International Living's Top 10 Places To Retire Abroad In 2018

Jan 3 2018 

As this Next Avenue article explains, International Living is out with its Annual Global Retirement Index and has chosen the Top 10 places to retire abroad for 2018. The researchers combined data on 24 countries with reporting from International Living correspondents to come up with the list. The top country for 2018: Costa Rica. See the following slideshow to learn about each of the Top 10 places.

1. Costa Rica

Costa Rica, a popular, safe, low-stress place for tourists and U.S. expats, jumped from No. 4 to No. 1 in this year’s International Living Annual Global Retirement Index. The economy is growing, the thermal springs are bubbling and the beaches are enticing.

The Central American country known for its Pura Vida (rough translation: “life is good”) performed strongly in all 12 categories that comprised the rankings, but was especially impressive for these four: Buying & Investing, Entertainment & Amenities, Health Care and Healthy Lifestyle.

A furnished two-bedroom home can be rented for $500 a month and you can buy an oceanview property for under $200,000. Costa Rica’s national health care system (Caja) is open to expat residents at a low cost — about $95 a month for a couple. A retired couple can live comfortably on $2,500 a month in Costa Rica, say International Living’s editors. And expats can qualify as residents if they have at least $1,000 a month in income from Social Security, a pension or a similar source per couple.

he downsides: mosquitoes on the beaches, a rainy season and a bureaucracy that means getting some things done can take time.

2. Mexico

In Mexico, International Living says, a couple can live on $1,500 to $3,000 a month — including rent and health care — depending on location. And talk about varying locations: You can choose to retire on a tropical beach, in the temperate mountains, in a Spanish-colonial city or in a small village.

International Living says health care is “good to excellent.” Private health care typically costs a quarter to half of what it does in the U.S. If you have a residence visa, you can get Mexico’s public health care for a few hundred dollars a year. That public health care is free if you’re over 60 and a legal resident.

3. Panama

An expat favorite because of its proximity to the United States, sunny Panama scored well in this year’s International Living rankings for many reasons. Chief among them: the country’s famed benefits and discounts for retirees and its ease of obtaining residency.

Some prefer living in the mountain towns; others choose beachy areas such as Coronado or Bocas Del Toro. Expats can often live well on $1,500 a month, if they choose a place other than the capital, Panama City. Health care typically costs 40 to 75% less than in the United States. As for taxes, International Living’s Panama Editor, Jessica Ramesch, says she pays no income tax on her overseas earnings; she has been living in the country for 12 years.

4. Ecuador

A perennial favorite of International Living and North American expats, Ecuador ranks No. 4 this year because it has so much to offer in so many ways. The South American country scored well in International Living’s categories of Benefits & Discounts, Fitting In, Entertainment & Amenities and Healthy Lifestyle, but Climate was a standout. The weather is especially spectacular in places like Cotacachi, in the Andes, where the high altitude keeps temperatures moderate year-round.

A family of four can live on about $1,200 a month, not including rent. A semi-furnished one-bedroom apartment in the colonial city of Cuenca goes for about $200 a month.

. Malaysia

International Living’s top choice in Asia for 2018 is described by the editors as “easy, English-speaking and First World.” The South Eastern paradise with over 870 islands is also known for a low cost of living; in Kuala Lumpur, a couple can live comfortably on $1,500 a month or extravagantly on $2,500 a month (including rent), International Living says.

Malaysia scored best of the 24 countries ranked in the Entertainment and Amenities category. A special favorite of locals: street food.

6. Colombia

International Living says this sophisticated country on the northern tip of South America is the second most biodiverse nation in the world. So you won’t have any trouble finding a suitable climate. There are tropical coastal beach cities as well as popular mountain locales such as Medellin (not the cartel capital it used to be).

Colombia scores high for health care, too. The World Health Organization ranked it No. 22 out of 191 for quality of care, ahead of the United States and Canada.

While not the least expensive place to retire, Colombia is pretty affordable. International Living says a couple’s total cost of living can be $2,000 a month or less.

7. Portugal

International Living names Portugal “Europe’s Best Retirement Haven” and competitor Live and Invest Overseas is a fan too, just dubbing Lisbon, Portugal its No. 1 place to live in the world.

For International Living, Portugal ranks high for its affordable lifestyle and friendly residents. A couple can pay $1,000 a month for a four-bedroom, four-bath home near Lisbon (whose airport has direct flights to most major cities). English is widely spoken in Lisbon.

Health care is remarkably affordable, though there can be some bureaucratic red tape.

8. Nicaragua

International Living says tropical Nicaragua gives you “the best bang for your buck in Latin America.” A couple renting there and eating out a few times a week can easily live well on $1,500 a month, and often much less, the editors say.

Nicaragua is known for its surfing, fishing, hiking and — in its cities — shopping and entertainment. “Nicaragua is different enough to be interesting, but not so different as to be bizarre,” expats Darrell and Amy Bushnell told International Living contributor Scott Hed. They moved to Nicaragua more than a decade ago.

Expats tend to favor Granada and San Juan del Sur, where locals speak some English, though knowing Spanish can be helpful.

