Costa Rica is a small country, measuring only 51,000 square kilometers.
The country was named "Costa Rica" (literally "Rich Coast") due to the natural richness of its coastline and mountains. Today, its natural environment is still considered as Costa Rica's finest treasure, and is the pride of all its inhabitants. The world - renowned natural beauty of this country is the primary reason for more than a million visitors having frequented our shores.
This country is fascinating, both for those who live here and visitors alike, due to the amazing biodiversity. This biodiversity is found within a wide variety of climatic zones and altitude ranges all of which help create this land of stunning contrasts. Numerous volcanoes soar above the dense rainforests and jungles whilst countless scenic rivers with their cascading waterfalls meander through the mountains, all framed by two exotic coastlines.
Costa Rica boasts over 775 miles of coastline bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, adding yet more to the biodiversity of the country. These vast stretches of sandy tropical coast also offer countless opportunities for adventure - such as diving, kayaking, surfing, sports-fishing, or simply enjoying the beaches, sun and sand.
The sheer number and variety of plants, flowers, insects, birds, butterflies and animals that one finds in Costa Rica has established this country as a place of primary importance for scientists and researchers alike, as well as for ecological tourism.
The National Park system and numerous forest-reserves are among the major attractions. They offer nature lovers the opportunity to go hiking or watch the birds and animals. Turtle nesting and hatching for example, can be watched when the season is right. For the more adventurous, they can do such things as white-water rafting, tree-top canopy tours or get up close and personal in observing active volcanoes.
Tourism is by far the most important source of income. The natural
beauty of the country, combined with the political stability and long
tradition of democracy, as well as the dynamic free-enterprise system
has made Costa Rica a country of choice for many foreign investors.
"The finest example of democracy in action" - Costa Rica is also known as
"The Switzerland of the Americas"
Because the country has undergone a large amount of development in recent years, services are now available even in the most remote areas. Both the local population and visitors alike can benefit from electricity, good roads, clean drinking water, telephones and internet access throughout Costa Rica.
Costa Rica has a lot to offer - with an excellent infrastructure, friendly population and a seemingly endless supply of extremely rich biodiversity - no wonder that it has become the favourite destination of so many tourists in the world!!
A small, but rich country - the natural wealth consists of fauna & flora, rivers, beaches, land and a climate that guarantees continuous annual production.
Costa Rica is both politically and socially stable; having no army has allowed the government to, instead, focus upon developing a population of highly-trained & dedicated professionals, spanning all sectors of society. There is an excellent, comprehensive and inexpensive health care system in which "waiting lists" are unheard of!! Placed at 3rd position in the world by the World Health Organisation, thousands of foreigners vist Costa Rica's thriving medical services industry for dental care and cosmetic surgery at a fraction of the cost in their own countries.
Costa Rican people are characterized by their legendary cordiality and friendliness. The majority of its inhabitants are descendants of the European settlers and although the official language is Spanish, an increasing percentage of the population now speak English.
Due to an influx of foreign investment, the economy has experienced consistent and sustained growth for more than twelve years, establishing itself as the wealthiest country in Central America.
Examples of Costa Rica�s exports range from its fine coffee, to ostrich meat and beautiful butterflies that bring joy to the European�s spirit; from software to the cultivation of fruits, flowers and vegetables, such as pejibaye hearts of palm.
Costa Rica - covering an area of 51.100 km2 - is home to 3.3 million people. The people have a natural welcoming spirit and are full of genuine hospitality, inviting foreigners into the country.
Costa Rica with an extension of 51.100 km2, is the home of 3.303.809 people with a spirit full with hospitality that invites foreigners to know the country.
Purchasing property in Costa Rica will be one of the wisest investments you ever make. Savvy investors in Europe and around the world view Costa Rica as a logical alternative to volatile equity markets and expensive domestic real estate. For the price of a small house in the UK, investors can own a sprawling beachfront residence in Costa Rica!
Costa Rica‘s Guanacaste Province is home to established communities of American, European and Canadian citizens. Area real estate professionals report increasingly robust sales of residential lots, condominiums and single family homes.
Investors are lured to Costa Rica by incomparable weather, tropical lifestyles and some of the world�s best surfing and sports - fishing. But these lifestyle advantages are only half of the equation. The financial incentives are equally attractive to those wishing for a second home or retirement option. Costa Rica boasts low-cost real estate, a favorable tax climate and ownership rights for non-residents that are unrivalled in the rest of Central and Latin America.
