Costa Rica, The Place To Be

Tenorio Waterfall, Costa Rica

For nearly 170 years Costa Rica has been among the most prosperous and stable nations in Latin America. You don’t read a lot in the news about the small Central American nation and that’s good. Since 1949 Costa Rica has had no standing army–the first among only a few countries in the world. No military coups here. Mexico has it’s drug lords, Guatemala its earthquakes and both have volcanoes, but Costa Ricans and ex-pats quietly enjoy their bit of paradise. No news is good news.

Costa Rica’s economy has been developing rapidly for the past several years. In addition to traditional agriculture, it now has ecotourism, pharmaceuticals, financial outsourcing, software development and finance. It is the only country to meet all five criteria established to measure environmental sustainability. Now that’s progressive! But if hunting game is your hobby, leave your rifles at home because recreational hunting is banned.

It’s nice to know that you are choosing to live in a country with a long life expectancy so you can enjoy the high standard of living among educated people. How do you know? Costa Rica scores high on the United Nations Human Development Index. The HDI is a measurement of life expectancy, education, literacy, standards of living and quality of life for countries around the world.

Among those quality of life factors, a good cup of locally grown coffee scores high. Costa Rica is famous for its gourmet coffee, Its Tarrazu arabica beans are among the finest in the world. While you sip, have a locally grown banana (a natural source of potassium). Bananas, pineapples and coffee are the three main cash crops. Contributing to a variety of agricultural abundance, there are several microclimates, allowing producers to grow tropical fruits and crops for temperate climates as well, like coffee.

Costa Rica holds presidential elections every four years, the latest in 2014. All elections have been widely regarded by the international community as peaceful and transparent. The citizens have enjoyed uninterrupted democracy since 1948. Similar to the US, Costa Rica has a strong system of constitutional checks and balances with executive, legislative and judicial branches.

The government offers tax exemptions for those willing to invest in the country. Costa Rica is highest in the region in attracting foreign direct investment. The Financial Times awarded Costa Rica as “Caribbean and Central American Country of the Future 2011/12” for this success. In 2007 voters endorsed a Free Trade Agreement.

Whether you are doing business or Skyping the grandchildren back in the USA, Costa Rica is in the Central Time Zone, so there are no intricate calculations to figure out if it’s too early or too late to call. That’s a huge advantage to math-challenged brains and family relations. It also means that you are in the same time zone as the office in Chicago or your broker in Dallas.

All these reasons–stability, growing economy, ecological responsibility, a high quality of life–make Costa Rica a great place to retire.