In July 2013, we stepped off the plane feeling fairly confident that we knew what our new lives in Costa Rica would be like. We had not only visited several times before, but we had read just about everything there was on the subject. Choose Costa Rica for Retirement and Moon: Living Abroad in Costa Rica were great guidebook-style books that taught us a lot of practical things about moving to Costa Rica like banking, real estate, visa requirements and residency, internet, etc. What was lacking in these and the other books out there, though, were personal anecdotes. We really wanted to hear from other expats about their experiences and how they were adjusting to their new lives.
Today, aspiring expats have many first-hand accounts to choose from written by people of all different backgrounds. In this post, we’ll share some of our favorites to get you ready for your move to Costa Rica.
THE FAMILY FREEDOM PROJECT
If you are the type of person who dreams about moving abroad but feels like there are too many obstacles to overcome, this book is for you. Liisa Vexler first inspires you with her own story of moving to Costa Rica with her family, and then tells you how you can do it too. The Family Freedom Project is broken down into well thought out steps that include everything from coming up with a plan, to decluttering your life, transitioning to being mobile friendly (work, banking, mail, etc.), and even figuring out what to do with your home and belongings. Although this book is targeted at families, we feel it should be on everyone’s list. Liisa’s focus on planning ahead is exactly what worked for us and her motivational tone really makes those dreams seem possible.
E-book: $4.99 on Amazon
Paperback: $12.99 on Amazon
HAPPIER THAN A BILLIONAIRE: THE ESCAPE MANUAL
Do not read any of the Happier Than a Billionaire books in bed; your outbursts of laughter will score you zero points with your sleeping spouse. Nadine Hays Pisani has a way of getting across important information through funny stories. She did it in her first two books and does it again in The Escape Manual. This book is loaded with insights about all the things people ask us about moving to Costa Rica. Health care, buying a car or house, residency, crime, and much more. Most of Nadine’s experiences focus on where she has lived (the Central Valley and Guanacaste Province), but in the book, she and her husband, Rob, travel to other areas of the country as well. The most important thing to take away from The Escape Manual or any of Nadine’s books is to keep the right attitude about life. We agree. If you can’t find humor in the everyday blips that happen here in paradise, you’ve probably chosen the wrong place.
E-book: $2.99 on Amazon
Paperback: $11.69 on Amazon
COSTA RICA CHICA:
Retiring Early, Simplifying My Life & Realizing that Less Is Best
Costa Rica Chica tells the story of why Jen Beck Seymour and her husband took the unlikely step of retiring in their early 40s and moving to Costa Rica. We actually moved around the same time and since we’re young too, we could relate to a lot of it, especially the need to leave the rat race behind for a more relaxed pace. While the book has lots of practical information, what we enjoyed most was hearing about Jen’s personal experience. Her light, relatable tone takes you from the beginning stages of when she and Greg were contemplating a move, to the day they left Dallas with just nine suitcases, and ultimately to how they’re adjusting to life in Costa Rica. It’s a fun read that you’ll get a lot of out of, but will probably best remember for its charming story.
E-book: $3.95 on Amazon
Paperback: $8.76 on Amazon
LIVING IN AND VISITING COSTA RICA:
100 Tips, Tricks, Traps, and Facts
When we first moved to Costa Rica, everything was suddenly harder or at least more confusing for those first couple of months. Although we felt well prepared for our move, we still had no idea how a lot of things worked here. When you walk into a grocery store, why are there a set of lockers on the wall? And why is the security guard pointing at you? It’s these types of questions that Greg Seymour set out to answer in Living in and Visiting Costa Rica. Topics include typical etiquette in banks, stores, and restaurants, how things like the bus system work, and even what options there are for cell phone and internet plans. Greg is spot on with his take on things and his book would have definitely shortened our learning curve when we first arrived.
E-book: $3.00 on Amazon
Paperback: $10.00 on Amazon
PURA VIDA FOR PARENTS
Pura Vida for Parents is a must-read for anyone considering moving to Costa Rica with children or starting a family once they arrive. It is organized into 15 frequently asked questions that address the basics from what it’s like to give birth in Costa Rica to schooling and finding affordable housing. Emily Shea, the Travel Mother, brings her experience as a mother of two to every subject and also includes opinions from other expat moms to keep it balanced. It’s a quick read—we read it in one afternoon—that is loaded with useful information. It even has very specific, sometimes hard-to-find details, like recommended doctors.
E-book: $0.99 on Amazon
Have a book to add to the list? Recommend it below.
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