9. Spain

The other European country in International Living’s Top 10 (neighboring Portugal is No. 7), laidback Spain is growing increasingly popular among U.S. expats. Its cost of living is one of the lowest in Europe and the living itself is very much First World, especially in cities such as Madrid and Barcelona.

The climate ranges from what you’d find in the Pacific Northwest in Spain’s northwest region to hot, dry and sunny in the southern part of the country.

0. Peru

New to this year’s Top 10 ranking from International Living, the South American country of Peru is becoming an expat favorite (especially in the vibrant capital, Lima). Think of it as a Goldilocks locale for retirees: the weather is not too hot and not too cold and the food is more than just right.

Living costs are enticing, too: International Living says you can find two-bedroom apartments renting for as little as $250 a month.

There are 1,500 miles of coastline (from Ecuador to Chile), terrific surfing, old colonial cities, mountains, canyons and, of course, the tourist favorites of Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

But International Living’s Peru Correspondent Steve LePoidevin says Peru is “not in the top countries when it comes to public health care,” although there is “a large network of excellent private clinics and hospitals.” A health insurance policy can cost as little as $100 a month.

$100 Million Investment to Re-Imagine 1,400-Acre Peninsula Papagayo

Latin America’s Premier Residential and Resort Destination to Undergo Initial Capital Improvements Project as Part of Major Transformation Featuring Renovated Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica, First-Ever Peninsula Amenities, Expansive Network of Nature Trails and Only-Here Explorations

July 11, 2017 10:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

MIAMI--()--Gencom, a leading Miami-based international luxury hospitality and residential real estate investment and development firm, today announces a more than USD 100 million investment toward a major transformation of Peninsula Papagayo, a 1,400-acre premier residential and resort destination in the Guanacaste province in northwestern Costa Rica. Beginning in December 2017 with the debut of the re-imagined Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica, this investment will signal the launch of a long-term plan to connect and celebrate the sprawling peninsula from end to end for the first time, bringing an unprecedented new level of meaningful eco-luxury and transformative experiences to the Americas.

“As a native Costa Rican, I am very grateful that the vision for Peninsula Papagayo will bring more travelers from around the world to discover the peninsula’s 1,400 acres of incredible biodiversity and eco-rich land.”

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“We are deeply proud and excited that our vision for the evolution of Peninsula Papagayo will give discerning travelers and homeowners compelling new reasons to discover Costa Rica as an enchanting and unparalleled luxury gateway to the Latin America region,” said Karim Alibhai, founder and principal of Miami-based Gencom. “As we invest in carefully shaping and preserving Peninsula Papagayo as an eco-rich paradise for generations to come, we look forward to also defining and bringing great awareness to the meaningful ultra-luxury segment of Costa Rica’s thriving tourism and real estate industries.”

With the completion of this upcoming capital improvements project, homeowners, resort guests and visitors to Costa Rica will experience the natural wonders of the 1,400-acre biodiverse peninsula through a combination of new builds; major enhancements including the multi-million renovation of Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica; first-ever Peninsula Papagayo amenities; transformative only-here explorations; and an ongoing focus on sustainability and wellness including a peninsula-wide network of more than eight miles of nature trails designed to integrate man and nature and help preserve one of the most extraordinary biological corridors on the planet.

“The momentous enhancements underway at Peninsula Papagayo are significant not only to Costa Rica's flourishing tourism industry that is important to the economy, but to the country’s position as a thought-leader in the preservation and celebration of the native landscape and authentic local culture,” said Manuel Ardon, chief operating officer of Peninsula Papagayo. “As a native Costa Rican, I am very grateful that the vision for Peninsula Papagayo will bring more travelers from around the world to discover the peninsula’s 1,400 acres of incredible biodiversity and eco-rich land.”

This significant investment toward the continued transformation and preservation of Peninsula Papagayo will include:

  • A major renovation of Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica, the only Forbes five-star resort in Central and South America; the resort makeover features a locally-inspired yet globally-considered modern design aesthetic from Meyer Davis Studio spanning all 181 guest room, suites and villas; the expansive lobby; five culinary venues plus an all-new Añejo bar and Library lounge; and the signature pool area along with the introduction of new guest experiences rooted in a connection to self and nature

  • A new peninsula-wide network of more than eight miles of nature trails that will connect guests with nature while preserving the bio-diverse corridor

  • A new Macaw sanctuary designed to cultivate this native species through conservation and educational programming

  • An enhancement of Marina Papagayo — a 180-slip luxury marina that is a premier destination for superyachts — with a new restaurant and lounge, gourmet grocery market and an array of new yacht charter offerings

  • An enhancement of Peninsula Papagayo Golf Club that features an 18-hole Palmer Signature Course, five tennis courts (four Har-Tru courts and one grass court) and a signature restaurant

  • A new Papagayo Explorers Club — a program of only-here experiences across active adventures, culture, wellness, fitness and volunteerism ranging from exhilarating spinner dolphin explorations and mountain biking to cheese making and pottery sessions with local artisans

  • A continued investment in the growth of Creciendo Juntos — a nonprofit association founded by Peninsula Papagayo that supports the development of local Guanacaste communities including schools and a children’s clinic through various educational, health and leadership programs; resort guests and homeowners can help make an impact through immersive volunteerism opportunities

  • An ongoing focus on sustainability and land preservation — which is the heart of Peninsula Papagayo — through the growth of environmental, maritime, archaeological, social and educational initiatives and an increased investment in the research and development of new programs

Peninsula Papagayo is located 30 minutes from Liberia International Airport, which offers more than 100 weekly flights seasonally from major cities in the U.S., Canada, U.K. and across Central America. It is home to 11 miles of dramatic coastline, eight miles of majestic bluff edges, seven sandy beaches and one of the few tropical dry forests on the planet.


