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Guanacaste, Costa Rica by Joseph Emanuelli

Real information and stories from Guanacaste , Costa Rica. Presneted by a long time expat living and working in Costa Rica
Costa Rica, Land Border Tax, So Typical

Costa Rica has recently passed and started enforcing a new exit tax of $5 (USD) on people leaving Costa Rica at both its northern and southern borders. While the fee is very minimal and is a common practice at many border crossings through out the world, Costa Rica’s implantation of the new tax can only be considered one thing, a complete failure.

As anybody attempting to cross the border over the last month can tell you, the system suffers some major flaws that lead to long lines, delays and anger that eventually caused the Immigration Administration to temporarily suspend verification of the tax to keep some resemblance of order at the border.

1- Lack of Awareness

Costa Ricans, Nicaraguans and tourists from all over the world all had one thing in common when trying to leave Costa Rica, no one new that there had been a new Tax put into place and if they did it was unclear when it was going to be enforced. This tends to be a issues with the government, pass a new law and let no one know about it until the last possible minute.

2- Paying the Exit Fee

The new Costa Rican exit fee can only be paid at Bancredito branched or ATM’s. Now here is the kicker, there are no Bancreidto branched or ATM’s at the border. That is right, you can not pay the exit fee at the border… Confused, you are not alone on this one. The nearest branch is located Liberia which is an hour plus drive each way from the border.

Conclusion on Costa Rica Border Tax

Penas Blancas Costa Rica BorderAs of now the border issue has not been resolved and while the bank contracted to take the $5 exit tax has stated they will have ATM in place by next Monday. They also stated they would have ATM up and running by the time the tax would start to be enforced and we now know how that worked out. I am willing to bet that when they do put the ATM in it will only be that type of machine that dispenses money and not one that you can make a deposit in. But only time will tell!!

As soon as I verify that the ATM’s at the border are working and are the correct type, I will update this post but based on past experiences I would highly recommend doing the following.

To save your self the trouble of the ATM not being ready or not working after they are installed, before leaving town make sure you stop in Liberia and pay your exit tax before you start your drive to the border. You can even stop at the Liberia International airport as there is a branch there that take the $29.00 exit tax for all those flying out side of Costa Rica.

2 Story For Sale in Playa Ocotal

Contemporary Design

• 1,936 sq. ft., 3 bath, 3 bdrm 2 story - $435,000 USD - Just Listed

 -  Casa de Buena Suerte “House of Good Luck” is a rear find in the area! There are not a lot of contemporary style homes built in the area. With a clean and crisp architectural design, this well maintained three bedroom, two and a half bath home is adorned with unique and modern features as in European style cabinets, granite kitchen counters, stained and stamped bathroom counters, vaulted ceilings and porcelain tiled floor. The Open Floor Plan living, dining and kitchen make entertaining a breeze along with the covered walk out ocean view terrace. Plenty of natural light makes this home feel larger than it is. The master suite with walk in closet and en suite bath is located on the same level along with the private walled in pool area and laundry room with outdoor entrance. Single floor living at its best! The lower level features the additional 2 bedrooms and full bath and storage room. The property is fenced and gated and is adorned with nice landscaping. The Property measures 335 square meters and the home is over 1900 square feet. This property is perfectly located only a short 30 minute drive from the Liberia International Airport and less than a mile walk to the soft black sand beach of Playa Ocotal. Playa Ocotal is a perfect small bay for swimming, snorkeling and just enjoying a day on the beach.
This one of kind gem is waiting for you!
Offered at $435,000

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2 Story For Sale in Playa Ocotal