Costa Rica‘s current real estate boom is driven by investors and developers from around the world who view favorable tax laws, land affordability, and the country�s democratic stability as key drivers for a sound investment. Other benefits include:
• Great weather, all year-round, with an average temperature of 89 degree F on the Pacific coast.
• Tropical rainforests; seven active and 60 dormant volcanoes; mountain forests; 9,000 species of plants, including 1,400 species of orchids; innumerable exotic animals and abundant national parks.
• Excellent, affordable health care by U.S.-trained, English-speaking physicians using state-of-the-art medical equipment. Many people come to Costa Rica from around the world for affordable cosmetic surgery.
• Home to 5% of the Earth�s known species in a country two thirds the size of Scotland.
• Clean, drinkable water throughout the country.
• A population of warm, wonderful people who welcome people from all over the world into their country. Many speak English.
• Solid infrastructure, with electricity installed throughout the country� even in the smallest towns. The best telecommunications in Central America with a mobile phone network, 120 radio stations, a dozen TV stations and internet accessibility in almost every town and village.
Travel writer Christopher P. Baker says Costa Rica has a proud history as Central America�s most stable democracy (elections are so trouble-free that crowd control at polling stations is handled in part by school children).
He describes how Ticos (as the friendly Costa Ricans are known) pride themselves as having more teachers than policemen. There is no army in this neutral country.
Costa Rica was discovered by Christopher
Columbus in 1502, on his fourth trip to America. His caravels
put down anchor near the island Cariari, close to what is known
today as Limon, on the Caribbean coast. Impressed by the richness
of the vegetation and by the abundance of jewellery and gold
adornments worn by the natives, Columbus baptised this land with
the name: "Costa Rica".
In 1989, the country celebrated its 100th anniversary as a democracy.
In 1948 the army was abolished by means of a new Constitution
promoted by Don Jos� Figueres Ferrer. Costa Rica continues to be
a country without an army - the General Barracks were transformed into
the National Museum! The country has been nominated 12 times for
a Nobel Peace Prize. In 1989, the then President Oscar Arias S�nchez
received this noted prize for efforts in his negotiations to put an end
to the civil wars in other Central American countries.
The country‘s territory is divided administratively into seven provinces:
Provinces of Costa Rica:
San Jose: Area: 4,959.63 Km2, Population: 1,435,447
20 Counties (20 Cantons): San Jose, Escazu, Desamparados, Puriscal,
Tarrazu, Aserri, Mora, Goicoechea, Santa Ana, Alajuelita, Vazquez
de Coronado, Acosta, Tibas, Moravia, Montes de Oca, Turrubares,
Dota, Curridabat, Perez Zeledon, Leon Cortes.
Alajuela: Area: 9,753.23 Km2, Population: 767,143
15 Counties (15 Cantons): Alajuela, San Ram�n, Grecia, San Mateo,
Atenas, Naranjo, Palmares, Poas, Orotina, San Carlos, Alfaro Ruiz,
Valverde Vega, Upala, Los Chiles, Guatuso.
Heredia: Area: 2,656.27 Km2, Population: 378,681
10 Counties (10 Cantons): Heredia, Barva, Santo Domingo, Santa
B�rbara, San Rafael, San Isidro, Belen, Flores, San Pablo, Sarapiqui.
Cartago: Area: 3,124.67 Km2, Population: 461,163
8 Counties (8 Cantons): Cartago, Paraiso, La Union, Jimenez, Turrialba,
Alvarado, Oreamuno, El Guarco.
Guanacaste: Area: 10,140.71 Km2, Population: 282,643
11 Counties (11 Cantons): Liberia, Nicoya, Santa Cruz, Bagaces,
Carrillo, Ca�as, Abangares, Tilaran, Nandayure, La Cruz, Hojancha.
Puntarenas: Area: 11,276.97 Km2, Population: 384,302
11 Counties (11 Cantons): Puntarenas, Esparza, Buenos Aires,
Montes de Oro, Osa, Aguirre, Golfito, Coto Brus, Parrita, Corredores,
Limon: Area: 9,188.52 Km2, Population: 366,484
6 Counties (6 Cantons): Limon, Pococi, Siquirres, Talamanca,
Costa Rica borders Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south.
The East and the Western coasts are met by the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean respectively.
The Caribbean coastline measures 255 kms, while the Pacific extends to some 1.103 kms.
Both coasts enjoy abundant stretches of(many deserted) first-class sandy beaches and lush tropical vegetation.