Founded in 1987 by Karim Alibhai, Gencom is a U.S.-based investment firm that owns and operates prized real estate around the world, with an emphasis on luxury hotels, resorts and residential properties. Iconic properties include Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo, The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami in Fla., The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch in Colorado and Rosewood Tucker’s Point in Bermuda. Headquartered in Miami, Gencom is fully integrated, with expertise in virtually every aspect of development, acquisition, financing, asset management and the sale of hospitality properties. Gencom has had success developing, purchasing and exiting single assets and hotel portfolios, as well as in creating, purchasing and growing hospitality platform investments throughout the United States, Caribbean and Europe.


Inside Kim Kardashian's Luxurious Costa Rica Vacation Retreat

January 29 2017


Jim Dobson, Contributor


Located on a bluff along Costa Rica's Peninsula Papagayo, in the northwest province of Guanacaste and along the country’s north Pacific Coast, Villa Manzu is a spectacular private villa catering to the highest end clientele. I was excited to see TMZ ran photos this week from one of my favorite villas in the world, as the entire Kardashian family enjoyed a long vacation there.  I can understand why celebrities love Costa Rica and the Villa Manzu since it offers up a secluded and very private location. With eight specialty suites, a full-time staff and full security, this is the perfect celebrity vacation retreat.



I have been a longtime fan of Costa Rica and have noticed its transition from a sleepy coastal retreat to a world class destination of resorts and villas. On one of my recent luxury escapes to the Guanacaste area, I instantly fell in love with the locals and the tropical, warm climate and beaches.

Villa Manzu rents for over $23,000 nightly in high season and features 30,000 square feet on five acres of lush isolated peninsula. It has two swimming pools, a spa and private theater as well as multiple bars and party rooms.  The 180-degree views of the sea take you away to another world as monkeys play nearby in the trees. Inside the villa, eight full suites offer up 15 beds along with full bathroom suites featuring onyx and marble tubs and showers.


The Villa’s full staff and private Executive Chef prepare the most amazing gourmet meals and the fully stocked wine room entices with the villa’s award winning cigars. And did I mention the villa also comes stocked with a Range Rover, Ford Explorer SUV and a Jeep Wrangler all with private drivers?



The winding pathways from the villa lead to several nearby beaches only 100 yards away. You can explore the sandy beaches or visit the Playa Prieta Beach Club for drinks or you can stay at the villa and enjoy your own yoga pavilion and entertainment rooms.


The surrounding area is also home to the amazing Four Seasons Resort as well as major future developments, including a new Hard Rock Hotel, Ritz-Carlton Hotel, W Hotel, Rosewood Papagayo and much more.  The Villa Manzu is reachable by only a 40-minute drive from the Liberia, Costa Rica International Airport (LIR) where the staff will be waiting for you for a seamless arrival and departure.






Hard Rock Hotel Papagayo Set to Rock Central America

January 19 2017





Orlando, FL – January 19, 2017 – Hard Rock International makes waves today as it announces plans to bring the Hard Rock Hotels experience to Costa Rica with the all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotel Papagayo, Costa Rica. Hard Rock, in collaboration with Sunwing Travel Group, is set to open Costa Rica’s first Hard Rock Hotel by early 2019.  The brand’s strategic partnership with Sunwing Travel Group, the largest tour operator in North America, provides the perfect opportunity for future growth within the region. With Hard Rock and Sunwing Travel Group’s shared vision of providing authentic experiences in world-class destinations, this new partnership paves the way for potential collaborations in both the Caribbean and Latin America.

“Costa Rica has seen a steady rise in international arrivals and the country’s worldwide appeal aligns with our development strategy deeply rooted in expanding into desirable locations,” says Marco Roca, global head of hotel development at Hard Rock International. “We look forward to electrifying the destination with a musically-charged differentiated product never before seen in the area.”

The 294-room modern retreat will be centrally located just 30 minutes from Liberia International Airport, providing travelers with easy access to Papagayo’s Gulf and Peninsula. Recognized as one of the country’s most popular resort destinations, guests of this Hard Rock Hotel will be treated to secluded landscapes, natural wonders, eco-adventure excursions and an up close look at Costa Rica’s impressive biodiversity. Additionally, the hotel will be managed by Blue Diamond Resorts – a leading operator with a proven track record of delivering high-quality resort experiences throughout the Caribbean’s most discerning locations.

