header_image

Your search results

Costa Rica Living

Finding a Perfect Property

When buying land in Costa Rica or choosing Costa Rica houses for sale, you’ll have many factors to consider. Do you prefer the serenity of rural living or the faster pace of towns and cities? And with Costa Rica’s varied topography, you’ll also want to weigh the advantages of living in the mountains versus a beachfront estate.

Once you have narrowed your selection down to a few properties, you’ll want to visit them at various times of day. For instance, a Costa Rica condo that’s thoroughly enjoyable at noon may not suit your needs as nightfall sets in. You’ll also want to research the area’s weather nuances, strike up conversations with neighbors and seek out other expatriates to hear their experiences. And if you’re planning to build in Costa Rica, be sure to find an experienced professional to help you navigate the codes, restrictions and permit regulations in that area.

When You Are Ready to Buy

Like every country, there are a host of legalities that govern the process of buying real estate in Costa Rica. To avoid unexpected complications, our Costa Rica realtors can guide you through every step of the process. When you find a house for sale in Costa Rica you’re interested in, our experienced staff can help you make sure all your paperwork is in order for securing a title, understanding zoning regulations and complying with all restrictions specific to the municipality and neighborhood you move to in Costa Rica.

Residency and Citizenship

If after buying property in Costa Rica you decide to relocate here, you will need to become a legal resident. Typically, the first step is to secure temporary residency. As a temporary resident, you may be required to show proof of income, and may also need to exchange a certain amount of dollars each month. As a temporary resident, you are free to own a business in Costa Rica and collect income from it, but you are not permitted to work in the business as an employee.

After three years of temporary residency you may become a permanent resident. Permanent residency allows you to work legally in the country. After seven years of legal residency, residents are eligible to follow the naturalization process and become a citizen of Costa Rica. Costa Rica and the United States both allow dual-citizenship.

These steps are most common, but exceptions and special circumstances do exist. Be sure to consult with a residency official to know what specific steps you should take to live abroad in Costa Rica.

Costa Ricans enjoy some of the highest standards of living in Central America, yet living in Costa Rica is generally more affordable than in the United States. Consumer prices in Costa Rica are usually about 20% less than those in the United States, and the average per capita income in Costa Rica is just under $12,000 US per year according to the US State Dept. (2011 figures).

Expatriates in Costa Rica generally find they can live quite comfortably on $40,000 US per year. However, those who adopt a more traditional local lifestyle are content with far less. For example, a week’s worth of groceries may cost $200 at the local supermarket, whereas Costa Rica’s numerous local markets allow you to stock up on an abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables and meats for less than $40 per week.

However, it is common for those who relocate to Costa Rica to incorporate many of the luxuries of their current lifestyles into their new lives in Costa Rica. Therefore, conveniences such as high-speed internet, cable/satellite TV and most common store brands are readily available and affordable.

Cost of Living

osta Ricans enjoy some of the highest standards of living in Central America, yet living in Costa Rica is generally more affordable than in the United States. Consumer prices in Costa Rica are usually about 20% less than those in the United States, and the average per capita income in Costa Rica is just under $12,000 US per year according to the US State Dept. (2011 figures).

Expatriates in Costa Rica generally find they can live quite comfortably on $40,000 US per year. However, those who adopt a more traditional local lifestyle are content with far less. For example, a week’s worth of groceries may cost $200 at the local supermarket, whereas Costa Rica’s numerous local markets allow you to stock up on an abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables and meats for less than $40 per week.

However, it is common for those who relocate to Costa Rica to incorporate many of the luxuries of their current lifestyles into their new lives in Costa Rica. Therefore, conveniences such as high-speed internet, cable/satellite TV and most common store brands are readily available and affordable.

Wether

Weather in Costa Rica essentially consists of two seasons. The dry season, which runs from December through April, is slightly cooler with less humidity and abundant sunshine. Daytime highs reach the upper 80s and lows stay comfortably in the 60s. From June to November is the rainy season, but there is still plenty of sun! Most mornings start out clear, with rain not developing until later in the day. Highs in the rainy season are in the 90s, with lows around 70; there is usually a short dry spell sometime around July.

