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when moving from canada to costa rica

An Ultimate Guide to Moving from Canada to Costa Rica

Heading towards a new adventure, eh? Fancy moving from Canada to Costa Rica, do you? Well, pull up a chair, grab a cup of good old Canadian coffee, or maybe even a tropical Costa Rican smoothie, and get ready to learn all the essentials before your life takes a 180-degree turn towards the charming country of Costa Rica. 

We’re talking about a land filled with majestic beaches, mouth-watering food, and a rainforest that you won’t be able to stop Instagramming about. Yes, we’re serious!

Okay, the first thing to remember (and this is a biggie), you can’t just wing it. You’ll need to navigate the labyrinths of visas, do some health check-ups (No, it’s not just your granny that needs those), pay your dues to the Canadian Revenue Agency, and maybe even start a job hunt. 

The good news is that Costa Rica has an excellent public health system. So, once you’re there, you can chill, knowing that if a monkey decides to have a tango with you in the jungle, you’ll be well taken care of. But hey, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Here is the List of 12 Things to Consider When Moving from Canada to Costa Rica

Initial Steps: Let's Plan This Out

So, you’re serious about moving from Canada to Costa Rica? Alright, my friend, let’s start with step one. Befriend your embassy – both the Canadian one and the Costa Rican one. It’s like meeting your in-laws before the big wedding; a little daunting but necessary. You need your visa to start your tropical life journey.

You’ve got options here. The Pensionado Program is one where you show that you have a monthly income of $1,000 US or Rentista Program asks you to prove a $2,500 US monthly income for at least two years or deposit $60,000 US in a Costa Rican Bank. 

Not into long-term commitments? The tourist or perpetual visa allows you to stay for 90 days. After that, take a short vacation, and then come back for another 90-day stay.

And remember, health is wealth! Make sure to get those routine check-ups done with your family doctor and dentist. And while you’re at it, make sure all your dues and taxes are paid off with the Canadian Revenue Agency. You don’t want to be relaxing on a beach and suddenly remember you forgot to pay your taxes, do you?

How To Pick The Right International Moving Company

Let’s face it, moving from Canada to Costa Rica isn’t like switching apartments. You’re crossing borders, baby! This means you’ll need a top-notch international moving company. It’s like picking a partner for a three-legged race; you want someone reliable, fast, and who won’t let you fall flat on your face.

Start by checking customer reviews. People love to vent on the internet, so take advantage of that. Make sure the mover is registered and has a license to get the job done. Scams are as unwanted as a mosquito at a barbecue. 

Ensure they have insurance to cover any potential damage to your goods. And remember, when it comes to shipping your stuff, a plane is faster than a boat.

Here are a couple of moving companies that are considered experts in International Moving:

Cars and Costa Rica: To Ship or Not to Ship

So, you have a car, and you’re wondering whether to bring your beloved ride with you. Here’s the thing: Unless your car has been with you through thick and thin, and you can’t imagine life without it, it’s probably best to leave it behind. The import fees can make even the toughest Canadians blanch.

But if your car is your soulmate, then go for it. A good car shipping company will have your back, guiding you through the process of moving your car. It’s like a top-notch wingman at a bar, helping you out from start to finish.

car on the road

Touching Down in Costa Rica: The First Steps

So, you’ve made it! You’re officially in Costa Rica. But before you start doing your happy dance, there are some things to take care of. First up, finding a home. Now, if you’re one of those uber-organized people who’ve already secured a place, kudos! If not, it’s time to connect with a local real estate agent or hit the online rental platform like Encuendra24.

Keep in mind, Costa Rican housing is quite affordable, but the closer you get to the city, the higher the cost. It’s like playing a game of Monopoly: landing on Park Place is going to cost you more than Baltic Avenue.

Once you’ve found your abode, pop over to the bank to set up an account. This will ensure your finances are in order and you can pay your bills.

Crunching Numbers: Utility Costs in Costa Rica

Well, moving from Canada to Costa Rica means you’ve signed up for some financial changes. Let’s talk about that.

Income and Expense Table Comparison for Canada and Costa Rica

CategoryCanada (Average per month in CAD)Costa Rica (Average per month in CAD)
IncomeAfter-tax: $3,400After-tax: $700
Housing$1,000 – $2,200$300 – $800
Healthcare$70 (for health insurance)$150 (universal healthcare coverage)

Now remember, these are average numbers. If you’re a gourmet cook who uses the oven like Picasso used a paintbrush, expect your electricity bill to be higher. But hey, life’s short, so bake those cookies!

