Costa Rica

15 Best Places to Live in Costa Rica for Expats in 2024

February 09, 2024
Carolina Barrientos Carolina Barrientos
15 Best Places to Live in Costa Rica for Expats in 2024

As the calendar flips to 2024, Costa Rica emerges anew, casting its spell on the expat community worldwide with its evolving charm. 

Nestled between the Pacific and Caribbean, this land of rainforests, volcanoes, and endless coastlines is more than a postcard-perfect snapshot; it’s a dynamic haven where the traditional ‘Pura Vida’ spirit intertwines with the new-age aspirations of global citizens. From innovations in sustainable living to burgeoning cultural hubs, Costa Rica in 2024 is not just a place to live; it’s a place to thrive, offering a symphony of experiences that resonate with the desires of modern expatriates.  

Let’s journey through the top 15 locations where this unique blend of old and new makes Costa Rica an unparalleled expat choice.

Costa Rica travel

Methodology for Selecting Locations Perfect for Expats  

When choosing the best places for expats to live in Costa Rica in 2024, several crucial factors are considered to ensure a comprehensive and relevant guide.  

  1. Cost of Living: A key concern for anyone relocating is affordability. We’ve analyzed the cost of living in each area, encompassing housing, groceries, transportation, and leisure activities. This gives a clear picture of what your daily life could cost in these locales. 
  1. Safety: Your safety is paramount. We examined the safety records of each location, considering both statistics and expat feedback. This offers peace of mind about the security environment in these potential new homes. 
  1. Healthcare: Access to quality healthcare is critical, especially for retirees in Costa Rica. Our research includes the availability and standard of healthcare services in each area, ensuring you’re always close to excellent medical care. 
  1. Community and Lifestyle: The presence of an active expat community can significantly influence your experience. We’ve looked into the social life, cultural activities, and general lifestyle in each location, ensuring a smooth transition into your new community. 
  1. Climate and Environment: Costa Rica’s diverse climate zones mean your experience can vary greatly. We’ve covered the climatic conditions and natural surroundings of each area, helping you find a location that matches your preference for a tropical beach or a more relaxed highland retreat.  
  1. Accessibility: Ease of travel is essential for local exploration and home visits. Our analysis includes the accessibility of these locations, from international airports to local transport options. 

In summary, our methodology for selecting the top expat locations in Costa Rica for 2024 is rooted in a balance of practical considerations and personal preferences, ensuring a list that caters to a wide range of expat needs.

Travel to Costa Rica

Best Places for Expats in Costa Rica 2024 

  1. Escazu: Known as the upscale suburb of San José, Escazu is popular among expats for its modern conveniences, stylish shopping centers, and quality healthcare facilities. It blends Costa Rican charm and contemporary living, offering a comfortable lifestyle with various international schools. 
  1. Heredia: With its pleasant climate and traditional Costa Rican feel, Heredia continues to attract expats who prefer a quieter life yet close to the capital. It’s renowned for its colonial architecture and friendly community, making it a perfect blend of cultural richness and modern amenities. 
  1. Alajuela: As the second-largest city, Alajuela is favored for its proximity to the international airport and vibrant local markets. It’s a hub for those seeking an authentic Costa Rican experience without straying too far from urban comforts. 
  1. Cartago: Known for its historical significance and cooler climate, Cartago offers a peaceful retreat with easy access to the Irazu Volcano. It’s a haven for history buffs and those who prefer a more temperate climate. 
  1. Puntarenas: This port city and beach destination is ideal for expats seeking a coastal lifestyle. Puntarenas is famous for its relaxed atmosphere, luxury rentals, fresh seafood, and access to stunning beaches and national parks. 
  1. Liberia: This city is the gateway to some of the most picturesque beaches and national parks. Liberia will continue to attract expats with its small-town feel, modern amenities, and easy access to the stunning Guanacaste province. 
  1. Atenas: Often touted as having one of the best climates in the world, Atenas is a favorite among retirees. Its small-town charm and tight-knit expat community make it a peaceful yet socially engaging place to live. 
  1. Tamarindo: A prime spot for surfers and beach lovers, Tamarindo offers a lively beach town atmosphere. The expat community here is thriving, with plenty of activities, restaurants, and nightlife, making it a vibrant location for those seeking an active lifestyle. 
  1. Santa Teresa: This remote beach town on the Nicoya Peninsula is known for its rustic charm and stunning sunsets. Popular among surfers and yoga enthusiasts, Santa Teresa will be a serene destination for those looking for a laid-back beach lifestyle. 
  1. Jacó: Jacó is a bustling beach town known for its active nightlife and diverse international community. It remains popular for those seeking a lively social scene with easy access to various water sports and entertainment options. 
  1. Dominical: A haven for surfers and nature lovers, Dominical offers a laid-back lifestyle amidst stunning natural scenery. Its small community vibe is perfect for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. 
  1. La Fortuna: Situated near the Arenal Volcano, La Fortuna is a paradise for adventure enthusiasts. The town offers a mix of natural hot springs, hiking trails, and eco-tourism activities. 
  1. Orotina: Known for its agricultural richness, Orotina offers a more authentic Costa Rican experience. Its proximity to the Pacific coast and San José makes it an appealing choice for those seeking a peaceful life close to urban amenities. 
  1. Montezuma: This charming beach town on the Nicoya Peninsula is known for its bohemian vibe and stunning natural beauty. Montezuma is ideal for those seeking a tranquil lifestyle, offering a unique blend of yoga retreats, wildlife, and pristine beaches. 
  1. Manuel Antonio: Manuel Antonio is a stunning destination with a unique combination of natural beauty and modern luxury. With a world-famous national park, breathtaking beaches, and high-end amenities, this charming town has something for everyone. Expats here enjoy high-quality dining options, wildlife encounters, and various outdoor activities. 
Villa Firenze


As we’ve explored the diverse and captivating locales of Costa Rica, it’s clear why this nation continues to be a top choice for expats in 2024. From Jaco’s vibrant streets to Montezuma’s tranquil beaches, each location offers its unique blend of beauty, culture, and lifestyle. Whether you’re seeking adventure, peace, or a bit of both, the rich tropical tapestry promises a fulfilling expat experience.  

As you consider your options, remember that the right location is not just about scenic beauty or amenities but about finding a place that resonates with your needs and dreams. In Costa Rica, the Pura Vida lifestyle is not just a slogan; it’s a daily reality.

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