One of our duties as realtors is to answer the frequently asked questions that our clients have about Costa Rica and the possibility of living here. If your question isn’t answered or you would like more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us directly. That’s what we’re here for.

Investing in Costa Rica

You’ll be happy to know that foreigners have the same rights when buying a property or purchasing land in Costa Rica as the locals do.  You can own the property outright in your own name or in the name of your corporation.  The one exception that may apply is when the property is located in the Maritime Zone. Which may apply to the first 200 m from the high tide line. This is also called “Concession Land” where special rules apply.

If you decide to go ahead and purchase a concession property, consult with an attorney to make sure the seller has the rights to occupy the land and is in a position to offer you the rights to that land. The land use rights can range anywhere from 5 to 40 years although most concession properties offer 20-year occupancy rights. Be clear that you are essentially signing a long-term land lease not purchasing the property in fee simple. This structure is similar to the Native land leases that are available in Canada and the United States. This usually applies to land on the lake shores or protected areas.

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Why should I invest in Costa Rican real estate?

  • Tourism opportunities abound in Costa Rica
    1. Adventure travel
    2. Seniors travel
    3. Baby Boomers retiring – finally
    4. Eco and Wildlife tourism – all ages
    5. Medical and Dental tourism – safe and cost-effective
  • Financial and Personal Security in Costa Rica
    1. No formal military – everyday life is less stressful
    2. Stable democratic government
    3. Various levels of police force
    4. Organized and protected financial system
    5. Good quality and affordable health care
  • The Incredible Weather
    1. The tropical weather in Costa Rica is warm all year round.
    2. Guanacaste is known for its dry and sunny winters and less rain throughout the year
    3. Evenings are a pleasant temperature even in the Central Valley
    4. No SNOW!
  • General Lifestyle and Atmosphere
    1. Pura Vida – a term that means a lot of different things. Pure Life is the literal translation but it is more a way of life.
    2. Friendly outgoing people – local and Expats
    3. An educated population
    4. Named one of the Happiest Countries
    5. Home to one of the famous Blue Zones
  • Amazing Natural Beauty
    1. Volcanoes
    2. Rivers
    3. Plains
    4. Mountains
    5. Hot Springs
    6. Ocean shores
    7. Fabulous sunrises and sunsets
  • Real Estate Opportunities
    1. Incredibly low property taxes at ¼ of 1%
    2. Affordable homes and land
    3. Ocean front and ocean view properties
    4. No foreign ownership restrictions
    5. Relatively low cost of living compared to the US and Canada
    6. Growth encouraged by the Costa Rican government
    7. Local investment in infrastructure including roads and airports
  • Costa Rica is committed to green and sustainable environments
    1. Renewable energy opportunities in wind, geothermal, biomass, hydro and solar power
    2. Protected National Parks
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This is why many people suggest renting before buying. Live in that area for a period of time before you make the big decision. Sure the house is beautiful but what about the area? Is it close to the city? How’s the weather? Is it secure? These are very important things to know when it comes to living in Costa Rica.

If you’re out in the rural areas, you need to see what it’s like to live there and if you’re living alone, you may not want to be out in the jungle by yourself. Whether you’re retiring or simply starting another chapter of your life, you want to be absolutely sure that you live in an area you love. Do yourself a favor and do your due diligence before you pack your bags.

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You’ve found your dream home and are ready to sign the paperwork. You can’t wait to start telling all your friends and family about your new casa and have your pen ready to go. But wait! Before you dot your I’s and line your T’s, there are a few things you absolutely need to do before you make the big decision to buy a home. One thing to know about Costa Rica is that not everything may be what it looks like from the outside so it’s best to be 100% sure and do all the proper research beforehand.

This is also why it is pertinent to find a trustworthy and dependable real estate team. We have been in Playas del Coco for a number of years now working as realtors and we know this town inside and out when it comes to real estate and how the country works. We know what to look out for, what’s good and what’s bad in this business.

So take it from us and read our things to check before you buy a home in Costa Rica.

Don’t let the little things slide

When inspecting your new home and you see something looks off, ask. Don’t let the little things slide! It’s common in Costa Rica for things to look fine on the outside but is completely opposite on the inside. Notice a little leak in a room? Door doesn’t close all the way? Don’t assume it’ll be fixed or that’s just the way things are. Save yourself a lot of headache and prevent any possible situations where you’ll be spending hundreds down the road.

Check the amenities

It sounds like common sense and it’s easy to assume that these things are there, but if you buy a home in a more rural area, you need to ask if there is water, electricity, cable and internet available. You may not always get accurate information from the owner so go directly to the source – the ICE, AyA, CableTica or Amnet. You would be surprised as to how many problems arise whether there is a lack of water in the area, there are no cables that reach that far out so you don’t get internet and many other things.

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Whether you’re buying a home to move in next week or waiting until you’re retired. Buying a home or purchasing property is a huge step. A step that should be thought out carefully and not done on a whim. Here are five tips when buying a home in Costa Rica. We know that it’s a fun process but you can prevent any future regrets, if you take these steps!

Set realistic standards

We get it – everyone has an idea of what their dream house is like in their mind. However, it doesn’t always work that way. We can’t always buy our fantasy home without all the other things that come with it, including the price.

Costa Rica imposes a luxury tax on homes starting around $250,000 (scale changes each year). These costs are extra and is something important to take into consideration when buying your home.

Don’t buy the first house you love that’s above your budget!

Don’t let yourself get carried away with one that’s out of your budget, even though it’s easy to fall in love with all the beautiful homes in Costa Rica. Many potential home buyers believe they can negotiate the price down but when it doesn’t happen, it can be hard to find a home that is as comparable. Be firm with your realtor to see homes within your budget. This way they’ll know not to show you more expensive homes in hopes that they can get a higher commission.

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Costs and Financing

Financing for a non-resident through a bank is complicated and comes with strict documentation requirements. The interest rate from a Costa Rican bank or finance company is between 6% and 12% for a US$ mortgage. Most of the deals in real estate are cash or owner-financed by the Seller.  The owner financing is usually for a short- term of 3-5 years with down payments in the range of 30-60%. Sometimes the buyer can get better rates and faster approval obtaining a first or second mortgage in their home country on an existing property. Many have taken advantage of drawing on a line of credit or HELOC to free up the cash.  The cash can then be used to buy property in Costa Rica.

If you are from Canada and want to chat with a Canadian mortgage broker who also happens to own a condo in Costa Rica, contact Tammy Wandzura.  She will be happy to chat with you and help you find ways to access funds from your present home. Email: tammy@elitemortgagechoice.com

Another great alternative when purchasing an investment property is to utilize your IRA or 401K.

Contact Tyler Carter at NuView Trust for more information on how you can tap into your IRA and purchase that investment property in Costa Rica. Email: info@nuviewira.com

 

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How to Purchase Real Estate Using an IRA

All expenses are paid by the IRA, and all income belongs to the IRA.  When properties are purchased with cash from an IRA, no taxes are due when rental income is received, or when the property is sold.  There is no need to go through the expense and complexity of 1031 tax-deferred exchanges, as the entire IRA is tax-deferred (tax free within a Roth IRA).

