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Living Off The Grid In Costa Rica – 5 Essentials

It's possible, we've personally been living off the grid in Costa Rica for over a decade.
A couple living off the grid in Costa Rica

Thats my wife and I in the image above (you can also just about make out our dog MJ hiding behind a branch – he’s shy, lol), we’ve been living off the grid in Costa Rica since 2012.

Living off the grid in Costa Rica is a lifestyle choice that has become increasingly popular over the years. It involves living without the reliance on public utilities such as electricity, water supply, and waste disposal systems. The decision to disconnect from these systems is often driven by environmental concerns, a desire for self-sufficiency, or a need to escape from the hustle and bustle of modern-day life.

Why living off the grid in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica is an ideal destination for anyone interested in living off the grid in the jungle. It is a country that is rich in natural resources, making it an ideal location for sustainable living. The tropical climate means that solar power can be effectively harnessed, while ample rainfall makes water collection and storage systems a viable option. Additionally, Costa Rica has a stable government and economy, providing a safe and secure environment for those who wish to transition to the off-grid lifestyle.

When deciding if living off the grid in Costa Rica, there are 5 main things you should consider:

  1. location
  2. energy
  3. food
  4. water
  5. sustainability

Costa Rica has a warm climate and lots of natural resources, which make it perfect for off-grid living. You can get electricity by using solar panels, wind turbines or hydroelectricity. Many households (including ourselves) also collect rainwater and filter it for drinking and other uses. Growing your own food and raising animals can also help you to sustain yourself.


View from an off-grid home in Costa Rica
The view from our off-grid home in the Osa region, living off the grid in Costa Rica

When you want to live off-grid, choose a good location. Find a property with sunlight, water, and wood. Think about the weather and land. Costa Rica has over 20 small areas with different weather, called microclimates. Mountains, valleys, plains, and coastlines all make different microclimates depending on how high, steep, and which direction the land faces. Costa Rica is warm all year because it is near the equator, but some places are wetter or drier than others because of the wind and the coast.

There are three main types of microclimates in Costa Rica: tropical rainforest, dry tropical forest, and cloud forest. Tropical rainforest is where it rains a lot in the lowlands. Dry tropical forest is in the northwest and has a dry season and a wet season. Cloud forest is high up and it’s misty and rainy. If wanting an already built home then there are plenty of off-grid homes for sale, just search Costa Rica real estate using the following search terms “off-grid homes for sale Costa Rica” / “Eco homes for sale Costa Rica” / “living off the grid in Costa Rica”


Solar system setup
We personally opted for solar and had the system partly built and shipped from Miami

Solar power is a great option since living off the grid in Costa Rica is sunny. By installing solar panels on the roof or the ground, you can have reliable electricity. Hydroelectric energy uses moving water from rivers or streams to make electricity. You might want to think about using this kind of energy too. If you live in a coastal area, wind power could work for you. It would be useful to consult a green energy expert to determine which option is best for you.


Growing food off the grid
My wife Amy enjoying the fruits of our labor in our early off-grid years

If you are planning on homesteading or living off the grid in Costa Rica, it’s essential to be self-sufficient so you can produce your own food. Costa Rica has a suitable climate for farming, so you could grow fruits, veggies, and herbs, and even raise animals for food and fertilizer. The soil is perfect for producing fruits and veggies, and you can recycle waste into compost to grow more food. Being a vegetarian, vegan, or raising animals can help you live off the grid, but it requires careful planning. Costa Rica is an ideal place to start an offgrid ecofriendly farm.


Off Grid home in Costa Rica
We incorporated water tanks under the lower deck during construction to capture rainwater

Water is important when living off the grid, especially if farming in Costa Rica. To save water, collect rainwater, reuse greywater, and use low-flow fixtures. If you have a spring on your property, you need to apply for a water rights concession.

If living off the grid in Costa Rica, you need to follow specific steps to get this concession [1]. You need to figure out the type and amount of water you need and why you need it. You also need to get a form from the National Water and Sewer Institute (AyA), fill it out, and submit it along with any required documents and fees to the AyA. The AyA will review your application, which can take a few months, and decide if you can get a water rights concession. If approved, you must pay the applicable fees.


Plunge pool in the jungle
Rainwater collected from our roof is stored and used for drinking and our plunge pool

Sustainable living in Costa Rica is easy because there are lots of natural resources available. You can live off the grid during both the dry and rainy seasons. You can collect rainwater and use it for different tasks like laundry and watering plants. The sun is strong and provides a lot of energy, so you can air-dry clothes and use solar energy. There are also many rivers, streams, and creeks, so you can use private sources of water.

Costa Rica is not just good for farming or technology in homes. They also care about protecting the environment. They do this by giving money to people who plant trees, stopping people from using plastic in some areas, and encouraging people to use reusable bags. This helps protect the environment and keeps plastic away from the national parks.