Costa Rica has plenty of mountains that experience their own climate variations. If you choose to live in a mountain estate, you’ll find temperatures are 10 or more degrees cooler than neighboring coastal regions. And while mountain living in Costa Rica still affords plenty of sunlight, rainfall amounts in the mountains can be significantly higher than those at lower elevations.

Safety

Costa Rica has long been one of Latin America’s most peaceful destinations, with a history of governmental stability, harmony and contentment. By abolishing its army in 1949, Costa Rica’s politics are not influenced by military endeavors, and instead invest in education, culture and healthcare. Law enforcement and public protection in Costa Rica is now provided by the Fuerza Publica, or Public Force, which also administers ground and border security.

Healthcare

Costa Rica enjoys one of the finest healthcare systems on the planet, ranking higher than the United States according to the World Health Organization. Nearly 4 out of 5 physicians in Costa Rica were trained in the U.S. or Europe. English is frequently spoken in healthcare facilities here and foreign patients are welcomed and treated with courteous care. By offering safe and proven healthcare along with the latest methods at a fraction of the cost of countries like the United States, Costa Rica has become one of the world’s top medical tourism destinations.

Travel Tips

Whether you’re traveling here for the first time to explore Costa Rica property for sale or just moving about the country, there are a few tips you should keep in mind:

  • Pack a poncho or umbrella. Sunny mornings in Costa Rica can turn wet in the afternoon, especially during the rainy season.
  • Many vendors will accept United States currency up to a $20 bill, but may be reluctant to accept bills that show excessive wear.
  • The week leading up to Easter is Costa Rica’s biggest holiday. Many businesses are closed, hotels are usually booked solid and transportation services are scaled back. In addition, beaches and other destinations will likely be quite crowded.
  • Tourism in Costa Rica is most popular from December to April, especially around the holidays and spring break. If you’re planning a trip to find houses for sale, this can often be Costa Rica’s busiest time.
  • Unlike some parts of Latin America, Costa Rica generally has clean tap water available. Most expatriates and tourists can dine on local fare comfortably with no digestive side effects.

Culture and Etiquette

Like every culture, Costa Rica has its own customs, and those who choose to immerse themselves in them can get the most out of living abroad. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your interactions Costa Rican citizens.

  • Costa Ricans are very courteous, often replying “maybe” instead of “no”. This is simply said to be polite.
  • Friends and acquaintances often greet each other and say goodbye with a light kiss on the cheek. This practice is common between women and between a woman and a man. Two men will usually exchange pleasantries with a handshake or one-armed hug.
  • Costa Ricans often dress quite nice, though not as conservatively as you might see in North America. It is not uncommon for women to wear high heels and plenty of makeup, and men rarely wear shorts except to the beach.
  • Punctuality has a different meaning in Costa Rica. With the exception of healthcare appointments and movies, Costa Ricans usually arrive 30 or more minutes late for social engagements and dinners. This is a societal norm and not intended to be disrespectful.
  • Costa Ricans are peaceful people and will rarely ever raise their voices in anger.

Official Costa Rica Holidays

Whether you’re looking to take part in the celebration or avoid the crowds, the following is a list of holidays in Costa Rica.

  • January 1st: New Year’s Day – Enjoy fireworks and street parties
  • March/April: Easter Week – The busiest travel time in Costa Rica, with hotels booked months in advance
  • April 11th: Juan Santamaria Day – Parades and celebrations honor the man who defended Costa Rica from invaders
  • May 1st: Labor Day – Many businesses are closed and most citizens are off work
  • July 25th: Annexation of Guanacaste Day – This holiday commemorates the day the Guanacaste province chose to join Costa Rica rather than neighboring Nicaragua
  • August 2nd: Patron Saint Day – Honoring La Negrita, this is the nation’s largest religious holiday
  • August 15th: Mother’s Day – One of the largest gift-giving holidays of the year
  • September 15th: Independence Day – A day of parties and celebrations of Costa Rica’s independence
  • November 2nd: All Soul’s Day – A time to remember loved ones who have passed away
  • December 25th: Christmas Day – Much of the celebration for this day occurs on Christmas Eve, which is spent attending church, opening gifts and eating a large meal at midnight
  • Search International Listings

Translate »