Ocean Views Abound
Great Opportunity

• 4,304 sq. ft., 7 bath, 8 bdrm 2 story - $865,000 USD - Just Listed

 -  Walk to the beach and Ocean View B&B, Yoga Retreat or Family compound opportunity. Just think how great it would be for your clients or family to wake up and see views like this just before they stroll to the beach to go swimming snorkeling or a day of deep see fishing. This fully operational and legally permitted B&B has been in operation for well over 10 years. The property features a 3 bedroom 2 bath apartment with full kitchen, living and dining room on the second floor with private entrance, covered terrace and room to sleep 7 with potential to add more beds. The pool level features a 1 bedroom apartment with living room, patio, kitchenette and one bath. In addition there are 4 separate hotel style room with own bath. All bedrooms throughout this great opportunity feature A/C , furniture, linens and TV. The B&B also feature a separate kitchen perfect for hosting morning breakfast or evening cocktails around the pool or under the covered topical landscaped gazebo, also there is separate laundry room and 2 storage rooms. The land measures over1140 square meters and has paved access all the way to the property, as well as a paved driveway and over 43 linear meters of landscaped road frontage. This great business opportunity is just waiting for the right owner to take it over and turn it into a gold mine. Centrally located in the quiet Playa Ocotal and only 30 minutes from the Liberia International Airport, 10 minute walk to the beach and 5 minute drive to the heart of all the action, entertainment and shopping of Playa del Coco. In addition there is a 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath contemporary style home right next to this B&B and could be the perfect owners retreat in addition to the B&B.
Villa Del Sueno a turnkey operation being offered for
Potential Gross Income and ROI
Potential is based on Daily Rental Rate/Bed: $95.00 (Area Average)
At 75% Annual Occupancy: $208,240.
At 50% Annual Occupancy: $ 138,700.
ROI at 75% Occupancy: %24.0
ROI at 50% Occupancy: %16.4
Payoff Time at 75% Occupancy: 4.15 years
Payoff Time at 50% Occupancy: 6.23 years
(Conservative formulations used base on other area B&B’s in operation, no guarantees implied)
Additional Features Villa del Sueno del Ocotal B&B
Security Camera System
Solid Hardwood Teal Ceilings
Backup Pressurized Water System
Pool Furniture
Ceilings Fans
Hot Water Heater for all Rooms
Irrigation system for the gardens
And Much More

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Single Story For Sale in Playa Hermosa

Totally Renovated

• 1,600 sq. ft., 2 bath, 3 bdrm single story - $255,000 USD - Price Reduced By 50K

 -  This quaint 3 bedroom, 2 bath villa is within the well known resort community of Villas Sol. The villa comes fully furnished and has an extra large covered patio for entertaining and enjoying the tropical breezes. Solid wood beams adorn the cathedral ceilings, as well as solid Local Herd wood doors and kitchen cabinet. The community features pools, tennis courts, basketball courts, fitness center/Spa and onsite restaurants. Transportation within the development is supplied utilizing golf carts to take you to the calm surf of Playa Hermosa Beach or one of the fantastic restaurants or pools. Join the rental pool and earn great rental income in your absence!
Reasonably Priced for Quick Sale $ 295,000
All reasonable offers will be considered!!

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Lot / Land For Sale in Ocotal


• 2,488 sq. m. lot / land - $59,000 USD - REDUCED BY $150k

 -  This view could be yours!!! The perfect property to construct your paradise retreat upon. This great opportunity is located in the upscale area of Playa Ocotal. The lot measures over 2400 square meters (over a half acre) with a flat buildable pad site ready. The lot is bordered on 2 sides by a public road which makes access for construction much easier. This property is centrally located in Pacific Northwest region of Guanacaste, Costa Rica. The property is just a short 35 minutes drive from the Liberia international Airport and 5 minutes to all the amenities and fun of the Playas del Coco. Other lots with in the same area of similar view and size are priced well in to the $200,000 range.
Being offered for sale for only $59,000.

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The rains may have finally come to end in Guanacaste!

Well this past week we had a passing thunderstorm that lasted about 20 minutes in Playa Hermosa.  A total of .2 of an inch was recorded and I feel this will be the last measurable rain this season. The total amount received was 54.8 inches of rain this year. This is a normal rain fall as the average is between 40 and 60 inches

The great thing about Guanacaste is that we do not get the damaging rains like the central valley of Costa Rica or the southern zone. You don’t read about landslides and roads being destroyed and people having to leave their home because of severe flooding and raising rivers.

We are back to having low humidity, sunny skies and light breeze. The perfect time to be in Playa Hermosa to enjoy all the splendor and nature of Costa Rica

Here is an article from the local AM Costa Rica news site that describes the problems of landslides and road closures that happened yesterday.

Rains cause landslides that close key Ruta 32.

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Heavy rains Monday afternoon north of San José caused landslides that closed Ruta 32, the key highway to the north and to the province of Limón. The Consejo Nacional de Vialidad announced the closure about 5 p.m. and said that the area around the Río Danta and in Zurquí had problems. The highway runs through the Parque Nacional Braulio Carrillo where there are steep cliffs alongside the roadway. The road agency said that heavy machinery was on the job but gave no estimate as to when the highway would be reopened. It said motorists should seek another route. The most likely is through Cartago and Turrialba to Limón or through Heredia for travel to the northern zone. The Instituto Meteorológico Nacional said there were heavy rains Monday afternoon in the northern zone and on the Caribbean coast. Rains in the mountains caused rivers to rise. Elsewhere in the country there were high winds. The weather institute said that the winds and the rains would continue for the first couple of days of the week.

