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Living In Costa Rica As An Expat. The Best 6 Points Guide



Living in Costa Rica as an expat can be an exciting and rewarding experience. The country is known for its natural beauty, friendly people, and laid-back lifestyle. However, it’s important to keep in mind that living in a foreign country always comes with its own set of challenges. In this article, we’ll take a look at what it’s like to live in Costa Rica as an expat and some of the things you should know before making the move.

Living in Costa Rica as an Expat the Complete Guide

Cost of Living – Living in Costa Rica as an Expat

The cost of living in Costa Rica can vary depending on where you live and your lifestyle. In general, the cost of living in Costa Rica is lower than in many other countries in North America and Europe. However, it is higher than in some other Central American countries.

Housing costs in Costa Rica can be relatively affordable, especially outside of the capital city of San Jose. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in a less expensive area can start at around $300 per month, while a three-bedroom apartment in a more expensive area can cost upwards of $1,500 per month.

Food costs in Costa Rica are generally lower than in the United States and Europe. Basic staples like rice, beans, and fresh produce are inexpensive, while imported goods tend to be more expensive. Eating out at a restaurant can also be more expensive than cooking at home.

Utility costs in Costa Rica, such as electricity and water, are generally lower than in the United States. However, the cost of gasoline is relatively high.

Overall, the cost of living in Costa Rica is lower than in many developed countries, but it can still be expensive for those on a tight budget. It is important to consider all expenses and budget carefully before moving to Costa Rica.

Housing – Living in Costa Rica as an Expat

Housing in Costa Rica can be a significant expense for expats. Renting an apartment or house in a city like San Jose can be expensive, with prices similar to those in a major city in the United States. However, it’s possible to find more affordable housing options in smaller towns or in rural areas.

There are a few different options for housing in Costa Rica. One option is to rent an apartment or house. Rent prices can vary significantly depending on location, size, and amenities. It’s worth noting that many rentals in Costa Rica do not come furnished, so you’ll need to either bring your own furniture or purchase it once you arrive. It’s also common for landlords to require a deposit, typically equivalent to one or two months’ rent.

Another option is to buy a property in Costa Rica. This can be a good option for those who plan to stay in the country for an extended period of time or who want to own a vacation home. However, it’s important to be aware that the process of buying property in Costa Rica can be complex and may require the assistance of a lawyer. It’s also worth noting that property prices in Costa Rica can vary significantly depending on location and other factors.

Overall, it’s important to do your research and carefully consider your housing options before making a decision. It may be a good idea to spend some time in the country before making a commitment to a long-term rental or purchase, to get a sense of what type of housing will best suit your needs and budget.

Food – Living in Costa Rica as an Expat

Food is an important aspect of any trip, and Costa Rica is no exception. When visiting this beautiful Central American country, you may find that the cost of food is generally lower than what you are used to in the United States.

One of the reasons for this is that many staple foods in Costa Rica are relatively inexpensive. Rice and beans, for example, are a staple of the Costa Rican diet and can be purchased for a low price at local markets or supermarkets. Fruits and vegetables, particularly those that are in season, are also generally inexpensive and can be found at local markets or roadside stands. Chicken is a common protein source in Costa Rican cuisine, and it can also be found at a reasonable price.

While some items may be less expensive in Costa Rica, others may be more expensive, particularly if they are imported. Meat, dairy products, and certain imported items may cost more in Costa Rica than in the United States. It’s worth noting, however, that the cost of these items can vary widely depending on where you shop and how you prepare your meals.

Eating out at restaurants in Costa Rica can also vary in price. You can find everything from budget-friendly sodas (small, family-owned restaurants) to upscale restaurants with pricier menus. In general, though, the cost of eating out in Costa Rica is lower than in the United States.

It’s also worth considering the type of accommodation you choose while in Costa Rica. Staying at a hotel or resort with a meal plan or kitchen facilities can help you save money on food. You can also opt to cook your own meals using ingredients purchased at local markets or supermarkets.

Overall, the cost of food in Costa Rica is generally lower than in the United States. By shopping at local markets and street vendors, and by considering your accommodation options, you can save money on meals while still enjoying the delicious and diverse cuisine of Costa Rica.

Transportation – Living in Costa Rica as an Expat

Costa Rica has a variety of transportation options available for expats.

Public transportation in Costa Rica includes buses, which are a cheap and convenient way to get around the country. The bus system is extensive and covers most major cities and towns. There are also smaller vans known as “colectivos” that operate on set routes. Taxis are widely available in Costa Rica and can be hailed on the street or called in advance.