“We’re excited to bring such a world-class, award-winning brand to Papagayo that will raise the standard of cool and contemporary for Costa Rican all-inclusive resorts,” says Jordi Pelfort – Managing Director, Blue Diamond Resorts (Sunwing Travel Groups Hotel Division). “With a passionate fan base and proven track record of delivering memorable experiences through landmark hotels and resorts, we look forward to collaborating with Hard Rock International and welcoming visitors of all ages to Costa Rica’s first Hard Rock Hotel.”

In true Hard Rock style, the resort will boast brand exclusive offerings, such as a full-service Rock Spa featuring relaxing and recharging treatments and The Sound of Your Stay music amenity program offering free in-room Fender guitar checkouts. Vacationers seeking the ultimate experience will have the opportunity to upgrade their room to the Rock Royalty Level and enjoy VIP services including preferred room locations, personal assistants, upgraded bath amenities and one-of-a-kind music perks. Hard Rock Hotel Papagayo, Costa Rica will cater to multigenerational leisure travelers with several family-friendly offerings, such as the brand’s two signature hangouts exclusively for younger rockers, Teen Spirit and Hard Rock Roxity Kids Club. In addition, plans call for a vast array of dining options, ranging from an all-day buffet restaurant to four a la carte eateries, including a North American steak house, an Asian restaurant, an Italian trattoria and an internationally inspired eatery.

Through music appreciation and an imaginative environment, Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos delivers products for the varied aspects of life – work, play and personal sanctuary. For more information or to book a stay at any of the Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos, please visit

About Hard Rock International

With venues in 74 countries, including 175 cafes, 24 hotels and 11 casinos, Hard Rock International (HRI) is one of the most globally recognized companies. Beginning with an Eric Clapton guitar, Hard Rock owns the world’s greatest collection of music memorabilia, which is displayed at its locations around the globe. Hard Rock is also known for its collectible fashion and music-related merchandise, Hard Rock Live performance venues and an award-winning website. HRI owns the global trademark for all Hard Rock brands. The company owns, operates and franchises Cafes in iconic cities including London, New York, San Francisco, Sydney and Dubai. HRI also owns, licenses and/or manages hotel/casino properties worldwide. Destinations include the company’s two most successful Hotel and Casino properties in Tampa and Hollywood, Fl., both owned and operated by HRI parent company The Seminole Tribe of Florida, as well as other exciting locations including Bali, Chicago, Cancun, Ibiza, Las Vegas, Macau and San Diego. Upcoming new Hard Rock Cafe locations include Valencia, Innsbruck, Yangon and Chengdu. New Hard Rock Hotel projects include Abu Dhabi, Atlanta, Berlin, Dubai, London, Los Cabos, New York City, and Shenzhen, Dalian and Haikou in China. For more information on Hard Rock International, visit

About Sunwing Travel Group

One of the largest integrated travel businesses in North America, Sunwing Travel Group is comprised of Sunwing Vacations, the leading leisure tour operator in Canada; Sunwing Airlines, Canada’s premier leisure airline; Signature Vacations, one of Canada’s leading tour operators for all inclusive package vacations and Vacation Express, a growing tour operator in the United States together with the Group’s own travel retail businesses and Luxe Destination Weddings. Blue Diamond Resorts is the Sunwing Travel Group’s own hotel management company, an innovative organization that operates popular resort brands like Royalton Luxury Resorts, Memories, CHIC All Exclusive, and Starfish, across the Caribbean, Cuba and Mexico; while NexusTours provides destination management services to individuals, agencies, tour groups, corporate businesses and tour operators.


Edelweiss Air to launch Costa Rica-Switzerland flights

June 22, 2016

Swiss carrier Edelweiss Air announced the opening of a new non-stop route between Zurich and San José starting May 9, 2017.

President Luis Guillermo Solís and Tourism Minister Mauricio Ventura officially presented the new route Monday evening at a special event held at the National Theater in downtown San José.

Flights will depart from Zurich on Tuesdays at 5:35 p.m. and on Fridays at 12:25 p.m. From San José flights will depart at 11:35 p.m. on Tuesdays and at 6:20 p.m. on Fridays.

The route will be operated using Airbus A340-300 aircraft with a capacity of 314 seats, the airline said.

“This announcement reinforces Costa Rica’s image of a highly competitive and a highly demanded tourist destination,” Solís said.

The president said the launching of the new route will also bring cultural and economic benefits. Costa Rica and Switzerland have a free trade agreement in force since 2014.

“Costa Rica is a very popular destination among Swiss tourists,” Edelweiss CEO Bernd Bauer said, noting that the new route will bring some 27,000 tourists to Costa Rica each year, “which will create an economic benefit of $80 million annually.”

The Edelweiss flight will be the sixth from Europe, joining flights of Iberia from Madrid, British Airways from London and Condor from Frankfurt. In November Condor will start flying from Munich and Air France will open a route from Paris.

Data from the Costa Rican Tourism Board indicates that in 2015 some 400,000 people entered the country from Europe.

The figure represents 15 percent of the total number of people who entered on a tourist visa last year, and also an increase of 22,633 arrivals from 2014.

Edelweiss, a member of Lufthansa Group, carries over 1.3 million passengers per year to 40 destinations worldwide.