Many of the American RE/MAX clients here in Costa Rica have taken advantage of the flexibility that purchasing an investment through your IRA or 401K offers.

For more information, contact Tyler Carter at NuView Trust for more information.  Email: tcarter@nuviewira.com

As for the Canadians, we may see some changes in the CRA rules that will allow us to use the funds in our RRSP accounts to purchase foreign properties but that’s not the only option.  Many Canadian investors are starting to pull funds from their RRSP accounts and use that money to purchase a vacation home. They take the tax hit and start enjoying their retirement early.

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Closing costs in Costa Rica have many components.  The costs not only cover the legal fees but a variety of stamps and other taxes.  Here is a breakdown of the fees as of December 2017.  All prices are in US funds.  In our area of Guanacaste, it is customary for the buyer to pay the closing costs.  The seller will pay the 6% listing commission as well as the 13% sales tax on the commission amount only.

♦ Legal fees range from 1 – 1.5%

♦ Transfer stamps and taxes are around 2.5%

♦ Registration of the new title is 0.5%

♦ Transfer Taxes are 1.5%

♦ Timbre Archivo $1.00

♦ Timbre Municipal 0.2%

♦ Timbre Colegio de Abogados $100

♦ Timbre Fiscal $100

♦ Escrow fees range from $650 – $1000

♦ New corporation costs if needed are approximately $1000

♦ Mortgage costs are variable depending on the situation of the buyer This type of mortgage registration is assessed at approximately 0.25% of the sale price plus 0.53% of the sales price in documentary stamps. An additional 0.5-1.25% of the mortgage amount is due in notary fees.

 

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Costa Rica’s very low property taxes make this a very appealing investment – 1/4 of 1% annually.  That means if you buy a condominium or home with an assessed value of $200,000 the property taxes per year would be $500 or a $100,000 2 bedroom/2bath condo would be $250.

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When purchasing a condo or home in Costa Rica,  it’s critical to thoroughly understand the Home Owner’s Association (HOA) costs. Below you will find a breakdown of what the condo or HOA fees may include in Costa Rica.

The majority of people who purchase a property in Costa Rica are not living here full-time.  Condo developments help provide the security and services that are vital for absentee owners. It’s nice to be able to close the door when you leave and know that everything will be taken care of while you are gone.  Condos also make great vacation rentals. Your guests will appreciate a clean pool and well-maintained landscaping.  That peace of mind makes buying in Costa Rica possible.  However, with that security comes a cost that is shared by all of the owners.

Gated communities are usually set up under a “condominium structure”.  If you purchase a single family home, you will likely pay an HOA fee for the common area maintenance. The various items the property management company takes care of will determine the monthly fee.

Costs that MAY be covered by the condo or HOA fee:

♦ Common area water

♦ Common area cable or internet may be provided by the association

♦ Pool Maintenance (unless a private home)

♦ Common area and pool electricity

♦ Landscaping

♦ Property Management Fee

♦ Reserve fund

♦ Improvement fund

♦ Security guard

♦ Structural insurance on the buildings

So you can see from this list, there are a variety of items that may be covered by your condo fee.  These fees can range from $90 – $700/month.  It is an important part of your buying decision to know what the fee covers.  Knowing that someone is taking good care of your property if you live out of Costa Rica for at least part of the year is reassuring.

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It is becoming increasingly more common to use an escrow company for most real estate transactions in Costa Rica. Costa Rican law requires that any escrow company or agent must meet the requirements set out by SUGEF for the management of third-party funds.

The Buyer and Seller in a business transaction would designate a third party, who is not directly involved in the sale or purchase, to control the funds before closing. The escrow company acts as a “safe” place to deposit your funds while the transaction is being completed and indicates your commitment and “good faith” in going forward.

The most common scenario involves a variety of phases throughout the purchase. Initially, the Buyer would advance the deposit or earnest money to secure the property. The funds are not released to the Seller until conditions in the offer are met and the closing happens. The Buyer may be obtaining financing, completing any repairs agreed upon or addressing any number of items outlined in the sale agreement. The Buyer would send the balance of funds once the conditions are complete.

The escrow company is then responsible for disbursing the funds as determined in the contract. This distribution may include legal fees, escrow fees and purchase proceeds.  It will also include the commission to the agents, reimbursements for a home inspection as well as a variety of other possible expenses.

By using an escrow company in Costa Rica assures the Seller that the earnest money is on hand and secure and that the Buyer has the intention to proceed with the deal. The funds will be returned to the Buyer if the conditions in the contract are not met or are considered unsatisfactory during the Due Diligence period. Therefore it is critical that the instructions are clear as to the terms and conditions that apply, as well as the instructions for making the closing disbursements.

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Although the weather is one of the reasons many expats choose Playas del Coco and also why visitors come to Guanacaste, it does come with its downsides. The rising cost of electricity is one of them. Since air conditioning is absolutely necessary, when living in dry heat for more than 6 months of the year, it has become almost a luxury with how expensive it gets. New homeowners will want to keep this in mind so that they aren’t shocked when they get their first electricity bill. 

Whether you’re living here full time or part time…

Here are some things you can do to help lower your electric costs.

1. Don’t leave your air conditioner on when you’re not at home

Though this one is the most obvious, many North Americans don’t take heed to this small action. It not only saves you money but also helps the environment. Turning your AC off for the hours you are out during the day adds up. Being more aware of turning your air conditioner off before you leave can save you hundreds of dollars. Test it out! Don’t leave it on if you’re going out for the night or going to the beach for the day and you’ll see the difference in $ immediately.

3. Maintain your air conditioners

If you just bought a home or condo, get all the air conditioners checked as soon as possible. Some of them may be very old and may need to be replaced. If left unchecked, they’ll spend more energy trying to work and cost you more. In the long run, you’ll end up paying more than if you had just hired someone to fix it or bought a new one.

3. Unplug and turn off what you don’t use

Another one that sounds obvious but isn’t done as much. It may not seem like it’d make a difference but turning off lights in rooms you aren’t in, turning off the lights and ceiling fans when you’re not home. Unplugging appliances you’re not using will also help immensely. A lot of people have the misconception that fans spend next to nothing but it’s not true. I t will add up over time if you’re leaving fans on that you’re not using for hours everyday.

Turning off the breakers when you’re out of the country will also help lower electricity costs. If you’re a snowbird or in Costa Rica for part of the year, turn off the hot water and air conditioner breakers if nobody is living in your place.

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Legal Aspects to Consider

The new online title system provides free access to information recorded in the National Registry. It also provides a method available to obtain certified reports such as the Plano Catastro which is a type of property survey. This report outlines the dimensions of the lot or project with boundaries and measurements. Certified title reports or historical ownership research is an essential part of any attorney’s responsibility in the purchase process.

