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Feeling It Out

An ideal way to see the lay of the land is by taking the train tour that goes from the nation’s capital of San Jose to Caldera, a port city in the province of Puntarenas. Those preferring to drive can use their U.S. driver’s licenses there for up to three months.

Once you’re out and about, you’ll start to meet the people who live there. According to Brian Benson, general manager of the Chill Expeditions Costa Rican tourism company, the people were the clinching factor in his decision to take up permanent residence there.

“I have never met a more kind and welcoming people,” he said in an e-mail. “I actually met my wife – a native Costa Rican – here, so when I say I fell in love with the local population, I really mean it.”

Bob Stefko | Getty Images