Direct flight London - Liberia - Thomson Adds London Gatwick – Liberia Flights from Nov 2015

Thomson Airways from 02NOV15 is adding nonstop service to Costa Rica, which sees Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft operates London Gatwick – Liberia route. This flight will be served once a week on seasonal basis. Planned schedule as follow.

TOM038 LGW0915 – 1505LIR 787 1
TOM039 LIR1710 – 0920+1LGW 787 1


Costa Rica’s Liberia airport announces $10 million expansion plan

March 15 2016


A total of 888,227 passengers traveled in 2015 through Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport, in the Guanacaste canton of Liberia.  (Courtesy of ICT)


CORIPORT, the company that manages the Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (LIR) in Costa Rica’s northwestern Guanacaste province, announced it will expand the terminal in coming months prompted by a significant increase in passenger traffic.

Work at the terminal, located in the canton of Liberia near many of the country’s popular northern Pacific beaches, will include the expansion of current waiting and baggage claim areas as well as new spaces for shops and offices that will extend the terminal’s area by 20 percent, the company reported.

The expansion represents an investment of $10.3 million and is scheduled to begin during the second quarter of this year. The airport’s administrator expects work to be completed by the second quarter of 2017.

CORIPORT General Manager César Jaramillo said, “Liberia has grown as a tourist destination, and this reflects in the increase of routes and seats, as well as the arrival of new flights at the terminal.”

Jaramillo also confirmed that during the second half of this year the company will launch operations for a cargo terminal aimed at facilitating businesses for exporters and importers, mostly from the northwestern region of Costa Rica.

The Liberia airport last year received a total of 888,227 passengers – 98,352 more than in 2014. That figure represents an increase of 12.4 percent.

The terminal saw its busiest months in January, March and December. During each of those three months the airport facilitated the transit of more than 100,000 passengers.

Three airlines – two from the U.S. – launched operations in Liberia last year. SouthWest Airlines opened a route from Houston, and Alaska Airlines is now flying from Los Angeles. British carrier Thomson Airways also opened a direct flight from London.



“Great news, many more positive things are happening in Guanacaste. We are very glad to be part of the community and look forward to much progress in the very near future”

: There are several direct flights from Montreal. Sunwing, WestJet, air Canada and air Transat all fly direct.”


Costa Rica tourism sets new record with 2.6 million visitors in 2015

January 16 2016

Costa Rica tourism cruised past another milestone in 2015, attracting a record-breaking 2.66 million tourists from around the world, Tourism Minister Mauricio Ventura said Friday. That means that the equivalent of more than half the population of the entire country of Costa Rica — 4.8 million people — visited the country last year.

Continued growth from the U.S., Costa Rica’s most important tourism market, and the expansion of new airlines were among the top reasons for the continued growth, Ventura told reporters. The increasing number of tourists also helped the tourism sector swell by 9 percent in 2015, outpacing the national GDP of 2.8 percent by threefold. Ventura called the tourism sector a “motor for development” in Costa Rica, providing jobs and growing the country’s international brand.

According to figures from the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT), the tourism sector was responsible for more than $2.8 billion in revenue during 2015 and employs roughly 600,000 people in Costa Rica through direct and indirect employment. That’s a $246 million increase over 2014, Ventura said.

The Kratochvil family — the one millionth U.S. tourist to visit Costa Rica in 2015 — receives a big welcome parade that included masquerades and traditional cimarrona music.


Alberto Font/The Tico Times

The United States is by far the largest single market for tourists to Costa Rica, totaling roughly 40 percent of all visitors with 1,077,044 U.S. visitors in 2015. The average U.S. visitor to Costa Rica stays for just over 11 days and spends an average of $1,340, according to ICT figures.

Nearly 400,000 tourists from Europe visited last year, including an important increase in British tourists. Thanks to new direct flights from British Airways, there was a 20 percent increase in tourists from the United Kingdom, the second largest percentage increase per country after China. China still has a relatively small number of visitors but saw 29 percent growth in 2015 over 2014.

Air traffic accounts for the largest amount of visitors. Thanks to new routes from British Airways, Southwest Airlines and other airlines, air traffic to Costa Rica grew 8 percent.

Ventura said visitors cite Tico hospitality as one of their favorite things about visiting Costa Rica. The worst? The quality of the roads. But bumpy roads didn’t kept away the 30 percent of tourists who came back to Costa Rica for at least a second visit, according to ICT figures.

To maintain those numbers, Ventura said that ICT was working to update its sustainable tourism certification program and to expand cultural offerings for tourists beyond Costa Rica’s world-famous wildlife and natural beauty.

“It’s like the Olympics every day” when it comes to competing for tourist dollars, Ventura said. “We compete every day with the best in the world. Not just from Nicaragua and Panama but Vietnam, New Zealand, the world.”

3 airlines inaugurate flights to, Costa Rica

By the Tico Times


Southwest Airlines’ inaugural flight between Houston and Liberia arrives at Daniel Oduber International Airport on Nov. 1, 2015. The carrier will start a Baltimore-Liberia route on Nov. 7.


Alaska Airlines, Thomson Airways and Southwest Airlines between inaugurated new routes to and from Costa Rica’s international terminals in recent days.

On Saturday, Alaska made its first flight to Costa Rica on its Los Angeles-San José route, which is now operating four times a week. On Sunday, the airline launched its first flight between Los Angeles and Liberia, Guanacaste. Four flights to Costa Rica a week will also be offered on that route.

Another U.S. carrier, Southwest Airlines, also launched the first flight of its daily route between Houston and Liberia on Sunday. On Nov. 7 the carrier will begin its route between Baltimore and Liberia, which will operate every Saturday.

On Monday, the U.K.’s Thomson Airways made its first weekly flight on the Gatwick-Liberia route using a B787-800 Dreamliner with a capacity for 291 passengers.

Tourism Minister Mauricio Ventura said authorities are pleased that the new airlines and new routes benefit both of the country’s international terminals.

Costa Rica now has 70 connections to destinations worldwide, according to ICT data. A total of 17 airlines operate to and from Juan Santamaría International Airport, allowing direct connections with flights to 46 destinations. Ten airlines operate flights to and from Daniel Oduber International Airport, providing connections to 24 destinations.

Ventura said attracting new airlines is daily work, and that there should be more new routes and airlines to announce in the near future.

Contact L. Arias 

(Courtesy of ICT)

Guanacaste thrives faster than the rest of Costa Rica / Guanacaste prospera más rápido que el resto de Costa Rica

Región Chorotega aumentó sus ingresos por actividades autónomas en un 43% en el último año
By el Financiero Costa Rica
November 24 2015

Los hogares guanacastecos prosperan a un ritmo más acelerado que los del resto de Costa Rica: aumentan los ingresos, disminuye la pobreza y cae el desempleo.

Lo hacen con un condimento muy propio, pues las entradas que más repuntan son las que generan ellos mismos, con empresas y ventas de servicios; aunque los ingresos por salario siguen teniendo el mayor peso.

Del 2014 al 2015, las entradas promedio de los hogares crecieron un 21%. Una cifra que supera, por mucho, el crecimiento promedio del país, que fue de un 3%.

Si se compara contra el 2010, la región Chorotega creció en un 56% mientras que el promedio del país lo hizo en un 39%.

Tampoco en esta comparación lo supera ninguna otra región, según las cifras analizadas por EF de las últimas cinco ediciones de la Encuesta Nacional de Hogares (Enaho), del Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos (INEC). Todos los datos fueron deflatados a precios corrientes del 2015.

Para la gerente del INEC, Floribel Méndez, el avance de la Región Chorotega puede tener relación con la construcción de la Interamericana Norte y los índices de ocupación al alza.

También aclaró que la Enaho 2015 toma como referencia un marco muestral ajustado, por lo que es probable que ahora se esté midiendo mejor la realidad de las regiones de planificación.

alsa propia

El progreso se nota en los datos y también lo evidencia Abril Chango, estudiante de administración de empresas de la Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR).

En noviembre pasado, la joven de 26 años abrió una venta de comidas frente al parque de Liberia y desde entonces solo ha percibido ganancias, dice.

Chango es el ejemplo vivo de lo que está ocurriendo en la región.

Las actividades de alojamiento y los servicios de comida aumentaron su peso relativo en la economía de un 10% en el 2014 a un 14% en el 2015.

Es, de hecho, el rubro que más aumentó su peso relativo, robándole puntos al que tienen las actividades de enseñanza y la salud, que son a su vez las que más impactan entre los pobres de la zona, según las nuevas cifras del Índice de Pobreza Multidimensional (IPM), del INEC.

“En los últimos años se ha incentivado en la región una cultura de emprendedurismo para que las personas comiencen a generar sus propios negocios”, explica el profesor de turismo de la UCR Víctor Julio Baltodano.

Las cifras coinciden con Baltodano. El ingreso por actividades autónomas incrementó su peso relativo en las entradas totales de los hogares, pasando de un 16% en el 2014 a un 18% en el 2015.

Si se calcula en términos de dinero, la retribución que llegó a las familias por medio de actividades autónomas fue un 43% mayor en el 2015 que en el 2014.

Las entradas percibidas por alquilar propiedades también aumentaron en un 41%.

En la balanza, sin embargo, siguen pesando más los salarios, que tienen una participación del 64% en los ingresos totales de los hogares. 

Riqueza en un país desigual

La prosperidad de Guanacaste también se relaciona con el descenso en los indicadores de desempleo abierto.

El concepto abarca a todas las personas en edad y disposición de trabajar que, a pesar de buscarlo, no encuentran un trabajo.

La tasa de desempleo abierta en esta región pasó de 12,5 a 9,66 por cada cien habitantes, el mayor descenso entre todas las regiones del país.

Es un problema que, sin embargo, sigue estancando más a los hogares más pobres.

El primer quintil tiene una tasa de desempleo abierta del 33,4% mientras en el segundo quintil afecta a menos de la mitad de ese porcentaje y para los más ricos es solo de un 2%.

En este caso, el indicador va en contra de su propia prosperidad, pues es el mayor en comparación con el resto de regiones del país.

También es cierto que esa población se hace cada vez más pequeña, pues la pobreza extrema sigue desvaneciéndose en la zona guanacasteca.

