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Posted by on Oct 21, 2013 in Central Valley, Costa Rica, Moving to Costa Rica, Retirement, Travel | 91 comments

Why we Chose to Live in Grecia, Costa Rica

Why we Chose to Live in Grecia, Costa Rica

Out of all the places in Costa Rica to start our adventure, we chose to live in Grecia.

Grecia's Famous Metal Church

Grecia’s Famous Metal Church

In January 2012 we took a 10-day due diligence trip to Costa Rica. The purpose of the trip was to answer a 2-pronged question: Was Costa Rica a fit for us and, if so, What city do we start in? Costa Rica was a fit for our wants and situation so we had to decide where to start our adventure.

The first descision was deciding between the 2 main categories of environments – the Beach and the Central Valley. Yes, there are other options; Caribbean, Southourn Zone, Rainforest etc. but we had excluded these and narrowed our choices to the Northern Pacific beaches and the Central Valley. On our trip we spent time in both areas. We flew into San Jose and immediately drove to Grecia, both in the Central Valley. We had read Grecia has a great climate and a mid-size town vibe. From Grecia we drove to Guanacaste and spent time touring some beaches, Playas; Coco, Hermosa, Tamarindo, Conchal and Flamingo. We rounded out the trip with a couple of nights in the Arenal Volcano area then back to Grecia.

Although we love the beach we were concerned with the constant heat and the accompanied electric bill for running an AC, and until we were able to live within our budget for a while we wanted to start our adventure in the Central Valley; with its Spring like temperatures that do not require a heater or air conditioner.  For this reason and those listed below, several months after this trip, we determined that Grecia would be our landing spot.

Already, at this point, we knew we would not purchase property, and if we did, it would be several years down the road. So, we would rent and therefore, be mobile. If we started in Grecia and did not like it, we could easily move.

View from El Cajon de Grecia, Costa Rica

View from El Cajon de Grecia, Costa Rica


Grecia is Just Right, in Size

Moving to Costa Rica from a decent size city in the States, we were looking for a town that had the amenities we were looking for, while at the same time, have a small town feel. Grecia met those requirements. There are plenty of restaurants, markets, grocery stores and things to do, yet it is a town of about 17,000 people. After living here for several months, just about every time we go out, we see someone we know – I like that.

Grecia Has Views

One of our requirements, easily met throughout most of Costa Rica, was a location with a view. Mountains surround Grecia and you can see them from many places in town. In addition, Grecia has 5 ridges that lead up, several thousand feet in elevation, from Grecia Centro. We live on one of those ridges; El Cajon. From our perch, at an elevation of 4700 feet, we can see the National Stadium and lights in San Jose as well as several other cities. From our porch we have a panoramic view of the mountain range as well as beautiful sunsets and the elevation provides for a cooler climate.

Grecia has Spring-Like Weather Year Round

I have lived the majority of my life in Dallas, TX. Suffering each year from barely bearable heat in the summers and only getting to enjoy spring weather for maybe a week each year. After determining we would not start this adventure in a beach area, we decided a requirement for our new town would be cooler, year around, weather. The weather in Grecia is awesome. In town the temperature range is 65 – 85 degrees and, with our higher elevation, where we are in Cajon, the range is more like 55 – 80, damn near perfect in my mind, and this temperature range holds true all year-long with the only change being more rain during the “Green” or rainy season.


On our 2012 trip we met quite a few people and stayed in touch with some of them. In addition, through social media, the Expatriates in Costa Rica Facebook Group and the Central Valley Living Yahoo Group, we met people who lived in Grecia and were very helpful in our research and who have since become REAL friends not just cyber friends.

Proximity to San Jose

Our research led us to believe that establishing residency would be an important step after our move. We wanted to start in a town that was close enough to San Jose, where our attorney is and where government buildings necessary to the residency process are located, to make the process easier. Grecia is 45 min to an hour from San Jose, an easy bus or taxi ride away. It is yet to be determined if establishing residency was the right choice.

Coffee Fields in Grecia

Coffee Fields in Grecia

If we had chosen another city in the Central Valley to stay in, other than Grecia, on our 2012 trip, we may have started this adventure in that city, as many towns in the central valley fit our criteria. As it was, we chose Grecia as a staring point and do not regret it.

