That's easy after having lived in various areas over the past 19 years-the Central Pacific area,specifically Hermosa Beach de Jaco.
We are only 10 minutes south of Jaco so we get all of the benefits without the noise:
1. like tons of restaurants from overpriced to underpriced-from exotic to tipico; all kinds of shops including a used bookstore; new 4plex movie theatre with a/c & surround sound; conference center for plays and special events; new central park with art and music events,
2. a strong Gringos-locals Chamber of Commerce (www.jacochamber.com); strong Women's Group doing all kinds of beneficial activities; and offering
varieties of classes.
3. The majority of the roads are paved and in great condition (except of course my last 1/2 mile to my Hermosa beach bungalow!) Also I love seeing the incredible ocean and sunset views while hugging the coast on the Costanera to and from Jaco.
4. The advantage of having all of the major utility companies and County seat government agencies located in Jaco. It's a nightmare when you live 1.5 hours away from getting your electric or phone or cable hooked up. I do love paying the absurdly low annual Municipal taxes ($69 for me).
5. Playa Hermosa just received a "Blue Flag" award for its cleanliness and is world reknowned for its surfing and uncrowded conditions for beachcombers.
Also our weather is better than anyplace on the coast south of Mexico. Our bay is slightly turned to receive more breezes, and yet we are not susceptible to many natural disasters found worldwide. Yes we get quakes, but they are very deep. We are 3-7 degrees cooler than the northern and southern pacific and 3-7 degrees warmer than San Jose.
6. Another reason I love the Central Pacific is now driving only an hour plus away from either the main Int'l Airport (SJO), or the great activities of Escazu-either to visit Central America's largest mall; or the restaurants, the only IMAX theatre of Central America; art, wine, or BEER festivals (had the 1st Craft beer one 2 weeks ago.) The Jazz cafe is there, the U.S. embassy is nearby, the Priceclub/Home Depot/Office Depot like stores, the Johns-Hopkins affliated Hospital-Cima is there
and there are tons of weekly clubs, church/spiritual groups, natural events,
and Costa Rican cultural events happening regularly...
So in conclusion, it ain't easy moving to Costa Rica, and its not for everybody.
Other places like Nicaragua and Panama are cheaper, but its amazing how many of those former Costa Rican resident expats that move there wind up returning to Costa Rica. Something to do with the friendly "Costa Rican" people and the stronger sense of community with the Gringos.
Yes I wish things went faster, made more sense, or were cheaper, and often times we comment that its amazing that Costa Rica has come as far as it has.
The reality is no place is perfect, and I like the "no lawsuit" mentality here, and the "personal responsibility" that is demanded of you if you wish to enjoy your life here.
After 19 years, my favorite area of Costa Rica is beachfront Playa Hermosa.