In addition to recording title, the National Registry also indicates whether a given property has any encumbrances or easements associated with it. Registry records are public and are accessible via the Internet or in person at various branches throughout Costa Rica. Not all land in Costa Rica is titled, so it is extremely important that your attorney provide this research as part of his due diligence. Also, the property may fall within the Maritime Zone, national parks, many wildlife reserves or within designated indigenous areas.

This due diligence is part of every sale or purchase in Costa Rica and worth every penny!

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Foreigners will be pleased to hear that they have the same rights as a Costa Rican when it comes to purchasing a property. It is a right guaranteed by the Constitution.

You don’t have to live here to own a condo, home or land in Costa Rica. It is wonderful news especially for those investors looking to diversify their real estate portfolio outside of their home country.

The only exception would be as it relates to concession land. Your attorney would prepare the due diligence and advise you on foreigners owning this type of property.

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Hiring an attorney or lawyer to facilitate the sale or purchase of a property is a must. Most attorneys are also a Notary. They perform a vital role in the entire process.

The attorney will not only register the sale and update the title but help and guide you every step of the way. He will help with the due diligence to ensure that the property has a free and clear title. Any easements attached will need to investigated and explained clearly. Not all easements are detrimental but one wants to be sure that all is in order before the closing.

It is imperative to use an attorney that always uses an escrow company that is registered with SUJEF. Some of them may have an escrow in place.

Should things go sideways, the attorney can also handle any arbitration or negotiation on your behalf. Consider them a valuable part of the team as you go through the purchase or sale process.

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Make sure you get your future house checked out before you purchase it. If a house hasn’t been lived in or taken care of recently, you want to make sure everything is still running smoothly. Houses in Costa Rica are built a bit different. A little hitch can turn into a big hitch in the future and you’ll want to prevent any potential damages and problems.

Ask questions like; How does the house hold up in rainy season? What’s the condition of the roof? Any water shortages or electric problems? Home maintenance isn’t always as simple in Costa Rica as other places. Get these things checked so you know exactly the condition and status of the house before you purchase it.

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Using a Real Estate Agent

In Costa Rica, real estate agents are not licensed.  However, the Costa Rica Global Association of Realtors (CRGAR) and the Costa Rican Chamber of Real Estate Brokers (CCCBR) have long promoted mandatory real estate licensing. For years the CRGAR Association has been educating its members on benefits of joining The National Association of Realtors (NAR) which offers a very stringent code of ethics, ongoing education and the ability to legally call themselves a “Realtor,” with the registered “R” trademark.

♦ Promoting professionalism
♦ Undergo ongoing education
♦ Familiar with local laws
♦ Experienced
♦ Educated in the local markets
♦ Network of other professionals to work with
♦ International designations and certifications
♦ Legally allowed to work with their residency or citizenship

Despite these benefits of using a real estate agent, it is important for you to know that there are no formal licensing requirements for real estate agents in Costa Rica. The courses provided by the two associations are an essential part of the formal education that all experienced professionals should have as a minimum requirement to work with you.

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Nothing will make your life easier when buying property or a home in Costa Rica than having an excellent real estate team that knows the business and can help you every step of the way. A bilingual team is best (as Spanish is the official language here) even if you’re purchasing in an expat popular place. Even if you are fluent in Spanish, real estate jargon can get confusing and it’s best to leave it in the hands of someone who understands it all.

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Thinking of making another bedroom or remodeling? Tell your realtor. They will let you know if a house will have any issues with your future plans. You can ask them to sit down with a contractor to discuss your ideas.

Many people think they can make home improvements without being advised by a realtor first. Only to discover that their project will go unfinished as sometimes they can’t communicate with the contractor or the work ethic is not quite the same as back home. Get advice from your realtor on the reliable contractors in the area who can speak English, especially if you don’t speak Spanish. It is one thing to buy a home in a foreign country but it’s another when you need to adapt to their customs and rules and you can’t communicate properly. Make it easier for yourself and get the right information.

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First time in Costa Rica?

Yes. There are a variety of banks offering ATM machines.  In the Playas del Coco area there are 7-8 machines available dispensing both US dollars and colones. You’ll generally pay between 0 and 1% exchange commission, plus flat fees of $1-3 per transaction.

Banks are generally open from 9 AM to 3 PM; a few have extended hours. You may need to be prepared for a wait, though; lines and bureaucracy can make getting money at banks an endeavor that requires a bit of time and patience.  If you prefer not to carry a lot of colones, most international credit cards are widely accepted in Costa Rica, as are U.S. dollars.

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Exchanging dollars is relatively easy in Costa Rica and US dollars are widely accepted.  Costa Rica’s national currency, the colon, fluctuates in value to the U.S. dollar and has drifted downward against the U.S. currency in recent years, with the banks paying about 565 colones for $1 in December 2017.

coinYou can get local money when you arrive at the San Jose or Liberia International Airports. However, if you aren’t able to do this when you land, there are many local banks that offer both local and international banking services and can exchange foreign currencies, provide cash advances on credit cards. Be sure to take your passport with you when using the teller banking services.  A copy of your passport is usually not accepted.

ATM machines are widely available and are a great option to withdraw money when you need it.

original-11Remember to keep your dollar denominations small. Large denomination bills such as hundreds or even fifties may not be accepted.

Ideally, you will want to carry some colones while in Costa Rica, especially if you plan on traveling to out of the way places. Small hotels, restaurants and shops prefer colones but will accept US $.

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Rent a Condo vs Hotel? Which one is right for you?

Vacations should be just that – a vacation from your daily routine with less stress.  That should be one of the important considerations when deciding to reserve a hotel room or rent a condo/vacation home.

Having said that, booking into an all-inclusive hotel might be just what the doctor ordered.  No cooking, no cleaning etc.  BUT…. what if you have picky kids who can never find what they like on the buffet? Or perhaps you like your quiet morning coffee and the thought of seeing 100 other guests for breakfast is a little overwhelming.  Then perhaps renting a condo or vacation home is the right way to go.

Occasionally the reason for the vacation is to socialize because your job doesn’t allow for casual chit-chat all day.  Resorts host all sorts of interesting characters to get to know. Sometimes you are traveling on your own and feel more comfortable with plenty of people around.  Other times, you may just like to enjoy the sun and read a book undisturbed.

The other challenge with many of the hotels or resorts is that they are rather secluded and it is difficult to walk to town and mingle with the locals. Shuttles help but everyone is always watching the clock so they don’t miss their ride.  Holidays are to relax not watch the clock.

What we’ve found is that there is a time and a place for every type of accommodation. In Costa Rica, there are a variety of rental units that suit most people on vacation.  Booking into a hotel room is more for the one or two night stays while traveling through an area.  If you want to get a feel for the town, enjoy the local cuisine and nightlife, rent a place for a week or more.

Of course, you will always find the Snowbirds who fly south for the winter to escape the cold who stay for up to 6 months.  Perhaps that is on your bucket list one day….

