An Excellent Trip Timeline Comes With Great Responsibility!
If you're looking for an extended visit to Costa Rica, you've come to the right place.
Our team of local experts will help you design a customized vacation plan to suit your interests, style, and budget. We'll ensure you make the most of every moment, minimizing logistical snags and ticking all the boxes for your ideal getaway.
Longer trips can crisscross the country to see multiple destinations, landscapes, and climates. Or you might want to live life like a local by lingering longer somewhere. Maybe you want to play it by ear and see where Costa Rica takes you.
If you're planning on a long-term stay in Costa Rica, it's worth doing it right and taking some factors into consideration. To that end, when you contact us for help, we'll try to get a feel for what you're looking for and we'll ask you a few questions:
- Who's coming to Costa Rica? Is it the whole family, a couple, coming with friends, or are you flying solo?
- How much do you want to travel the country? Do you want to stay in one place and establish a home? Or do you want to spend your time on the road exploring?
- Are you looking for a luxury stay? Or do you seek adventure and local flavor?
- Are there things you want to see and do while staying long-term in Costa Rica?
Whether you’re coming to Costa Rica for three weeks or three months, it starts with our understanding what’s most important to you on this trip.
Our local experts will ask you questions to discover your unique travel personality, then match you with the destinations, lodging, and activities that work for you.
Common Reasons for Extended Trips
Costa Rica is a perfect place for a mini-sabbatical, as there are so many things you can do in one country. Maybe it is a summer adventure with the family, or perhaps you can take a couple of months from work, disconnect and explore the country.
Family Overseas Adventure
Bring the family for an incredible opportunity to educate and explore. You can go from the beaches to the rainforest, a volcano to the city, and explore a cloud forest in between. The kids can do homework about the animals and nature they've encountered to share with their friends back home.
Remote Working / Digital Nomad
Being a digital nomad is becoming increasingly popular these days. Wifi is excellent, and it's easy to set up an office at your hotel or vacation rental. There are also plenty of co-working spaces.
Maybe you're looking to relocate. This is an excellent reason to to test the waters with a longer term stay. We have plenty of staff working for us who originally came down on vacation and fell in love with Costa Rica. We would be happy to connect them with you if you want some relocation advice.
Popular Extended Stay Lodging Options
Vacation Rentals: Condos and Villas
If you're staying longer term in Costa Rica, a vacation rental - be that a condo or a villa - makes sense. It's good to get a feel of Costa Rican life outside of a hotel. Ask us about condo and home rentals in your favorite areas of Costa Rica.
Hotels with Kitchenettes
Another option is to check out those hotels with kitchens or kitchenettes in the rooms. There are plenty of those available, and you won't be paying a crazy fee. The space may be a tad smaller, and you may have to work outside if you have to work, but some options can make this work for the family, a couple, or a solo explorer.
Moderately Priced Hotels
The great thing about staying in a moderately priced hotel is that there could be a pool, a restaurant, a concierge service, and similar amenities.
Top Places for Long-Term Trips
Nosara is a popular beach community among expats, famous for its surfing, yoga, and wellness vibe. You'll find many co-working spaces, coffee shops, and restaurants with quality wifi.
Santa Teresa is another surf community popular with expats staying long-term in Costa Rica. It attracts a slightly younger crowd, although families are welcome and will love this place.
San José and the Central Valley
San José is the capital of Costa Rica, located in the center of the country. It's the cultural heart of Costa Rica and offers by far the most amenities for long stayers, in terms of schools, healthcare access, good shopping, the best restaurants, cinemas, theaters, housing opportunities, and so on.
Its central location makes it a base to stay during those work and schooldays in the week while traveling all over the country at weekends.
Uvita is another expat hotspot in the south of Costa Rica, along the Pacific coast where lush rainforest meets the beach. It's the perfect place to hole up in for a while and write a book!
Surfers, hikers, and nature lovers will find a perfect home for themselves in Uvita.
Factors to Consider
Yes, there is fast internet in Costa Rica but there are times when it goes out. Or the power goes out. Then it's time to say “pura vida” and crack open a cold one. What else can you do?
Proximity to Healthcare
There are doctors, hospitals, and specialists available. However, depending on your illness or whatever may be going on, you probably will have to pay out of pocket. Get a receipt and then send it to your insurance company. If you need easy access to good healthcare, you're better off staying close to San Jose.
Shopping and Dining Options
Once again, this depends on where you are staying. Larger towns and cities will have many options, as will plenty of the more touristy beach communities like Tamarindo, Jaco, and Playas del Coco (all excellent spots for long-term stays in their own right, by the way!). Other, smaller communities won't have much.. maybe a couple of grocery stores, fruit stands, and some clothing places. And these may shut down in the September and October low season.
Frequently Asked Questions About Long Stays
What are the Immigration Requirements?
US nationals must have a current valid passport and a return ticket to exit Costa Rica within 90 days. After that, you have to leave the country and then come back for up to another 90 days. Most people do border runs to neighboring countries. If you wish to stay longer, you need to either get residency or stay for up to a year with the digital nomad visa.
Is it easy to rent a car long-term?
Most rental car places will only let you rent for 30 days at a time. After that, you must take the car back to the car rental place, either re-sign a contract or go to another rental company. Make sure you check the car rental terms and conditions.
What type of healthcare is available?
Private and public doctors are available, but whether you have healthcare in the States or Canada, you must pay upfront in Costa Rica.
What is available for grocery shopping for long-term stays?
Every large city and tourist community in Costa Rica has at least one supermarket, so grocery shopping is easy. There are also small, mom-and-pop stores called pulperias all over the place, although you might find them lacking somewhat. But overall, buying groceries is no problem in Costa Rica. Check out the local farmers markets that pretty much every community has for extra cheap and fresh fruit and veg!
Can we homeschool our kids abroad?
In Costa Rica, homeschooling is not recognized as part of the school system, but if you come from the States, homeschooling is recognized. We suggest you connect with your kid's school district to ensure that it is recognized if you and the family are traveling long-term in Costa Rica.
Is there an opportunity to meet other expats?
If you use Facebook, you’ll find many groups of expats to connect with and ask questions. Also, head to Google and search for the Expat Community in Costa Rica. There are events, forums and so much more.