Joseph Emanuelli's blog

Error message

Notice: Undefined index: property in custom_search_form_alter() (line 291 of /usr/www/users/remaxvps/costarican-american-connection.com/sites/all/modules/contrib/custom_search/custom_search.module).

High-Speed Fiber Internet, Costa Rica

Miscellaneous

 

High speed fiber internet

Starlink is now available in Costa Rica!

With no contracts and the flexibility to cancel anytime, their standard residential plan costs just 23,000 colones per month (about $50 USD). The equipment is priced at 179,000 colones (about $360 USD) and can be conveniently ordered from the Starlink website, with delivery straight to your home. Installation is a breeze—you can do it yourself or hire a handyman. The satellite can be mounted on your roof or a pole, as long as it faces north. Expect impressive speeds of 200-250 Mbps for downloads and 20-25 Mbps for uploads, thanks to Starlink's extensive network of over 3,000 satellites. This means even those in remote or challenging areas can enjoy reliable internet service. Starlink also offers packages for businesses, aircraft, and boats, so there's something for everyone.

 

Is high-speed Internet available in Costa Rica? It’s an important question because we live in a connected world. If we lose that connection, even in a beautiful place like Costa Rica, we feel isolated and uninformed. While it’s great to unplug and get away from it all once in a while – and Costa Rica is the place to do that, however before long we feel the need to be in touch with our friends and family. We want to know what’s going on around us or back home. Moreover, many depend on a reliable high-speed Internet connection to make a living or accomplish other essential tasks.

 

Does Costa Rica have high-speed Internet? 

In a word, yes.  The days of sluggish, spotty dial-up Internet are a thing of the past. In the early days, the state-owned ICE (Institute of Costa Rican Electricity) enjoyed a telecommunications monopoly. That all changed when the Central American Free Trade Agreement went into effect in 2010. ICE’s monopoly was broken, and international telecommunications giants quickly established a foothold. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested in fiber optics networks, towers, and other infrastructures. As a result, high speed Internet coverage reached more and more regions of Costa Rica. Today, a higher percentage (85.5%) of Costa Rica’s population has access to the Internet than in any other country in Central America. That’s good news if you want to stay connected while visiting or living here.

Link to Costa Rica property listings

 

Want to know who the Internet service providers are in Costa Rica? ICE is still in the telecommunications business, but now they market their cell phone and Internet service under the brand name Kolbi. ICE’s biggest competitors in the cell phone service market are Claro and Liberty. In addition to cell service, both offer wireless residential Internet packages. Cable television operators have also entered the Internet service provider market. They include Liberty, TIGO, Coopeguanacaste, and Telecable and all offer packages that include high speed Internet (fiber or broadband), cable television channels, and a fixed VoIP phone.

 

I can attest first hand to the quality of high-speed internet in Costa Rica. I need the internet for my business and well, posting blogs like this. My provider is Liberty. I purchased a package with 100 megabytes of download speed including over 180 channels of digital TV. This entire package is only $80 USD per month. The service provided is pretty good as well. I placed the order and 2 days later I had 2 technicians at the house setting it all up.

 

Claro uses its network of cell phone towers in conjunction with a residential receiver to provide Internet in homes. Unlike the other Internet service providers, Claro is wireless. Although it has slower download speeds than the others, it may be the only option in areas beyond the reach of cable networks. All Internet service providers routinely offer speed upgrades at no additional cost. As their technology advances, they try to stay competitive. Commercial Internet service, offering greater speeds at a greater cost, is available in some areas. Speeds, prices, and coverage are constantly changing, so check for the latest offers in your area when you are ready to sign up. 

Is the Internet reliable in Costa Rica? 

Blazing download speeds aren’t worth much if you constantly lose your connection. Fortunately, most users in Costa Rica report that their Internet is stable. Yes, just like everywhere else in the world, sometimes the internet goes down, it happens. Some even say it is better–higher speed and more reliable connection– than they had back home and I can agree totally with that. So, rest assured that you can stay connected on high-speed Internet as you enjoy the wonders of Costa Rica.

 

Interested in finding a property in Costa Rica? Check out our extensive listings here:

Want to keep up with everything that is happening here in Costa Rica? Join my email list!

Need more information about Costa Rica in general? Read our FAQS about Costa Rica page.

Interested in owning a property in Costa Rica, checkout some great options here

Have a comment or a question? Feel free to EMAIL ME

Like the article? Please share!