We did research other towns in the Central Valley on the internet, but it was a bit unfair, as we had “feet on the street”  in Grecia. These towns all looked promising and have some of the same characteristics as Grecia and may prove to be a future residence of ours. Runners-Up in the Central Valley (in no particular order) – Atenas, San Ramon, Puriscal and Cartago.

* Update: We have learned so much since moving here almost two years ago. So much so that I wrote a book about tips and observations from the point of view of someone living in the Central Valley, in a non-tourist town. Check out Living in and Visiting Costa Rica – 100 Tips, Tricks, Traps, and Facts on Amazon.

Hasta Pronto,


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Greg Seymour is a quitter. At 41 Greg and his wife Jen quit their jobs, sold damn near everything they owned and became Intentionally Unemployed and retired early to Costa Rica.
In addition to writing on this blog, Greg has written for other online publications and has written two popular books about living in Costa Rica:
Greg Seymour Amazon Author Page

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  1. Hi Greg,
    Love reading your posts. Looking to visit Costa Rica sometime early next year. Yep, looking for that “small-town” feel and decent weather. Tired of the “rat-race” of the U.S. I’ve kinda been focused on the Arenal area… don’t know why.. but guess it’s like you say…. you really just have to show up, check around and see what fits.
    Keep these great posts coming!!
    BTW, I’m sure you mentioned it already in one of your posts, but wondering how many trips to CR you had made prior to moving there?


    • Thanks for the comments Kevin. Although it is working out for us we only took one exploratory trip. That trip, 10 days in 2012, was 100% due diligence. We hired experts, met with realtors and spent just about all our time sluething. We needed a vacation from our vacation. In addition, we made a ton of connections and read everything we could on Costa Rica. It is working out well for us but I imagine many people are less laid back than we are – or have greater expectations or expect CR to be N America. The general advise of, as many trips for as long as you can, will give you the best chance of not making a mistake. Good luck and if I can help just let me know.

      • are there many singles there?

        • Hi Kathy,

          Not sure exactly how to answer that. The gringo population in Grecia is pretty significant – let’s say 500 (that’s a total guess by the way). I would imagine about 25% are single (once again, total guess). And of course there are lot’s of singe Ticos.

          • Haven’t read the entire thread yet….but have been checking it out. For a visit, where would you recommend staying. Would probably only come down for a week. Brasil has been on my mind for a decade, but the temperate year-round weather sure seems appealing to me. Thought I had better check out the inner valley there. Thanks Greg

        • I am single and I would like to know if there any single people there in Grecia Costa Rica and I heard a lot about it and everything was very good please let me know if there are any singles thank you

          • Hi Harry, yes there are single people in Grecia–both gringo and tico.

    • I’m taking you up on your encouragement to come see Grecia and the surrounding area. I’m actually coming with my brother, Jonathan who with his wife have been planning to move to Costa Rica due to inadequate financial resources to live in America. We will be coming the final week of September and would love to connect with people as well as the area. Could any of you recommend a real estate agent who can show us around the area and introduce us to the possibilities for renting initially and buying later? Also, do you know of a couple of expats who might be willing to visit with us and tell us about life there? That would be a big help and a central point of our visit. Thanks, David

      • Hi David. Check out the book my wife just released about Grecia. It has a lot of the info you are requesting, such as which real estate agents we recommend, how to meet up with expats, and a lot more – Also, join the Grecia Facebook page here – There you can introduce yourself and make some connections and possibly meet up with people who live here.

        Best of luck with your trip,

        • Thanks a lot for your tips. I will proceed to make the contacts. Maybe we will bump into you while there.


          • Hi David,

            We are actually leaving the country at the end of the month. After 3 wonderful years here we are off on our next adventure. We will spend the winter finalizing preparations for our Appalachian Trail thru-hike attempt which we will start in March.

            Let me know if I can help with any other questions.

          • so funny that you are planning to do the appalachian trail. we live in georgia at the beginning of it on the southern side. we are coming to costa rica the second week in nov. (2016)…ships in the night. i was hoping to meet up with you during our visit as well, but oh well. thanks for all your useful information. we are clueless right now as to what we want to do longer term, with the political situation and possible ramifications, regardless of who is elected, here in the states. are you planning to eventually go back to c.r., or are you planning a more nomadic life?

