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15 Reasons Expats Love Living In The Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

15 Reasons Expats Love Living In The Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

Covering the southern Puntarenas province to the beautiful northern Guanacaste province is where you can find the sought-after Nicoya Peninsula. Costa Rica holds one of the original 5 blue zones of the world and you will find yourself in one of them if you decide on living in the Nicoya Peninsula.  

Famous for its gorgeous Pacific Coast beaches and well known for its surfing, wellness, yoga, and vibrant sunsets, the Nicoya peninsula is a paradise for the mind, body, and soul.

Living in the blue zone brings forth a natural sense and desire for health and all things good without even realizing it. It is the perfect destination to live out your expat dreams.

Towering trees, sprawling beaches, tide pools amongst the sea, – you find yourself living in the heart of the country’s remote nature that brings you to the basics in life.

Here is why expats love living in the Nicoya Peninsula:

1. Raw and rugged vibes

Living in the Nicoya Peninsula is a way of life that means stripping down to the essentials of all things you love. You are removed from city malls and urban centers, with the absence of fast-food chains on every corner, but close to something of a different and higher value.

It is of wild jungles, tropical beaches, exotic wildlife, rugged terrain, and raw natural beauty. Waterfalls, surfing, the ocean, outdoor living at its finest, it’s so easy to fall in love with this place!

2. Fresh foods growing right outside your front door

Paquera, one of the quaint towns on the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula with the Gulf of Nicoya, a local shrimp farm and other farms growing fruit and veg.
Paquera, one of the quaint towns on the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula with the Gulf of Nicoya, a local shrimp farm and other farms growing fruit and veg.

Fresh papaya’s growing right in your backyard, limes, oranges, cacao, and guanabana, the list goes on and on. You have no choice but to be healthy, it is all right at your fingertips literally. This naturally takes us to the next important point.

3. Wholesome goodness

Only fresh produce is used for cooking. Fruit and veg are local and organic, and don’t forget all the seafood.

Black beans, bananas, plantains, papaya, squash, pejibaje (peach palm fruit), yams, and homemade corn tortillas, loaded with vitamins, healthy nutrients and amazing taste, are the staples of the local diet.

Forget about processed food and preservatives. There is a focus on natural wellness here. You can almost always find vegetarian and vegan dishes throughout the restaurants in the region.

4. Warning: Speed ahead reduces to a sloth crawl!

Whether it is due to the heat or the tranquil mindset of people, but no one and nothing can be rushed here. It will take some time to get used to the sloth speed that some things tend to move at. Eventually, everything does get done, just not at the speed many are accustomed to back home. 

After a while you find you adapt to the slower pace of life and it becomes your new normal. You start to wonder how you ever survived the hustle and bustle of the paces before.

5. Some of the most desired communities to live  

The Nicoya Peninsula hosts some of the most desirable communities to live out your expat life. 

The village of Tambor is exploding with new builds in their gated community of Los Delfines Golf & Country Club.

Barcelo Tambor resort in Tambor. in the Nicoya Peninsula
Barcelo Tambor resort in Tambor.

It has evolved into its own little expat community within the town having everything you need right at your doorstep. Located right on the beach with a golf course, a store with all the amenities, a restaurant, turtles, and daily activities Tambor is a perfect tropical retreat. 

Santa Teresa has grown faster than it can keep up with! All ages from around the world are flocking to this laid-back surfside town.

Finding housing comes with a price though with rentals starting from $1,000 to $5,000 a month if you are lucky enough to even find one.  If you want to know more, read our Living In Santa Teresa guide.

Mal Pais, Playa Hermosa, and Montezuma are just as beautiful and a bit more tranquil than Santa Teresa coming with a slightly lower price tag. 

Samara and Nosara are further up the coastline. At times they can feel more hostel-like and too touristy to try and live within.

However, simply look at the outskirts of the area and you will be able to find places that feel like home and still have the vibes of the town so close.

If you are looking for somewhere safe, affordable, modern and don’t mind tourists, consider living in Tamarindo. This popular beach town offers a great lifestyle, and you can find rentals at around $1200.

Searching for a bit of a more luxurious lifestyle? Consider Langosta for its ocean views.

