Why Move to Costa Rica?

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A new life

More and more North Americans are looking for a place to start a new life—whether it's retirement, career change, or plying one's current profession in a new market. Many fantasize about a place where life is cheaper, the pace more humane, and the government less prone to declare war. Parents of young children may long for an environment where kids can be immersed in another language and culture, one that emphasizes basic human values over relentless accomplishment and acquisition.


Political and economic stability

Costa Rica has one of the most stable democratic governments in all of Latin America, and an economy that has long attracted foreign investors. Multinational corporations with branches in Costa Rica include Intel, Johnson & Johnson, Colgate-Palmolive, Monsanto, and Pfizer. Big and small companies come to Costa Rica because of the solid telecommunications network, a very educated workforce, and a high standard of living.

It's easy for a foreigner to start a business here—you can do it even if you only have a tourist visa. Many expats work successfully in the burgeoning tourist sector, starting restaurants, hotels, and tour companies. Many say that although there are of course regulations to learn about and follow, in general there exist fewer constraints on businesses here than in their home countries.

Retirees need their pensions to go further

For those approaching retirement age (or already there), places like Costa Rica are looking better and better. Between 2003 and 2007, the number of U.S. citizens over 65 is expected to grow from 36 to 40 million. The availability of public services has already declined and nursing homes have reduced the number of Medicaid admissions. In 2003, 79% of U.S. citizens retiring had total assets of less than $45,000 and yearly incomes—including pension and social security—of less than $15,000. That's not much money to live on, at least in the United States. But $15,000 a year goes much further in a place like Costa Rica.

I was called here

I've spoken with a surprising number of foreign residents who talk of being "called" here. It comes in different language depending on the slant of the speaker, but I've heard "I came here in trust," "I followed my heart/gut/dreams," and "God/Spirit/the Turtles told me to come." These people aren’t crazy—in fact they’re average North Americans, which is to say logical, restless, and driven. It's just that they've chosen to pay attention to the signals we all get but usually ignore--the messages to slow down, to open up, and to get yourself to a place where life slows down enough to let you jump on board.

Excerpted from Living Abroad in Costa Rica

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Jacqueline Marie Monacell

Jacqueline Monacell is the founder and president of Your Costa Rica Contact and has been living and working in Costa Rica since 1994. She has lived and studied in Spain, traveled and worked extensively throughout Central America and is completely bilingual.

Jacqui is originally from Rochester, New York where she lived until graduating from Pittsford Mendon High School. After high school she moved to New England and attended the University of New Hampshire  where she graduated cum laude with a BA in International Affairs and Spanish. She studied abroad in both Granada and Almeria, Spain. Immediately following graduation, Jacqui moved to Costa Rica and began her career.

In 1995, Jacqueline formed a strategic partnership with Car Doc SA (www.tallercardoc.com) and began working as the Central American Regional Manager with Mitchell International and Mitchell, US, software solutions companies specializing in the automotive and insurance industries. In 2002 she also began managing the regional distribution of UK-based Autodata Ltd. products. Working closely with these automotive software specialists, Jacqueline acquired extensive experience in the automotive collision and repair industry at an international level.

In 2005, Jacqui began Your Costa Rica Contact, a relocation and consulting company based in San José, Costa Rica. With her experience in the automotive industry, the company initially focused on assisting clients to find dependable transportation at fair prices. Your Costa Rica Contact gradually expanded to offer a wide variety of services for people relocating or spending extended periods of time in Costa Rica.

As an expatriate herself, Jacqui understands first-hand how difficult and frustrating the transition of relocating to Costa Rica can be and so the vision of the company today is to deliver top services at reasonable prices to foreign residents or tourists provided through YCRC's industrious and trustworthy network of local professionals.

In her free time, Jacqui enjoys playing tennis, mountain biking, cooking, reading,  riding motorcycles and spending time with her husband and dogs.