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No, to enter Costa Rica, you must show proof of onward travel unless you have Costa Rican residency status. This could be an airline or bus ticket to exit the country within your 90 day stay (not necessarily back home). Airlines do not always ask for this documentation but Costa Rica Immigration may deny you entry without proof of onward travel.

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There are two international airports. One in Alajuela, the Juan Santamaria International Airport most commonly known as SJO and one in Liberia, the Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport more commonly known as LIR.

⇒ Arrivals and Departures @ LIR ⇐

⇒ Entry and Exit Requirements @ LIR ⇐

Airlines
 

Central and South American Flights 

✈ Copa Air @ www.copaair.com

✈ Nature Air @ www.natureair.co.cr

✈ SANSA @ www.flysansa.com

✈ LACSA/TACA @ www.taca.com

 

 

International Flights

✈ United @ www.united.com

✈ Air Canada @ www.aircanada.com

✈ AirTransat @ www.airtransat.com

✈ Westjet @ www.westjet.com

✈ Jetblue @ www.jetblue.com

✈ Frontier @ www.flyfrontier.com

✈ Delta @ www.delta.com

✈ American @ www.aa.com

✈ Air France @ www.airfrance.com

 

Tip: Don’t Forget to Allot Time for the Departure Tax

US or Canadian citizens do not require a visa to enter Costa Rica for up to 90 days. Your passport will need to be valid for the duration of your stay, and you’ll need to be able to present an exit ticket. However, unlike many countries, you will need to get a special exit visa (departure tax) upon leaving the country, and this cost 29 USD at the time of writing. A few airlines like American, US Airways and Copa have recently added this to the ticket price, but most others will have to join the lengthy line at the airport to take care of this pesky fee.

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Driving in Costa Rica with a Foreign Driver’s License

If you’re visiting Costa Rica as a tourist, you will not need to obtain an International driver’s license. Your foreign driver’s license from your home country will be valid for 90 days (3 months).The most common question is “What happens after the 90 days ?”  The maximum amount of time that a tourist can legally stay in Costa Rica is 90 days (3 months).  The validity of the license is tied to that time frame as well.You will have to leave Costa Rica and then re-enter to get another tourist visa which will, in turn, validate it for another 90 days.

I have a Residency application pending. Do I still need to leave every 90 days?

The Immigration and Traffic Laws are two separate pieces of legislation.  With your residency application pending, you can remain in Costa Rica.  Once you obtain your residency, you will no longer be required to go out of the country every 90 days to ensure that your driver’s license remains valid – if you plan to drive that is.

Leaving Costa Rica every 90 days certainly has a significant impact on the foreigners who are in “tramite” or in process. This is not only time consuming but can be expensive if visiting Nicaragua or Panama for a few days.

Once you have residency, you can obtain a Costa Rican driver’s license.

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Yes. They often conduct routine immigration checks at busy locations such as bars and beaches. Most people don’t think to do this but you should always carry around with you a photo copy of your passport. You never know when immigration police will be where you are so it’s best to keep a copy (safety reasons) for identification.

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Security is one of the biggest concerns from foreigners who wish to move to Costa Rica and one of the questions we get asked most about. What’s the murder rate? Is it dangerous there? Is it safe for a single woman in her 60’s?

These are the type of questions we receive from potential expats and the answer is yes, Costa Rica just like any other country in the world has crime. However, Costa Rica is not as bad as its fellow Central American neighbors as you may have heard. There are a few things to know about Costa Rica’s security and safety before you make the big decision to move or travel here.

Costa Rica doesn’t have an army

Costa Rica abolished their army back in the 1940’s after a victory in their civil war. They have relied on their police force ever since then. If that isn’t a sign of a peaceful country, then what is?

Petty theft is the main crime

Theft and robbery are the two main crimes you will hear and see on the news and unfortunately it is something expats really do need to watch out for. This can be from pick pocketing, muggings, car break ins and home robberies.

Security – Tips for staying safe

  • When it comes to protecting your belongings, common sense is highly needed. Always be aware of your surroundings and keep track of your belongings
  • When you are out and about, always zip up your purse. Don’t stick your phone or wallet in a pocket half out.
  • Don’t leave your belongings on the table and go to the bathroom (always make sure you have all your belongings or someone you trust has them.)
  • Make sure your belongings are in your sight at all times.
  • When driving, never leave your belongings in your car in plain sight. Don’t even leave it in your trunk.
  • At home, always lock up windows and doors when leaving and use the poles if you have them for extra protection for your windows.
  • Leave your valuables at home if you plan to go out. Especially at the beach, walking around town or something more adventurous!

Things to watch out for

  1. If you see somebody wandering around, waiting and looking out of place at bus stop or somewhere. Be very careful. Thieves have been known to wait for tourists to get off the bus while they’re still a bit tired and rob them.
  2. Be wary if someone is too helpful – sad but true. Some thieves will offer to watch your luggage for your and then take off with it
  3. If you are driving and suddenly get a flat tire or a problem with your car, be very careful about the person who suddenly shows up out of nowhere all of a sudden. This is a typical situation thieves will set up to rob you. Drive back to the car rental office or get yourself to a hotel, police office, airport, whichever is closest.
  4. Your passport. Passport theft is one of the highest in Costa Rica. Make sure you take a color photocopy of your passport just in case.

The most important thing to remember is to use your common sense. If you don’t normally leave all your precious and expensive items on a table at a restaurant and leave for 5 minutes at home, don’t do it in Costa Rica. Keep a careful eye out and be smart.

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Questions about our vacation rental homes?

No. The maximum stay is 4 weeks to allow other guests time to enjoy our property as well. You’re always welcome to come back and stay with us again another time! 

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For most of us, winter conjures up a whole lot of images we’d really rather forget.

  • Blizzards
  • Car accidents
  • Dirty snow turning to mush
  • Winter whiteouts
  • Cold and ice

In Costa Rica, winter takes on a whole new meaning.

  • Sun (yes, lots of sun)
  • Flowers
  • Lush gardens
  • Rain (on occasion)
  • Cooler temperatures 80° F or 27° C

But then again, should you travel to Costa Rica from May – October??   ABSOLUTELY! 

If you get a chance to speak to the locals or the myriad of Expats who call it home, you’ll soon discover that “winter” in Costa Rica is their favorite time of year.

The sun holds a special warmth for those who made it through high season (which just happens to coincide with the dry season). Now it’s time to enjoy Costa Rica and all that it offers.

Travellers who enjoy a little slower pace, less traffic and want to get out of the hustle and bustle particularly love this time of year.  There is still enough going on to sit and listen to some live music in your favourite bar, walk the beach early in the morning or catch a few rays of sunshine before the clouds start to roll in after lunch. Some days the sun continues to shine all day long.  The BBQ is ready and waiting regardless of the rain.

Many days in the green season are sunny, bright and hot.  Winter they say… hmmmmm I’ll think I’ll take it.