People living off the grid in Costa Rica are starting to live in a way that doesn’t hurt the environment. This is good news! Although there are still more things they could do to help, the things they have done so far have been helpful and are inspiring others to join in. We can expect that more ways of living in a friendly way with nature will come up in the future.

OSA PENINSULA: The Osa Peninsula is situated in the south of Costa Rica which is a crucial place for safeguarding flora and fauna. One-third of this region is occupied by the Corcovado National Park that acts as a safe space for the rainforest. Similarly, the Golfo Dulce Wildlife Reserve provides a sanctuary for animals and plants that could be in danger. This area is unique because it is home to various species of animals and plants that can’t be found anywhere else. National Geographic has recognized Corcovado and its surrounding areas as the “most diverse biological area on earth.”

View from our home in the Osa region, living off the grid in Costa Rica

You can get to the Osa Peninsula by driving for 6 hours or taking a 50-minute flight from San Jose airport. Compared to other developed areas in the country, the Osa Peninsula is a bit remote, but it is a beautiful spot with rich wildlife, lonely beaches, and unspoiled rainforests.

Conclusion And FAQS

Living off the grid off the grid in Costa Rica may seem daunting, but it can be a rewarding and fulfilling lifestyle. Here are some tips for taking the leap:

1. Do your research: Before making the transition, it’s important to do your research and understand the logistics of living off the grid. Make sure you have a clear understanding of what it entails, including building codes, energy systems, and waste management

2. Start small: Consider starting with a smaller property or building a tiny home to get a feel for off-grid living before fully committing. This can help you adjust to the lifestyle and make any necessary adjustments.

3. Embrace the lifestyle: Living off the grid in Costa Rica means simplifying your life, embracing self-sufficiency, and being mindful of your impact on the environment. Embrace the lifestyle, and enjoy the benefits of living with less.

4. Connect with the community: Joining a community of like-minded individuals can help you navigate the challenges of living off the grid in Costa Rica. Seek out groups, forums, and meetups to connect with others who share your passion for sustainable living.

What does it mean to live off the grid?

Living off the grid means to live in a self-sufficient manner without depending on public utilities such as electricity and water. It involves generating your own power, collecting rainwater, and being independent from the electrical grid.

What is off-grid living?

Off-grid living refers to the lifestyle of living without reliance on public utilities and instead producing your own resources, such as energy and water. It often involves being self-sufficient and using sustainable methods to meet your needs.

Can I find off-grid properties in Costa Rica?

Yes, Costa Rica offers a variety of off-grid properties for those seeking a more sustainable lifestyle. You can find properties in different areas of the country, such as Guanacaste, the Central Valley, and the Southern Zone.

What are the advantages of living off the grid in Costa Rica?

Living off the grid in Costa Rica allows you to enjoy the natural beauty of the country while minimizing your carbon footprint. It gives you the opportunity to live in seclusion, grow your own food, and be closer to nature.

How can I go off the grid in Costa Rica?

To go off the grid in Costa Rica, you can start by finding an off-grid property for sale through a real estate agent or online listings. Once you have the property, you can set up renewable energy systems, rainwater collection, and implement sustainable practices such as permaculture.

Are there off-grid communities or retreats in Costa Rica?

Yes, there are off-grid communities and retreats in Costa Rica that cater specifically to individuals seeking an off-grid lifestyle. These communities often provide support and resources for sustainable living.

What areas in Costa Rica are popular for off-grid living?

Guanacaste, the Central Valley, and the Southern Zone are popular areas in Costa Rica for off-grid living. These regions offer natural beauty, rich biodiversity, and a favorable climate for sustainable living.

How can I reduce my carbon footprint while living off the grid in Costa Rica?

Living off the grid in Costa Rica inherently reduces your carbon footprint as you rely on renewable energy sources and sustainable practices. Additionally, you can minimize transportation emissions by living close to your daily needs and utilizing alternative transportation methods.

What are some challenges of living off the grid in Costa Rica?

Living off the grid in Costa Rica may come with challenges such as limited access to certain amenities and services, the need for ongoing maintenance of renewable energy systems, and potentially being located in remote areas.

How can I find off-grid properties for sale in Costa Rica?

You can find off-grid properties for sale in Costa Rica through real estate agents specializing in sustainable properties or by searching online listings. It is advisable to work with a reputable agent who understands the unique aspects of off-grid living in Costa Rica.

Can foreigners own land in Costa Rica?

Yes, foreigners can own land in Costa Rica. The Costa Rican Constitution guarantees the same property rights to both nationals and foreigners. Foreigners have the legal right to own property, including land, in Costa Rica with very few restrictions. However, it is always advisable to seek legal advice and ensure that all property transactions are conducted in accordance with Costa Rican laws and regulations. Additionally, certain restrictions may apply in specific areas near coastlines and borders, so it’s essential to be informed about any regional regulations before purchasing land in Costa Rica.

Picture of Matt New

Matt New

Living off-grid since 2012 with my wife Amy and dog MJ in the jungles of Costa Rica. Co-creater of the award winning Fusion Home.

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