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Advise on best location for teenager

Good afternoon,
I am sorry if this topic was already introduced,...please bear with me as I am new to the forum. We are from Ontario Canada.  We have been to Costa Rica quite a few times, but always in the tourist capacity.  It was enough to intrigue us, and to fall in love with this beautiful country.   I also understand that visiting and living there are 2 completely different experiences. 

We are looking to move to Costa Rica within the next year to 18 months.  We are under the retirement age, and our son will be in his early teens.  We wish to look for areas that will offer him the true Tico experience, while still being around expat children his age.  I feel that to help all of us transition that it would be wise to live in a community setting.

I was also wondering what schools do you recommend for us to look into for him.

Really any advise would be appreciated.  I am just starting my "homework" now, and hope to be as aware as I can be before the big move.

Thank you!

Hello. There are good schools all over the country, some public others private, some private ones are run by religious male/female congregations,  as well. From my experience, having had my teenager daughter on both private and public schools, I recommend the international bilingual public school; its curriculum is not the greatest but it covers enough for a child willing to learn. Beach towns and San Jose are the main towns where your child will find more expat children. But after living 9 years in several beach towns, I wouldn't go back to live there again, and San Jose doesn't appeal to me.

Thank you for your reply..  May I ask why you don't enjoy the beach towns?  Where did you end up settling down?

ShanCol :

Good afternoon,
I am sorry if this topic was already introduced,...please bear with me as I am new to the forum. We are from Ontario Canada.  We have been to Costa Rica quite a few times, but always in the tourist capacity.  It was enough to intrigue us, and to fall in love with this beautiful country.   I also understand that visiting and living there are 2 completely different experiences. 

We are looking to move to Costa Rica within the next year to 18 months.  We are under the retirement age, and our son will be in his early teens.  We wish to look for areas that will offer him the true Tico experience, while still being around expat children his age.  I feel that to help all of us transition that it would be wise to live in a community setting.

I was also wondering what schools do you recommend for us to look into for him.

Really any advise would be appreciated.  I am just starting my "homework" now, and hope to be as aware as I can be before the big move.

Thank you!

Hola ShanCol,

Welcome to Expat.com!

I would recommend that you look in the Escazu/Santa Ana areas if you want your son to have Gringo friends his own age.  The better schools are located there and the younger adults and teen are more likely to be found there as well.  There's also a lot more entertainment and things to do - as well as good restaurants.  I also think he'd have a much easier time adjusting if he has at least a few Gringo friends to start.  I'm assuming he does not speak español. 

Once you are outside of the city a ways, you'll find mainly older, retired Gringos.  The teens in these areas would be predominantly Ticos.

Best of luck on your search and on your new adventure!    ;)

- Expat Dave
Expat.com Team Member

Beach towns are fine but they are too hot, too expensive, lots of transients for my taste, after 9 years living in several of them. Tamarindo, the most famous CR beach town is more expensive than Paris, no kidding. Again, the beach is fun to visit, no arguing there. We are now in Palmares, north of the  Central Valley, very nice quiet town.

I agree with both other posters.
A lot will depend on what activities your teenager enjoys. Remember that it is dark just after 6pm, so this can lead them to complain that there is not much for them to do. Not all beach towns have bilingual schools so you choices will be limited, as are after extra curricular activities. And for your sons education here, to be accredited to him if decides to go to a Canadian university, he will be required to enroll in an accredited International school. Many Ticos enroll in these bilingual schools.
If you haven't already done so I advise you to read the Canadian government website regarding being a 'non-resident of Canda for tax purposes'. With the withholding tax beginning at 25% and the low Canadian dollar, it could make thing tough to live here.
Residency info.
Link to costs for applying for residency Working in Costa Rica.
If you are 'retiring' at under 55, know that your healthcare premiums are approx. double that of someone over 55. If applying under Invesionista or Rentista status, premiums could be much higher.

Just read your short bio on the forum, and wondered whether your elder son intended to come too. Dependents are required to be under 18 or unless he intends to enroll in a CR university full time until 25. After reaching 25 he would be required to apply on his own, and be affiliated with CAJA on his own,
Residency info

"Advise on best location for teenager"
My first response was:
"In their room!"

Just a joke..

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