In early July, nature treats us to a surprise.  The locals call it “Little Summer or “Veranillo de San Juan”. It is the equivalent to the North American “Indian Summer”. The kids enjoy a 2 week vacation from school allowing families to take advantage of the weather by having picnics at the beach or travelling to see family.  Those North Americans or Europeans who dare to travel in the “winter” are amazed at the sunny, dry and hot weather in the middle of the green season.  Not exactly what they were expecting in the “rainy” season but they certainly enjoy it to the fullest. They send word home that winter in Costa Rica is fantastic.  Who knew??

Does it ever rain TOO much?  Yes sometimes….

That depends on your definition of too much but yes, the rains be can sometimes be heavy and flooding does happen.  Thank goodness not every year but with the climate changing all over the world, one has to be prepared for just about anything.

The other thing to know about Costa Rica is that different areas of the country experience different rainfall.  In the north, it is usually drier year round.  The area around Lake Arenal is well known to see rain at any time of the year.  Southern Costa Rica sees more than its fair share but then again, it is a rain forest!

The only decision you need to make is when to come to Costa Rica.  Whether it’s in the North American winter months or the traditional “summer” the Costa Rican people welcome you with open arms and a smile to go with it.

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What is involved when it comes to moving to Costa Rica?

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Congratulations, you finally made the decision to move to Playas del Coco, Costa Rica! For whatever reason you are here, whether you’re retired, ready for a new chapter of your life or hoping to make Coco your new permanent home, there’s no doubt your life will be different. We hope that it is everything you ever dreamed it would be.

A new life and new country automatically means new changes. If you’re curious as to how your life may be different when you live in Playas del Coco, here are some ways your life will change when you move to Costa Rica. Specifically at the beach in Guanacaste.

You won’t worry about the weather anymore

The weather is one of the main reasons expats prefer Guanacaste over the rest of the country. Guanacaste has a longer dry season, meaning more sunny days. You won’t ever have to worry about the weather or even look up the forecast. You’ll always wake up knowing that it’s hot and sunny!

Your wardrobe will become smaller

You won’t need anything remotely close to winter clothes here in Coco (not even spring clothes) now that you know that every day is going to be filled with sunshine. Shorts, tank tops, t-shirts, flip flops and swimsuits will be filled with everything that has to do with the beach. Ladies, feel free to pack as many sundresses, skirts and bathing suits as you like because they will become your new everyday outfit. As for the guys, be sure to pack your board shorts and flip flops cause you’re going to need them.

You’ll be able to walk outside and pick fruit off the trees

If you love tropical fruit, you certainly picked the right place to be. Walk outside and you’ll see trees full of all sorts of fruit. Including mango, lime, papaya and avocado. You’ll also probably see some you may not recognize, like cashew or star fruit. It’s easy to get your fill of fruit when you can walk outside your front door and pick it yourself. You really can’t get any fresher than that!

You’ll wake up earlier

Since Costa Rica is a tropical country near the equator, the sunrise and sunset times are the same every day all year long. The sun rises around 6 AM and sets around 6 PM. Daylight savings time doesn’t exist here and with 12 hours of daylight, you won’t want to miss one minute. You’ll start waking up earlier and earlier to the beautiful natural light with plenty of time to enjoy the most out of your day.

Hearing monkeys will be normal

There are many howler monkey troops around Coco and throughout Guanacaste. This might be startling at first if you aren’t used to it, as they are the loudest land animal. You’ll hear them howling randomly throughout the day, especially in the mornings. But don’t worry, you’ll get used to it! In fact, if you don’t hear them you will probably miss them.

These are just five of the many ways your life will change. Come with an open mind and embrace your new life with open arms. Living abroad is what you make of it so just know some changes may be for the better, some may not be. Living in Costa Rica is all about the pura vida lifestyle.

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When it comes to choosing the right retirement destination, it’s not an easy one. First you have to narrow it down by country and that’s hard enough! There are several great countries in the Americas ideal for retired expats as they have all the necessary requirements they look for.

Costa Rica is one of those countries. Being extremely tourist friendly with sunny weather and excellent healthcare, retirees normally don’t find it too hard to adjust to a life down in the tropics. Though there are several pockets of expat communities spread out throughout the country, there is one place in particular that retirees love to go especially if they want to live at the beach, Playas del Coco.

What makes Playas del Coco such a great retirement town in Costa Rica?

You’re at the beach!DSC_3894

Playas del Coco is a small beach town in the province of Guanacaste, a  province known for its beautiful beaches. The town is small and no matter where you are, you’re always just a short walk away from the beach!

If you’ve ever dreamed of living your days strolling on the beach and watching the sunset. Playas del Coco is a wonderful place to do so.

Though Coco is not the typical white sand beach, it still has its own beautiful characteristics with dark sand and soft waves. It is a family friendly beach and is normal to stop and chat or say hi to people while taking your morning or evening walk. The atmosphere is fun, warm and relaxing. The ultimate essence of pura vida.

There are many other retired expats or snowbirds!11046894_687688081342182_8705952237859061403_n

Don’t ever worry that you won’t meet people or make new friends when in Coco. There is a large community of retired expats in and around the Coco area. You can even make friends when you’re out having dinner.

There are more retired expats in this area than other beach towns. This makes it easy to meet new people who are in the same life stage. There is always something going in the expat community. Whether it’s weekly meet ups at the bar, book clubs or simple dinners and get together.

Coco is a touristic area!

Since Playas del Coco is such a touristic area, the locals there are extremely used to seeing foreigners. One of the fears of retiring abroad is how to fit in with the locals but the Costa Ricans in Coco are helpful, friendly and love to meet and talk to people.

Another bonus is that many of them speak English since majority work in the tourism industry. Though it is always recommended to learn some Spanish, it does make things a bit easier for a retired expat.

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Another upside to living in a touristic area is that there is always something to do.

The beach already offers itself as an activity but with many tourists visiting every year, more opportunities come up. Sunset sailing, fishing, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, boating and much more. It also gives your friends and family an enticing incentive to visit you – you can give them a trip of a lifetime!

Playas del Coco is in a convenient location

25 minutes from the airport, 2.5 hours from the Nicaragua border, 1 hour from a national park, 2 minutes away from the next beach. Need I say more? It’s in a great location to explore the area and whether you just want to lay in the pool or at the beach. You’ll never be bored in Coco!

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Questions about medical care? We've got you covered...

Public Ambulance & Main Emergency (Red Cross) — 911 or 2697-1141

Private Ambulance Service 24/7 — 8308-9986

Liberia Public Hospital — 2666-1016 or 2666-0011 (Downtown Liberia)

Hospital San Rafael Arcangel — 2666-1717 (Liberia)

CIMA Hospital — 2690-8500 or 2690-8520 (Next to Do It Center)

Clinica Biblica – Clinic and Pharmacy: 2667-0891 (Next to Do It Center)

EBAIS Clinic Playas del Coco: 2670-0987

EBAIS Clinic Sardinal: 2697-0142

Filadelfia Public Clinic: 2688-8276

 

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Absolutely!  There are at least 3 doctors here in the Coco area that offer great medical care and advice. They are affiliated with the hospitals in Liberia and San Jose so will take good care of you.  We highly recommend the following doctors:  Dr. Pablo Valenciano, Dr. Hanzel Larios or Dr. Alejandra Mendez Rodriguez.  There are a variety of specialists who take office days in the Playas del Coco area as well.