Costa Rica enjoys a continuous warm climate throughout the whole year -
described by National Geographic Magazine as "The country with the most
ideal climate in the world!!".
The average temperature is 72F (22C) in the Central Valley. The temperature along the coasts and beaches fluctuates between 70-90F (21-32C)
Fortunately, due to location and topography,Costa Rica does not have damaging tornadoes, hurricanes, hail or lightning storms
There are more than 12 different eco-systems, producing one of the richest arrays of fauna and flora anywhere on the planet. This is a country known for its eternal spring.
The climates, according to altitude, are the following:
From 0 to 609 meters: tropical
From 610 to 1.119 meters: Summer
From 1.120 to 1.829 meters: Spring
From 1.830 meters and above: Fall
The country has one of the highest literacy rates in the continent - with a 96% literacy rate. There are a wide selection of public and private, local and International, English-speaking schools, colleges and Universities.
Easily accessible from land, sea and air. Visitors from Canada,
the United States of America, Mexico and the other countries of Latin America, can travel on the Inter-American Highway which is open annually. Also, numerous airlines fly to the country, including: COPA, TACA, SAM, AMERICAN AIRLINES, CONDOR AND LTU of Germany, CANADIAN NATIONAL AIR, LADECO, IBERIA, MEXICAN, KLM, CONTINENTAL, VARIG, UNITED, US AIRWAYS, DELTA, MARTINAIR and SERVIVENSA and most recently FIRST CHOICE direct from the U.K(Discounted if booked through our U.K.Mapro rep!). Located in the Central American isthmus, Costa Rica offers easy access from anywhere in the world.
There are connections via satellite with the other Central American countries, United States, Europe, Canada, Mexico, South America, Asia and Africa. Besides having direct dialing, facsimile and telex facilities to most countries of the world, there is also an efficient mail system and courier services.
The political Constitution of the year 1949 guarantees equality before the law, freedom of speech, of meeting, of press and of being organized; it also guarantees these rights, not only for the Costa Rican citizens, but for the foreigners that live in Costa Rica as well, reserving the right to vote for the nationals.
The Constitution prohibits the establishment of an army, placing Costa Rica not only among the very few ones, but the only country of the world, free of military interests. The social order is efficiently safeguarded by the police force.
The effective political structure is divided in three main Powers: The Legislative Power (a Congress of a single camera) constituted by 57 Congressmen, elected representatives for four year terms; the Executive Power which include the President, the Vice Presidents and 18 Ministries whose Ministers are formed by the Presidential Cabinet and the Judicial Power, conformed by the Supreme tribunal of Justice, four appeal courts, the Criminal Courts, Civil and Special Court. Each Power works independently from the other ones,
with a revision system and compensation similar of that in the United States of America.
Every four years the country celebrates the popular elections to choose its President, Congressmen and municipal representatives. The Constitution has been reformed, and presidents can be re elected for another non-consecutive four year term.
Besides the three Powers, and working together with these, the Supreme tribunal of Elections is considered the fourth power. This entity has the responsibility, the authority to organize and to supervise all those activities related with the national elections. This protection of the right to vote is very appreciated by all the Costa Rican citizens.
Very few limitations exist regarding the ownership of land and property in Costa Rica for foreigners. The attractive prices are a reason why people decide to move to this beautiful country. They take advantage of the fact that there are many different options such as beach properties, condominiums, beach houses and hotels. In San Jos� for example, which is the capital of Costa Rica, the districts of Rohrmoser, Escaz�, Santa Ana, The Yoses & Cariari are noted for their high-class residential areas and wide selection of properties, including houses, small farms, lots, condominiums, apartments, commercial properties, town houses etc. Foreigners invariably opt for professional Real Estate Agents in order to find the property of their dreams for purchase or sale. We understand that moving to an unknown country, buying or renting a property is not an easy task. For this and other reasons, we consider ourselves to be "THE REAL ESTATE SPECIALISTS" in Costa Rica offering our clients a fully comprehensive & reputable service, tailored to meet the specific requirements of each individual client.
Costa Rican laws and the Constitution protect private ownership of
land and foreigners enjoy the same rights as citizens. There are
almost no restrictions to ownership of private land, with the exception
of land granted to Costa Rican citizens through Government programs.
However, even such land can be freely traded or acquired
by foreigners provided that the original owner has held the title for
a certain amount of time. Neither citizenship, nor residence or even
presence in the country is required to own land.