          • Hi Lynne,

            That is great you live so close to the trail. We will be starting from Springer Mountain next March.

            Even though we are currently in the U.S. feel free to send me any questions you might have–email: I am happy to answer questions about living in Costa Rica or the Central Valley. Also, if you haven’t yet check out my two books on Amazon– Each one is quite different from each other, but they each have valuable information on what it is like living in Costa Rica.

            Long term we are unsure of where we will end up. We are still young, in our mid-40’s, and have a lot of the world yet to see. After hiking the trail and recouping a bit we have discussed visiting Spain for a couple of months. Not sure if we will stay long term in another country, but maybe visit multiple countries for several months at a time. We are relatively free (within the confines of budget) to move about as we please and there is much left to be seen. Costa Rica will always hold a special place in our hearts–we learned so much about ourselves there.

            Enjoy your trip in November and let me know if I can help with anything,


      • Chris Schoo, Geovanny Chaves

  2. The views and the climate are incredible in Grecia, it’s true. But I am really disappointed with the lack of decent cafes and restaurants. Considering the size of the population, I would expect more to choose from – but, like Tico cuisine, all the options here are just bland.

    • I assume you have been to Delicios and Electa – have you tried las galletas by the hospital? I guess I don’t mind the local cuisine as that is what I typically eat. I like Rancho Nelson, Galleria and Grecia Social Club. But, except for Galleria these are going to be your typical CR food. Oh, yeah – for Mexican food, if you have not tried, Isabel’s on the San Luis ridge. Very good.

      • Hi Greg. You mentioned a restaurant “by the hospital”. What is the name of the hospital in Grecia, have you used it, and how long would it take to get to Clinica Biblica in Heredia?

  3. Great breakdown on the advantages and charms of Grecia. It has a lot going for it. And it’s not too big, not too small – all-around friendly town. Plus, it’s close to the big city conveniences in nearby San Jose and Alajuela like shopping, top medical care, and the airport. And don’t forget the feria – farmers’ market. I guess I like Grecia a lot too.

  4. And those are the same reasons we chose Atenas! We looked seriously at a house in Grecia, but it just didn’t have the right “feel” ya know? We love the tea and have had some good meals at Nelson’s.

    • I imagine each has it’s charms, although I get the “feel” Atenas has more expats – whether that it a good thing or not I don’t know. We look forward to visiting Atenas – we have some friends that recently moved there so we look to visit soon….at the very least we plan on making the next chili cook-off.

  5. Hola my friend, another great kids have a great outlook & attitude, that is going to serve you well on your adventure…………Pura Vida JB

    • Thanks Jim. Attitude is more than half the battle – in most things.

  6. Great blog as usual. Was hoping you’d elaborate on what you meant by whether establishing residency was a good choice or not? Was leaving us with questions intentional for future blogging material?

    • I just like to provided everyone with a cliff hanger….
      When we were researching, there was an available Caja discount through the ARCR – that is no longer available, one of the main factors to establishing residency was cheap Caja. Well it is going to cost around $300 for us once we become residence. In the article, I was wondering out loud, if it will be worth it in the end. Unlike other countries, there really is no other advantage to establishing residency other than socialized medical and not having to exit the country every 90 days. Panama, for example allows for the importation of 1 vehicle as well as other items, waiving duties, when you establish residency. Residency may be the best option but I don’t think it is the clear-cut option I once thought it was.

  7. Hey Gregorio!!!!
    I was sooo excited to read about your new life and adventure!! I am planning possibly next year going to Costa Rico with a friend that travels there often. I will let you know when I plan on making a trip. Hopefully, it won’t be too out of the way and we can meet up.
    Best of luck & keep in touch!

    • Hey Brenda, great to hear from you. Hope you are doing well. Glad you found the blog. Yes, definitely, if you come to CR give us a shout and hopefully we can hook up.

      Keep in touch,

  8. Hello from Lubbock,Tx, Gregario! I have only started my research a few months ago and you are the first I am reaching out too. My life seems to mirror yours! Right down to being a Texan, always having a way out of the rat race in the back of my mind, and I am 6’1″ and my BF is 6’7″. We will surely stand out as well! I am 39 and am planning to move in 2 years- so I will be 41 too. I’m sorry to read about the loss of your Dad just after your move. I just lost my Dad last week. I have subscribed to your blog and look forward to following your journey. Maybe even meeting you and Jen someday. We are coming in May to get our feel but I am thinking the Grecia, San Ramon area may be what we are looking for too. Thanks for sharing your life with us.
    Pura Vida!
    Chelsea Holloway

    • Great to hear from you Chelsea. We are really happy with our decision to move here and are having a great time. I am happy to help in your research if I can. My email is if you have any questions.

