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One of the countries in Central America
Costa Rica is one of the countries in Central America. It's just to the North (topologically) of Panama, and, like Panama, has both a Pacific coast and an Atlantic (Caribbean) coast. However, there is no Costa Rica Canal because there is no lowland right across the country.
Costa Rica is a Tax Haven, and does not conform to various mainstream assumptions which some places think are essential. Income tax is only charged on income made actually in Costa Rica, with international income being exempt. It's a very laid-back place generally. There is no army, because the founders of the country realised that it was not necessary but also it could pose a danger to the country through possible military coup! (Many countries have been overthrown by their own military). Also, Costa Rica is defended by its geography as well as not having anything that other countries covet so much they would wish to invade the place. The last time anyone invaded Costa Rica was in 1855 when a United States force attempted to invade. The folk in Costa Rica weren't keen on this and they mustered up a defence.
Costa Rica doesn't bother with such things as strict "planning law" (restrictions on building things on your own land). This sounds great, as you can buy a piece of land and build whatever you want (I think there is a minor restriction which is that your house isn't allowed to be more than seven floors high). However, you have to make sure you own the neighbouring plots, or someone else might build something which could be inconvenient. More about property in Costa Rica can be seen at the page of Costa Rica Real Estate
If you fancy moving to Costa Rica, a helpful contact is Arcr.net. Also, bear in mind that you should book a three month stay there to assess if the place is for you. It may look idyllic with its tropical palm trees, ecological rainforests, surfing, cut-price standard of living, and lack of too many over-bureaucratic laws, but you need to make sure the culture is compatible with your own philosophy.
Culturally, the locals, Costa Ricans, may seem very accepting of the unusual, but actually they are tolerant, which is something subtly different. However, they are friendly to visitors.
The ecology of Costa Rica is glorious! Costa Rica is a very ecological place, with the second highest biodiversity of animal species in the world (after Madagascar), and policies to conserve the environment. Also, its one of the few countries whose capital city is not at sea level, so if there is going to be sea level rise, it's not going to be flooded-out, unlike most places.
Costa Rica now enjoys new found fame as a Tax Haven since the OECD tried to put shame on it for being a Tax Haven. Well, shame on the OECD then! Costa Rica is a great place, and has a certain independence. People move there, not just for the tax-exempt status, but also because of the freedom! Long may Costa Rica flourish as a Tax haven, free of the oppressive attempts at global homogenisation by the OECD!
Costa Rica is in a surprising number of ways like a parallel to Switzerland, but tropical.
Here are a few Costa Rica contacts which might be helpful:
Arcr.net - Association of Residents of Costa Rica - expat helpful people.
Costa Rica Real Estate - bienes raices - What does Bienes Raices mean?
Surf 4x4 Costa Rica
Costa Rica is home to many Online Casinos and supports people's rights to gamble with their own money even if it may be unwise because they might lose as well as win. This is in contrast to the United States where personal liberty to that level is discouraged, even to the point of persecuting people. See the tragic story of someone who lived in Costa Rica and would have been best to avoid transit of the USA as they were ensnared in an airport while transiting.
If you'd like to book a holiday/vacation in Costa Rica, there are various helpful travel contacts here...
Occidental Hotels - including hotels in Costa Rica
Online TEFL Course
Scratch 2 Cash - a registered company located in Costa Rica
Taca - flights to/from Costa Rica
How to find stuff
World Land Trust
Travel Content at this Site?
The language of Costa Rica is Spanish.
The time zone is 6 hours behind GMT.
The electric mains voltage in Costa Rica is 110 volts, and the sockets are the usual American ones.
The currency of Costa Rica is the Colones, which has an inflation rate, and has had inflation for a while. You can see this because folk use large coins and notes in common trade, showing that the currency used to be worth more than it is currently. Therefore, if you emigrate to Costa Rica it's worth keeping your savings in dollars, GB pounds sterling, or euros, and keep a separate account for your living expenses with colones.
Costa Rica is a tropical place, but that doesn't mean it's all tropically hot. Altitude makes a big difference in temperature, and quite a lot of the terrain is mountainous. As with Panama, if you move there, you can choose your temperature by choosing your location. Incidentally, some of the mountains in Costa Rica are active volcanoes. These make excellent tourist attractions. A few Costa Rican volcanoes are mentioned on the page of volcano insurance
Driving is on the right, but in the capital city San Jose there is a curious one-way system in the grid pattern streets which is OK for taxi drivers but a bit tricky for drivers unfamiliar with the layout. Navigation in Costa Rica is unusual, as there are no post codes / zip codes, and not much in terms of street addresses. If you ask people where somewhere is, they will tell you using Costa Rican navigation, which doesn't use absolute addresses and instead uses vectors relative to "landmarks". Some of the landmarks are physically there, and some exist in the memories of people who remember where they used to be.
A Lonely Planet travel guide book may come in handy.
There is a motto on Costa Rica, "Pura Vida!". This is an affirmation of living life being what's important. more about the Culture of Costa Rica here.
Creative commons free Maps copied with permission from Free World Maps.net, whose link is also featured at the page of Maps