, taxes can be as low as 0.25% of a home's registered value. If a retiree would rather rent than buy, it is possible to find good two-bedroom homes for roughly $200 per month.

When dining out, residents end up spending around $1.50 for breakfast, $2 for lunch and between $4 and $6 for dinner. In addition to eating out, Costa Rica offers a multitude of outdoor markets where fresh meats, fruits and vegetables can be purchased for very little.

2. Good Medical Care for Latin America

Costa Rica is known for having the best medical facilities that provide retirees with the same service as in the United States. For example, Hospital CIMA San Jose, an affiliate of the Baylor Medical Center in Houston, is a new facility that has comparable technologies and procedural abilities to the top hospitals in the U.S. There are even premier medical facilities that are outside the major cities in Costa Rica. Hospital Clinica Biblica, outside of San Jose, is another top hospital with the same quality of service a retiree can find at CIMA.

3. Good Infrastructure for a Developing Country

Costa Rica is a developing country that offers beautiful beaches for a bargain. However, many people believe this developing country has poor infrastructure, exacerbated by its multimonth rainy season. While the country's infrastructure is comprised of roads that are often two lanes, these roads are anything but poor. Under the administration of President Oscar Arias, significant steps have been taken to repair and maintain Costa Rica's road system and other infrastructure. Millions of dollars have been allocated to new road construction.

4. Most Costa Ricans Are Multilingual

While it is easier to live in Costa Rica if a retiree knows Spanish, being bilingual is not a requirement to live comfortably in the country. This is because many residents of Costa Rica are bilingual themselves, often speaking English and Spanish. Additionally, with such a large American population already living in the country, many necessary relocation tasks can be done through English communication, including getting a driver's license, finding a house and hooking up utilities.

5. Close Proximity to America

One of the best location-based benefits of retiring to Costa Rica is the country is just a 2.5-hour flight from Miami. This allows retirees the chance to move between Costa Rica and the U.S. with ease. However, retirees need to ensure they have the correct papers to move through customs.

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