      Good luck in your journey and your trip in May.


  9. Thanks for sharing your “research”. I am visiting next month to determine if this is where I will be retiring.


      • How hot is it at the hottest day in the middle of summer?
        What is the coldest day at any time??
        Bugs,insects etc. ??
        How long to drive to Tamarindo?
        How long to drive to San Juan Airport?

        thank you,

        • Hi Chris,

          We are in the hills of Grecia at an elevation of about 4600 feet and we have year round temps of 60 – 80. The hottest would be around 90 and the coldest near 50. Move down the mountain into Grecia proper and you can add 5 degrees either way. Tamarindo would be about a 5 hour drive mas o menos. The airport is 45 minutes away.

          I hope this helps,

  10. I’ve been attempting to convince my wife to do precisely what you guys have done!! We’re from Amarillo, TX and are really tired of the horrid weather we have here! I had been looking at the Arenal area and would like to take another trip to CR to check it out. We’ve spent a week on the Caribbean coast a couple of years ago and loved it!!

    We will be watching your blog with great interest and for myself, intense excitement!!


    • Thanks Johnny,

      We are very happy we made the move. Arenal is a great area. We are in the central valley town of Grecia (actually up in the mountains above the town) and we love the views and the consistent 60 – 80 degree days. Feel free to shoot me an email if I can help you guys –

    • We currently live in the Arenal area, we have been here a year. We are hoping to move to Grecia in the next few months. While we do love it here, there are things that are inconvenient. For example, there are things we can not get here and have to make the 3 hour drive to Escazu for those supplies. The humidity is higher here and during the rainy season we fight mold problems. We have to use a dehumidifier which is expensive to run. And it’s quite a bit warmer here…not like the beach but warmer than Grecia.

  11. My wife and I recently spent two weeks in Playa Samara. Loved it enough to consider spending 3 months in Costa Rica starting next January, 2015. Playa samara is not ‘fixed in concrete’ as final destination, however interested in rentals for furnished apartment / houses. Please advise how you located your rental in Grecia


    • Hi Michael,

      For that short of time the internet is your friend. Find the realtor(S) in the area you are interested in and shoot them an email. Check out Craigs List CR and other real-estate sites – as well.

      If you were staying longer the best strategy would be to find a landing spot for a couple of months and start networking and meeting people. This is how you find the very best deals…ones that are not listed and ones that do not require a real-estate fee. This is how we found our house.

      Best of luck,

    • Hi headin to grecia 7, 1 to 7, 3, looking for rental possibilities and possible guide for a day, any suggestions?

      Thanks so much

      Mike D
      Portland, maine


  12. Thanks for the post! We lived in Coco last fall and loved it but had the same concerns you did about heat/electric and we’re looking at living in the central valley next–Grecia and Atenas have both been options. Do you have any connection with the bilingual schools and/or homeschooling community in the area? The only thing holding us back right now is the price of private education with us not being fluent in spanish yet. Thanks for a great blog!

    • Thanks for the compliment. If you haven’t already done so become a member of the Expats in Costa Rica FaceBook page (on the Resources tab of my site). I know there are a couple of mom’s here in Grecia and you could pose the schooling question to them, as I have no idea. The Central Valley really has been an ideal fit for us. It would be hard to give up this perfect weather – even for the beach. Let me know if we can help in any way with your research. My email is

  13. Thanks for the info! Hubby and I are planning on making the move to CR early next year. After extensive internet research we have decided that Grecia and the surrounding area will be our first stop. We are working on getting paperwork in order, selling everything, renting our house and hopping on a plane 🙂 We are tired, overworked and ready for the next chapter in our lives. Hope we can meet up when we get down there!

    • Grecia is an excellent place to start out – best of luck. Reach out to us when you are here, would love to meet up.