 As always, thanks to my steady followers for stopping by my blog. I hope you enjoy some of my rants, craziness and even some good information, if you want to make a comment just send me an email to jaaechef@gmail.com  my personal email address or post it here. If you have an interest in or are just curious about Costa Rica and want to learn more and why so many people are talking about it, click this link to my new web page and blog site http://costarica-connection.com   

Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you. Pura Vida!!

4-Level Split For Sale in Playa Hermosa

Great Ocean View

• 1,425 sq. ft., 3 bath, 2 bdrm 4-level split "3rd floor Unit" - $182,000 USD - Price is Firm

 -  This Lovely 2 bedroom, 2.5 bath ocean view condo is located in the Colinas Paraiso Condo Development in Playa Hermosa, Guanacaste. The spacious unit measure 1425 square feet and includes hardwood and glass cabinets, granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances, window treatments, stack washer and dryer, private balcony off master suite. The condo is fully furnished and ready to move in, just bring yourself. The development feature 24/7 security, community pool, covered parking, common areas and only 12 units. This great opportunity is only 20 minutes from the Liberia International Airport and close to all the amenities you can think of.
Reduced from $335,000

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Single Story For Sale in Isabella Resort

Just Listed New To Market

•  single story - $375,000 USD

 -  Have you ever dreamed of being on the top of the hill? Looking down over the valley with a bird’s eye view while being close enough to reach out touch those graceful soaring birds? Wake up and hear the sounds of the waves and see the sun rising to the east from your new tropical get away. This very easy to build on lot is the perfect location close to everything but very private. The property is located in the development of Isabella, in Playa del Coco, Guanacaste. The lot measures over 2700 sq. meter more than a half an acre in size. All services are readily available and at the lot. This lot features a 360 degree view of Playa del Coco and the views of the ocean.
Offered for sale at $375,000
Seller open to all offers
Contact me today for more information

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November Business Round Up - Costa Rica

As November comes to an end we are one month closer to high season here in Costa Rica. With every high season comes a fresh buzz in the air as local businesses get ready for their busiest time of the year.

Black Friday in Costa Rica

Even though it is only expats from the US that celebrate Thanksgiving in Costa Rica it appears that Black Friday (Viernes Negro in Spanish) has become an ever growing and popular world wide holiday and in Costa Rica it was no different. It seems like every business was getting in on the celebration with 50% discounts at clothing stores, grocery stores, hardware stores, bars, restaurants and tour agencies. Some businesses even had lines out the door waiting for the savings.

While the idea of Black Friday may seem strange in Costa Rica the fact is that it was a huge success for the businesses that participated. The number of participants this year was much larger than last year and I expect with its success next year will see even moire business getting in on the event.

Costa Rica to Build Three New Power Plants

Costa Rica's quest to reach its goal of 95% renewable energy has taken a huge step forward with the announcement of three new geothermal power plants that will be built around the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano. The deal was announced mid November and will move forawrd thanks to a large ($560 million) loan from Japan that will be paid back over the next 40 years.

For more information on the topic read more here:

4G Network Coming to Costa Rica... along with the iPhone 5s

After only six months of testing, the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) has announced that 4G service will become available in Costa Rica starting in mid December. The date coincides with the news that ICE will alsobe offering new contracts for the iPhone 5s. At first ICE will be the only company offering 4G service to its monthly clients but representatives from two of the larger pre-paid carriers in Costa Rica (Claro and Moviestar) have announced that they will be offering 4G service in Costa Rica in the very near future.


Hybrid Buses Coming to Guanacaste

Guanacastan transportation firm of Reyna del Campo has just announced that they received a loan from th Bank of Costa Rica that will allow them to import a new fleet of Daewoo hybrid buses. These buses will take over the popular routs running from the Nicaraguan border to the city of Liberia and from Liberia to many of the  Guanacaste beach town including Playas del Coco, Playa Flamingo and Tamarindo.

Hidden Cash Crop of Costa Rica and it is not Drugs

Juicy and delicious oranges that could rival those grown in California, Florida, Brazil, ad Spain are being grown right here in Costa Rica, particularly in certain coffee farms in Guanacaste where citrus trees are being introduced to break up the monoculture practice of cultivating a single crop. Oranges are now the fastest-growing crops in Costa Rica; in 2012, production grew by more than 75 percent compared to 2011.

My fried lives up in the mountains of Guanacaste and he planted orange tress 10 years ago and are producing fruit that is out of this world. he first stated giving them away as he had so much. I told him he was nuts sell them, people with buy them if that are good and they are. So know i get a slightly lower price because I put the thought in his head and the juice I make from them is better than any I have ever had period!! Just wish he would cut me a better price!

