Retiring in costa rica

Retiring in costa rica

Retiring in costa rica

Many retirees are drawn to Costa Rica’s stable democracy, excellent medical care, pleasant climate, natural beauty, and hospitable people. Read this article to find out why and how to retire in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica’s ex-pat community continues to grow, and a growing number of retirees have chosen to live out their golden years in pockets across the country. The country’s natural beauty means that volcanoes, beaches, and rainforests are often just a few hours’ drive away, and you can round out your retreat with activities like:

  • Wildlife viewing, 
  • Hiking, 
  • Gardening; Or you could even join a local group, such as a theater company or the Rotary Club.

Considering that most retirees have a fixed income to live on, the country’s relatively low cost of living is another practical drawback. Living and living costs, in general, tend to be affordable, and it’s possible to live frugally on $ 750 a month, while $ 1,500 will buy you a very comfortable lifestyle. If you need to keep a budget, you can save money (and eat healthy and delicious food) by stocking up on fresh produce at local farmers’ markets at very reasonable prices.

Health care in Costa Rica is also considerably less expensive than in certain Western nations, such as the United States, and retired residents can receive private or even public health care. Whichever option you choose, the facilities are modern and affordable, and the medical staff is often highly trained. If you become a resident, you will have to pay around the US $ 30 per month in the public health system, while private insurance can cost up to the US $100 per month and access world-class doctors and hospitals throughout the country.

Retiring in costa rica

To retire in Costa Rica, you will need to apply for a retirement visa. To qualify for a retiree visa, you must present proof of having received a monthly retirement income of at least US $ 1,000 from a pension fund, which you must exchange in Costa Rican Colones (CRC).

Suppose you do not have a guaranteed fixed income to support you during your retirement. In that case, you can apply for rentier residence (annuity holder), as long as you can deposit the US $ 60,000 in a Costa Rican bank.

To acquire a retirement visa, you will need to present several documents to the Immigration Department, such as an income certificate proving your pension. A birth certificate and a police certificate of good conduct stating that you are a law-abiding citizen (this certificate expires after six months of issuance, so it’s best to apply only once you have everything else on hand). Please note that all required documents must be valid for at least six months after your visa is issued.

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Once you are in Costa Rica, you will also need to take your fingerprints to run a background check.

Your pensioner visa must renew every three years. Alternatively, after having lived in the country for three years, you can apply for permanent residence, which will mean that you have almost all the rights of a Costa Rican.

As a pensioner or renter, you will not be allowed to work in Costa Rica, but you can own a business to earn income. As a foreigner, you will also have the right to own a property if you wish, and your home purchase will register in the National Registry of Costa Rica to provide investment security. Also, the property tax in Costa Rica is only around 0.25%, and there is no Capital Gains Tax.

Where to live – Retiring in costa rica

Retiring in costa rica
Retiring in costa rica

Central valley

Located in the country’s center, surrounded by mountains, the Central Valley region is close to the capital and offers convenience, a mild climate, and mountain views. This region boasts spring temperatures, which means you can say goodbye to winter blues. And living here allows you to be part of a vibrant ex-pat community, close to the airport and hospitals, and have everything you need close at hand.

You won’t even need to have your car, as there is so much to do at your doorstep, as well as an efficient public transportation system. You can even take a bus to soak up some culture at a museum or theater in San José.

If you want services and a faster pace of life, larger cities such as Alajuela, Heredia, and Cartago are worth considering. While if you’re looking for a more laid-back lifestyle while still having an ex-pat community and great shopping options, you might prefer the farming towns of Atenas, San Ramón, or Grecia.

The only downside is that the Central Valley is not the cheapest region in the country, although you can still live well on less than $ 2,000 a month. And the comfortable climate means you’ll have a small utility bill since you don’t need central heating or air conditioning.

The Nicoya Peninsula and the North Pacific

Suppose the sound of the golden sand of the Pacific Ocean calls you, head to the northern Pacific coast of Costa Rica. The adjacent Nicoya peninsula, where you can enjoy a quiet life on the beach.

Despite continuous development and an influx of tourists, life in the Guanacaste province remains affordable. And while you won’t have all the amenities of the Central Valley, there are enough modern conveniences to make you feel comfortable in this corner of the country.

You will also be close to Liberia, where the San Rafaél Arcángel Clinical Hospital is located (one of the most important public hospitals in the country). The Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport means that the region is easily accessible and offers good medical assistance. Take care if you need it.

Enjoy a healthy lifestyle in this hot, dry climate where the sun shines almost every day of the year. Interestingly, the water in this region has the highest calcium content in the country, which is good for bone health, and the diet in the region is high in fresh produce.