  14. Well you know how biased I am and how much I love our neighborhood El Grego but I did 1 year of physical research before I choose this town and our neighborhood. When you weigh the climate up here (Greg is not kidding it will spoil you to the core) the people which is super important where you plan on living, the small town feel down below at the center, the proximity to San Jose, SJO airport, the beaches on both coast for little getaways, low crime, events in the central valley, and shopping. Grecia was the only choice for me and specially el cajon. You and Jen have made living here even better since you all moved in the hood. btw got mango wine ready tomorrow for this week! :->

    • Thanks Peter. It is great having you guys next door. MMM – Mango wine – Like I said, it’s great having you guys next door.

  15. Hi Gregorio

    I have been doing my research about Costa Rica for quite a while. No one seems to mention bicycles. I have spent a good deal of time in the Philippines and found cycling an easy way to get around the country side. Not a chance I would ride in Manila. How would they work out in Costa Rica?


    • I think they are a great option for beach areas, however most other places are too hilly and there is too much (crazy) traffic. I live in the mountains and a non-motorized bike is not an option.

  16. Hey, love reading your blog! We are here now form Canada looking at Grecia for our retirement …..currently in Bahia Del Sol, but heading to Grecia tomorrow, Monday 14th … will look out for your next blog. We need to meet ex pats, and get a real feel for our new life 🙂 Lynne and Tim F.

    • Hi Lynne,

      Grecia is a great little town. Feel free to email me at if you have any questions while you are here. Also, my wife’s blog is, check it out. For general Grecia info (restaurant reviews, goings on, etc) check out Have a nice trip.

  17. it has been 15 years since I have been cr. I have decided
    To retire outside the US. made a trip to Panama this last month, decided, not. I do want to meet some expats and have a social life when I move to CR. Still doing some research. Any suggestion would be appreciated.
    thanks, Pam

    • Hi Pam,

      I am sure CR has changed quite a bit in the last 15 years. We have found that we are able to be as social as we want to be.

      I would start by trying to figure out if you would prefer Central Valley or Beach. There are other options but most go for either the cooler temps of the Central Valley or they are beach people. Then you can narrow down a town/beach to live in. We are in the CV and there are quite a few towns that have a good amount of expats – San Ramon, Grecia, Atenas are some of the more popular towns. If the beach is your thing there are a lot of choices to be made. Caribbean side or Pacific. North, Central or South? They all have their vibe and culture.

      As you are figuring those things out head to the Face Book Groups on the resources page of my website. Ask questions and read. Ignore the snark and the hi-jacked posts and you can get some info there.

      If you have any specific questions shoot me an email at

      Best of Luck,

      • Greg, finally here in CR, have been in Atenas for six weeks, I am coming to Grecia for the day next week. Want to look at some apartments, one bedroom preferably. Do you know an agent that could show me some? What is a great restaurant to have lunch? I have been to Europe, stayed in Ireland six months, Belize for a month, then came down to CR. I have been busy this last year traveling. Thanks Greg

        • Welcome to puravidaville Pam. Hope you are having a great time in the Central Valley. For rentals I would suggest a shotgun approach and using letting everyone help you find a place, rather just one relator. The best way I know to do that is to join the Grecia Facebook group – – and pose your question. The more specific you can be the more likely you will find what you want quickly – size, monthly budget, downtown?, on the ridges?, etc.

          Mad Q Sabor is a must if only to meet Johnny the owner. It is located just around the corner from the church, just ask where the post office is, he is next door to that. the food is good and Johnny is a great resource for rentals and living in Grecia. For a good breakfast I really enjoy Soda la Perla – a tiny place, Hugo the owner is nice (speaks only Spanish) and the gallo pintos are tasty and cheap – looking at the park from the church walk on the right side of the street 4 blocks until you see Peri Mercado the next block take a right and it is right there, you can miss it – ha. If you like craft beer the only place in town to get it is at Casa de Miguel. Facing the church walk on the left side of the street (parallel to the church) about 5 blocks up kitty corner from Davavienda. Good burger nice atmosphere, more expensive.

          Good luck,

  18. And the spider population is???? Seriously. How bad is it? What kind are there? This is a serious question. Don’t laugh. I have arachnophobia.

    • There are a lot of spiders here. Most are harmless and small and stay outside. My wife is afraid of tarantulas – we have only seen a couple of those in the year that we have been here, and none inside our home.

