Article

Will U.S. election outcome drive people to Costa Rica?

Mariana Loaiza/The Tico Times

Every four years, during election season in the United States, people start talking about moving to Costa Rica. As the results of the polls build up hope for some and fear for others, all the emails I am receiving point to an interesting future for the Costa Rica real estate industry.

It is fun to watch from the sideline, since I’m Dutch and living in Costa Rica. It’s easy to watch a game if you’re not involved, but in one way, I actually am. Why? Because I am a real estate broker in Costa Rica and after past U.S. elections hundreds and sometimes thousands of U.S. citizens have moved to Costa Rica.

The 2016 election is probably the most controversial I’ve ever observed. The controversy puts Costa Rica in the picture often because so many have heard of Costa Rica and suspect that it would be a great country to move to.

Ivo Banner American-European

On Aug. 27, Roger Stone, a prominent Donald Trump supporter, told the Financial Times: “If Hillary wins, we’re done as a nation. We’ll be overrun by hordes of young Muslims, like Germany and France, raping, killing, violating, desecrating. … I’ll probably be forced to move to Costa Rica.” Stone must have done his homework on checking out Costa Rica as his future home.

Of course, Costa Rica is not the only place you could move to. Recently a real estate agent on Cape Breton, Canada, said the island where he lives is a good option to move to if Trump wins the election. Quite a few other destinations in other parts of the world have said the same. A real estate broker from Viera, Florida, who lived in Costa Rica in the early ’90s, plans to move back to Costa Rica if Trump wins the elections, because his wife is Colombian and he would like his kids to grow up in a different society.

Costa Rica is a near perfect place to move to. Being a real estate broker, of course my opinion is biased, but so many organizations have Costa Rica on their list of best places in the world. AARP has Costa on its list of “Best Places to Retire Abroad.” Costa Rica also scored #1 on the Happy Planet index, and many organizations like International Living promote Costa Rica as a place to enjoy a great lifestyle abroad.

Costa Rica is a unique country in Latin America that has many advantages for foreign relocation, retirement and investment. Costa Rica has advanced beyond third-world country status and has become a prime location for positive development.

But for what reasons could you move to Costa Rica?

• Costa Rica is a real democracy with many political parties.

• Costa Rica has no army and redirects what would be military funding into education.

• Many people here are bilingual.

• A relatively cheap health-care system compared to many other countries.

• Costa Rica offers the quality lifestyle you have been used to all your life, or better.

• Very agreeable climate, and many microclimates to choose from.

• A very stable economy.

• Many great options to acquire formal residency, including by buying a house.

No matter who wins the U.S. elections, there will be many who don’t want to live with their new president’s administration and will be thinking about moving away. Here in Costa Rica, the doors are open.

Ivo Henfling founded the American-European Real Estate Group in 1999 — the first functioning MLS in Costa Rica with affiliate agents from coast to coast. You can read other articles like this on his blog. Contact Ivo at (506) 2289-5125 / 8834-4515 or at ivo@american-european.net.

35 Comments »

    Brian Schaller | September 26, 2016

  1. Roger Stone is a misogynist, racist, not, “prominent” by any means!
    Yep, my properties in Costa Rica will definitely increase in value. All w/education w/want out of Dodge!
    But what is a horrible? The world will view the U.S. with disrespect (I don’t mean FEAR, I mean disrespect). THAT is really scary!

  2. Ivo Henfling | September 26, 2016

  3. Brian, he is prominent to me because he speaks well of Costa Rica 🙂 and the disrespect is already huge in Europe.

  4. Brian Schaller | September 26, 2016

  5. Ivo, sorry I wasn’t clear. My first paragraph referred to Stone. The other remarks were directed towards Trump. The world doesn’t need another dictator.

  6. Brian Schaller | September 26, 2016

  7. Sorry to beat a dead horse but Roger Stone is the son-in-law of the founder of the United Fruit Company, a universally hated man by most Costa Ricans and other Central Americans.

  8. Ken | September 26, 2016

  9. The puzzle is why those on the right choose to move to social democracies like Costa Rica in order to avoid the more moderate leftists elected in the US. It would make some political sense if they chose to move to say Chile, commonly regarded as the darling of rightwing economic policies, but choosing Costa Rica in order to avoid the leftists at home strikes me as jumping from the frying pan into the fire.

  10. Joe Sullivan | September 27, 2016

  11. Really, it’s just a “sour grapes” reflex. Most of them have no idea what living in a country other than the US entails, both in trials or rewards. To them, the US is the only country in the world, and they would never consider living elsewhere. It really translates to “I’d rather live in a hell hole if this person wins a position of power here”. Most of them think that Costa Rica is a dumpy little backwater nation with absolutely nothing to offer other than swamps, rain, and mosquitoes. I once had a relative remark “When are you moving back to civilization?” I’ve been living in Costa Rica for twenty years, and I’ve never met anyone from the US who moved here because of a political situation in the US.

  12. Ivo Henfling | September 27, 2016

  13. Joe, in my almost 30 years in real estate, my agents and I have received hundreds of political “refugees”. Its good that most of the US citizens think Costa Rica is a dumpy little backwater nation, we wouldn’t know where to stick ’em.

  14. Ivo Henfling | September 27, 2016

  15. Ken, in your own country you vote / get involved in politics while you will not when you live in another. Unless you decide to become a citizen.

  16. joe hammen | September 27, 2016

  17. Please suggest to Roger Stone to move to some other country. We don’t need him.

  18. Smarter Now | September 27, 2016

  19. Joe, it’s not your place to decide who gets to enjoy Costa Rica. Please respect the Costa Rican attitude of “Pura Vida” or else move back to the States.

  20. Gypsy Traveler | September 28, 2016

  21. I totally agree with you, Joe. Smarter Now, It’s not really your place to be telling Joe what he can decide and what he can’t. Pure Vida!

  22. Ann cabezas | September 28, 2016

  23. CR is a great place to live! FIRST LEARN Spanish ..interact wth the Costa Ricans…great weather..fresh food..friendly and helpful Ticos..great service at every level..but must learn patience. COSTA Ricans are not in a hurry…RENT BEFORE BUYING..LOTS SPECULATION in Real Estate market.. Ann Cabezas

  24. Marina King | September 28, 2016

  25. I just returned from. Costa Rica where I have Rico friends. I love the place! I hope you guys will invest in repairing some of the roads – we had some wild rides! I will be back soon!

  26. suzahn | September 28, 2016

  27. at the end of the last election, we ran into a few people who said they moved to Costa Rica because they didn’t like the socialism in the United states-I quess they didn’t do any homework or they would have known that Costa Rica is one of the most socialistic countries in the world!

  28. Brian Schaller | September 28, 2016

  29. Well Joe S., you just met one.
    When G.W. Bush decided to invade Iraq, I sold my residence in So. Cal. and moved with my family to Costa Rica. I knew Bush, Chenney, Rumsfeld and the rest of the neo-nazis were prepared to disrupt the entire Middle East because of Bin Laden.

    Guess what? Obama got him! Bush spent trillions increasing the deficit and sending home body bags.
    Wars cannot be fought against individuals in hundreds of countries. Sure, ISIS is scary. BUT they are a movement of poor, ignorant people fueled by Bush and a capitalist economic system (Russia, U.S., China).
    And these counties OWN Trump, he couldn’t scrape together a billion dollars for all of equity combined.
    So, liberals and conservatives will BOTH buy/move to Costa Rica if Trump is elected. No one with any brains and money will stay unless they have to.
    Go to a Costa Rican bar, order a round or two of guaro for everyone and you’ll figure out why I’m correct.

  30. Brian Schaller | September 28, 2016

  31. P.S.
    For those of you who bagged on Joe H., he, “suggested” that Stone move on. If you knew Stone’s history you wouldn’t spout your, “pura vida” crap. Him and his family were responsible for killing and maiming MANY Central and South Americans.

  32. Leo Ruocco | September 29, 2016

  33. If the dollor falls so will Costa Rica.WE ARE SO CONNECTED?

  34. Joe Sullivan | September 30, 2016

  35. Personally, I am home. To tell me to go home tells me to stop drinking a Pilsen in a bar, and go home to my house and wife. There are people who come for varied reasons. I first sailed into Costa Rica on a small boat, worked here, just generally had a good time. I have held the opinion that most people should stay in their home country, as they’re not prepared to live anywhere else, and generally try to bring their culture and attitudes with them. I own property on the beach, have a Tica wife, and I’m a citizen. I don’t have to be happy, angry, mad, elated, or anything else about politicians. I suppose that they’re a necessary evil, employees that are required to sort things out. But mostly I believe that the least government necessary is the best…

  36. Ivo Henfling | September 30, 2016

  37. Thanks Joe Sullivan, that makes 2 of us. I’m sure many more on these comments call Costa Rica home.

  38. Quilombo | September 30, 2016

  39. I moved herre in 2004. Bush and US politics were factors, but not the only ones. Also, there seems to be some confusion about Roger Stone. The one mentioned, the rightwing dirty tricks hitman, is not the same as the Roger Stone who married Doris Zemurray (daughter of Sam Zemurray, the banana czar of Central America). I am not defending the deadly practices of Mamita Yunai, and the banana capitalists who plundered Central America, by the way, but these are two different Stones.

  40. Greengriffin | September 30, 2016

  41. Joe, Costa Rica’s now number one tourist destination; Costa Rica’s world renown for ecology and sustainable tourism–is Monteverde and was founded specifically by Gringo’s seeking to leave the US for political reasons!

  42. Brian Schaller | September 30, 2016

  43. I heard Trump made a, “sex tape” with Ma.Ma. back in the old days at the Jaco Monkey Bar!

  44. Joe Sullivan | September 30, 2016

  45. Sorry, I knew not of Monte Verde. I’ve been wrong before, it’ll probably happen again. Maybe I just travel in different circles than political aficionados.

  46. David | October 2, 2016

  47. While many people from the U.S. may have fears about the politics and fiscal matter of their country and upcoming retirement years I doubt they will jump to relocate to Costa Rica. Everything I read suggests that there would be too many obstacles to a move there. Inflation is high, housing prices are huge. I travel to Costa Rica for dental work. You have a real edge there for quality and efficiency and cost as well. I think CR as a place to live is much over rated. I have some friends from the U.S. who decided to retire, change their lifestyle and felt healthcare in the U.S. was well beyond their means. They went there lasted 3 – 5 years and now back where the living is easy and I dare say less stressful. Easier countries to escape to or expat to include Panama, Nicaragua, Columbia, Argentina, Ecuador. If you want cheaper and easier living you can relocate to Polk County Florida midway between Orlando and Tampa and have very reasonable taxes, low housing costs, sunshine, beaches within an hours drive, cruise ports all around, theme parks with Florida resident rates and tons of fresh fruits and vegetables including perishables from central and south america. Everybody speaks English, there are books and periodicals in English galore and lots of places to eat with specials well under $10.00 USD. Check things out I relocated to Winter Haven FL. Go to Condo.com write in Winter Haven, FL and look at all the properties you can get there with water views (there are 50 lakes within city limits!). I will trave to CR for detal work and for tours to see the pretty stuff. CR is one country I would not recommend people go for expatting.

  48. Brian Schaller | October 2, 2016

  49. David,
    One reason gringos go to C.R. is because the country is presumed to be relatively non-political in terms of U.S. political thought. Colombia, Panama, Nicaragua, Mexico have all had less stable recent histories as far as political alliances. Still true pretty much!
    If money is the ONLY gauge, sure, Costa Rica has become too expensive for many. But for me, the country that dumped their army in 1948 and still has much more educated drunks in their bars wins out.

  50. Kattia | October 6, 2016

  51. You know it tickles me when i’m reading what every non-Costarricense has to say about my beautiful country and then not really saying anything . Gingos think when they go somewhere out the country that they are the best bread of people and MonteVerde was not discovered by no Gingo ! Quakers in the 50’s went to CR looking for a peaceful place and in Monteverde that’s where they found peace , it was not founded it was already there. Tribal people live out in the forest and still there till this day living how they lived way back. You know people really need to see what is going in and around there own country like the US. People are super sick and being killed off little by little, because the they’er being sold non-nutritional food along with alot of other things. Mr. David Florida is great if your 65 yrs. and up . The obstacles in CR are there for a reason and if over rated get dental work in Florida. You know the US brain wash people to think that there is no other better place and that is BS . Leave CR alone and go to Europe !

  52. Mike | October 6, 2016

  53. Thank you Kattia. I am an US expat married to a Tica and we have two beautiful daughters here. It is exactly those attitudes you mentioned that have caused me to be lumped in with all other Gringos, with an attitude of superiority, that have caused me a few problem. We now have a home en el campo outside of Paraiso were we have been generally accepted with open arms and warm hearts by this wonderful community. Costa Rica is different, and yes Gringos sometimes find it hard to adapt, so they try to change it or criticize it rather than really seeing it and accepting it. On my first trip to Costa Rica 25 years ago I saw a young boy, holding his grandmothers arm and escorting her town the street. I saw families walking hand in hand, sisters and sisters, brothers with arms around their sister or brother. I saw love and true family values. Family came first; and I said to myself. “I want that for my life.” 26 years later here I am, sometime walking down the street, all holding hands. I am so grateful to Costa Rica for giving me that. Here, in Costa Rica, you’ll see whatever your looking for. You’ll get whatever you see. Choose carefully if you want to be happy.