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2670-1717 or 8830-4087

2670-1235 or 8308-9986

  • Dr. Alejandra Mendez Rodriguez and her medical assitant and partner José Conejo have a Medical Assitance Clinic open 24/7 in Playas del Coco

8808-8111 for Dr. Mendez and 8382-1815 for José Conejo

or by email: alitass@gmail.com and conejo.ig@gmail.com

 

For day to day health care any of the Individual Doctors and private Clinics are very good and can help you with most of your health issues.  If you need emergency care requiring immediate attention it is probably best to call the private ambulance service and have them take you to one of the private hospitals.  If you have international health insurance then most likely an emergency service will be covered.

You should check your insurance coverage to make sure.  If you have decided to use the public system then you have done the research and know what is required to get care.  If you have an existing condition or would feel more comfortable then schedule an appointment with one of the private Doctors listed above and discuss an emergency plan with them.

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Medical Tourism (also known as Health Tourism) is where people who live in one country travel to another country to receive medical, dental and surgical care. While at the same time receiving equal to or greater care than they would have in their own country, and are traveling for medical care because of affordability, better access to care or a higher level of quality of care.

“Domestic Medical Tourism” is where people who live in one country travel to another city, region or state to receive medical, dental and surgical care while at the same time receiving equal to or greater care than they would have in their own home city, and are traveling for medical care because of affordability, better access to care or a higher level of quality of care.

Information sourced from www.medicaltourismassociation.com

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It is up to you but Costa Rica actually does not have a problem with malaria. However you do need to bring insect repellent to prevent dengue and chikungunya.

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Looking for the best option for your child's schooling? Here are a few...

Lakeside International School Located in Sardinal

Day Care and Pre-Kinder through High School

Website: www.lakesideschoolcr.com

Phone: 506-2667-0166

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Dolphin’s Academy located in Playas del Coco

Day Care and Pre-Kinder through High School

Website: www.dolphinsacademycr.com

Phone: 506-2670-1064

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CRIA Located in Brasilito, Guanacaste

Phone: 506-2654-5042

Formerly known as Country Day School of Guanacaste, CRIA now stands for Costa Rican International Academy. CRIA (“criar” means “to grow” in Spanish), is now an independent, non-profit community school. It is a private, U.S.- accredited nursery school through high school. It offers boarding options for international students, study abroad programs, and much more. They have an incredible campus filled with state of the art facilities  –  a near-Olympic-sized swimming pool, covered gym, theater for school plays, etc.

The student/teacher ratio at CRIA is at 8:1, with class sizes averaging at about 15 students (similar to the top tier private schools in the US).

Visit their FaceBook or their Website

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Escuela Cacique
Playa Panama
506-2672-1112
Kindergarten through 6th Grade

Escuela El Coco
Playas del Coco
506-2670-0491
Kindergarten through 6th Grade

Escuela Playa Hermosa
Playa Hermosa
506-8566-1512
Kindergarten through 6th Grade

Escuela Bernardo Gutierrez
Sardinal
506-2697-0116
Kindergarten through 6th Grade

Escuela Libertad
Libertad
506-2697-1226
Kindergarten through 6th Grade

Escuela San Blas
San Blas
Kindergarten through 6th Grade

Escuela Artola
Artola
506-2697-0238
Kindergarten through 6th Grade

Liceo de Guardia
Guardia
506-2667-0148
High School

Colegio Tecnico Profesional Sardinal
Sardinal
506-2697-0197
Technical High School

Colegio Playas del Coco
Playas del Coco
High School

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Questions about what it's like in Costa Rica...

Yes, unless you are in rural areas, the water is safe to drink.

However, we still recommend buying bottled water as the minerals in the water here are different than what you may use to. If you have a sensitive stomach, it is safer to drink bottled water.

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Costa Rica is 51,100 km² or 19,730 mi². In other words it is roughly the size of Denmark or the state of West Virginia. An interesting comparison …. You can put 21 countries of Costa Rica into the Canadian province of Ontario.

It has 7 provinces: San Jose, Cartago, Heredia, Limon, Puntarenas, Alajuela and Guanacaste. Each has a unique culture that makes it special.

Be sure to take time to travel within the country to see what each province has to offer.

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The current 2017 population of Costa Rica is approximately 4.91 million, which is up from the 4.58 million at the 2011 census. This makes Costa Rica the 120th most populous country in the world. However, this number does not include the nearly 2.2 million visitors that Costa Rica sees per year!

A population density of 84 people per square km (107th in the world.) The capital and largest city is San Jose, which has a population of 288,000 and a high population density of 6,455 people per square km. The greater metropolitan area has 2.15 million residents, or a third of the country’s entire population. San Jose is one of the safest cities in Latin America.

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Costa Rica is home a great number of volcanoes – there are six active volcanoes and another 61 dormant or extinct ones. For the past fifty years, Arenal was the country’s most active volcano. Although it entered into a resting phase in 2010 – meaning that its eruptions have taken pause for the time being – Arenal still is one of the country’s best-known and most-visited volcanoes.

There are, however, many other volcanoes that are worth exploring. Most are caldera volcanoes, whose craters are filled with water and rising steam. Poas Volcano, Rican De La Vieja, Irazu Volcano, Tenorio Volcano, Turrialba Volcano are Costa Rica’s most notable volcanoes.

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Earthquakes

Earthquakes are quite common in Costa Rica with small ones occurring daily and tremors strong enough to feel a few times a year.  Major quakes strike about once a decade but no tourist has ever been killed or seriously injured by an earthquake in Costa Rica.

The tourist infrastructure and modern areas in Costa Rica are generally well prepared for earthquakes.  Building standards include earthquake “proof” engineering to prevent collapses and natural gas pipes are not used which greatly reduces the danger from fires.  Emergency personnel are well trained and respond quickly.

Tsunamis

A few years ago the tsunami disasters in Southeast Asia and Japan raised awareness that offshore earthquakes can be more devastating than onshore ones.  The shape of the seabed off the shores of Costa Rica is not particularly suited to the formation of tsunami waves.  Recent major earthquakes off the coast of Chile (> 8.0) and in the central Pacific triggered Tsunami warnings in Costa Rica but all resulted in nearly unnoticeable increases in wave heights on the shores.

In most areas the ground rises sharply away from the beach.  There has never been a significant tsunami recorded in Costa Rica but if you are concerned about the possibility of a tsunami “ocean view” accommodations well out of the reach of the waves are readily available in most beach areas.

