Expats in San Jose, Costa Rica
Costa Rica is becoming a pretty major tourism spot for Americans these days. As this trend continues you will probably start to find more expats in San Jose then ever before.
There are certainly a lot of positives about being an expat in San Jose. You can have a nice life here and meet many sexy Latina’s. There is some good nightlife available, and the natural beauty of the country is great as well.
An expat in San Jose always has the option to head to Jaco for the weekend where you can find some great beaches, surfing, and more nice nightlife.
One thing that you may not realize is that this is actually a very small city for a capitol. There are only about 300k people that live here, and Costa Rica as a whole has under 5 million.
There are plenty of positives to living in San Jose, but there are some negatives as well which we will get to later. Since we try to be glass half full here lets begin with the positives.
Why Expats Live In San Jose
So what are the main positives about living in San Jose? Well for starters you can get a pretty good price of living in a country that is relatively safe by Latin American standards.
It may not be the safest place in the world, but it is similar to Southeast Asia where most of the crime is petty theft not aggressive violence. Another big plus for expats in San Jose is that English is more well spoken here then most Latin American countries.
You will be better served if you learn Spanish, but it isn’t anywhere near as imperative as it would be in most places south of the border. You will be able to get by with your English if you stick to the main tourist and expat areas.
There is plenty of nightlife here but sadly it is a bit spread out. The main hooker nightlife in San Jose is in Gringo Gulch, but this post isn’t as much about that. We have already written a lot on that subject including an eBook that breaks down a Costa Rica vacation for a single guy.
Lots of expats like to see other expats and tourists around and there certainly a lot of those in this country. If you are looking for a safe area of the city to call home when you first move here try out ‘Escazu.’ This area is so nice that you might feel like you are in some suburban US city.
Actually there are so many tourists that it is starting to spoil the place. It is still a good place for a vacation, but maybe not as good of a place to live. Book your first hotel there off Agoda so you feel comfortable when you arrive.
One huge positive about living here would have to be the rain forest and great natural beauty. There are so many awesome day trips that you could take that would always give you new places to explore.
Why You May Not Like San Jose
Well we just mentioned how there are so many tourists and expats in San Jose, and when that happens places get spoiled. Prices go up and up and suddenly what was once a wonderful cheap place to live is now a wonderful moderately priced place to live.
It is still going to be a whole lot cheaper than living in the western world, but as more expats (and more importantly tourists) come down and over pay the market rate new market rates get set.
An apartment in a nice area will still run you $500 or less so it isn’t all bad. However if there hadn’t been such a huge influx of tourists and expats you probably would be paying around $300.
You can see this very well when dealing with the hookers as they charge quite a bit more than they should. There are sexy Latina’s in San Jose, and if you aren’t familiar with them they generally have lighter skin then most Latina’s.
It is also a bit harder to score with local Costa Rican girls because there are so many tourists around that you don’t get the same ‘gringo factor’ you might get in other less traveled places. Some parts of the world a foreigner walks by and everyone stares, here no one will bat an eye.
On the other hand they do speak better English, so that does improve your chances a bit.
Should You Become a Costa Rican Expat?
Well, before making a drastic move like that you should probably take a vacation there first right? Don’t move somewhere based on this post that would be crazy! :p
In all seriousness there are some positives about San Jose and all of Costa Rica, but it probably isn’t the best place to move. Part of the reason to move somewhere exotic is to be a bit exotic yourself, and that doesn’t work here.
You would still be able to live a good life there, and you would probably be happier there then in a western world country. But being an expat in San Jose, Costa Rica probably isn’t the best possible option. This eBook has other good ideas for places to visit in Latin America.