6.  Family-friendly with forward-thinking education

Samara along the Pacific Coast, has established a great community of families that support everyone living in and around the area. 

Open-minded and progressive thinking is the way of learning in the local bilingual schools for children.

Nosara offers a jungle school where the mentality is that learning is a lifelong journey. Much of the schooling is in small class sizes, connecting children with nature and developing their own critical thinking skills with a variety of teaching methods. 

7. The happiest and friendliest people 

Tamarindo  in the Nicoya Peninsula

Neighbors, other people in the grocery store even those on the street feel connected. No one is ever treated as a stranger here. Even if you aren’t fluent in Spanish, you will never feel lost or alone, someone is always there willing to help you.

8. Daily doses of sunny vitamin D

Imagine waking up to sunshine almost every day for at least half the year!

It renews your spirit. The constant flow of vitamin D feeds your mind and body. December to mid-May is when you experience sunshine and heat during the dry season.

Even during the start of the rainy season from May to November, you will still have sunny skies.

It isn’t until September and October that you can expect the constant downpours. However, the trees and earth come alive, and everything becomes the most beautiful shades of green being pumped full of life. 

9. Some of the most beautiful sunsets in the country

All along the Nicoya Peninsula’s Pacific Coast, the sunsets are considered to be some of the most beautiful in the country and the world. You will never tire of the glorious colors, every sunset is a new painting in the sky. 

Another beautiful sunset on the coast of Guanacaste.
Another beautiful sunset on the coast of Guanacaste.

Sunset is a time for everyone to come out. Homemade foods are sold on the beach. Music is played, new friends are made, and even the animals come out to join in the fun.

The beaches become a community of oneness, everyone is out to enjoy the performance in the sky. 

10. Secluded beaches 

The Pacific Coast is lined with secluded postcard-worthy beaches all along the shore. If you are looking for a private tropical escape, the beaches of the Nicoya Peninsula will surely not disappoint. 

White sand beaches, crystal clear waters, or a surfer’s paradise with the most epic waves there are beaches for everyone.

Visit the deserted shores of Playa Manzanillo to the sands of Playa Guiones your days will be filled with discovering your new favorite beaches.

11. It’s one of the 5 Blue Zones in the world

Blue zones are known for the longevity and health of their residents. The Nicoya Peninsula is one of such zones; the others are Sardinia in Italy, Okinawa in Japan, Icaria in Greece and Loma Linda in California, USA.

Playa Manzanillo in the Nicoya Peninsula
Playa Manzanillo

Time is spent with friends and family here. The sunny days have everyone out in nature, actively living and eating healthy because it is so readily available. Life here is made up of all things the doctor prescribes for health and happiness. 

12. Escape from the outside world

Remote and isolated, the Nicoya Peninsula takes you away from everything, and soon you forget all those places you thought you even needed.

Having to head to the capital to find some of your bigger or needed items have you riding across the Gulf of Nicoya on the ferry. Liberia is also a great option with a Walmart, Price Smart, and fast food if you are in withdrawal. 

13. Monkeys, waterfalls, and National Parks

Your noisy neighbors are now the howler monkeys in the trees or the scarlet macaws squawking above. It is a paradise not only for you but all the exotic wildlife.

A white-faced capuchin in the treetops on the coast of Guanacaste, the Nicoya Peninsula.
A white-faced capuchin in the treetops on the coast of Guanacaste, the Nicoya Peninsula.

Waterfalls can be found by the dozens, it truly is nature’s paradise.

You will find plenty of National Parks and wildlife refuges here. Curu Wildlife Refuge, with its jungle trails full of monkeys and Barra Honda National Park, with its caverns and caves, are my favourites.

Olive Ridley sea turtles come by the thousands to nest at Ostional Wildlife Refuge.

Your days will be filled with amazing adventures!

14. Goodbye traffic jams

Unless you are driving through the main street of Santa Teresa or entering the busy beach town of Tamarindo on the weekend, you don’t have to stress about traffic jams.

You are more likely to be caught in traffic because of the cows wandering on the road.

15. Simpler life

Less clothing, fewer necessities, less maintenance, less stress. It is all about a simpler life. 

