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Costa Rica - The Happiest Country in the World!

Nov 21, 2012

Costa Rica - The Happiest Country in the World!

Costa Rica has once again topped the Happy Planet Index, beating famous contenders such as the US (ranked #105) and Canada (ranked #65).

In other words, Costa Ricans are consistently some of the happiest people in the world. They live longer and have better health, making the real question's how come they live longer and better than North Americans?

Well, the Happy Planet Index is based on three elements when classifying countries and peoples: life expectancy for each country, wellbeing and, finally, environmental imprint.

Life Expectancy and Wellbeing

Statistics show that the average life expectancy for Costa Ricans is 79.3 years. The surprise was all the greater since Costa Rica topped the United States, where the average life expectancy is of 78.5 years.

Believe it or not, the Costa Rica wellbeing rating is 7.3, earning the country a well-deserved number #13 worldwide. Quite an achievement, especially when you have such powerful and promising neighbors like the US and Canada. Of course, the rating is just another confirmation that Costa Ricans are pretty happy with their daily lives, which makes them happier in general and more likely to live longer.

Besides the inner strength that happiness provides, Costa Ricans are lucky to count on a well designed and organized national healthcare system. Very good examples of this are two of the country's greatest hospitals, Clinica Biblica and CIMA. Both located in the capital of San Jose, recognized for providing excellent care services, at world-class level and for prices lower than the ones practiced in the US, in Canada or some other high level country.

No wonder Costa Rica residents are happier! They only pay approximately $29 a month as a contribution to their national health care system (CCSS), sometimes even less. This is incredibly affordable, especially if you consider the conditions offered by the national hospitals " it's hard to believe that this actually happens in a country on our globe!

In order to understand the reasons behind the Costa Ricans wellbeing, it may be useful for you to know that those who do not want state medical healthcare coverage can opt for private coverage and pay approximately $50 per month. Basically nothing in comparison to what Canada and the US offer.

Another interesting characteristic of Costa Ricans is their ability to adjust. They adapted to the weather, to the economical and political changes and they learned to live happily on their own, even when they are on a tight budget.

First on the list for a successfully happy life is the access to free food, like fish and meat, and fruit and vegetables, depending on the area specifics and climate. Then, one cannot overlook the rich markets and street boutiques, all stuffed with fresh products, mainly organic dairy products and eggs.

Since Costa Ricans eat healthy, mostly natural and traditional products, their state of health is considerably superior to that of their northern neighbors. It also doesn't hurt that healthy produce is available in great quantities and through many suppliers at very affordable prices.

For example, to eat rice and beans for lunch, together with some salad, fish and fried plantains, you will generally not spend more than $4 or $5 on a meal. Sounds pretty incredible, but it's true! In addition, Costa Ricans encourage the consumption of freshly squeezed juices, as well as blended smoothies, which is why there are stands serving such drinks scattered all over.

The same rule applies as far as cleaning and laundry services are concerned. The salaries of the people working in this field are a small price to pay for the benefits, and yet enough for them to pay their bills and enjoy financial comfort for them and their loved ones. Costa Rica is a peaceful, democratic country whose army was abolished in 1949. Its people worry mostly about their families, the center of their society, and about their friends. They are indeed very friendly and open minded, making it very easy for anyone to talk and visit with them.

Ecological Imprint

When analyzing this parameter, Happy Planet inventories the quantity of land required in order for a state to fulfill its people's demand for energy, resources and food. While no country is entirely perfect, Costa Rica, once again, ranks better than the US and Canada. The rating for Costa Rica is 2.5, while for Canada, it is 6.4 and for US it is 7.2.

Obviously, there is more to Costa Rica than just these three categories analyzed by the Happy Planet Index. If you are thinking about buying a house in another country, or just about choosing a home where you can peacefully retire, here are five reasons why you should definitely choose Costa Rica:

  • It is an accessible country. A flight from Miami takes only 2 hours and 40 minutes, while a flight from New York is five hours. Most major carriers have flights to Costa Rica; with several budget airlines also offering low cost flights to this beautiful country.

  • It is a stunning country, its beauty residing in the reserves and national parks, which cover more than a quarter of its surface. A mixture of creatures, ranging from fluorescent frogs to electric-blue butterflies which can reach the size of one's hand, to friendly monkeys and scarlet macaws. If you just want to enjoy the view, you will be amazed by the clear lakes, wild beaches, volcanic peaks and rich forests.

  • You also have the possibility to meet other expats, just like you, as approximately 50,000 North Americans have already settled in Costa Rica. Some for good, others only seasonally.

  • Finally, Costa Rica offers good property taxes, less than you would normally pay in the US or Canada. Together with incredible properties, some of the best being located on the South Pacific coast full of views that will thrill everyone.

PS - if you're imagining what it would be like to live in such a happy country, click HERE for more information on how you can explore during a Discovery Weekend!

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