June 30, 2016 - When I moved to Costa Rica over 15 years ago I imagined myself living in Manuel Antonio or in Escazu. Never would I have thought that I would end up living in the small town of Ciudad Colon which is located just 25 minutes west of San Jose, the capital city of Costa Rica.
This is my story on how I ended up buying real estate in Ciudad Colon and how I believe that it is the perfect mix of warm weather, calm atmosphere that I was looking for when I chose to move to Costa Rica.
The first time I came to Costa Rica was for a summer vacation with my family back in 1998. We all fell in love with this country from hiking the rainforest to the people and the weather. We did all of the touristy stuff on our first trip which included spending some time in Manuel Antonio, checking out the coffee and cacao plantation, doing the rainforest tours and the volcanoes.
A year later, my wife and I still had the Costa Rica bug and we decided to take the plunge and move to Costa Rica. I won’t go into the whole process we took to get our residency in Costa Rica but I will tell you that it took approximately 9 months before we had that little booklet that said we could legally live in Costa Rica as “pensionado”.
Before we decided to buy a house in Costa Rica, we thought it wise to rent first. Since we were not certain as to where we wanted to spend the rest our retirement years, we decided to live in various places and make our decision. We thought that we would stay 6-9 months in one place and then move on until we found the perfect location.
We started out in Manuel Antonio, which is a lovely beach town located in the central Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. We loved it but it was just too darn hot and too far away to get some of the necessities of home without having to drive to San Jose. I hear that it is now much easier to get supplies from the US in that area of Costa Rica but it was neither here nor there when we first moved to Manuel Antonio.
So we decided to move closer to San Jose and ended up renting a lovely piece of real estate in Downtown San Jose. It was ok but it just didn’t feel like home and my wife did not like living in the city. We also lived in San Francisco 2 Rios, Escazu and Santa Ana before we rented a 2 bedroom home in Ciudad Colon.
We ended up in Ciudad Colon after a couple of the locals we had befriended suggested to us. This little town boasts a climate that is identical to Escazu even though it is a bit hotter on the average. It is close enough to Santa Ana and Escazu where we are able to meet all of our needs for American supplies and far enough away that we are away from all of the unwanted elements we get from living in the city.
One of the bigger aspects that made the decision to buy our house there was of course the price as it is much more affordable then a house in Escazu. We were surprised that they were not a lot of Ciudad Colon real estate available from the larger real estate offices in Costa Rica but we did find one that was able to show us several homes in the area.
After 10 years of living in Ciudad Colon this little piece of paradise remains the perfect place for us. We have made several tico friends as well as several expats from the U.S., Canada and Europe and have not regretted the decision to buy our retirement home there.