Costa Rica boasts a safe form of title registration to protect buyers
from hidden claims. It is centered in the Registro de la Propiedad
(Property Registry), where both title documents and surveyed plans
for every property are recorded. Any change in the status of a title, or
any claim that might affect it, must also be recorded on the title registry
page, thus making it easy to verify.
Those who want to buy land in Costa Rica should first seek professional advice - in order to conduct a thorough search of the title in the Registry, thus establishing clear proof of legal ownership along with clarification of any other issues pertaining.
Upon satisfactory completion, a lawyer of the client's own preference will then witness and sign all documentation as binding legal testament to registration of the sale, thus ensuring the client's security
Practically no local financing at economically feasible rates are available for property purchases. This is the result of high interest rates and rapid increases in property value, due to a growing population and other factors. However, this in turn makes up for the lack of leverage in Costa Rica, as do the country�s stability and security, which assures continued growth.
Knowledgeable lawyers agree that zoning regulations in Costa Rica are reasonable and logical, although far less stringent than in countries such as United States. A registered local engineer must sign all building and subdivision plans, requiring approval by the local municipality, the Ministry of Health, and the government Housing Department.
The Ministry of Economy issues real estate licenses on
recommendations from the Chamber of Real Estate Brokers, which
is dedicated to raising standards of both competence and ethics.
The taxes paid on properties in Costa Rica are very low. Yearly
property taxes vary from 0.5% to 1.5% of the declared value of the
property. This declared value is a common law practice in which a
property‘s value, calculated by the government is very low, almost
always lower than the sales estimate.
Closing costs for a sale include land transfer tax, stamp duty, and
legal fees. Closing costs typically amount to 5% to 6% of sales price and are
usually split 50/50 between buyer and seller. The transfer and land
taxes are assessed based on the declared value, while legal fees are
charged based on SALES PRICE of the property.
Costa Rica has recently made a radical change for the better in currency law. While until recently, sales negotiated in dollars had to be written in col�nes, it is now possible to have contracts in dollars. This gives both buyer and seller the peace of mind that was previously unavailable. Now, there is no need to worry about the devaluation of the col�n, which introduced difficulties, resulting from having to exchange back and forth between dollars and col�nes. Another major effect of the law change is the possibility of having mortgages in dollars. These mortgages are still seller-leveraged more often than not, but can be written by another attorney and guaranteed by the property. Once sellers understand the implications of being able to offer this type of mortgage, it will likely become the most common type of financing - tempered by the buyer�s desire to keep his property taxed lower - as a mortgage will automatically raise the declared value of the property to the amount of the mortgage.
When buying beachfront properties, one must be aware of regulations
in Costa Rica regarding coastline properties: all beaches are public.
By law, the first 50 metres above the high-tide line are inalienable and public, defined by what is known as the 50-metre Maritime-Terrestrial Line. No one can restrict access or have a totally private beach. There are some exceptions, but they include port areas, old land grants, and some titles prior to 1973.
However, many beaches are, in effect, private - due to the inaccessibility through the privately-owned land leading to the beach!
The next 150 metres along 80% to 90% of the coast are government
owned leases, also known as the "maritime-terrestrial zone" (or just
maritime zone). Restrictions on maritime zone land for foreigners are
that one must establish five years residency to own more than 49%
of the rights to a lease. Two loopholes include, holding the lease with
a corporation that is wholly owned by a foreigner, or having a
Costa Rican hold 51% of the lease in name only. Development of the
maritime zone does not discriminate against foreigners. A regulation
plan must exist for the area where the land exists or simply for the land parcel itself.
If there�s no regulation plan, the developer must submit one to then be approved
by the ICT (The Tourist Board), INVU (the Urbanization Institute), and local municipality.
Such a regulation plan will call for �zoning of land� and includes public use areas, road, water, electricity etc.
The other 15% to 20% of the coast is titled land up to the 50
metres line. That is to say that no maritime zone exists and the
landowner may develop without the inconvenience of filing a regulation
plan. Tourist development must, of course, be approved by the ICT, but
almost anything else would require only building permits.
This might all appear somewhat confusing, but rest assured - having acquired many years of unparalleled expertise in Costa Rican real-estate, along with our successful history of satisfied clients, we are readily able to supply our clients with the best options and essential information when buying, selling or renting property in this beautiful country.
We are a team of established professionals, committed to meet our clients' needs! Please do not hesitate to contact us, should you require any further information, as we shall be more than happy to assist you with everything you need to know, concerning land and property in Costa Rica.