Aunque el ingreso aumentó proporcionalmente más entre los hogares más ricos que entre los más pobres, sí tuvo un impacto contra este indicador, que cayó de un 12,1% a un 10,4%.

La Chorotega fue, de hecho, la única región en la que descendió de manera significativa la pobreza extrema. En el resto del país, más bien, aumentó.

También cayó la pobreza no extrema, que pasó de un 21,1% a un 16,6%. Este es el mayor cambio reportado por la Enaho entre 2014 y 2015.

A pesar de todos estos repuntes, Guanacaste sigue teniendo una desigualdad creciente entre los hogares.

El índice de Gini, que mide la desigualdad per cápita, aumentó del 0.501 al 0.508 en la región Chorotega.

Mientras más se acerque al 1, más desigual es una población.

En otras como la Huetar Norte y la Pacífico Central también se incrementó esa brecha.

Puntos débiles

El Gobierno dice tener la ruta clara para atacar la desigualdad en Guanacaste.

La vicepresidenta de la República, Ana Helena Chacón, señala una lista de medidas de prevención como la educación técnica y la formación sexual.

También, apunta que atacarán el desempleo mapeando las necesidades de las empresas de la zona para comenzar a formar más técnicos.

El camino deberá estar mucho más claro a partir de ahora, pues una nueva medición viene a especificar cuáles son las áreas que más pesan en la pobreza.

Uno de los factores que más afecta a la región Chorotega es la serie de privaciones en vivienda.

Esta dimensión, medida por el Índice de Pobreza Multidimensional (IPM), tiene un peso relativo de 28,3 en esta región. Entre otras cosas, sus habitantes carecen de acceso a Internet con mayor frecuencia que el resto de la población.

La salud también afecta a los pobres, con un peso del 25,4, el segundo rubro más alto.

Con estos indicadores, el camino está marcado. Seguirlo es indispensable para que Guancaste siga creciendo.

Can a simple move really make you into a healthier person?

November 3 2015

By the Costa Rica News

In our last few months of traveling about Costa Rica, we noticed that a large number of expats fit into one big category — retirees. In conversations with couples from all over the States, we’re hearing the same praises:

  • I’ve lost 50 lbs since moving here six months ago, and haven’t done anything different!
  • I don’t have any arthritis down here!
  • My blood pressure was sky-rocketing and now it’s normal!

These aren’t just a few lucky stories; for the “Golden Generation,” who have migrated from the Americas’ northern countries, this is the norm. Many have been even told by their doctors that they have added an extra10 years onto their life!

You don’t have to wonder too long before it is simple to see why moving to a warmer climate and a cooler culture like that of Costa Rica can make such an impact on one’s health.

1. You get more sunlight.

I personally was not taking a daily dose of Vitamin D before moving to Central America. We left frigid, dark Maryland in the thick of winter. As you can imagine, my mood significantly improved upon arrival. Access to warmer weather also loosens up the joints. I’ve heard many retirees beam that their arthritis doesn’t bother them at all down here.

As long as you don’t leave yourself too long in the steady sunlight present in a country closer to the equator, you can enjoy the benefits of sunlight with less risk accompanied by pro-longed exposure.

2. You have less stress.

I was surprised at how much I slowed down after a week of leaving the United States. Even as a stay-at-home mom, I had this system of being busy all the time. Laundry, dishes, diapers, meals all seemed to stress me out. It was always, “I need to get this done; I need to get that done.” I never felt relaxed, even when rocking my infant to sleep. I would be thinking, “Please fall asleep, so I can get the ____ done.”

It is interesting that I noticed this behavior and began to naturally change shortly after being in Costa Rica. People are friendly; they laugh when my toddler acts out in public. They even do more than send an understanding smile my way — they help me! I was shocked when a man I didn’t know came up to us in a grocery store aisle and actually picked my screaming, flailing son up! That is the culture here, though. On every bus ride and in every long line, there are always extra arms extended to hold one of my offspring.

Everything goes at a slower pace here as well. One friend laughed as he stated, “People live one hundred years ago here.” It really is like that, though. Even though the country does have malls and movie theaters, the average citizen takes their time in every job. Don’t expect a workman to show up within the week they’re hired, or friends to come over when invited (and confirmed). If they feel like it, they’ll be there; if not, “Pura Vida, man.”

3. You have access to cheap local produce.

There is a out-door market, called the feria, held weekly in every town. In some places, it is an entire weekend event.

e of our top reasons to moving from Atenas to Grecia was the upgrade in market size. Now, we go to pick up our fresh produce on Saturdays, and the vendors are actual farmers. It’s great to support your local farms where ever you are, but it is probably easier to do that in a country like Costa Rica.

If you can’t catch the local feria, no worries, there are fruit and vegetable stands along the neighborhood roads every day. Also, the produce is much cheaper here than in the States, and it’s not shipped. It goes from the tree, to the farmer’s truck bed, right to your belly.

4. You walk more.

With the convenient transportation system set up in Costa Rica, there really is no need to own a car. Buses come by almost every hour, weaving up and down the neighborhoods that web out from the city center. Buses are very affordable too. It is around 420 colones (less than $1) to get to your city center, and I’ve heard you can bus to anywhere in the country for around $15.

y living without a car, you walk more in turn. Walking to catch the bus, walking around town, walking to visit a friend… I think this is the biggest reason people say the weight is just “melting” off of them. At the end of the day, they might feel a little sore in the leg muscles, but that’s a good thing — no need to visit the gym!

