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Is moving to Costa Rica with a dietary problem or a disability smart?

Is moving to Costa Rica with a dietary problem or a disability smart?Do you have any health problems? Are you afraid to move to Costa Rica because you have a dietary disease or because you are disabled? Let’s try to cover this important question for many who are not sure they can make this important step because of their disability or dietary problem.

Costa Rica can be a perfectly delightful retirement destination for everyone but it depends a lot on the location you choose moving to.

Especially If you have a disability or a need for special requirements, it is important you find out if your destination can accommodate your needs or not before you take the wrong decision of moving to Costa Rica.

In other words, you need to find out if Costa Rica fits or doesn’t fit your picture.

Like most tropical destinations, Costa Rica is a little, behind on everything,  in some cases more than a little, except for sunshine. We have plenty of that. Those who have a vitamin C problem can get sunshine and eat oranges all day long. If you have any special needs or dietary problems, you need to definitely check on what is available for those needs.


Gluten free produtcts in a grocery store

Gluten free produtcts in a grocery store

Dietary needs

I recently found out that I have celiac disease and though I might not be able to find as many products in the grocery store as I would in a Miami store, I was actually amazed at all the options that I have.  Grocery stores like Automercado and Walmart have a great inventory of dry and frozen gluten free products and there are quite a few homemade options too. I have also found several restaurants that are able to serve those on a no-gluten diet and if you’re a vegatarian or vegan, you also have lot of choices.

If you are diabetic, Costa Rica offers you all the options you need. Many nutritionists are very well up to date and have studied in the US and Europe and can help you find the products and care that you need.

Many health problems are probably not an issue when moving to Costa Rica, but if you have any, I recommend you ask your real estate agent for recommendations.

Grocery Stores

It is very important to find out, if you are planning to a beach destination such as Dominical, Tamarindo or Jaco Beach, you will have to crosscheck if all the products that you need are available there and see if there is a nutritionist in that particular location. If you stay close to San Jose, you will find so many more options of grocery stores than you will ever find in the small town communities of Atenas, San Ramon and Orosi or any beach areas. You will find that the large chain stores like Automercado and Wallmart (Mas x Menos) offer the best dietary choices.


The wheelchair ramps in public transport rarely functions

The wheelchair ramps in public transport rarely functions


Law for disabled

Law 8661 was created in 2008 and promotes, protects and secures full and equal rights of all human enjoyment and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities in Costa Rica, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity. Unfortunately, like many laws created in the past, law 8661 is mostly forgotten by the government. Institutions in charge do not have the funds to oblige anybody to follow the rules. 5.35% of the population in Costa Rica has some disability.


Disabled parking in Costa Rica is not respected

Disabled parking in Costa Rica is not respected

Disabled persons’ parking

You will find disabled persons’ parking used by non-disabled everywhere in Costa Rica. There is no control and many locals are still not educated to understand the need to leave disabled persons’ parking for those who are really disabled and not for those who are in a hurry or are too lazy to walk. There is no formal disabled person sticker system in place as it is in other countries.



Most cities in Costa Rica are not very wheelchair accessible, for a good reason. During the rainy season, it rains a lot and rain needs big gutters. You can hide a car in some of those gutters. Some sidewalks do have ramps, but you might not always be lucky.  Getting from one sidewalk to the other is usually quite impossible, especially in a wheel chair, because the municipalities don’t build ramps over those gutters. Or there are no sidewalks at all. 

There are quite some busses in San Jose that have a ramp installed in the bus, but most don’t function or bus drivers do not cooperate. Very few taxis have a wheelchair ramp installed. If you are dependent on public transport, and you need wheelchair accessibility, Costa Rica might not be the right retirement destination for you. If you are able to drive your own car or have a driver, you will need to take a few hurdles here and there.

A simple device for the visually impaired

A simple device for the visually impaired

The blind & visually impaired

Being a blind or visually impaired person in Costa Rica must not be an easy feat. Walking the streets with all those large gutters and getting across the street when you’re blind must be difficult. You will find that most pedestrian traffic lights have the beep-beep that makes blind pedestrians aware when they get across.  Sidewalks though, are always very uneven and difficult to walk on even for those who are not visually impaired. Most elevators have braille on their control buttons.

Money in Costa Rica doesn’t have braille in its bills but every denomination was designed in a different size. M.A. Erick Hidalgo Valverde then designed a simple to use device so the visual impaired know which bill they’re dealing with.


Sidewalk ramps for wheelchair access is very unusual in Costa Rica

Sidewalk ramps for wheelchair access is very unusual in Costa Rica

Moving successfully

If you are not sure if your disability or special requirements can stop you from moving successfully to Costa Rica, contact your preferred GoDutch Realty agent now and send us your questions and doubts. I have tried to cover some medical problems you might have without getting too specific. We will do all we can to connect you with the right medical specialists and get your questions answered.

When you purchase your new home through a GoDutch agent, we can also help you find the right contractor to adjust your home in Costa Rica to your physical needs, contact us now.

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I DO want to remind our readers that we appreciate any referrals you can send us. I know you all meet people on the plane, in the supermarket, at yoga, at the gym, at the Blooms ladies club, at the potluck organized by your community. Please remember the GoDutch Realty agents when you talk about your home in Costa Rica, when you meet someone who wants to purchase one, we appreciate it.

We Love your Referrals at GoDutch Realty

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Ivo Henfling

If you are looking to buy a home in Costa Rica or invest in a condo anywhere in the central Valley, or looking for any property for sale in Escazu, you need to call me. I have been selling real estate in Escazu for over 20 years and can show you hundreds of happy buyers of real estate in Escazu and other areas. To me, a deal is not a good deal unless both buyer and seller are happy.

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