When I originally moved to Costa Rica I could find some basic information on the web. There were a few blogs and vlogs out there but nothing like there are today. I wonder if having more information available is actually helpful, or maybe it only makes finding the right information challenging. With companies working hard to raise the ranks on search engines, people are pushing content like never before. So how can you find the most useful information, and how can you make the move to a new country stress-free?
Relocation services were not readily available when I made the move ten years ago. However, with ex-pat life becoming more popular around the globe and virtual nomads increasing by the dozens, it's a service that seems to be popping up everywhere. Maybe I would have been more prepared for the move, maybe I wouldn't have sold everything and come with only a few suitcases, and maybe my most sentimental possessions would not still be in storage back in Canada had I had a service to helps me smooth out bumps and make moving seamless. There were too many uncertainties when I moved. I packed up, sold my life, and jumped on a plane.
What does a relocation service do and what did I miss out on? I decided to seek out popular relocation services to learn about how someone could make the leap to a new country with one's life intact.
What I found out was that companies help you with much more than the moving process, they assist with related logistics such as finding a home rental, setting up a bank account, getting a SIM card for your phone, paying bills, and everything else that may be different in Costa Rica. Experienced teams coordinates travel, shipping, and even greet you at the airport. This takes the guessing out of the equations, with your questions answered before, during, and after your move.
Like many ex-pats, I made the leap and moved to a new country. So I know that it can be difficult to navigate a new landscape and it can be hard to know who to turn to. It took me years to find a good lawyer, to understand how to pay taxes, to figure out banking, and to navigate the local medical institutions, etc. Individuals like myself are now out there and looking to help.
I’ve scoured some of the ex-pat chat groups to find out what people moving within the next year are concerned about. Here are a few of the most frequent questions:
- What is the cost of living?
- What type of clothing should I bring?
- Should I ship my favorite furniture items or will these items be available there?
- What is education like for my children?
- How can I learn Spanish, are there lessons for ex-pats?
- Is it easy to rent or own a car and what does that look like for foreigners?
- Can foreigners own land?
- Can foreigners get bank-approved loans and mortgages?
- What is the bug situation, is life in the jungle bearable?
- How do you handle mold and humidity?
- What kind of medical facilities are there and should I keep my foreign health insurance?
Of course, many of these answers have to do with the region. The cost of living is vastly higher in beach towns than in mountain communities. Also, Costa Rica has twelve climatic zones varying from hot and humid to cold and frosty. Yes, frosty! At night in San Ramon, I could see my breath! That’s hard to believe when you are basking in the sun at a humid beach town like Uvita. Everything varies so it can be difficult to find the information you need through other’s personal experiences. Relying on a professional service can not only help you find the right location but can help you with the logistics of shipping goods and knowing what to bring and what to leave behind.
Many of my questions about relocation services were answered by Matt Lloyd. His site Moving to Costa Rica is an excellent resource for all things related to the big move. So whether you decide to brave it alone, reach out on chat groups, or connect with a relocation service, Costa Rica is a beautiful place to live and explore. I’m sure the pieces will fall into place either way (as they did for me). As they say, it’s all Pura Vida.
Other relocation services include: