Finding Housing While Living in Costa Rica


Finding Housing While Living in Costa Rica

Finding affordable housing in a safe area can be overwhelming, especially if you’re not familiar with the country or area, but don’t worry!  We have some tips for you!

This is a guide for teachers looking to move to Costa Rica, specifically for those that plan on living in the area of San Jose and Heredia in the Central Valley of Costa Rica. These two are the easiest areas to find housing due to the fact that the majority of the population lives here.

COSTS

Costa Rica is a country where rent is very affordable, of course that always depends on the location and what you’re looking for. Usually a studio apartment will start at 150,000 colones (around $300) and the monthly rent usually includes all the services (water, electricity and internet). Of course there are some places that don’t include these services. Just make sure it is clear before signing a lease and moving in!  It also depends on the area where the apartment or house is located; the closer you get to the center of the town, the more expensive it will be.  The further away, the cheaper it will be.  You might even find a huge house in the outskirts of town for the same amount for an apartment in the center of town.  Also, housing is more affordable around the various public universities due to the fact that there are many students from far away that need to find affordable housing. There are also many teachers who are looking for roommates to share rent with, which makes it even more affordable.  Know your budget and do your homework to find what you are looking for!

LOCATION

Location is extremely important, especially in a country that you’re not familiar with. Location will also depend on where you live and work. Let’s start with Heredia. Heredia is not a very big province, and most importantly, it’s generally very calm so it’s very easy to get around this area. Some of the best areas are the following: San Pablo de Heredia, San Francisco, Santa Lucia, Barva, San Joaquin de Flores, Santo Domingo and the downtown area of Heredia.  These areas are quite safe, especially at night and easy to get to by bus. There are also the towns of San Isidro and San Rafael, but this can be further away from the center of Heredia, depending on the specific location. As for San Jose, it’s a bigger area with more choices. Frequently around universities, it’s easier to find housing. The following areas are the ones I consider the best in San Jose: San Pedro, Sabanilla, Los Yoses, Barrio Aranjuez, Barrio Escalante, Vargas Araya, Barrio Dent, Rhomoser and Sabana Sur.

WHERE CAN I FIND HOUSING ADS?

Being from another country, we don’t usually understand the dynamic of things, especially where to find housing advertisements. There are a few ways you can find potential housing in Costa Rica:  by word of mouth, in this case asking the Costa Ricans you meet throughout your TEFL course, through the internet, on bulletin boards in supermarkets, or the newspaper (not very common). There are many webpages designed only for this specific purpose, like Encuentra24, Craigslist and Roomster. There are also a few groups on Facebook where people post rooms or apartments they’re renting on a daily basis, these groups are the following: Apartamentos cerca d UCR, Latina, Fidelitas, Alquiler de apartamentos en Heredia, Alquileres y venta de casas y apartamentos en Heredia and Alquiler de Casas y Apartamentos en Costa Rica.

WHAT IF THE ROOM IS UNFURNISHED?

It’s important to keep in mind that a furnished room or apartment will cost more than an unfurnished one which won’t be a problem if you’re planning on staying long term. If the room or apartment you’re interested in is unfurnished, there are a few places you can find cheap furniture (most of the times used). Just like in the States, you can run into garage sales while you’re roaming around your neighborhood. Facebook is a great way to find what you need.  Just like there are groups for renting apartments and rooms, there are groups where people are selling the things they don’t need anymore. A couple of these groups are  Venta de Garage a lo tico and LA VENTA GARAGE HEREDIA. Other places you can look at are Pequeño Mundo and El Rey; these stores sell new but affordable furniture.

THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND

  • Most landlords are looking for people who will stay for at least 6 months or more in Costa Rica, however, some landlords are willing to do a month-to-month contract.
  • Sometimes you’re going to have to compromise location over price or vice versa.
  • Some landlords don’t speak English.  If you don’t have a lot of knowledge in Spanish, ask for help from friends that speak Spanish.
  • Always ask where the closest bus stop is.
  • Not all buildings are new and modern.
  • Go check out the place before signing anything.  Pictures are sometimes deceiving.

These are just a few tips that will help you get started with your new life in Costa Rica!  If you haven't already registered for one of our 4-week TEFL coursestalk to us today!


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