The south zone – Retiring in costa rica

Marvel at the splendor of the Pacific Ocean, jungle-covered mountains, and thick rainforest on the southern Pacific coast, commonly referred to as the South Zone, stretching to Panama. It is located about four hours from the capital, and this region offers unspoiled nature by the sea and a relaxed lifestyle on the beach. Although development is on a small scale, modern conveniences are still available, and the coastal highway has opened up the area to foreigners (although four-wheel drive is still required to access certain dirt roads in poor condition).

Most ex-pats live in and around three main cities in this region: Dominical, a small surf town and the gateway to the region; Uvita, the mall; and Ojochal, the jungle town known for top-notch restaurants run by ex-pat Epicureans.

The Caribbean coast – Retiring in costa rica

The settled part of this coastline stretches south from the port city of Limón, and you will find some of the most pristine beaches in Costa Rica, where you can relax listening to reggae in bars with cold beers or lazily swinging in a hammock and swimming in the waters. Crystalline.

The coast has an island vibe, and you can enjoy food and music unique to the area. The region can be hot and humid, but the sea breeze keeps it cool, and temperatures drop at night.

The coast is largely underdeveloped, so businesses tend to be small, from yoga studios to seafood restaurants (seafood is cheap, as many locals go fishing daily). However, services are not as reliable as in other parts of the country – short power outages are common, and the internet is not always stable. Also, if you have a medical condition requiring regular specialty care, this is difficult to live as there is only basic care, and the nearest hospital is more than an hour’s drive away.

Arenal – Retiring in costa rica

The small town of Arenal is home to Costa Rica’s largest freshwater lake and volcano, perfect for those seeking a laid-back retreat and who love the outdoors. There is always something to do in this rural setting with its close-knit ex-pat community, from hiking and mountain biking to rowing.

The surrounding mountains also provide a pleasant climate, and the rich volcanic soils make this an excellent place for gardening if you have green fingers. There are also weekly fairs in different cities where you can buy fresh produce at a low cost.

Retirement is one of the most important moments in life, as it is a change in lifestyle that transcends the workplace. Hence the need to know the steps that will allow the retirement process to go down a path of procedures that are essential and simple.

Steps for the pension process for the Disability, Old Age and Death (IVM) regime

  1. The first thing is to verify that you have met the age and quota requirements to access the old-age pension of the scheme.
  2. With the requirements verified, complete the Old Age Pension Application delivered by the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS). It is a form that must be submitted to you duly completed with the information requested and must also be signed. In addition to the form, a photocopy of the identity card must be delivered (both sides).
  3. Said documentation must be present at any of the Caja branches distributed throughout the country.
  4. Also, in the CCSS Pension Management Services Platform, located in the Jorge Debravo building (diagonal to the southeast corner of the Supreme Court of Justice, in San José). The hours of operation are Monday to Thursday from 7:00 am to 4:00 pm and Friday from 7:00 am to 3:00 pm.
  5. In the Service Platform, you are given a receipt (password) with which the interested party must return in about 15 days to know the resolution on a pension.
  6. If it is confirmed that the person has the right to a pension and is a public employee, it is communicated to him to resign from his job and enjoy his right. Employees in the private sector are automatically granted the pension benefit (if they wish, they can continue working and receiving their pension).
  7. The pensioner is now given a copy of the resolution to present it to the clinic or Ebais in which he is enrolled, and there they will make a Pensioner Card.
  8. You must present certification or proof of your pension status to your Pension Operator (OPC), as well as to the solidarity association or the cooperative that you were affiliated with as a worker so that they can liquidate the resources you have saved.
  9. The certification must contain:
  10. a. The full name, identification number of the pensioners, and the date of issuance of the certification.
  11. b. The declaration at the signature of the right to a pension or retirement.
  12. c. The exact date from which the worker begins to enjoy the pension and its amount.
  13. d. Indication, if applicable, of the existence of any pending beneficiary granting process in the Regime.
  14. Have the official signature authorized by the Basic Regime for this type of procedure, which can be a handwritten or digital signature, if so established by the Regime that issues it.
  15.  The certification or proof must be clear, legible, and not contain alterations of any nature.

Retiring in costa rica

In the case of the OPC, since March 2010, those who withdraw must choose a “benefit plan” to withdraw the mandatory supplementary pension. It means that the person must establish, with the advice of his operator, how he will receive the resources of his mandatory supplementary pension, which will consist of an additional income to the pension that the Costa Rican Social Security Fund will give him.

benefit plans
Retiring in costa rica

To expand on the concept of “benefit plan,” it is important to indicate that it refers to one of the three possible ways of receiving that money, not without first pointing out that the money cannot be withdrawn in a single track, as if it were savings insight. 

If, after the process, you have any additional concerns, you can consult directly with the CCSS Pensions Management or with the Superintendency of Pensions.

Retiring in costa rica

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