Exploring Costa Rica’s Extended Tourist Visa Policy

Miscellaneous
Travel & Tourism

Link to properties in Costa RicaCosta Rica is a captivating destination that beckons travelers from all corners of the globe with its pristine beaches, lush rainforests, and abundant wildlife. For those planning to visit this Central American paradise, there's great news on the horizon. As of September 8th, 2023, Costa Rica has introduced a significant update to its tourist visa policy, offering longer stays (180 days) to tourists from specific countries. This change aims to make Costa Rica even more welcoming to visitors while promoting sustainable tourism and growth.

*** NEW *** Driver's License Updates

On May 7th, 2024, Costa Rica made it easier for foreign drivers to use their home country driver licenses. Tourists and visitors can now drive in Costa Rica using their valid foreign licenses for the duration of their stay. For instance, tourists with a 180-day visa can now legally drive for their entire visit. This new transit law now reflects the extended stay policy for tourists coming to Costa Rica. 

Residents and those in the process of becoming residents must still homologate (convert) their foreign licenses, but the 90-day stay requirement for this has been removed. These changes aim to make driving in Costa Rica more convenient for foreigners.

Extended Stay for Tourists

Under the amended Article 7 of the "General Regulations for Entry and Stay Visas for Non-Residents," tourists belonging to the "first group" of specific countries can now enjoy an extended stay of up to 180 days from their entry date. (This first group which is referred includes: GERMANY, ANDORRA, ARGENTINA, AUSTRALIA, AUSTRIA, BAHAMAS, BARBADOS, BELGIUM, BRAZIL, BULGARY, CANADA, CROATIA, CHILE, CHIPRE, DENMARK, UAE, SLOVAKIA, SLOVENIA, SPAIN, QATAR, USA, ESTONIA, FINLAND, FRANCE, HUNGARY, IRELAND, ICELAND, ISRAEL, ITALY, JAPAN, LETONIA, LIECHTENSTEIN, LITUANIA, LUXEMBURG, MALTA, MEXICO, MONTENEGRO, NORWAY, NEW ZEALAND, NETHERLANDS, PANAMÁ, PARAGUAY, POLAND, PORTUGAL, MONACO, SAN MARINO, PERÚ, PUERTO RICO, SERBIA, SOUTH AFRICA, UK, SOUTH KOREA, GREECE, RUMANIA, SANTA SEDE, SINGAPUR, SWEDEN, SWITZERLAND, TRINIDAD & TOBAGO, UKRAINE, URUGUAY).

Before, the maximum stay was only 90 days. This means that you can savor the beauty of Costa Rica's landscapes, wildlife, and culture for nearly half a year without the need for visa extensions or complicated paperwork.

It's important to note that the exact number of days approved for each person will still be determined by the officer of the General Directorate responsible for entry control.

For travelers initially granted less than 90 days of stay, Costa Rica's updated immigration regulations now allow a one-time extension of up to 90 days. This extension option is a convenient way for tourists to prolong their stay, immerse themselves in the country's wonders, and explore more of what Costa Rica has to offer. However, it's crucial to remember that those initially granted 90 days or more cannot further extend their stay.

Costa Rica's new tourist visa updates, effective as of September 8th, 2023, bring exciting opportunities for travelers to experience this breathtaking destination for longer periods. The extended stay for "first group" tourists and the option to extend short-term stays all contribute to making Costa Rica an even more attractive destination for travelers seeking adventure, relaxation, and cultural enrichment.

However, it's essential to stay informed about the latest immigration policies and adhere to the rules and guidelines set by Costa Rican authorities. Whether you're drawn to the lush rainforests, stunning beaches, or vibrant culture, Costa Rica welcomes you with open arms and extended visas for an unforgettable experience.

Building Your Home In Costa Rica

Miscellaneous
Real Estate

Many people dream of building a home in Costa Rica, and this dream can become a reality with the right approach. The key is to find the perfect piece of land that suits your needs and preferences. Whether you envision a stunning ocean view with daily sunsets over the water, a country-style property with ample land for fruit trees and a vegetable garden, or a cozy spot near friendly neighbors, there's a piece of land that's just right for you.

View of Playa Hermosa from a hillside building lot

As a real estate broker in Playa Hermosa, Guanacaste, Costa Rica, I can help you navigate the process of finding and acquiring the ideal piece of land. The Playa Hermosa, Playas del Coco area offers a variety of residential building lots, each with its own unique features and advantages. If you see something you like, simply email me, and I'll provide you with all the information you need.

Before diving into the specifics of different types of commercial and residential building lots, it is important to understand the local regulations and requirements. The municipality sets certain standards that dictate aspects such as setbacks from boundaries, maximum percentage of construction allowed based on land size, and the designated use of the land, known as "Uso de Suelo" in Spanish. It's crucial to conduct thorough due diligence before closing the sale on a property to ensure that you're aware of what can be built and any restrictions that may apply.