According to a news report by Gilda Gonzalez Sandoval of business weekly El Financiero, the Ministry of Agriculture (Spanish initials:MAG) estimates that about 280,000 metric tons of oranges were harvested last year in Costa Rica. Coffee farmers in Guanacaste are particularly pleased with this development for various reasons. First, agriculture has seen a vertiginous drop in the region due to the growth of the real estate and tourism industries. Second, the planting of citrus trees has been carefully managed to yield up to 800 trees per hectare, which makes coffee farms more bird-friendly. Third, coffee farms in Guanacaste affected by the Hemileia vastatrix fungus (coffee rust, or roya in Spanish) in 2013 found a new cash crop in oranges.

At this point, farming co-ops such as Coopecerroazul in Nanadayure, province of Guanacaste, stand to benefit the most from this relatively unexploited cash crop. For example, this Coopecerroazul has 82 orange growers who have picked 5.5 million units this year. More than 95 percent of oranges are sold in wholesale markets around the Central Valley, where they are quickly scooped up by citrus lovers.

It’s not just Guanacaste that is finding success with oranges. In the Acosta canton, province of San Jose, MAG citrus experts are evaluating how certain orange strains brought from California adjust to the local conditions. There are several microclimates across Costa Rica where orange cultivation could thrive, and this could lead to an eventual citrus certification program for exports.

2 Story For Sale in Playa Ocotal

Great Ocean Views

• 3,500 sq. ft., 4 bath, 3 bdrm 2 story - $390,000 USD - Below Seller's Cost

 -  Wake up every morning to these views. Just walk out from the first floor Master Suite and take a dip in the infinity edge pool or send you buddies an email from the covered patio, with the photos of the sail fish you tagged the day before. This Fully Furnished three bedroom, three and a half bath villa measures approximately 3500 square ft. and is ready to own and rent. The Owners have just replaced all the A/C units in preparation for selling. The Villa features a solid hard wood cabinetry throughout and all counter tops are adorned with rich colored granite. Ocean Views abound from every bedroom and entertainment area and will never be blocked!! The Chef Kitchen is fully stocked with stainless steel appliance and has lots of counter space in addition to a walk-in pantry, that can be locked off as an owners closet. The property is equipped with a security system, cable and satellite TV. In Addition there is a lower level laundry room and storage as well a covered parking for 2 cars. No Mandatory HOA fees and Low property taxes.
This special piece of Paradise is being offered for sale well below the owners cost.
The Owner is negotiable and will entertain all reasonable offers.
Priced below many comparable sized homes with ocean views and now lowered by by $45,000.00
Offered at $390,000

Property information

Chase Bank Not allowing International wire Transfers!!!

I tend not to be an alarmist, there are a lot of conspiracy theorists in the world, and some of them are just plain crazy, but I feel it is important that I share this link with you only because the US main stream media does not cover real news any longer. They only want you to read and see their false agendas. Click the link below to see what I am writing about.

This is very scary news to me! If a major bank states that you cannot do what you want with the money you worked hard to grow and save and you have entrusted them to hold, it is really time to think about moving some of your assets out of the US.  It may only be time and time will tell the truth, if the US government will start to take your hard earned money just to get it out of the hole it is in.

Now this is not a ploy to try to sell you anything, yes I am a Realtor in Costa Rica, and yes I do sell to make a living, but the reality is when a bank or a government, any government, starts to put restrictions on what you can and cannot do with the money you have legally obtained, by working your butt off and saving and investing wisely, you should take your head out of the proverbial sand and investigate this further for your own benefit. Don’t believe everything you read. I do not claim to be a financial expert but hard assets like solid real estate cannot be falsified when properly purchased and registered.


A good friend of mine happens to be from Canada, but he might as well be American. He cannot believe the things he is reading and seeing about the US economy and the future of the US from Canadian sources. It makes him sick. As he said to me the other day, “I hope and pray I am long gone before the destruction of the greatest nation on the planet happens, I cannot believe what is happening in the US. What is wrong with the people of the US are they blind”? And this came from a Canadian citizen.

Now I am not trying to scare anybody here, you need to do your own homework and make the decision yourself. If you have been thinking about investing in real estate, why not consider Costa Rica? The worst that can happen is you have a great place to escape to and live the Pura Vida life style.


Thanks for reading my post and rants. If you would like to make a comment feel free to email me at jaaechef@gmail.com and I will personally answer you. If you have an interest in looking at real estate visit www.Costarica-American-Connection.com  and while you are at it visit www.Costarica-Connection.com  for news and information about the local happening in Guanacaste and surrounding areas. Thanks again and I look forward to hearing from you and possible having a cold beer together to watch the sunsets over the pacific from beautiful Playa Hermosa.