Things to know before you move

Not everything is positive, even in such a paradise as Nicoya. So here are a few things to consider before you take the plunge.

Horse riding on Playa Conchal.
Horse riding on Playa Conchal.

1. Cost of living in the Nicoya Peninsula

Living in paradise does come with a cost. Rental prices can become quite higher, especially as the area continues to blossom with expats. Even everyday food costs are higher in this region with it being in an isolated part of the country. 

The prices can seem high to some, but in the end, you are paying for convenience and comfort. You live in one of the healthiest and most beautiful places in the world, remember!

2. Jungle Wi-Fi 

Establishing yourself out amongst the vast lands of the Nicoya Peninsula and looking for a bit of privacy and seclusion comes with a trade-off. You can expect power outages and your Wi-Fi going out at times, especially during the rainy seasons, although they have established fiber optics in much of the areas. 

With Samara, Nosara, Santa Teresa, and Tamarindo being hot spots for tourism and remote working, you can find reliable coworking spaces if you are needing to connect. 

3. Hot! Hot! And did I mention it is hot?

With the long sunny days comes the heat, and it stays hot for half the year.

There is very minimal rain, and if it does rain, it’s a very rare occurrence during the dry season. With the lack of rainfall, everything can become very dry and dusty. 

The humidity and heat can feel sticky and hot, with temperatures year-round averaging from 75 F to 95F typically leaning towards the higher end. 

Be prepared to toss out a lot of your clothing that you are used to, and be ready to sweat.  The one good thing is it’s a great daily detox sweating everything out! 

Final thoughts on living in the Nicoya Peninsula

Blue zone living is a way of life. The Nicoya Peninsula is one of the country’s hidden jewels that is evolving into one of the most desired places in Costa Rica and around the world. 

When thinking of establishing yourself here in the breathtaking yet isolated region, you will want to test the waters first. Rent or at least stay for a while and get your feet on the region’s soil, seeing if the chill vibes are for you. 

There is plenty of room for everyone, and all are welcome. It is the pura vida way!

You might find useful:

Terry Foster

Thursday 30th of March 2023

Hi, My wife and I are planning to move to CR as we have been there on vacation many times and love the people and the laid back environment. We are looking to advertise for a home or condo for long term rental before finding the place to finally settle down, where is the best place to advertise?, we are a retired couple here in Canada both retired Engineers, lots of design and building experience. Your articles are a great source of information, Thank You. Terry and Joanna


Tuesday 17th of January 2023

Thank you for your article. I like your idea of living there for a spell. Living in a Blue Zone sounds amazing, but how is the healthcare system?

Ola Degteva (Research Director)

Tuesday 17th of January 2023

Yes, Costa Rica sounds amazing, indeed. Healthcare in Costa Rica is some of the best in Central America. You can find more information here: Hope this helps.

Sarah Jordan

Wednesday 27th of April 2022

Hi Kenneth, thank you for your comment and subscription! Costa Rica's blue zone sounds perfect for you with the focus on living a healthy outdoor life with the all the benefits of the fruits of the land. Often you can shop in your own backyard with the papayas, guanabana, even cashews growing on the trees ready to eat or make a fresh juice with. You can't help but want to live a happy and healthy life with the added bonus of the Pacific Coast nearby!

kenneth bowen

Tuesday 19th of April 2022

Have subscribed to International Living and Live Invest Overseas for several months digesting all the information provided pertaining to Belize, Costa Rica, Panama and certain countries in South America. I am by choice an avid outdoorsman having developed the uncanny desire to work and play outside from my boy scouting younger years, enjoying participating in athletic events, fishing, including waterskiing, swimming and scuba diving & snorkeling clear and clean water.

Equally important is the desirability to live out my life in a "blue zone" growing vegetables & fruits.

Trish Bielicki

Tuesday 22nd of March 2022

Thanks so much for this great article. We are a family of four looking to find a Pura Vida~

Sarah Jordan

Wednesday 23rd of March 2022

@Trish Bielicki, Thank you so much Trish, we would love to help you and your family find your Pura Vida here in Costa Rica. If you have any specific questions or looking for guidance don't hesitate to post any inquiries here in the comments or feel free to reach out to me at Pura Vida!