The Internet: Staying Connected in Costa Rica

Let’s talk about the internet. It’s not just for cat videos, it’s an essential part of life. In Costa Rica, the major players are Kolbi. In larger cities like San José, the connection is pretty good.

But if you’re heading to the countryside, prepare for a slower pace, both in life and in internet speed. But hey, less time online means more time to explore those beautiful beaches!

Insurance 101 in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is pretty nifty when it comes to healthcare. They offer universal coverage to all residents, and it costs somewhere between $100 CAD – $350 CAD a month, depending on age, income and other factors. It’s like having a golden ticket to good health!

However, don’t forget to look into other insurance, such as private health, car, and life insurance. Because while Pura Vida is the way of life here, it’s good to be prepared for any bumps along the way.

Supermarket Sweep: Groceries in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a cornucopia of fresh produce. The grocery stores are like farmers’ markets, bursting with ripe fruits, vegetables, and other staples. Plus, most stores accept both USD and Costa Rica Colones, making your shopping experience a breeze.

There are plenty of options for grocery shopping, including Auto Mercado, Mas x Menos, and La Feria del Agricultor. It’s like having your pick of the best candy in a sweet shop. Enjoy the flavor fiesta!

Embracing the Pura Vida Lifestyle

The phrase “Pura Vida” or “Pure Life” isn’t just a catchphrase in Costa Rica, it’s a lifestyle! As you prepare to move from Canada to Costa Rica, be prepared to embrace this philosophy. This laid-back attitude means appreciating what you have, living in the moment, and not sweating the small stuff.

And how could you, with the ocean at your doorstep, vibrant flora and fauna surrounding you, and a cacophony of exotic bird calls as your new soundtrack? But remember, as with anything new, it might take a little time to adjust. Don’t sweat it! You’ll soon be living the Pura Vida just like a local.

Getting Around: Transportation in Costa Rica

In Costa Rica, your options for getting around are as varied as the landscapes. From the ubiquitous buses and taxis to renting a car or even hopping on a domestic flight, there are numerous ways to traverse this beautiful country.

Just be aware that while Costa Rica is small in size, travel times can be longer due to the country’s mountainous terrain. But hey, you’ll get to enjoy some breathtaking views along the way! 

Or, for the more adventurous, why not try a horseback ride or a zip-line tour to your destination? After all, who said commuting had to be dull?

The Delicious Costa Rican Cuisine

One word: Yum! Costa Rican cuisine is a tasty blend of Native American, Spanish, African and many other cuisine’s influences. With an abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables, and seafood, plus a strong preference for hearty, home-cooked meals, you’re in for a culinary treat.

Typical dishes include “Gallo Pinto,” a delightful breakfast dish of rice and beans, and “Casado,” a lunch platter that includes meat, salad, plantains, and more. Oh, and don’t forget to try the local coffee. It’s the kind of brew that makes your tastebuds sing and dance!

Nature and Wildlife in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is nature’s playground. From the ocean, mountains, and rainforests, to volcanoes, there’s a lot of nature to be seen and enjoyed. It’s also a biodiversity hotspot, with an array of wildlife that will have you reaching for your camera.

Monkeys, sloths, iguanas, and toucans are just some of the animals you might encounter on any given day. Costa Rica also hosts a number of beautiful national parks, each one offering a unique blend of flora and fauna. Just remember, while the animals are cute, it’s best to admire from a distance!


Get ready, because you’re about to embark on a beautiful journey filled with stunning sceneries, friendly folks, and a culture so vibrant, you’ll be salsa dancing in no time. Picture this: a peaceful life in a country that not only welcomes you with open arms but also offers fresh produce at every corner and cost of living that makes your wallet sigh in relief. Yes, we’re still talking about moving from Canada to Costa Rica.

Still sitting on the fence about the move? Well, think about it this way: you’re not just moving to another country. You’re stepping into a whole new way of life, full of rich experiences and adventures that most people only dream of. So, here’s to packing your bags, saying your sweet goodbyes to Canada, and whispering a thrilling hello to Costa Rica.

Remember, while moving from Canada to Costa Rica may seem like a major leap, it’s also an incredible opportunity to embrace a new culture, make new friends, and of course, snap some fabulous tropical sunset pics for your social media. Costa Rica, get ready, because here you come!

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