Guanacaste Rainy Season Still Going

Guanacaste Rainy Season Still Going

Well here we are the beginning of the second week of November and the 2013 Costa Rica rainy season is still chugging along. In past years the rains had stopped in the end of October with just an occasional thunderstorm or sprinkling of rain here and there. This year so far it has rained almost every day in November. Not great amounts of rain but still measurable. As of today I have measured 3.2 inches of rain. In some places in the US and Canada, this is the average annual rain fall.

Yesterday while enjoying the afternoon sitting on the beach 2 different times clouds moved over the beach and a light rain fell for just a few minutes. A good friend of mine actually liked the idea that it was not over powering sun shine and the light rain cooled him down. He is from the far northern regions of the US so 88o weather may be screaming hot for him. Anyway it was a lovely day, the ocean was nice and warm, my friend commented on that as well, saying he could not go in the Ocean even in August on the coast of New Hampshire without a wet suit on! The sun set was just dynamic for the clouds causing all sorts of pinks, and purples and oranges it was spectacular.

I read a report in the local newspaper from the meteorological service that the real pros are declaring the rainy season to be over in 2 weeks. Well as we all know you cannot really predict Mother Nature so we will just have to see what comes our way.

As always, thanks to my steady followers for stopping by my blog. I hope you enjoy some of my rants, craziness and even some good information, if you want to make a comment just send me an email to jaaechef@gmail.com  my personal email address or post it here. If you have an interest in or are just curious about Costa Rica and want to learn more and why so many people are talking about it, click this link to my new web page and blog site http://costarica-connection.com 

Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you. Pura Vida!!  


October Costa RIca Business Round Up

As many of you may know, October tends to be one of the slower months here in Costa Rica. In Guanacaste we see our only true rainy month of the year which gives people time to take a break from the hard life of spending time at the beaches or playing 18 holes when ever we feel like it. Even with the rain falling there where a couple of big pieces of news to develop over the last month and several of them are happening right here in Guanacaste.

Lake Arenal to get Costa Rica's first fresh water beach?

The news of a large plan to help revitalize tourism to Lake Arenal brought a bit of buzz to the local area. The plan involves a $3 million dollar project that would bring Lake Arenal, Costa Rica's first fresh water beach. The goal is to start the project in 2015 and is currently under review by the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT), but appears to be gaining momentum toward approval.


Plans for a Playas del Coco Art Center

In what will be the first project of its kind in Guanacaste, plans are moving forward on a $7 million Major Arts Center that will be built in the beautiful beach town of Playas del Coco. What makes this project more likely than other rumored development? Well the capital is already there and the developers (from the US) have a proven track record of getting things built in Costa Rica. So far the project has been very well received by the Municipal Council and if things continue at the same pace we couple be looking at a ground breaking ceremony with in the next 2 years.


iPhone 5C and 5S are Coming Costa Rica

ICE has officially announced the newest iPhones will be coming to Costa Rica and are slated for availability sometime in the month of November. While the exact price and contracts available for the new iPhones are not know yet, it is sure to be a big hit with the colored skins the 5C's lower price point.

2 Story For Sale in Playa Hermosa

Architectural Masterpiece

• 6,000 sq. ft., 5 bath, 4 bdrm 2 story "Contemporary" - MLS $1,575,000 USD - Drastically Reduced!!

 -  This custom designed home of 6000 square feet, boasts the highest level of detail, coupled with creative open floor plan. Upon entering the home you will marvel at the 20 foot Guanacaste wood ceilings and an unmatched view of the ocean and the bay of Hermosa. The enormous great room hosts six oversized hand painted columns leading toward the fully stocked chefs kitchen with hand carved accents on all the solid wood cabinets and granite counters. The floors are crafted of inlaid 2 foot by 2 foot marble tiles which flow outside onto the expansive balconies. Every room features large windows and wide open spaces which cater to easy flow and comfort, inviting you to enjoy the impeccable details and sweeping views of the water, volcanoes and mountains. This exquisite custom built home features a Master suite located on the main level in addition to 3 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms, a private office and second family room. Entertain plenty of friends by utilizing the stainless steel BBQ on the covered verandas or utilize the artfully and tropical painted rancho bar next to the hot tub. Just imagine sitting by the pool, sending your friends an email over the high speed internet describing your previous day in the jungle while the howler monkeys play in the trees and the parrots sing you a song in front of the 46 by 16 foot infinity edge pool. It does not get any better than this. Contact me today for more information on the one of kind property!

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