Driving in Costa Rica can be a bit more challenging than in other countries due to the narrow and winding roads, and it is common for drivers to honk their horns to signal their presence. If you plan on driving in Costa Rica, it is important to be aware of the local traffic laws and to drive defensively.

There are also several options for air travel within Costa Rica. The country has two international airports (Juan Santamaría International Airport near San Jose and Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport in Liberia) and several smaller regional airports. There are several airlines that offer flights between the major cities in Costa Rica.

Overall, the transportation options in Costa Rica are fairly reliable and convenient, making it easy for expats to get around the country.

Healthcare – Living in Costa Rica as an Expat

Costa Rica is a popular destination for expats, and for good reason. The country has a high standard of living, a stable democracy, and a strong healthcare system. For expats looking to move to Costa Rica, there are a few options for healthcare coverage.

One option is to use the country’s public healthcare system, which is available to all legal residents. The public healthcare system in Costa Rica is generally of good quality, and includes both public hospitals and clinics. While the public healthcare system may not be as modern or well-equipped as some private hospitals, it is generally considered to be of high quality and is a popular choice for many Costa Ricans.

However, many expats choose to purchase private health insurance, which can provide access to a wider range of hospitals and doctors and often comes with shorter wait times. There are several international insurance companies that offer healthcare plans specifically designed for expats living in Costa Rica. These plans typically cover a wide range of medical services, including hospital stays, surgeries, and visits to the doctor.

It’s worth noting that healthcare in Costa Rica is generally less expensive than in many other countries, so even private insurance plans may be more affordable than you might expect. In addition, Costa Rica has a high number of trained medical professionals, and many expats have reported being very satisfied with the care they have received in the country.

Overall, expats in Costa Rica have several options for healthcare coverage, including the public healthcare system and private insurance plans. While the public healthcare system is generally of good quality, many expats choose to purchase private insurance in order to have access to a wider range of hospitals and doctors and to reduce wait times. Regardless of which option you choose, healthcare in Costa Rica is generally affordable and of good quality.

Activities To Do  – Living in Costa Rica as an Expat

One of the biggest draws of living in Costa Rica as an expat is the opportunity to experience the country’s natural beauty. The country is home to a wide range of ecosystems, including rainforests, beaches, and mountains. This means that there are plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, surfing, and birdwatching.

Costa Rica is known for its stunning natural beauty and abundance of outdoor activities. It is a popular destination for expats due to its friendly locals, affordable cost of living, and high quality of life. Here are a few activities that expats living in Costa Rica can enjoy:

  1. Surfing: Costa Rica is home to some of the best surf spots in the world. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced surfer, there is a wave for you. Some popular surf spots include Playa Hermosa, Pavones, and Mal Pais.
  2. Hiking: Costa Rica is home to a diverse range of ecosystems, including rainforests, cloud forests, and dry forests. This means that there are plenty of hiking trails to explore, ranging from easy to challenging. Some popular trails include the Arenal Volcano National Park and the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.
  3. Wildlife watching: Costa Rica is home to an incredible array of wildlife, including monkeys, sloths, toucans, and hundreds of species of birds. You can go on a guided tour to spot these animals in their natural habitats, or visit one of the many national parks or wildlife sanctuaries.
  4. Scuba diving and snorkeling: Costa Rica has some of the best diving and snorkeling in the world, with crystal clear waters and an abundance of marine life. The Cocos Island National Park is a world-renowned dive spot, and you can also find excellent diving and snorkeling in the Pacific and Caribbean coasts.
  5. Yoga and wellness retreats: Costa Rica is a popular destination for yoga and wellness retreats, with many centers offering daily yoga classes and other holistic practices. You can also find spas offering massages, facials, and other treatments to help you relax and rejuvenate.
  6. Cultural experiences: Costa Rica is a culturally rich country with a deep history and traditions. You can visit indigenous communities and learn about their way of life, or take a cooking class to learn how to prepare traditional Costa Rican dishes.

Overall, Costa Rica offers a wide range of activities for expats to enjoy, from outdoor adventures to cultural experiences. Whether you are looking to relax and unwind or get your adrenaline pumping, there is something for everyone in this beautiful country.


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2,000 people trained to work in the Life Sciences Industry – Coyol Free Zone – Costa Rica



  • Courses were taught in the first half of 2023

 August. Four different initiatives developed by Coyol Free Zone enabled approximately 2,000 people to strengthen their skills and abilities to opt for quality employment in the Life Sciences industry or to specialize in their current jobs.

This Park offers an educational effort with social projection called “Coyol Te Prepara” que (Coyol Prepares You), which includes various programs to support people by providing training and employability. One of them is the Manufacturing Operator Course, offered virtually and free of charge to learn about the particular features of the Life Sciences industry, of which 1630 people have taken advantage in the first 6 months of 2023.

