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ABOUT

COSTA RICA

Welcome to
Costa Rica

Live the
Pura Vida Lifestyle

Welcome to Costa Rica, a biodiverse, culturally rich paradise for tropical living. While smaller than West Virginia and home to just over 5 million people, Costa Rica boasts some of the world’s most diverse scenery, sweeping from cool mountains to warm oceans, rushing rivers to active volcanoes, lush rainforests to rare dry forests, misty cloud forests to coffee highlands, and so much more.

With its stunning scenery, ideal climate, warm people, and proximity to international airports, Costa Rica has become a popular area for relocation – for families, retirees, digital nomads, and everyone in between – as well as for vacation homes, investment, and development.

Costa Rica has also long been recognized for its rich biodiversity – 5% of the world’s flora and fauna, in just 0.03% of the planet’s landmass – as well as for its stable democracy, no army (since 1948), universal health care, literacy, and long lifespan, in part due to the country’s famed Blue Zone and excellent healthcare. The official language is Spanish, although English is widely spoken in many areas, and the local currency is the Costa Rican colón (pronounced coe-lone).

Costa Rica’s North Pacific coast – roughly, the province of Guanacaste – is an area of breathtaking beauty. Warm Pacific waters caress white-, pink-, cinnamon-, and even black-sand beaches, which are known for surfing, sea turtle nesting, swimming, and other outdoor pursuits. Here, you’ll also explore a variety of landscapes, including national parks and wildlife refuges, scenic waterfalls and natural hot springs, historic sites and quaint villages.

Welcome to a land of year-round warm weather, sunny days, brilliant sunsets, and pleasant star-studded nights. Paradise awaits!

Moving &
Relocation

Pura Vida
Lifestyle

Residency

Real
Estate

Gated
Communities

Building a
Home

Retirement

Family
Life

Tamarindo
Lifestyle

Playas del Coco
Lifestyle

Nosara
Lifestyle

Flamingo
Lifestyle

Playa Negra
Lifestyle

Papagayo
Lifestyle

Playa Conchal
Lifestyle

Active
Lifestyle

Investment &
Development

Yachtie
Life

Cost of
Living

Giving
Back

Costa Rica

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, a foreigner can own a property in Costa Rica.
Foreigners will have the same ownership rights as Costa Rican citizens. Ownership rights are guaranteed by the Costa Rican Constitution and apply to all, regardless of whether the property is placed in the name of a corporation or in the name of an individual.

Titled property (also known as “fee simple,” in English-language real estate parlance) means that you have absolute ownership and recognized rights of possession. Titled property holds the greatest and most ownership rights, when it comes to Costa Rica real estate. Notably, titled oceanfront or beachfront property is very rare in Costa Rica, due to a law that makes all beaches (and 200 meters inland) public or concession land. 

Concession property is essentially the right to use and enjoy, for a specific time period (usually, 20 years), any property located within the public Maritime Zone. Essentially, concession property is a lease. As mentioned above, Costa Rican law dictates that all oceanfront (50 meters inland, as measured from high tide) is public land; land from 50 to 150 meters inland (200 meters, in total), as measured from high tide, is concession property.

There are some exceptions – and, yes, titled beachfront property occasionally becomes available – but they’re too many to get into here. So, we’ll finish by saying that foreigners have full and equal ownership rights to titled property and most concession property. The only caveat is for concession property held in a corporation: Foreigners may not own more than 50% of the shares in that corporation.

This is a big (and important) topic, we know. So, if you have additional questions about titled or concession property, please get in touch.

Usually, but not always (and not required by law), the buyer and seller split closing costs 50/50.

As for the fees: In Costa Rica, closing costs are a function of transfer tax (1.5%), National Registry stamps (0.5%), documentary stamps, and a notary fee (typically, 1% to 1.25%). Additionally, you’ll pay 13% VAT (locally known as IVA) on all closing cost services (ex. the attorney’s services). While exact numbers will vary a bit, this closing cost calculator will give you an idea on the fees you can expect to pay.

Notably, the buyer always chooses the attorney for closing. The attorney must also be a notary public (a higher office, in Costa Rica).

According to the opinions of our clientele, buying a property in Costa Rica is a good investment since properties are sold for a fraction of what it would cost in the United States for something similar. Additionally, property taxes are reasonable and, whether you live in Costa Rica permanently or visit the country for vacation, you will be amazed by the abundant wonders Costa Rica has to offer.
Buying Costa Rica real estate is very safe from legal and lifestyle perspectives, as Costa Rica is among the safest countries in Latin America. That said, keep in mind that when it comes to finding property for sale, there are still plenty of sharks out there willing to take money from naïve expats looking to buy into their dream. Choose wisely! (We’re one of the good guys.)
In order to move to Costa Rica and stay for extended periods, you will need to meet immigration requirements. There are several residency options, including the popular Investor Program (Inversionistas, including those who purchase Costa Rica real estate), the Pensionado Program (for retirees), and the Rentista Program, which requires either proof of a monthly income of at least $2,500 USD for at least 2 years or a $60,000 USD deposit into a Costa Rican bank account.
Many American Expats live along the Gold Coast, the Central Pacific Coast, and the Southern Zone, as well as Arenal and the Central Valley, which runs from San Ramon to Cartago.

In a (simplified) word, great. Tourists have access to private care, which is readily available for everything from a wellness checkup to emergency care, and is reasonably priced compared to U.S. costs. Depending on your home health insurance, or on your travel insurance, you may receive reimbursement for in-network private medical care.

Public healthcare is also good, although it’s only available to residents and citizens. As a member of the public healthcare system, known as the CCSS or Caja (pronounced cah-hah), you’ll pay a monthly fee (usually, a % of your income or pension) and will have access to no-added-cost medical care – again, everything from wellness checkups to emergency care. Learn more about Costa Rican healthcare.

We’re very lucky to have high-quality private schools in our area. From Playas del Coco south to Hacienda Pinilla, Guanacaste’s private schools offer a full menu of educational offerings, from alternative schools, project-based learning, and outdoor-focused programs to rigorous college preparatory curriculums with International Baccalaureate (IB)/Advanced Placement (AP)/dual-enrollment options. Learn more about Costa Rica private schools.

No bones about it: The beach is HOT. During the hottest months (March and April, usually), daytime temperatures in the sun can climb into the mid- to high-90s (35º C or higher). In the shade, you’ll hover in the more comfortable mid-80s (around 30º C). And, of course, a cold drink helps and a dip in the pool always help!

As for the rainy season – again, it depends. Guanacaste is the driest region of Costa Rica, so you’ll see less rainfall here than in, say, Arenal or the Central Valley. But, during the rainy season (May-November), as a general rule, you can expect sunny mornings with afternoon showers. Depending on the month (ex. May is drier than October), those afternoon showers can last anywhere from 60 seconds to several hours.

It depends. Really! Guanacaste’s two biggest beach towns (Tamarindo and Playas del Coco) may be just 32 miles (52 kilometers) apart, but if you live in one, you won’t want to do your daily shopping in the other. (For one, Costa Rican distances can be deceptive. Plan on about an hour’s drive between Tamarindo and Coco!)

That said, you’ll be happy to know that both beach cities – and many of the sandy towns in between – easily cover all your day-to-day needs, including banking, grocery stores, restaurants, farmers’ markets, minor medical care, and pharmacies. AutoMercado, Costa Rica’s most upscale supermarket, which offers a wide selection of familiar imports, offers locations in both Tamarindo and Playas del Coco.

Want to know specifics? Local expertise is our bread and butter. So, get in touch. We’ll be happy to point you in the right direction!

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