There are many ways to achieve a dream. For Costa Rica’s investors – known locally as inversionistas – the dream hinges on a select inventory of Costa Rica investment properties: the right home, the right restaurant, the right hotel, the right business – that just-right investment to suit their budget, their needs, and their many other requirements.
Very generally speaking, Costa Rica investment properties can be classified into three categories: existing businesses, hotels, and income-producing homes/vacation rentals. We’ll briefly discuss all three here.
Before we do, though, there are a few things you should know:
- Foreigners Can Own a Business in Costa Rica: According to the Costa Rican Code of Commerce, foreigners can own a business in Costa Rica. However, you must have residency status to incorporate your company and conduct business.
- Investment Can Earn You Residency: Not every investor plans to live in Costa Rica. But if you do, know that there’s a specific residency category created for investors; it’s known as inversionista residency. Currently (early 2022), the minimum investment is $150K and that investment can be in anything from a home to a restaurant to a farm to a resort.
- Start-Up Costs Range Widely: If you’re planning to bootstrap your business, you can get in for $300-$1,000 to start a legal corporation. If you’re looking to purchase an existing business, you can spend anywhere from $100K to $8M+.
- Costa Rica Has a Safe Investment Climate: Costa Rica is considered to have one of the region’s safest investment environments, fueled by non-citizen business and real estate rights, competitive tax rates, and other incentives. (As of publication in early 2022, these incentives are set to increase. Please reach out or speak with your Costa Rican lawyer for current laws, as of whenever you’re reading this.)
Obviously, there’s a lot more to know before you jump in. But suffice it to say, Costa Rica investment properties can offer a great opportunity, given the right investment, the right mindset, and some hard work. So, with that in mind, let’s discuss three of the most popular investment types:
Investing in an Existing Costa Rican Business
Benefits: Existing businesses allow you to get in on the ground floor of inversionista residency, starting at just $150K.
Stipulation: You can’t work in your business, just earn a profit. Choose wisely! This will be your only income source from within Costa Rica. (You are, of course, permitted to earn income from outside the country.)
Plot twist: Deciding on a business opportunity in Costa Rica is not as personal a decision as it would be if you were investing in a business “back home.” Why not?
It comes down to investor residency restrictions, which prevent inversionista residents from working directly in their business. In other words, your $150,000+ investment earns you the right to live in Costa Rica and earn a profit from your business – but not to work in your business. It’s basically the catch you’ve been waiting all your life to hear: You’re legally required not to work!
What this means, in practical terms, is that you can assess potential Costa Rica investment properties with an unbiased eye: It’s not so much about what you want to do with the rest of your life (since, again, you won’t be the one doing it) as it is about which business opportunity suits your budget, meets your requirements, and stands to be most successful (= earn you the greatest profits).
Keep that in mind, as you peruse and eventually choose a Costa Rica business for sale. Your lifestyle here will be separate from the business you own: You won’t be pouring coffee or slinging pizzas. You won’t manage an office or coordinate employee schedules. Legally, your job is to be hands-off.
For Your Consideration:
Office Location: Plaza Colonial #8 ($199,000)
Whether you operate a business (and are looking for a location) or simply want to invest in commercial real estate (to rent to other businesses looking for a location), Plaza Colonial #8 offers prime commercial real estate in Playas del Coco.
The complex houses major local businesses – BCR, Mega Super, restaurants, and more – that bring a lot of traffic through the plaza. Locale #8 offers 72 m2 (775 square feet), including 3 separate office spaces, 2 washrooms, and a fully functional kitchen, as well as client parking spots.
La Esquina Restaurant ($275,000)
This well-established bar and gourmet pizza restaurant is located close to the center of Tamarindo: one of the most popular beach towns in Costa Rica and a high-traffic destination where people love to dine out. They specialize in wood-fired pizzas and other comfort foods, including pasta, burgers, and tacos.
La Esquina has been in business for 12+ years, has excellent ROI, can include a 9-year lease (building and apartment), and is being sold turnkey.
Mandarina Juice Bar ($450,000 for 2 Restaurants)
Offering an excellent opportunity, this sale includes Costa Rica investment properties: Mandarina Tropical Juice Bar on Tamarindo’s Main Street and Mandarina Tropical Juice Bar on Calle Guanacaste. Both locations include inventory.
In business since 2003, Mandarina is both well known and well loved in Tamarindo. It also has a proven success record, with a great ROI and successful expansion – both into its second location and into new menu items (now serving smoothies, tacos, and healthy meals).
Investing in a Hotel, Retreat, or Hospitality Business
Benefits: A definite lifestyle business with high income potential.
Stipulation: These businesses usually require a higher investment than do small retail spaces and restaurants.
Investing in a hospitality business – either a commercial lot to develop your own or an existing hotel, bed & breakfast, or a retreat – is one of the more inspiring and exhilarating Costa Rica investment properties. As anyone who works in hospitality knows, there is a definite lifestyle aspect to this investment decision.
That said and to repeat, you cannot work as an investor. What you can do is funnel your passion, your industry knowledge, and your expertise into your business. While the details are a matter to discuss with your lawyer – how do you contribute without doing anything considered work? – the reality is that owning a hotel in paradise is a dream for many.