Historically, since its launch in 2021, the course has benefited more than 7000 people of all ages and educational levels.

A second program included in “Coyol Te Prepara” is the educational tours. It is coordinated with the educational center and companies in the Free Trade Zone to receive students from high schools and universities with careers related to the medical device industry. The objective is to hold talks and visits to companies to address topics such as the importance of soft skills, English proficiency, technical courses to strengthen their careers, and to build aspirations both in terms of studies and as an excellent place to work.

The students who have been received in this first semester of the year are from towns such as San Ramón de Alajuela, San Carlos, Sabanilla de Alajuela and Desamparados. The Coyol Free Zone companies that have opened their doors to them are: Hologic, SMC Ltda, Segex and Coopervision.

“Our outreach to nearby communities, companies and educational centers is essential for the country, not only as a contribution to our search for talent, but also as a way to promote and awaken their interest in careers related to science, mathematics and engineering, which will have a high placement rate of professionals in the short and medium term”, said Carlos Wong, Managing Director of Coyol Free Zone.

In addition, the Park provided training through the National Learning Institute (Instituto Nacional de Aprendizaje, INA) for 181 employees in areas such as quality inspector, information and communication technology operator, English, occupational health, and production supervisor, among others, thanks to an agreement between the entity and the Coyol Free Zone development group.

Within the framework of the current agreement between INA and Coyol Free Zone, a technical assistance program was developed to strengthen the manual and motor skills of potential candidates for the position of manufacturing operator and to become active employees within the companies.

They are joined by a group of 145 people who work in the Free Trade Zone, and joined BachiCoyol, an initiative together with the Castro Carazo University to support Park employees to start or complete the third cycle of high school education and obtain their High School Diploma (Bachillerato por Madurez) through virtual classes.

Coyol Free Zone is also the first free zone to open its doors to Dual Education in alliance with the Ministry of Public Education (MEP). Thanks to the participation of the companies SMC Ltda., CooperVision and Abbott, the students of the Industrial Electronics technical career of the Technical Professional School (CTP) of Atenas are studying their second year alternating between school and companies, a modality that allows them to have the skills and knowledge of companies engaged in advanced manufacturing and production of medical devices.

About Coyol Free Zone

Coyol Free Zone is the leading medical device export park in Costa Rica, exporting over US$2 billion per year, which is equivalent to 30% of the exports of the manufacturing segment of the country’s Free Zone Regime.
For the past four years, it has been part of the Top 10 Free Trade Zones in the World, and was named the Best Free Trade Zone in the Americas, in the Top 10 worldwide and Honorable Mention for Environmental Practices, Infrastructure and Logistics, by fDi Intelligence in 2022.
It is also the Best Free Trade Zone in Latin America and the Caribbean for the fourth consecutive year, the Most Innovative Free Trade Zone of the Year, and the Best Business Center for Life Sciences and Advanced Manufacturing, according to The European magazine.

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the Manufacturing Industry: What does it imply? – Coyol Free Zone – Costa Rica



Nowadays, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being incorporated into many technologies involved in the smart manufacturing process , including semiconductors, communications equipment, software applications, and platforms.

At Coyol Free Zone, we believe in AI’s potential to improve the smart manufacturing industry, associated with the benefits of increasing efficiency and sustainability in many processes.

The influence of AI in manufacturing is growing, with many applications starting to change the way factories and plants are managed.

With AI evolving as a catalyst that may reshape the workforce strategies, roles, and business benefits in our industry in the coming years, all companies should be ready for the challenges related to adopting these technologies.

The current implementation of AI in the manufacturing industry

According to survey results from the “Manufacturing Leadership Council’s New Industrial AI in 2030”, many manufacturers have just recently started evaluating AI implementation potential.

They also have clear plans to significantly accelerate such adoption in the coming years, with 96% of all surveyed companies expecting a substantial increase in AI investment levels.

The survey shows that 57% of the consulted companies are still in the experimental phase with AI technology, to identify how it can be applied and managed, and what implications it could have for their functions.

Nevertheless, a significant 28% of the surveyed companies say they are already implementing AI projects operationally, particularly in the fields of manufacturing, production, and inventory management.

The expected implications and benefits of AI implementation in the manufacturing industry

One of the desired outcomes of implementing AI is to leverage its analytical power to optimize processes, leading to better decision-making, cost savings, improved planning, increased agility, enhanced competitiveness, and sustainability across the company operations.

In terms of benefits for production and supply chain operations, the survey results indicate that the top expected outcomes include improvements in predictive maintenance, more sustainable production operations, and process innovation.

Companies were also asked about the noticeable challenges they believe AI adoption could bring to their environments.

