The 2024 Top 13 Places for Expats in Costa Rica

Are you considering making the move to Costa Rica? With its lush landscapes, warm climate, and welcoming culture, Costa Rica has become an increasingly popular destination for expats seeking a lifestyle change. At Your Pura Vida, we’ve crunched the numbers, listened to your inquiries, and analyzed search trends to bring you our top 13 picks for the best places for expats to consider in 2024.

First and foremost, this list is biased as it’s tied to our clients and their searches. There are dozens if not hundreds of ways to select the destinations in Costa Rica to form a list of the best places to live as an expat in Costa Rica. But in 2023, the following were the most searched and requested locations across our website, social media, and member inquiries. 

So without further adieu, and in no particular order, let’s explore these 13 diverse and vibrant communities that offer a slice of paradise for those looking to call Costa Rica home:

Central Valley

Atenas, Costa Rica

Nestled in the heart of the Central Valley, Atenas is renowned for having one of the best climates in the world. With its lush landscapes and friendly community, Atenas offers a peaceful haven for expats. Enjoy a slower pace of life, engage in community events, and savor the stunning views of the surrounding mountains.


Grecia, another gem in the Central Valley, charms expats with its welcoming atmosphere and well-preserved colonial architecture. The town’s vibrant market, local festivals, and friendly locals make it an ideal spot for those seeking an authentic Costa Rican experience.

Escazú, Santa Ana, and Belén

For expats desiring modern amenities and proximity to the capital city, the combined allure of Escazu, Santa Ana, and Belen is hard to resist. These areas offer upscale living, with shopping malls, gourmet restaurants, and international schools. Enjoy city life’s convenience while surrounded by beautiful landscapes and a welcoming community.

Inland Mountains


The inland town of Cartago, with its rich historical significance as the former capital of Costa Rica, beckons expats seeking a blend of tranquility and cultural immersion. Explore ancient ruins, visit the majestic Basilica de Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles, and enjoy the lush greenery that surrounds this charming town.

Central Pacific

Manuel Antonio and Quepos

The Central Pacific region boasts some of the most breathtaking coastal landscapes, and Manuel Antonio and Quepos are at the heart of it all. With pristine beaches, a national park teeming with wildlife, and a vibrant expat community, these towns offer a perfect blend of nature and convenience.


For those who prefer a quieter coastal escape, Esterillos beckons with its serene beaches and laid-back atmosphere. Expats can enjoy the tranquility of the Pacific Ocean, explore nearby wildlife reserves, and build connections within a close-knit community.

Southern Pacific

Uvita and Ojochal

The southern Pacific towns of Uvita and Ojochal capture the essence of Pura Vida living. With stunning beaches, lush rainforests, and a focus on sustainable living, these towns offer a perfect blend of nature and community.


Known for its world-class surf breaks and bohemian vibe, Dominical is a haven for expats seeking an active beach lifestyle. Embrace the surf culture, explore nearby waterfalls, and become part of a community that values adventure and relaxation.

Nicoya Peninsula

Santa Teresa and Montezuma

Santa Teresa, on the Nicoya Peninsula, is a mecca for surf enthusiasts and those seeking a bohemian lifestyle. With its laid-back atmosphere, diverse international community, and stunning sunsets, Santa Teresa is a true gem on the Pacific Coast.


Nosara, known for its commitment to wellness and sustainability, attracts expats with its yoga retreats, pristine beaches, and abundant wildlife. Immerse yourself in a community that values health, nature, and the Pura Vida lifestyle.


Playas del Coco

Situated in the Guanacaste Province, this lively beach town caters to both relaxation and adventure. With its vibrant nightlife, beautiful beaches, and proximity to national parks, expats can enjoy the best of both worlds in this charming coastal community.


Puerto Viejo

The Caribbean town of Puerto Viejo is a unique and vibrant destination. Known for its diverse culture, beautiful beaches, and reggae rhythms, it’s an excellent choice for those seeking a more eclectic expat experience on the Caribbean coast.

Northern Region

Nuevo Arenal and La Fortuna

The northern region towns of Nuevo Arenal and La Fortuna offer breathtaking views of the Arenal Volcano. With their hot springs, lush landscapes, and outdoor activities, these towns provide a perfect balance of adventure and tranquility.

Honorable Mentions

While these locations were the most popular from our community last year, several honorable mention communities across Costa Rica are worth considering and are some of our favorites with incredibly vibrant expat communities. If you want to explore more, consider Tamarindo, Liberia, Sámara, Puriscal, Orosi, Rivas, Curridabat, and Heredia each brings unique offerings to the expat experience, from beachside bliss to mountain retreats.

Costa Rica’s diverse landscapes and welcoming communities make it a haven for expats seeking a new beginning. Whether you’re drawn to the lush Central Valley, the pristine beaches of the Pacific or Caribbean coasts, or the tranquility of inland towns, Costa Rica offers a slice of paradise for everyone. Explore these top 13 picks and honorable mentions, and embark on your Pura Vida journey in 2024. But what makes a perfect location for one person is very different than what is perfect for another.  Infrastructure, goals, vision, love of the outdoors, and specific needs for a family (healthcare, school, etc.) all help determine what is right for you. 

And that is exactly why we are here.  Your Pura Vida is focused on helping you find the exact location that is right for you.  Surprisingly, where you end up is not always where you first think about.  That’s part of the fun of the expat adventure!  And we want to be your partner in that process.  If you are seriously considering joining us in paradise as an expat yourself, we would love to be in support of your dreams. Reach out today.  Who knows, your favorite town may be on next year’s “top” list!

And as always: Pura Vida!