5. There is less pollution.

Living in a less industrialized country means that you are exposed to a much lower amount of toxins vagrant in larger cities. It goes hand-in-hand that the less people there are, the healthier the ecosystem. Costa Rica enjoys a lush and diverse environment, only burdened by human hands in the bigger cities.

Believe it or not, the water is safer here than in the States, too. They don’t put in any additives in the pipes here, it is mostly all mountain spring-fed. I can taste the difference in a cool glass of water here. It tastes purely fresh and hydrating. When I visit the States, I can’t help but notice the metalish taste from even a filtered water source. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather drink pure water!

Bottom Line

If I were a retired person, with no need to remain in the States, I’d get myself off to a warmer climate and all-around better life pronto! I’ve popped in on a few “gringo” cafes and restaurants, and it’s like an expat, retired club in there! They don’t miss the US, and they don’t mind being away from grand kids — because everyone now wants to visit them here in paradise!

They’ve set up a new life with a like-minded group of friends, and aren’t going anywhere. I personally enjoyed delving into society and mingling with the locals, but it is possible for you to create your own piece of America’s northern countries in Central America, and live like you did back home, while in a much prettier, more healthy surrounding!

New Costa Rica Tourism Industry Report and Forecast

October 31 2015

By News.Co.Cr

ew “Costa Rica Tourism Report Q1 2016″ now available at Fast Market Research. We expect positive arrivals growth of 2.4% in 2015, with strong arrivals from North America offsetting declining arrivals from Europe. However, we expect growth to moderate in the medium term, leading to lower levels of investment and development.

Costa Rica’s tourism market is one of the most developed in Central America, benefiting from political and social stability and a well-developed coastal resort area that attracts a steady stream of visitors, particularly from North America and Europe. While the rest of the country is less well set-up for tourism, with a cohesive transport network being a particular lack, the government is supporting infrastructure projects that will provide long-term improvements for the tourism market. One concern is that the market is heavily dependent on arrivals from the US, and would be vulnerable to a sudden decline in US tourists. Nonetheless, we do not view this as a likely scenario, with Costa Rica well entrenched as a popular destination for US visitors.

Full Report Details at


We expect tourist arrivals to grow steadily in 2015-2016, albeit below the 7%+ growth rates seen in the previous few years. We believe this indicates that the Costa Rica tourism market is entering a period of consolidation following several years of rapid expansion and investment. In support of this view, we note that hotel growth will be only 0.16% in 2015 and decline by 0.1% in 2016, reflecting the increased number of rooms that have been released into the market in recent years.

We expect growth to continue throughout the medium term, although dipping by 0.7% in 2019, when US tourism arrivals will decline. While this underlines the country’s dependence on the US market, we view this as a temporary decline and see tourist arrivals from the US returning to growth post-2019. However, we expect slower arrivals growth over the medium term to translate into lower investment, with industry value growing by less than 2% each year to 2019, when it will reach CRC942.8mn.

The Costa Rica Tourism Report has been researched at source and features BMI Research’s independent assessment and forecasts for tourist expenditure; government expenditure on tourism; passenger arrivals and departures by mode of transport, reason for travel, origin and destination; and the accommodation market.

MI’s Costa Rica Tourism Report provides industry professionals and strategists, corporate analysts, associations, government departments and regulatory bodies with independent forecasts and competitive intelligence on the Costa Rican tourism industry.

Key Benefits

* Benchmark BMI’s independent tourism industry forecasts for Costa Rica to test other views – a key input for successful budgetary and planning in the Costa Rican tourism market.

* Target business opportunities and risks in the Costa Rican tourism sector

About Fast Market Research

Fast Market Research is a leading distributor of market research and business information. Representing the world’s top research publishers and analysts, we provide quick and easy access to the best competitive intelligence available. Our unbiased, expert staff is always available to help you find the right research to fit your requirements and your budget.

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Alaska Airlines Says 'Hola' To Costa Rica

April 30th 2015 by prnewswire

SEATTLE, April 30, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Alaska Airlines will chart new territory this fall when it adds new service between Los Angeles and Costa Rica's two major international airports, further strengthening its southern California focus city. The eight weekly flights from Los Angeles to San Jose (SJO) and Liberia/Guanacaste (LIR), Costa Rica, are scheduled to begin Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 respectively, and are in addition to new daily service the carrier will add on Sept. 9 between Los Angeles and Baltimore.

Liberia is the gateway to the Guanacaste region in the western part of the country, renowned for surfing and sport fishing. While the capital city of San Jose, located about 130 miles from Liberia, boasts museums and historic Spanish colonial architecture. "As the most popular Central American tourist destination for U.S. travelers, Costa Rica is a mecca for eco-tourism, surfing and sport fishing and has been a top request from our customers who enjoy outdoor adventure," said John Kirby, Alaska Airlines' vice president of capacity planning. "Our new Costa Rica flights are well tim