For Your Consideration:
Finca Cana Fistula ($499,000)
Nestled in the hills above Hacienda Pinilla and Tamarindo, and overlooking beloved Playa Avellanas (famous for surfing!), Cana Fistula is a 29-hectare (72-acre) secret garden and ocean-view paradise.
Located on the main road to Tamarindo and just 50 minutes to the Liberia International Airport, this property promises accommodating terrain well suited to everything from a hotel/resort to an equestrian estate or off-the-grid compound. The vision is yours to develop.
Hotel Gardenia ($720,000)
Located in the heart of idyllic Tamarindo, Hotel Gardenia is beautifully landscaped and well equipped, with 5 units (two 1-bedroom cottages, two 1-bedroom apartments, and a private studio + loft apartment), a private pool, outdoor balconies and terraces, and other amenities.
Hotel Gardenia is just a short walk to the beach and just far enough away to create tranquil surrounds and an atmosphere of peace. This is a profitable, turnkey hotel business with many repeat guests and an impeccably managed backend. You’ll be earning ROI the moment you sign on the dotted line!
HYLA Nature Retreat ($968,000)
Nestled in a rare tropical dry forest, just 20 minutes from bustling Tamarindo, HYLA is a secluded retreat offering three independent glamping quarters with luxury amenities, including private bathrooms, soaking tubs, fast WiFi, and other must-haves of the digital age.
Common areas include an infinity pool with spectacular views, a large yoga deck, covered outdoor restaurant, a fire pit with cozy seating, and even a tree swing over the jungle and ocean. Beautiful walkways wind around the property, creating an atmosphere of tranquility for everything from yoga/meditation retreats and intimate weddings to corporate workshops and family reunions.
Investing in Real Estate / Vacation Rentals
Benefits: Choose your own investment path. You can even earn residency (and income) through your own vacation home and/or future retirement home!
Stipulation: If a solid investment (= income potential) is a serious goal, then you’ll likely be restricted to certain areas with high vacation rental demand.
There are two main (common) ways to approach homes as Costa Rica investment properties: as an investment in your vacation home/future retirement home (and that you’ll offer as a vacation rental in the interim) or as a vacation rental property investment. The difference is in the home’s intended use: Are you are investing for your present or future enjoyment, or are you purely investing in a vacation rental business?
Either way, you’ll have many of the same considerations. For example, you must choose a property with strong rental potential: not only in the right location, but with popular “must-haves,” like a private pool, high-speed internet, a gourmet kitchen, and more. You’ll also have to find a local property manager whose high standards and business model match your own.
For Your Consideration:
The Enclave at Avellanas ($275,000 to $499,900)
If your vision includes getting in on the ground floor of one of Guanacaste’s newest gated communities, consider an investment property at The Enclave at Avellanas.
The community is comprised of just 51 secluded luxury villas, nine swimming pools, eight hot tubs, a boutique yoga pavilion, and a spectacular setting beneath the tree canopy and just a short walk to Playa Avellanas and its world-class surfing.
Beach Villas ($1.1M)
Have it all – by that, we mean prime Costa Rica investment properties and also a place all your own – at Beach Villas, home to four two-story villas just 50 meters from the sand and located in the heart of Playa Grande (just north of Tamarindo).
The 800 m2 (1/5-acre) lot includes 5,000 square feet of construction, including the four villas, a private pool, and a capacity for up to 24 guests. The villas currently sport an impressive ROI (over $70,000 net income, annually) and are offered turnkey.
Villa Buena Onda ($2.35M)
Perched on a hillside overlooking the Gulf of Papagayo, Villa Buena Onda is one of Costa Rica’s most spectacular – and well known – luxury vacation homes. Set on 6.3 acres (or 2.6 acres for $1.9M), this quiet oasis offers 10 suites and sweeping ocean views, paired with a two-tier, ocean-view swimming pool with swim-up bar. No expense was spared.
Villa Buena Onda has operated as a boutique luxury vacation home. It is well suited to a variety of commercial hospitality uses including corporate retreats, a boutique hotel, fractional ownership, and more.
Want to Discuss Costa Rica Investment Properties?
If you’re looking for commercial properties on Guanacaste’s Gold Coast, then welcome to our wheelhouse! From luxury hotels to water sports businesses, from vacation homes to service industry businesses, we broker, offer, and represent a wide range of Costa Rica investment properties for your consideration.
Finding your right fit is not an easy task. At Blue Water Properties of Costa Rica, we’re here to help. To discuss, to advise, and to advocate on your behalf. We’ll send you the properties that fit your budget. We’ll recommend excellent residency and business attorneys. We’ll even put the word out on that uncommon gem you’re after (but that hasn’t yet hit the market).
Along the way, we’ll help you explore all the many possibilities, joys, and roads to life in paradise. That’s what we do. We thrive on relationships. We crave connection. And our goal is never to “sell a business;” it’s to fulfill dreams. It’s to make people happy. It’s to help you. Genuinely help.
We promise the fastest communication and best services in the industry. We will work to deliver on your dream. We will never pressure you. And we really do hope we’ll become friends along the way.
We’re proud to offer some of the best Costa Rica real estate, from condos and homes to land and businesses for sale. So, go ahead – try us. Give us a chance to show off our expertise – and wow you with the possibilities! We look forward to it.