Planning to Move to Costa Rica? Here’s How to Prepare

The pandemic has undoubtedly impacted global mobility. The number of migrants to other countries dropped by two million due to the spread of the virus, especially when lockdowns were put into place. When borders started opening up in 2021, more people started to travel and move once again in search of better living or working conditions.

If you’re interested in a country with warm people, a safe environment, and an affordable way of living, Costa Rica could be a great fit for you. Located in Central America, this country is home to beautiful national parks and beaches, rich with biodiversity, and citizens who boast an easygoing and fun lifestyle. Before you hop on a plane, here are some steps you can take to get you ready for your move.

Research thoroughly

One of the first things to do to prepare yourself for migrating to a new place is researching what living and working in Costa Rica is like for foreign residents. For instance, you may be shocked by what the work culture is like here — some colleagues are relaxed at their jobs, while others even work when they're sick. Looking for reputable sources on healthcare, housing, careers and the like can help you start the transition without too many surprises. Listening to someone who has experienced firsthand what it’s like to live in Costa Rica is also a good source of valuable information.

Prepare your paperwork

Keeping track of the documents and requirements you will need for your move is key to avoiding complications with immigration. For Costa Rican immigration, there can be different or additional requirements depending on if you are a retiree, self-employed, a student, or working in the country, so be aware of what is needed before you apply for temporary residence. You may also need to prepare payments, your passport, your birth certificate, and a letter explaining your reasons for moving. Don’t forget to keep these documents up-to-date as much as possible.

Explore international aid and volunteer options

Costa Rica has a lot of amazing qualities, but it has its fair share of challenges, as well. Pursuing a career as an international aid worker may be a good way to understand what Costa Ricans are like, and how you can best serve the country. International aid work can be a rewarding career path if you value a sense of adventure and the potential to effect positive change. There are also plenty of volunteering opportunities in Costa Rica such as nature conservation, construction work, and even sea turtle protection, so this may be a good way to familiarize yourself with the environment.

Be aware of Covid-19 protocols

Though travel and migration restrictions due to Covid-19 have become more relaxed, it’s still good to know the restrictions and protocols in place. Costa Rica is no longer in a Covid-19 state of emergency, which means masks aren’t always required — but it’s best to keep them handy in case. Take note of the medical facilities offering testing and vaccinations as well. It’s always good to take the proper measures to ensure you and others are safe.

Embrace the language

Moving to a different country comes with its challenges, but can still be rewarding. Though all of these steps are important to consider before a move to a new place, one of the best ways to immerse yourself in the local culture and connect with Costa Ricans is to learn their language. We offer great language courses on Spanish, which can help start you off on your journey to learning more about Costa Rica and the opportunities waiting for you there.

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By Jendi Kace

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