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Kids in Costa Rica: 10 Family-Friendly Relocation Tips

 The Tico Times previously discussed the rising number of U.S. expats who have relocated to Costa Rica in recent years. In 2012, about 18,000 U.S. citizens.

However, there are still dangerous parts of the country, just like anywhere else in the world. Before relocating your family, it's important to research your options and find a region where they will feel safe and comfortable.

A report from “IX Cantonal Analysis of Violence and Insecurity in Costa Rica” found that the cities of Limón and San Jose have . Cars are also a lot more expensive in Costa Rica, which will require factoring higher car payments into your budget if you can’t depend on public transportation.

3. Take Precautions Against Medical Problems

As with any foreign country, there are potential health concerns to consider before moving your family to Costa Rica.


Many people are under the impression that malaria is a big problem in Costa Rica, but in reality, malaria cases are almost nonexistent. In fact, there has been only but is currently only available to residents in Mexico, the Philippines, and Brazil.

Proceed with caution while visiting or living in communities with outbreaks.

The best preventative measure is to carry plenty of mosquito repellent while traveling near wet regions with high mosquito populations.

Contaminated Food and Water

There’s no need to worry about exposure to contaminated food and water in most places in Costa Rica. However, there are some places where it can still be an issue. If you do consume contaminated food or water, you risk contracting typhoid fever or hepatitis.

Stay diligent about washing your hands regularly and be careful drinking any water that is far from civilization. Tap water is safe in most towns and cities.

4. Find New Ways to Keep your Children Entertained

Children are resilient, but may have difficulty adjusting to some aspects of Costa Rica. They won't be able to enjoy some of the same activities as they did in the States.

Fortunately, there are still a number of ways your children can have fun in their new home country. There are many undeveloped parts of the country where your family can explore nature, with activities such as hiking and swimming.

While your children may miss some of the aspects of living in urban America, they will eventually come to appreciate the scenic side of Costa Rica. You just may need to get them to step outside of their comfort zone a little.

5. Enroll Them in Their New Schools Early

Costa Rica has a very respectable education system. However, the system is quite different from the United States, which can pose a difficult change for your children.

Fortunately, there are a number of options to consider if they aren’t ready to enroll in one of the regular public schools. Costa Rica is home to some fantastic international schools, such as one in Uvita. You can also consider homeschooling your children or sending them to a boarding school.

6. Start Teaching Your Children Spanish

Spanish is the official language of Costa Rica. Only , known as caja. The cost runs about 20-30% more than the care you would get in the United States, but it provides high-quality services.

However, enrolling in Costa Rica’s public health care system is only the first step. You also need to find the proper medical facilities near you and establish a relationship with the healthcare professionals.

8. Emotionally Prepare Your Children for Their New Life


Moving to a foreign country is probably the biggest life change your children have ever experienced. They need to say goodbye to their friends and their old lifestyle. It's important to make sure they are emotionally equipped to make the transition.

Talk with your kids in advance to see how they feel. Try to emphasize the exciting experiences they will face in their new home and assure them everything will be fine.

Some children will have more difficulty adjusting than others. Teenagers tend to have a harder time with such changes than young children, because they are already going through a very emotional chapter of their lives. If any of your children seem to have a particularly difficult time with the upcoming relocation, consider meeting with a counselor to help them navigate the process.


9. Make sure you have reliable transportation


Due to the high VAT taxes in Costa Rica, cars tend to cost a lot more than in the United States. Even shipping your own car into the country can be an expensive endeavor. Consider other options if you are on a tight budget and can’t afford to have your own vehicle.

There are a number of ways to get around Costa Rica with your family. Public transportation works efficiently if you are living in the Central Valley. It is centered in San Jose, and you can reach most other communities within an hour.

Finding reliable transportation in more remote areas proves more difficult. However, there are still public transportation options that are worth looking into.

10. Teach your children etiquette for living in Costa Rica

Language differences aren’t the only change that families need to prepare for when moving to Costa Rica. The