  54. Brian Schaller | October 6, 2016

  55. Nice response Mike, I only have a bit over a dozen years living in Costa Rica. Like you, I have a Tica wife and we have one son together. Nice to have dual citizenship.
    I have lived and owned property in Latin America for over 25 years,
    What I’m hearing from you and many is that many are trying to qualify and quantify their lives and existance here in Costa Rica and bag on gringos that make comments that are in any way negative.
    This article by Ivo was NOT about your, “soul contribution” to Costa Rica. It was aimed at getting us to make a stand on the U.S. election. Si o no, Ivo?

  56. Ivo Henfling | October 6, 2016

  57. Brian, tiene toda la razón… but it’s still fun isn’t it!

  58. Brian Schaller | October 7, 2016

  59. Ivo,
    Por supuesto!

  60. Dave | October 8, 2016

  61. Ivo’s blog is our new assignment to read. All the replies are “helpful” to us. We first visited CR in 1998 I believe & were so impressed with the people & country that I returned in 2001 for a second visit. We almost bought a property with three homes on it (200k) on that first trip. These homes were maybe 20 miles or less outside of Escauz area located right off what was said was slated to be a new hwy. to the ocean. I was a RE Broker in Denver, Co for 25 years and as such, in the end had to ‘heed’ the admonition I have always voiced to buyers to “resist” that impulse for at least a year. I could see the ‘Value’ & was thrilled with CR & yearned for the pura vida lifestyle. Do you suppose maybe I should have IGNORED my own advice ? Now, at ages 75 & 73, my wife & I will be packing our bags and making that Dream come true for whatever remains of our time here on ‘Planet Earth’. I am waiting on the ‘blog’ from the lady economist to “Educate” me on her “Why Not’s”. I have to wonder if she has read Andrew Sorkin’s “Too Big To Fail” ? Or knows that whichever way this election goes, we in the ‘States’ are doomed to live out ‘The Fall of Rome’ Big Time. The blogger who wishes to Jet around Europe for $60. RT ? Has he missed out on the news coverage of Europe this year ? Not to worry here, Mexico will build us a ‘Wall’ that will become the Eighth ‘Wonder of the World” & become known in history as the “Bestest & Greatest BELIEVE ME”. AH, to Live in Paradise as all of you do but perhaps some have taken all that you have in CR for ‘Granted’ ? My wife Donna & I only Hope that we might be allowed to partake of that for a few year before we depart. Thank you again Ivo for creating a forum that is most enlightening & I hope we will find ‘an angel’ or two to help us make our dream come true next year. I am impressed with the quality of your readers & am inferring that quality & demeanor is representative of CR. To the “Tico’s & Tica’s (hope that I got that right ?) I would simply say to Never Believe that a typical US Cit. would not recognize that “their country” is “theirs” & that we do recognize “Paradise” when we see it and feel Privilege to share even a small ‘Taste’. You don’t try to change that do you ? I will keep reading & learning here.

  62. Ivo Henfling | October 8, 2016

  63. Thanks for your great comments Dave, it’s nice to be appreciated. If you subscribe to my newsletters, you’ll get weekly articles. Try the next new assignment, it’s full of articles that might interest you: https://www.godutchrealty.com/Costa-Rica-Real-Estate-Blog

  64. Brian Schaller | October 9, 2016

  65. Cool, thoughtful remarks, Dave.
    I often reflect upon my tendency to make snap decisions, I’m only a few years younger than you guys.
    I left a law practice in CO. in the early 80’s and was the 1st gringo (I had 3 Mexican partners) in Cancun to sell real estate (no time-share, only Fideicomisos). Great time for most of the decade. I visited Costa Rica in 1985 for a month during that time. I was super-impressed then and still am to a large degree. I moved back to CA. (new gringo wife wanted to) in 1990. She passed in 2001. Natural to move to Costa Rica after that.
    Now I have one child (11 w/Costa Rican mom) but still don’t know what I’m doing!
    Good luck to you and family, we all take different turns in this life.

  66. Johanna | October 10, 2016

  67. The Self entitlement actitud is not welcome here in Costa Rica or perhaps any other place in the planet….so if you plan to move to Costa Rica start working on that!!!

  68. Brian Schaller | October 10, 2016

  69. Johanna,
    I totally agree, many gringos (if that’s who you were speaking to), believe they are superior than others. Look at the U.S. election debacle now (Republican’s hate one another); Trump is in the anti-female, brain-dead toilet. Costa Ricans get it, they despise this ignorance and understand it hurts their standing if they support Trump.

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