      • I’m afraid my heart would stop if I saw a tarantula. I’m afraid of anything with eight legs. To me, there is no such thing as a little spider. I’m really terrified of them. I think Costa Rica is out. Maybe Iceland? South Pole? I can’t imagine them being there. The thing is I prefer warm weather–spiderless warm weather.

        • I am also horrified of spiders. My question is, are they just
          Everywhere all the time or like it would be in Texas. If you
          Use a pest control, does this eliminate them from your home
          Or apartment? I have been to CR and did not see any
          Spiders, even went hiking, non at the hotels and one was
          In a location that was rustic.
          I just want to be in a place that I am around expats, modern
          Conditions, some good restaurants, health care, good water,
          And just enjoy life.

          • That’s what I’m looking for. My brother is looking for that as well. He suggested Colombia.

          • I would say, you don’t want to move to columbia. Safety is one of the most important issues. I ruled out Panama when I
            Visited a couple of weeks ago. I did not feel unsafe, but, it
            Just was not for me. I think it’s about quality of life, how easy
            It is to get back to the US, if necessary. No place is perfect,
            So what do you want? The great thing, you can always make
            A change and if, you are from the US, you can always go

          • Well, I’m living on Social Security, and there just isn’t enough to get by on every month, living in the U.S. I’m a writer, so I love solitude. I do want modern conveniences like Internet, hot and cold running water, secure shelter, but I need affordable rent and utilities. Would like a place hat is less buggy.

          • I don’t know if I would worry so much about bugs. It is impossible to live decent on SS in the US. Think about the
            Bigger picture, a more tranquil life!!!!
            Remember, if you don’t like it, you can always return to the

          • That’s true. My SS check would have been higher if I could have waited to retire just a couple more years; but severe back pain forced me to retire early. What about healthcare? How do you go about getting coverage?

          • Like I mentioned, my wife is a bug-a-phobe and she is doing well here. We are also from Texas (Dallas) and I would say it is only slightly more buggy here especially under the conditions you state.

          • I live in Fla–the bug capital of the country. Pest control keeps most of them outside. When I see anything inside it’s usually dead or dying.

          • We spray here as well and it is the same. Most that we see are dead. There are actually fewer bugs here at elevation than at beach level. So that helps.

          • I guess it would. Okay. So a move to higher elevation would be best. Definitely thinking about it. How far a drive to the beaches?

          • You probably need to do a bit of research online and via books. A good one is Moon’s guide to living abroad in Costa Rica – here is the Amazon link – While Costa Rica is a relatively small country it is diverse. There is no real answer to “How far to drive to the beaches?” It could be 20 minutes or it could be 3 hours.

        • You might want to look into Loja, Ecuador. Perfect climate, year-round, and no bugs!

  19. Hi. My hub and I are going to retire in CR in a couple of years…for the longest time we thought it would be in Cahuita, but ya know it gets really hot there! So we are looking at the Central Valley and Grecia sounds great! We will come for a visit in March and would love to have a coffee with you. we live in Virginia now…Pura Vida soon!

    • Hi Asha,

      Sounds great. We love the Central Valley (and Grecia) but there really is a variety in climate and geography throughout the country. Let us know as your trip gets closer (my email is:

  20. I agree with you about Grecia. We recently made a trip to Los Angeles Ca. We couldn’t wait to get back home. We purchased a 4088 M2 lot in 2004. Just a little over 1 acre. A lot to take care of for a retired couple. We built our house in 2008 all 6522 sq. ft. of it. We are about 2 km. before El Cajon maybe a little less. We have a gorgeous view and are completly surrounded by coffee farms. Our whole lot is almost totally level with about 30 various fruit trees. We have a clear view of San Jose and the National Soccar Stadium and also of Grecia also. We can clearly see the metal church from our place. We are planning to install a 20×40 swimming pool and regulation size tennis court. We have great neighbors and constantly find everyone very friendly in Grecia.

    • Howdy neighbor! It sounds like you have a beautiful property. I agree, people in Grecia are friendly, and you can’t beat the views and climate (in my humble opinion)

  21. I have been living in CR for over 4 yrs now and have much enjoyed your writing about life here. I have lived in 4 or 5 different places so far and after this last year across the road from the Pacific, I am ready for a move to Palmares…hard to beat a place that has apple, banana, orange and grapefruit trees on the property!
    I enjoyed visiting Grecia and Sarchi, but have not lived there…yet.

