Costa Rica is an unusual place.

For starters, its army was disbanded shortly after World War II in order to take military coups out of the political equation. It’s been peaceful ever since, unlike its Central American neighbors.

Like Uruguay farther south, Costa Rica has a strong track record of good governance, strong economic growth and good policies on individual rights, human development and care for the environment. Thanks to its military-free budget, it has a highly educated population, low inequality and correspondingly low crime.

The country’s focus on good living rather than political squabbling has allowed it to move from dependence on coffee and banana exports to a diversified economy embracing medical and ecotourism, pharmaceuticals and software. It has good infrastructure and communications services.

To top it all off, ticos have been at the top of global “happiest people” lists for years. But is it the perfect place for a second home or second passport?

What can I say about a place where I once spent an afternoon dangling motionless 100-odd feet above the tropical rainforest floor, with only a doubtful-looking zip line preventing catastrophe?

I could and will say that it is also one of the world’s most beautiful and peaceful places — a country that is also highly attractive to U.S. and Canadians as a second home and is a top-notch medical and nature tourism destination.

Earlier this year, my family and I spent a week on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, sharing national parks with sloths, toucans and monkeys; beaches with world-famous surfers and panhandlers; and roads with lunatic drivers. I maintain a personal “revisit” list of countries, you see, and Costa Rica was No. 1. It’s a place I just had to share with my family.

If you’re interested in learning a bit more about this Central American gem — which specializes in lifestyle rather than finance, unlike its southern neighbor, Panama — have a look at the video I made on my trip. I think you’ll find it interesting … perhaps even informative.

Costa Rica: When Lifestyle Trumps Finance

Kind regards,
Costa Rica: When Lifestyle Trumps Finance
Ted Bauman
Editor, The Bauman Letter