Are you happy in Costa Rica?

Hello everyone!

According to the 2016 UN World Happiness Survey, Denmark, Switzerland and Iceland are the happiest countries on earth.

How about you? Are you happy in Costa Rica? Do you feel happier today in your host country than before in your home country? What has contributed to the change?

In your opinion, are locals in Costa Rica happy? How can you tell?

Please share your experience!

If it were not for the traffic.!!   I am retired.   As a result, I can usually skip the worst hours where the entire San Jose metro area is clogged with cars.    But that means staying off Ruta 1 ( General Canas autopista ) between the hours of 6:30am to 10am, and from 3:30pm to 7:30pm.   The typical Tico has to add almost two hours to their  daily commute each way.   That kind of congestion makes for a very long day for Ticos and those expats that are trying to work here outside their homes. 

The daily congestion also makes for headaches for expats who have to battle the traffic occasionally.  And one never knows where a road block of cars on any generally busy street will occur that can easily add 30-60 minutes to a one way trip.

Barring traffic, Costa Rica is a beautiful place to live.   The weather is wonderful.  The majority of people are friendly, responsible, and honorable.   I have yet to lose something that others could identify as mine.   I have lost my phone only to have a security guard call me the next day saying he found it.   That is rare in US, much less other countries.  The only people that have tried to take advantage of me are other US citizens or Canadians living here. 

I am happy here, because my lifestyle permits it.   If anyone has a job that requires timely arrivals, their lives are a mishmash of very early days and late nights.  Its like working a 12 hour shift; one has just enough time at home to cook, eat, and go to sleep before starting over again the next day.

The other downside to Costa Rica is the cost of living.   I came here expecting a reduction of 30% in my cost of living.   That may have been possible 10 years ago.  Sadly, it is a pipe dream today.   If an expat hails from San Francisco, NYC, Vancouver or Toronto I suppose it is possible to view this economy as a good deal.   But for others like myself coming from more normal economies within the States, or Canada, the cost of living is almost equal to the costs of living in the US.

I don’t think we’d be comparing apples to apples to compare these developed countries to Costa Rica.  The available tax base, the infrastructure, the governments are just not comparable.

That said, I would definitely say that “happiness” is very subjective.  I would not say that Costa Ricans overall are “happy.”  I would say that they are more content with their lives than the majority of North Americans, especially those from the U.S. 

The way of life in the States is to gain more - more money, more house, more toys, better job, etc..  The majority of Costa Ricans do not live or strive for things in this same manner.  For most, family comes first.  They don’t just say this, they live it.  In this way I believe they find a lot more contentment in life and therefore are “happier” than most North Americans.

Personally, I am now happier here then when I left the States.  I definitely assimilated into life here.  I own less, I don’t desire or have that need that I used to have for bigger and better.  I prefer Ticos to Gringos and feel they are much more honest and caring as friends. 

My opinion is that if you don’t assimilate, learn the language, adapt to the culture, scale down, you will not find happiness here.

-Expat Dave

good words Dave.   I like your insight.  it is all true

After living here for 19 years continuously, I decided, with the influence of my sister in Washington, and my wife here, to return to the USA. Not because I was not happy, but just for a change of routine.  I had processed most of the paperwork to bring my wife there, which is completely crazy and expensive (it's actually cheaper to pay a Coyote $4500 to walk her across, as a way of comparison) so I went ahead. I purchased a car, a lot, and a mobile home.  45 days later I started selling all of it, and I returned here.  Why?  I was returning to the time when I used to live there.  When many were honest, and you could trust people to some extent.  I got ripped off and lied to by the car dealer, the mobile home dealer, the septic tank guy, and the water company. Only my realtor and the surveyor were honest. I have no answer except that the US has finally managed to catch up with the worldwide dishonesty theme.  I went to Wallmart for a phone, because you have to have one, unlike here. The kid that sold it to me was nice so I spoke to him (in Spanish).  He tells me that he pays $240 per month on his phone bill, which is about what his co-workers pay. That's on a salary of minimum wage for sure.  What happened to saving money for a car, house, education, future, etc?  The future is too far away. People are connected with wireless friends, they are told what to like by their TVs and how good they are being treated, how free they are and how lucky they are.  No thanks, I like the honesty here, and at least I know that I have to look out for everything, and take care of myself.  I'd rather be poorer in paradise.  Just my 2 cents.

I love living in Costa Rica... and YES I am very happy!
Everyday, my husband and I express gratitude for this beautiful little country and the life we have created here.

We love the weather, the lifestyle...eating cleaner, fresh and real food are the first two things for us. We raise our own chickens and fresh eggs!  Knowing where our food comes from is very important to us!

Being a part of the local community is a BIG asset for me, as well.  I love all my neighbours, the dirt roads, the simpler, more laid back lifestyle!  I love going in my ATV to my Spanish class, a Food Bank Board meeting... on my way back up the mountain, I love to stop and look at the beauty of the mountain ranges..!

My neighbours are happy in their life... even though they are struggling to learn to live within all the changes that we expats have brought to their lives.We have changed a lot of things for them, increased the costs of goods, food, etc. 

I would far rather live here in Costa Rica with what is going on currently in North America...even as a Canadian!

The cost of living is so high there .... that there is no way we could live the lifestyle we have here in Costa Rica on the same money in Canada!!

At this point in my 15+ year adventure in Costa Rica...would I change it...NOPE!  Do I love it? Yup!  Everything, everyday.?  Maybe not ...but overall... it is a great life!

Except the food cost is 30% higher for less quality and the beef here is all but inedible.

Yes, of course, I am happy living in Costa Rica.  I have lived here for 19 years, and consider Costa Rica my home.  I have visited the US several time, and could not wait to return.  I was alittle homesick the second year, but I got over it.  I invent things to do, and I keep very busy.  I would like to meet an english speaking women to walk with on Mondays and Tuesdays.  Someone young at heart, to walk, play chess, or ride motorcycles, someone healthy and happy!  my telephone 8375-4287, my name is Michael, but everyone calls me Papito! :)

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