Undreamed Dreams...

By George Lundquist*

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I just watched the video from Eric Liljenstolpe on We Love CR, on why people leave CR. He mentions he has consulted with thousands of people and concludes that being unprepared for the large cultural difference is why folks choose to move back. That is certainly a large database and made me wonder why my experience here is quite different.  He must be encountering a different demographic than the typical folks who have taken my tour and chosen to try living here in Costa Rica.

Although I do not track or keep a detailed record of my past guests, I am aware of several hundred folks who have moved here and the less than 10% who have decided that Costa Rica is not for them.


EDITORS NOTE:  While the statistics are not well documented, it is strongly accepted that 50% or more of those moving to Costa Rica, return home within the first 18-24 months.  It is the consensus of many that the majority of those who did return home, did not do adequate research and due diligence when planning their relocation. 

George Lundquist bases his low number of returnees, not on the total number of people returning but only on those that have taken his tour.  It is quite logical to assume that through unbiased education, many potential expats made the decision NOT to move to here, thereby lowering the overall return rate.



Now, after over 9 years of evolution of my tour, I believe there is quite a distinction between the folks who decide to take my tour and those who decide they can find out all they need to know on their own.

Many who decide to not take my tour are active on the many Bulletin Boards about living here in Costa Rica. I am amazed at how quickly they become experts and can offer free advice and/or seek free advice from folks with unclear qualifications and motivations. The failure rate of these folks is unknown.

I like to believe the folks who elect to take my tour are astute enough to realize that there may be huge differences in culture, quality of living, costs of living, and very importantly, medical services, availability, quality, and cost between their homeland and Costa Rica. They even realize it is ridiculous to generalize all of Costa Rica as being homogenous in all of these factors.

These many factors are the basic considerations and focus of nearly all who consider moving here. They were mine as well.

I now believe and emphasize all during the tour that although all of the typical factors are very relevant and need to be objectively contemplated that the most important personal question is: what are you going to do with your time?


Most of us spent most of our time in the pre retirement years frantically trying to keep up with the perceived requirements of child rearing, career development, etc. Working to pay the mortgage, car payments, food, insurance, taxes and on and on. We hoped our retirement future would be adequately financed and health care would not be a large concern. Many of us had this hope crushed and looked for an alternative place to retire.  Then, we move to Costa Rica.

Beautiful weather, great food, clean air, excellent beer and ice cream (if we chose our location well). Then what? Some of us find a whole new life of exciting things to do to fulfill undreamed dreams. These folks become contributors to the culture and improvement of Costa Rica. The others become more cynical and miss the comfort of the familiarity of the past. They are unwilling or unable to take it up a notch. Usually, they make up some reason to blame Costa Rica for their discontent and leave or just stay here and write critical letters about various pet complaints.

Many of us continue to say WOW as we fulfill more undreamed dreams.


*George Lundquist conducts tours throughout the Central Valley, educating potential expats about what life in Costa Rica may be like for them.



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