Moving to Costa Rica
Moving to Costa Rica is in the agenda of a good number of foreigners all over the world. Expats currently number about 2% of the country’s total population, with most coming from Nicaragua, Colombia and El Salvador. It is wise to obtain professional services when considering moving to Costa Rica to avoid costly and time-consuming errors and delays in proacessing – expats can compare quotes and services of the best companies here.
Costa Rica is living up to its meaning as the “Rich Coast,” endowed by rainforest wilderness, a spring-like climate, astonishing landscapes, majestic volcanoes and idyllic beaches. It is nature at its best.
This tropical paradise ranked as the greenest and happiest nation by Happy Planet Index; Costa Ricans have the best ecological footprint, the highest life satisfaction in the world and high life expectancy (which is currently at 78.5).
With a total land area of 51,000 square kilometers, Costa Rica is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea. It is straddled between Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south. A total of 25% of Costa Rica's land area is protected, as it contains 5% of the world's biodiversity. Being the most visited nation in Central America, Costa Rica is the pioneer in eco-tourism. It also boasts of a pleasant climate all year long, which is a treat for all nature lovers.
Costa Rica's thriving economy heavily depends on tourism, agriculture and electronic exports. The country is known as the principal producer of banana and coffee. Today, Costa Rica's diverse industries are primed on electronics, pharmaceuticals, financial outsourcing, software development and eco-tourism. It's the home to companies like Procter & Gamble, GlaxoSmithKline, Intel Corporation, Abbott Laboratories and Baxter Healthcare. Major job industries in the country are related to microprocessors, food processing, medical equipment, textiles and clothing, along with construction materials, fertilizer and plastic products.
Classified as a middle-income country, Costa Rica is politically stable under a democratic republic government. Costa Rica has been army-less since 1948, and no history of terrorism has been reported since the abolition. Since Costa Rica's declaration of neutrality, only the police and the coast guards are retained to perform their respective duties.
As a developing country, Costa Rica has a high inflation rate and ranks fourth in Latin America. The Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos (INEC) reported the inflation rate at 8.2% (July 2008 to June 2009), this statistics showed the lowest "inter-annual" rate for the last seven years. Roman Catholicism is the official state religion. With a population of 5,009,490 people, around 70 to 90 percent of Costa Ricans are Catholics; other religions include Protestantism, Judaism, and Islam. Expatriates make up 10% of the population.
Costa Rica attracts foreign investments due to the country's high literacy rate and the government's tax exemption to investors. Also, having the same time zone in the central part of America resulted in a two-way trade agreement between Costa Rica and the US. In 2007, the trade between the two countries exceeded US$8 billion.
A typical trait for Costa Ricans is their love for their country, and democracy is their most treasured institution. Most Costa Ricans are referred to as Ticos (male) and Ticas (women), derived from hermanticos or hermanticas, which means little brother or sister. Expats will be pleasantly surprised to find that most locals are friendly and loyal.
In Latin America, men have a reputation for "machismo," defined as an inflated masculinity. Traditionally, it still exists in the Costa Rican culture, although one can say it has been replaced by modern day liberalism. Still, women expats are advised to dress appropriately and to act like typical ticas.
Expats who move to Costa Rica will find that the country's wealth is not only found in its natural beauty, but also from the hospitality of its people.
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