Guanacaste, Costa Rica, is absolutely the most famous region of this small, tropical country. Located in the northwestern corner of the country, bordering Nicaragua to its north, this department of Costa Rica is absolute bliss. More likely than not, this is where you first came to visit Costa Rica. Famous for its tourism and hospitality industry, most first-timers to the area find themselves touring around the Tamarindo beach area. The test of time has spoken, however, and incomers to Costa Rica are declaring that Guanacaste is not just for the tourists. Long-term and indefinite residents are finding their happy homes in this picturesque corner of the country.
Guanacaste has a great environment for the English-speaking tourist, but it goes a lot deeper than that. Individuals and families moving indefinitely to Costa Rica are finding all the depth of culture and community they’ve been seeking right here in Guanacaste. And better yet, it now has its own international airport in Liberia, making it the perfect destination for families living between two countries. If you’re considering a move to Costa Rica, there’s no better place to start your research than here in Guanacaste.
1. Year Long Tropics
When you picture Costa Rica, you are imagining Guanacaste. You have an endless expanse of white-sand beaches, swaying palm trees, and surreal blue ocean. You buy coconuts on the streets for just pennies and live off local coffee, exotic fruit smoothies, and ice-cold beers. If you want a life in the tropics, you’ve found your destination. This beachy department is famous for its beautiful beaches, protected national parks, and adventurous water sports.
The weather in Guanacaste creates a tropical environment year-round. From December until May, you’ll have no rain whatsoever. You’ll enjoy clear skies, day-long outings, and even some sweat in the steamy April and May months. June brings predictable rains that become very strong in October and end in November. These rains refresh the region, leaving it green and crawling with animal life. While tourists avoid the rainy season, locals and long-term residents know that these few rainy months bring the most comfortable weather, as the air clears out and the rains are short-lived.
2. The Community
In the end, you are moving to Costa Rica for more than just the ideal scenery. You’re hoping to find a positive community which can help enable your happy, healthy life. This is a major factor as to why so many people end up choosing to settle down in Guanacaste.
It’s advisable to spend at least a year in Costa Rica before buying a home, giving you time to explore the country and try out the different cultures. Some people try to first go off the beaten road. They find a rural area and learn to live simplistically. Others first try the big capital city of San Jose, aiming for better access to urban amenities. A majority of these travelers, however, end up finding the perfect community in Guanacaste. If you plan to live in Costa Rica full time, it’s important to surround yourself with many like-minded individuals. In Guanacaste you’ll find the perfect bled of local Costa Ricans, people from your own country, and expats from all over the world. This diversity creates a culture of inclusion and acceptance, and makes diverse products and services easier to find. You’ll find a great variety of bilingual schools for your children and restaurants and stores from all over the world. In no time, you’ll have morning coffee dates, a hiking group, and an invitation to a family barbecue. People residing in Guanacaste are friendly and open, and are used to meeting newcomers. Your family will be welcomed with open arms and all the living advice you could ask for.
3. The Industry
Most people moving full-time to Costa Rica plan on opening some sort of business. Entrepreneurship is strong and supported in Costa Rica, and it’s the best way to support your family. While wages for working for a large company are still quite low, the opportunities for entrepreneurship are booming. And this is even more true in Guanacaste.
Living in a region with a strong tourism and hospitality industry comes with very large financial benefits. The region has no end of its need for hotels, tour agencies, restaurants, entertainment, and travel services. The people with the most success in Guanacaste seem to be those who can acknowledge a niche need and fill it. Notice your beach town doesn’t have a tropical fruit smoothie and coffee bar? It’s your time to build it. This is a huge factor for young families needing an income, but it’s a big deal for retirees as well. Retired people have chosen to open morning breakfast bars or other part-time establishments. It gives them flexible work hours and a semi-retired lifestyle. And if you don’t plan on working at all during your stay in Costa Rica, at least you know you’re living in an area with a huge array of foods, drinks, and things to do.
4. The Culture
Even when you’re off the shore, the beach life culture still shines strong. People are relaxed, happy, and open, and the crazy bustle of big-city life feels light-years away. If you spend some time in a beach town such as Tamarindo, you’ll find no stoplights and no hurried traffic. People move at a more relaxed, natural pace and let the serenity of the beach stay with them throughout the day.
You came to Costa Rica to find health and happiness, and starting with your pace is a good first step. Let the culture of Guanacaste be part of your life. You’ll still work hard and follow basic schedules, but you’ll hustle a bit less and worry a lot less. You’re moving to the happiest country on Earth, so it’s a good idea to study their life habits.
5. Outdoor Activity
The good life is going strong in beach front bars, but there’s so much more to do than just the local food and drink scene. Costa Rica is home to nearly 5% of the entire world’s biodiversity, and this incredible natural variety is easily notable. You’ll be surrounded by beach, jungle, volcanoes, and swamp lands, and the culture has developed in appreciation of these natural assets. You’ll find hiking groups, water sports competitions, and beach-side yoga for all skill levels. There’s nothing like enjoying nature to elevate your health status, and in Guanacaste, your health will get a boost without you even trying.
Once you’re settled, make sure you keep your ear to the ground for groups to join. You could join a bird watchers group, a morning walk and talk group, or even an extreme sporting team. You’ll get to know the incredible nature surrounding your new home, make some friends, and start off your new life in the happiest and healthiest way possible.