    • Hi Doc,

      There are so many places to see in CR, but the near-perfect (for us) weather of Grecia is like a magnet keeping us here. So, we experience the rest of CR through road trips.

      Thanks for the kind words and for reading the blog.
      Best of luck,

  22. I’m planning a scouting trip to CR in just a few weeks. Grecia is where I’ve decided to start my search for a potential new home. Id love to rent a private bedroom and bathroom in a modern home for a month or two until I find the right long term rental situation. I’m retired, outgoing (but not loud or obnoxious), and enjoy music, the arts and charitable work. I’m an Ordained Minister of Spiritual Healing and worked as a Spiritual Counselor, Lymphatic Therapist and Natural Health Consultant. If you know of a good rental opportunity staying shortly after the New Year, please advise. Thank you.

    • Hi Margaret,

      I sent you an email.

    • Hi Greg!

      Well, I finally made it to Costa Rica! Arrived January 21st and am renting a beautiful apartment in a private home in San Luis de Grecia, overlooking the entire Central Valley below. The views from here are amazing… I LOVE IT!!! I’ve already met several other expats and a few locals. The people are very kind and helpful, and everyone has been most welcoming.

      I don’t think I’m very far from you and Jen. It would be a treat to meet you, perhaps for Mexican food at Isabel’s here on the San Luis ridge? Let me know if your schedule permits, and thanks for the great newsletter… it’s a wonderful resource for those of us who are new (or just exploring a move) to Costa Rica.

      Pura vida!

      • Welcome! There are quite a few expats on San Luis. If you look toward San Jose we are on the next ridge over, el Cajón. And yes, people (Gringos and Ticos alike) here are very friendly and helpful.

        We love Isabel’s (and Isabel!). I am sure we will run into each other soon – maybe for dinner. If you are on Facebook shoot me a friend request at and let’s try to schedule something.


    • Hi 🙂 saw your blog on CR, like u I’m planning to go to Grecia…. Wanted to hear any comments or suggestions…. I’m from Los Angeles USA and would love to be around expat community

  23. I loved reading your blog! I was wondering about secondary schools in the area? Could you please help! Thanks!

    • Thanks Tammie – I do not really keep up with schooling info. With that said, there are several families in Grecia with kids of various ages that are a wealth of knowledge. Easiest place to find them is the Grecia Face Book page –

      Best of luck

  24. I started out at mytanfeet and ended up here. We are planning on moving to Costa Rica in 5-10… 7 years being the goal but hopefully sooner. We are planning on visiting next year but until then I have been reading just about everything there is to know about Costa Rica, good and bad. I think it is good to read about people’s negative experiences more so you know what to expect but not everyone handles things the same way. We are also planning on being fluent in Spanish by the time we arrive. At any rate I want to thank you for the blog and to let you know that Grecia is very high on my hit list of places to live. Also, I’m a little freaked out by the scorpions. Care to shed some light on that? Have you had any issues with them?

    • Hi Ron,

      I am glad you found my blog. I try to keep an even balance of writing about the good and not so good. Really, it all boils down to attitude.

      One of the things with attitudes…. Scorpions, ha! I was stung by a scorpion on my third day of living here. It was very similar in pain to a bee sting. I now do not leave shorts on the floor – that is where the bugger was hiding – and I bang my shoes on the ground before putting them on – I have yet to have one in my shoes. The total number I have seen in our homes in Grecia in two years is 5. Not too bad. They are easy enough to kill with a shoe. Now, we just got back from a week at the beach and I saw that many in one week. So, higher elevation = fewer scorpions.

      Best of luck with your research. Feel free to shoot me an email with additional questions –


  25. WOW,I wish I read this a month ago!!My wife, kids and I are here for 6 months and spent the first month in Coco. We did like the beach, but not the heat or tourist oriented town. As I write this I am looking at the central church in Grecia from our patio. The weather is so much better here!!! We are here for at least 2 months and then who knows, we like to be flexible.
    Thanks for all the great info here.

    • Welcome to Grecia. I sent you a separate email.