Hurricanes

Hurricanes are not a major concern here as Costa Rica slips just under the the band of Caribbean and Pacific hurricanes. The shape of the Gulf of Mexico dictates that the storms turn north soon after entering. (See our Weather page for current storms and weather predictions)

 

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Some of the traditional foods you will find in Costa Rica are gallo pinto (rice and beans), casado (variation of rice, beans, plantains, salad and meat) and arroz con pollo (rice with chicken)

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In Costa Rica, you can find all sorts of tropical fruits. Some you may have heard of are cantaloupe, mango, lime, pineapple, papaya and plantains. Others you may not have heard of are cas, guava, tamarindo, jocote, soursop, coconut, mangosteen, granadilla, yuca, rambutan, passion fruit and mamone.

       

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Costa Rica does not participate in Daylight Savings Time nor does Costa Rica have different time zones. It stays put in UTC -6 Central Standard Time.

A little history; In 1784, Benjamin Franklin started Daylight Savings Time but it was a drawn out debate and was not fully implemented until 1916. However, Costa Rica no longer participates in Daylight Savings Time changes.  This changed in 1992.  Until then the country followed the standard “spring ahead” and “fall back” strategy.

There is only a single area code for the whole country (506).

 

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Yes, Costa Rica uses 110 – 120 volts, the same voltage as US and Canada. Plugs are typically the 2 pronged flat type so US travelers will not typically need a converter or adapter. Your blow dryer, curling iron and other small appliances will work fine. Those of you from Europe, it’s best to bring your own adapter as they can be hard to find easily in Costa Rica.

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Despite popular misconception, Costa Rica is NOT an island! It is the country connecting Panama and Nicaragua in Central America. Costa Rica forms a small portion of the Panama Isthmus bordered by the Caribbean Sea on the East side and the Pacifico Ocean on the West. It is the country sandwiched between Panama and Nicaragua in Central America. The country enjoys over 1200 km of coastline on both the Caribbean and Pacifico coasts.

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Yes, Costa Rica has its own public transportation with many private bus companies offering to take you all over the country. Many of the buses have fixed schedules to the major cities and towns.

Getting to the smaller towns is a bit of a challenge but with a little ingenuity and patience, you can do it.  Most tourists who decide to tour the area to the more remote locations opt to rent a car.  It is by far the easiest way to get around if going off the beaten path.

Helpful Links:

Interbus ► https://www.interbusonline.com/home/home.asp

Tica Bus ► http://www.ticabus.com/esp/

Grayline ► http://www.grayline.com/Liberia_Guanacaste

Nica Bus ► http://nuevo.transnica.com/

Public Bus Schedules ► http://www.liberiacostaricainfo.com/BusScheduleLiberiaCostaRica.html

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Roads are Costa Rica are not paved quite as nice as North America but any road through the major cities and highways are all paved. You will encounter unpaved roads if you go into the rural areas or small towns. As you venture off the beaten track, you will likely need a 4 X 4 in case you need to drive through a local creek or to dodge the potholes.

Many of the major highways are paved with some having recently been resurfaced.  The roads linking the major towns and cities are also in good condition.

They are constantly improving on the roads. Every year the government commits to improving the number of paved roads throughout each province which is good for tourism and certainly improves the daily life of the local people.

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The official language is Spanish although as the country welcomes immigrants and tourists from around the world, it enjoys a more diverse culture including hearing various languages spoken by both tourists and residents.  Costa Rica also supports 5 recognized indigenous languages. As is the case in much of the Spanish-speaking world, English is not widely spoken in Costa Rica, particularly if you’re going off the beaten path away from touristy zones. Learning a few basic words and phrases in Spanish, as well as the correct pronunciation of place names, will go a long way to making sure you stay safe and avoid the overpriced tourist traps. The local ticos are generally friendly and won’t mind helping you practice your Spanish attempts.

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Costa Rica’s rainy season usually ranges from early May to the end of October.

The dry season, considered summer by Costa Ricans, is from mid-November to April. In Guanacaste, the arid northwestern province, the dry season lasts several weeks longer than in other places. Even in the rainy season, days often start sunny, with rain falling in the afternoon and evening.

However, there are slight variations of these two seasons due to many micro-climates in the country so one part of the country may have a longer or shorter “green” season.

The most important thing to remember is that it is always warm in the Guanacaste area regardless of the rain. If you ask any local or Expat, you’ll soon learn that the “green” season is their favourite time of year.

Here are some good reasons to visit during the green season:

♦ Lush and green vegetation and vibrant flowering plants and trees

♦ Fewer visitors  in town – more elbow room

♦ Reduced rates on rentals and hotels

♦ The waterfalls are spectacular especially after a recent rain

♦ Great time to plan your “summer” honeymoon destination or better yet, THE WEDDING!

♦ The Ostional arribadas are world famous for attracting thousands of female turtles who lay their eggs on the beach.  It is truly a sight to see!

♦ Deep sea fishing is even better from May to the end of November.  Record marlin, sailfish, dorado and many others test even the most experienced of fisherman.  Come and give it a go.

♦ Scuba diving is great at this time of year.  This is when the more experienced divers travel from around the world to see what the oceans off of northern Costa Rica have to offer.

Click here to book your next vacation rental

 

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Plenty of activities and adventures await you...

With happy hour from 1130 AM to 7 PM every day, the bar is a great place to meet other expats. Though you may find you’ll run into mostly tourists, many expats who live in Coco usually hold a get together or gather at one of the bars for their events such as karaoke, live music and game night.

Read our article on where to meet people in Playas del Coco…

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Visit their website to get all the info you need to go enjoy a night out at the movies. Movies are about 3500 colones per person (about 6 bucks) and they serve beer and snacks. They are located in Hermosa Heights in Playa Hermosa. 

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If you love to read but also love to socialize. Book clubs may be the perfect way for you to find just what you’re looking for in Costa Rica. Make friends and spend your time doing something you enjoy. Pura Vida! 

Check out the Papagayo Ladies Club 

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Have a great night out making new friends, painting a masterpiece and getting a little tipsy! It costs 35$ per person and the first two drinks, pizza and all painting materials are included. Paint Club is every Wednesday 5:00pm at Bambu Beach Front Bar in Playas Del Coco. You can sign up in advance with PayPal… for more info: paintclubcostarica@gmail.com
Visit their FaceBook to get notified on future events.
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The beautiful Chiriqui Highlands have long been one of Panama’s most favorite vacation and retirement spots, and the jewel of Chiriqui province is beautiful Boquete home of about 25,000 including some 2,500 retired expats from all over the world.
The natural beauty of Boquete is the perfect setting to stimulate the creative talents and artistic abilities of those who live here as well as those who come for a visit. So it is no surprise that this small town hosts a lively art and music scene which culminates in the annual Boquete Jazz & Blues Festival.

Right from the start in 2007 the Boquete Jazz & Blues Festival has been the biggest music event in the province of Chiriqui. Since 2012, the event was also the first ever festival in Panama to showcase first-class international Blues acts in addition to notable Panamanian and Latin American artists featuring Jazz and Latin American music styles, and they were a great success! 

