Retire Abroad to Costa Rica With Going Like Sixty

Retire Abroad Like Going Like SixtyGuest Blogger Mark Van Patten author of blog agreed to talk about retiring to Costa Rica

What made you decide to retire to a foreign country?
We thought we never could afford to retire because of the cost of health care in the U.S. When we started looking abroad, we discovered we might be able to make it work living strictly on Social Security. So far, so good.

Secondly, why did you retire to Costa Rica?
Checked Belize – too hot, central Mexico, but drug problem scared us, David or Boquete Panama were too far from health care and international airport. Costa Rica was a hit the first time we visited. We took a two day tour with the owner of website and found that Costa Rica offered everything we desired.

Do you live in an expat community or more on your own?
Lots of expats in Atenas where we live. US and Canada. We appreciate the support the expats lend each other.

What has been the biggest surprise about living in Costa Rica specifically and overseas in general?
We truly love the people. They live a simple family life and although they are poor by U.S. standards they are happy because they don’t focus on accumulating “stuff.”

What do you like most about it?
In addition to the people of Atenas we enjoy the “eternal springtime.” 65 degrees F to 85 everyday. (We live at 2400 feet.) worst? The lack of trustworthy and reliable information regarding the government and laws.

What advice do you have for others considering such a move?
Know yourself. Know your life partner (if you have one.) Be honest, this is no time to hold back information thinking “it will work itself out.” It may or may not. Make it your second job (or first if you are already retired) to thoroughly research your move.

 Mark Van Patten is the author of He’s a baby boomer who turned 60 in late 2007. He and his wife and four dogs moved to Guacimo de Atenas, Alajuela, Costa Rica in June/July 2011. We originally had a five year plan for me to retire and make the move. However, Nancy found a home in Costa Rica, and three days after listing our home in the U.S. we had an acceptable offer. Rather than move twice for a short term so that I could reach the normal retirement age, we took the plunge. Our first visit to Costa Rica was in January and six months later we moved here to be full time residents. (We are still U.S. citizens.)




  1. Thank you Mark for sharing your experience. I know a lot of people would like to consider moving overseas, but feel confused as to how to evaluate whether or not it’s right for them.

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