A remarkable 65% of the participants indicated that their main concern is data issues, which include challenges in accessing, formatting, and integrating disparate sets of data, as well as data privacy.

Other concerns mentioned in the survey were the absence of appropriate AI skills among employees, and the need to upgrade legacy equipment.

In terms of workforce impact, 45% of interviewees predict that their workforce headcount will not be affected by the implementation of AI technologies, while 32% expect these changes to increase their workforce headcount, aiming to cope with the availability of new roles in response to upcoming necessities.

Finally, when asked about how significant of an impact will AI have on the manufacturing industry in 2030 and beyond, 59% of the respondents described AI-related implementations as “very significant or game-changing for this industry.”

AI manufacturing implementation in industrial park Coyol Free Zone

According to the Manufacturing Leadership Council, the key to fully maximizing the potential of the new trends of Manufacturing 4.0 is the ability to leverage the information from all aspects of manufacturing. This may not only provide a step change in efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and productivity, but also enable business model innovation that can enhance value creation.

This philosophy aligns with our vision at industrial park , where our leadership in sustainable Real Estate development in the Americas, demands us to increase efficiency standards, and guide our suppliers into providing the best quality of products with cost-effectiveness and reduced times.

Alongside our values of innovation, adaptability, and efficiency, we recognize that the implementation of AI in some of our processes will represent an asset in the future, towards our commitment to keep providing innovative solutions to world-class clients.

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Nevro Corp’s Quest for Environmentally Sustainable Operations – Coyol Free Zone – Costa Rica



The company established manufacturing operations in Costa Rica because it’s one of the top 10 eco-friendly countries in the world

October, 2023. Costa Rica’s commitment to sustainable development and environmental protection policies and practices has been a significant factor in Nevro Corp to establish its medical device manufacturing operations in our country.

“We chose Costa Rica because, among its other qualities,  it’s one of the top 10 eco-friendly countries in the world, with regulations and governmental support,” explained Yogi Chitre, Nevro Corp’s Manufacturing VP. This decision was also influenced by the country’s highly qualified human talent and its expertise in manufacturing medical devices.

The company operates from a 35,000 square foot facility in Coyol Free Zone in Alajuela,  producing chronic pain treatment devices with state-of-the-art technology.

The company currently employs over 150 employees, 60% of them being women and 40% male. “We foresee sustained growth and further expansion in Costa Rica, presenting even more employment opportunities,”stated Juliana Hernandez, Human Resources Manager.

Nevro is Awarded the Ecologic Blue Flag

Nevro Corp’s dedication to environmentally sustainable operations earned them the Ecologic Blue Flag in the “Against Climate Change” category. Impressively, they were rewarded with Two Stars already in their first year of operation.

“Since establishing our operations in Costa Rica, we’ve committed to operating responsibly, seeking to improve our patients’ quality of life while staying committed to sustainable practices. The Ecologic Blue Flag award affirms our dedication to environmental sustainability and operational growth.” assured Alonso Moya, Site Director.

Nevro Corp is dedicated to ongoing process enhancements to protect and improve the environment.

“We are encouraging our employees to minimize their household environmental footprint, with the hopes of recognition in the Sustainable Homes category”, added Luis Pablo González, EH&S Sesion Leader.

The company’s environmental initiatives include waste management, implementing sustainable procurement policies, responsible power and water management and participating in activities like planting trees and beach clean-ups.

Carlos Wong, General Manager at Coyol Free Zone, emphasized that their commitment as leaders in Costa Rican industrial park development is to provide clients with world-class real estate development and sustainable industrial practices.

Within Coyol Free Zone, companies benefit from facilities that promote the care and wellbeing of their employees. These include eco-efficient gardens designed and built to minimize the impact on the environment and buildings with sustainable construction adhering to the LEED Certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). This certification evaluates criteria such as energy efficiency, water management, alternative energy, indoor environmental quality, material selection, and waste management.

About Coyol Free Zone

Coyol Free Zone is the leading Medical Device export park in Costa Rica, exporting over US$2 billion per year, which is equivalent to 30% of the exports of the Manufacturing segment of the Free Trade Zone Regime in the country.
For the past four years, it has been part of the Top 10 Free Trade Zones in the World nd was designated as the Best Free Trade Zone in America, in the Top 10 worldwide and Honorable Mention for Environmental Practices, Infrastructure and Logistics, by fDi Intelligence in 2022.
It is also the Best Free Trade Zone in Latin America and the Caribbean for the fourth consecutive year, the Most Innovative Free Trade Zone of the Year and the Best Business Center for Life Sciences and Advanced Manufacturing, according to The European magazine.

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