 

Get the feeling of what the Boquete Jazz & Blues Festival is all about…
Outstanding talent performing, smiling faces, beautiful places, everybody’s dancing and having great fun…what a great community event this is!
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El Teatro Nacional, or the National Theater of Costa Rica is located in the central section of the capital city and was opened to the public on October 31 of 1897. It is a must see for anyone visiting San Jose, as it is known for its exquisite interior design with lavish furnishings and art performances. When you visit the National Theater, you will understand why everyday Costa Ricans are so proud of it.  It is an architectural and cultural gem and a vital part of the country’s history.

 

 

Teatro Popular Melico Salazar Located in front of the central park in San Jose, this neoclassically designed theater is a noticeably distinct face in the capital city. El Teatro Popular Melico Salazar exhibits many works of art from the Spanish Museum of Art. In addition, recent renovations include new cascading balconies, a new third floor, a rebuilt stage, and an orchestra dais. The theater maintains a full schedule of events such as concerts, recitals, and plays. Come visit during its season from April to December.

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Walking through San José, Costa Rica is a great way to experience the culture of the capital city. While shopping, you can visit several enchantingly green public parks, see an astounding amount of street art, and get a taste of life as a Josefino. The best souvenir shopping can be found in several open-air markets such as the vintage original Mercado Central, bursting at the seams with emblazoned gear and all sorts of kitsch, but also a trove of unusual finds like herbs from a Chinese apothecary and a colorful selection of chorreadors, traditional Costa Rican coffee makers. Just outside the Mercado is the pedestrian only Avenida Central, which stretches for several blocks and is home to multiple modern clothing stores, an array of eating establishments, and so many public art displays along the way, from wall murals to bronze statues.

If it’s original Costa Rican art you’re shopping for, find Galeria Namu near the Jade Museum for its collection of pre-Colombian pottery, colorful Boruca masks, intricate woven baskets, and carved tagua figurines, sourced directly from the Costa Rican artists and artisans. The Souvenir Museum makes sustainable shopping fun and educational with its evolving assortment of local handmade goods.

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Stroll through the streets and you’ll hear cumbia, 80’s beats, American Top 40, and Latin pop drifting out your neighbors’ windows – music is a staple of Costa Rican life. It comes as no surprise that local papers constantly announce visiting musicians, upcoming music festivals, and big name concerts scheduled for the coming months. In Costa Rica, evenings out often include live music, whether you’re dancing to a Latin band or chilling at a local coffee house.

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Karaoke is a great way to get out and let loose and it has long been a favorite past time in Costa Rica. If you love to sing your happy little heart out (or watch people sing) all night long you will love the way Costa Ricans do it! You can find a local karaoke spot in just about every town in Costa Rica.

Our favourite happens to be right here in Playas del Coco. Laugh and sing all night at Karaoke Night at Coconutz Sports Bar on Tuesdays from 7:30 pm til late into the night. 

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Crisscross the tree canopy on swinging bridges suspended in the jungle.around Arenal volcano, go on a river safari, or hike trails to discover Costa Ricas winged wonders. With around a quarter of its land protected from development, Costa Rica is a bird lover’s delight. 

With over 800 species of birds in Costa Rica, bird lovers can spend all day every day looking out for these beauties. Many of them are endangered or threatened species and there are several spots in the country that is a haven for birds such as Palo Verde National Park. You can see the biggest birds in Costa Rica, the smallest hummingbirds, herons, and much more. Make sure you get a good pair of binoculars and a long zoom so you can film or take great photos of them all!

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Developed out of 38 years of experience on the most grueling race courses in the world, Ironman has set a new global standard for endurance sports education. Push your body to the limit.

The race covers the streets of San Jose from La Sabana Park toward the airport, giving runners a chance to wind through 26 miles of an urban jungle landscape. The event, which typically takes place in December, is open to visitors of various ages and skill levels. Wheelchair-bound participants can also take part in the marathon. Additionally, many people line the streets to see some of the top runners from around the country test their abilities on a demanding course.

The largest mountain bike event in the country. Spanning more than 240 miles of trails from coast to coast, the four-day event is a stage race that has time limits for each leg of the trip. However, those who do not finish in the allotted time can still continue and complete the race. Dozens of fans line the trails to witness the impressive athletes competing in this race, which generally takes place in October or November.

 

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Costa Rica has so many activities to explore there truly is something for everyone…

  • Cycling
  • Kite surfing
  • Stand up paddleboard
  • Surfing
  • Fishing
  • Ziplining
  • Rafting
  • Snorkeling
  • Spear fishing
  • Sailing
  • Yoga and pilates

And that’s just to name a few. Feel free to ask us any questions you have about sporting activities!

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Coco Gym     

Located in the Pacifico Village Shops – C No. 5 – Playas del Coco 

Highlights info row image +506 2670 0200 or Visit their FaceBook

RAW Outdoor Fitness     

Located in Sardinal
Highlights info row image +506 8580 7539 or Visit their FaceBook

 

Blue Zone     

Located between Coconuts Bar and Zi Lounge, Playas del Coco, Guanacaste
Highlights info row image +506 8706 4486 or Visit their FaceBook

Go Fitness     

Located in Detrás de Plaza Colonial, El Coco
Highlights info row image +506 8763 6653 or Visit their FaceBook

 

Bulldog     

Ocotal, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Highlights info row image +506 2670 1147 or Visit their FaceBook

Shape Up Fitness     

Hermosa Heights, Panamá, Guanacaste
Highlights info row image+506 8329 9731 or Visit their FaceBook
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Volunteering always feels good! Here are a few ways you can pitch in…

  • Fundraising efforts for the backpack program
  • Assist in the schools
  • Toys for Tots drive at Christmas
  • Teach English
  • Rebuild areas damaged by weather and storms
  • Visiting seniors or provide some home care assistance
  • Beach cleanups
  • Monkey bridge fundraising
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Facebook has made transitioning to living in a new country much easier. You can use it to connect with other expats and get tips and advice. There are several Facebook groups every expat must join to get their questions answered. Since many of the expats have lived in Costa Rica for years its a great resource to connect and get advise.

Make sure to check out Playas del Coco, Expatriates in Costa Rica, Expats in Guanacaste, Gringo Expats in North America and North Americans living in Costa Rica. These groups are also useful if you need to sell/buy something, want to know where you can buy a certain item or if you just want to meet new people.

You’ll be surprised at how seemingly simple tasks aren’t so simple in a small beach town. Now you know who to turn to if you have any questions!

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You can join the local services however if you don’t speak Spanish, check out Hopefellowship. They have both English and Spanish service and it is a welcoming church community. Find support and meet other locals and expats with the same interests. Hopefellowship also holds events to gather donations for poor communities in the area so it is a great way to get involved with the community and give back.

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Do you have a question we haven’t included in this FAQ?

Send us a message and we will do our best to answer all of your Costa Rican questions!

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