  26. Greg,

    I suppose I could google the answer to my question, but I am posting this publicly so others can benefit from the answer. First, I congratulate you not only for elevating quitter from a negative word to a positive word (if the U.S. had quit some unwinnable wars we would have been better off, but I won’t go further into that), your blog/website is a wonderful resource and what makes me most appreciative of you, is despite being supported by your books, instead of replying to a specific question “the answer is on page .. of my book” and answer the kind of silly questions about if there are single people, patiently, you not only take the time to answer but offer to help people by giving your personal email, it shows what a kind and generous person you are.

    I am looking at Costa Rica as I want to eventually become a citizen of a country that does not spend taxes extracted from it’s citizens on a military whose main purpose is to engage in encounters which unfortunately hurt and kill not only their opponents but its own citizens especially relevant with the congressional address of our POTUS, but rather live in a country where the money goes for social benefits. My income (and I have not formally worked for 17 years, I am 62) derives from real estate and I will sell it all of it and live off the proceeds (just slightly under 1 million, guess I was fortunate to live in CA). As I said I guess I could go on a US govt website and get more detailed information but my basic question (that I sure other readers want to know) is if I do not derive any income from the U.S. and become a Costa Rican citizen do I no longer have to pay taxes to the U.S.? I know they allow dual citizenship but I no longer wish to be a US citizen, do you know that if I chose that option, is there special papers for additional cost to renounce it or is it just a box I can check off (if you do not know that answer handily, I can research it and post it here.) Also, I will also google the next question for more details but relatively speaking are the banks stable enough that YOU would keep all your savings here?

    There is another website quite as good as yours (more importantly his like yours is not run by a real estate company in Costa Rica which makes me somewhat doubtful of the veracity of their information) Tim Lytle’s The Real Costa Rica, but he is more grumpy telling people if it’s on his website he won’t answer their emails (but it may be due to the deluge of inquiries he gets.) Thanks for your reply and your website for existing!!!

    • Hi Evangeline,

      Thanks for the kind words. I am glad you found my website helpful. I don’t know the complete answer to your question, my guess is the US will make it as difficult and expensive as possible to renounce your citizenship. Here are 2 articles on the subject:,

      I would also consult an immigration attorney in both the US and CR. I know that citizenship is a lengthy process in CR (at a minimum 4 years) and my guess is you would not want to renounce before securing citizenship in another country. Please note that there is a distinction in Costa Rica between a resident and citizen. You can establish residency a lot quicker. For most the only difference between the 2 is the ability of the citizen to vote. However, your situation is different and there might be addition advantaged of being a citizen vs a resident … especially if you belong to no other country.

      I wish you luck. Let me know if I can help in any other way.


  27. Hi Greg,

    I enjoyed reading your post about why you chose to live in Grecia. My husband, two adult daughters and I will be visiting CR in Dec for the first time. My husband and I will spend a week in Guanacaste and then we will meet our daughters at SJO on Dec 24 and stay close to San Jose for an additional week. I’m trying to decide between Airbnb rentals in San Luis de Grecia, Alajuela; San Isidro, Cartago; and Santa Ana, San José. Do you have any thoughts on which area you would chose?

    Also, are restaurants likely to be open on Christmas day in these smaller towns? Or should we buy food in advance and plan to cook on that day?

    I read your comment that you and your wife were planning to hike the Appalachian Trail. I did a small part of it long ago in my mid thirties. When I was approaching sixty I was curious if I could still do something like that. So last year my husband and I walked the Camino de Santiago in Northern Spain. What an experience! I highly recommend it if you enjoy that sort of thing.

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions on our Costa Rica trip.


    • Hi Judy,

      Yes, it’s true 🙂 We just completed a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. We left Springer Mountain, Georgia on March 22 and summited Mt. Katadin on Sept. 16th. It was an incredible journey. If you are interested, we documented our trip on our YouTube channel Appalachian Trail Tales

      Expect most retail establishments to be closed on Christmas Day and potentially several days before as well. As a tourist there are 2 times of year I would not travel to CR: Christmas and Easter. If you already booked your travel, no problem, you will just find attractions crowded with Ticos enjoying the holiday.

      Grecia and San Isidro will be similar. I personally would choose the latter as you would be in the mountains but still close to a beach (Dominical). Santa Ana is too close to the capital for my taste.

      Our next adventure will be the Camino, we are starting to research.

      Hope this helps,


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