Let's explore the various types of plots of land or building lots commonly available:

Residential Building Lots

These come in a few different varieties (listed below). Often, individuals who owned large parcels of land may have divided off a portion to create residential lots. These lots can be located along public roads or sometimes on easements. In order to build a home, these lots must be a minimum of 350 square meters.

Home built on a residential building lot in Costa Rica

Horizontal Condominium Lots

These lots can vary in size, but most are larger than 350 square meters. When purchasing in a horizontal condominium, buyers are obligated to follow the registered covenants and restrictions. These regulations may include specifications for home style, roof materials, monthly maintenance fees, and more. Horizontal condominium lots are always part of a gated community, and the roads within are private. Subdivision of these lots is not possible without unanimous agreement from the condominium association.

Agricultural Lot

By law, agricultural lots must be a minimum of 5000 square meters, or 1.23 acres. These developments are set up under an "agricultural" designation. The roads within these developments are typically easements, which means they pass through another person's property, and vice versa. This information is detailed in the title deed, property registration, and the registered lot survey. Agricultural development land can be subdivided, but each resulting property must still be over 5000 square meters. Most agricultural developments have a homeowners association to manage common areas and expenses. The main home on an agricultural lot can be a maximum of 300 square meters or 3229 square feet.

Costa Rica Rainbow over a piece of agricultural land

Urbanization lot

These lots are usually created by segregating a portion of a larger property. The roads within urbanization lots are public, meaning anyone can drive on them. The size of these lots can vary.

Farm land or “Fincas”

When exploring real estate options in Costa Rica, you'll find an abundance of farm lands for sale or "fincas" as they are locally known. Driving around, you'll notice signs on trees and fence posts declaring "Se Vende", which means "For Sale", giving the impression that the entire country is up for grabs. These large tracts of land, typically over one hectare or 2.5 acres, offer ample space for various construction projects. However, it's important not to overbuild and instead prioritize the space you truly need.

As previously mentioned, the local municipality plays a crucial role in determining the land's use, known as "Uso de Suelo." When you find a piece of land you wish to purchase and build on, one of the most important considerations is ensuring a legal source of potable water. This can be supplied by the Instituto Costarricense de Acueductos y Alcantarillados (AyA), a legally registered private well, or in outlying areas, through an ASAD (Las Asociaciones Administradoras de los Sistemas de Acueductos y Alcantarillados), a locally registered association that delivers water via piping.

It is also crucial to ensure that the property has a "Carta de luz", or an electricity availability letter. This document verifies that there is an existing electrical connection to the property, allowing you to obtain an electricity meter. Without this you may face challenges in connecting your property to the power grid, which can significantly impact your ability to develop or live on the land.

Another step when purchasing a property in Costa Rica is to hire a certified topographer to mark the property lines accurately. This ensures that you know the exact dimensions of the property and can identify any encroachments or boundary disputes. Having a clear understanding of the property boundaries is crucial to ensuring that the property is free and clear of any liens or encumbrances. Additionally, a topographic survey can be beneficial for future construction projects, as it provides detailed information about the terrain and topography of the land. This information can help you plan and design your development more effectively, ensuring that it complies with local regulations and avoids any potential issues with neighboring properties.

During the due diligence period, it's essential to ask your attorney to verify all these details: water and electricity availability, survey report, and to conduct a title search. This process confirms that the property is appropriately titled, the seller is the rightful owner, and the property is free of any liens, encumbrances, outstanding debts, or taxes. Failure to do so can result in significant costs down the line.

When searching for the perfect piece of land in Costa Rica, where stunning locations abound for building your dream home, it's crucial to fully understand the intricacies of your purchase before finalizing the sale. With proper due diligence and the guidance of a knowledgeable real estate professional, you can ensure that your investment is not only a sound one but also a gateway to a fulfilling life in this tropical paradise.


Interested in finding a property in Costa Rica? Check out our extensive listings here:

Want to keep up with everything that is happening here in Costa Rica? Join my email list!

Need more information about Costa Rica in general? Read our FAQS about Costa Rica page.

Interested in owning a property in Costa Rica, checkout some great options here

Have a comment or a question? Feel free to EMAIL ME

Like the article? Please share!

Building Dreams: A Guide to Finding the Perfect Plot of Land For Your Costa Rican Home

Miscellaneous
Real Estate

Many people dream of building a home in Costa Rica, and this dream can become a reality with the right approach. The key is to find the perfect piece of land that suits your needs and preferences. Whether you envision a stunning ocean view with daily sunsets over the water, a country-style property with ample land for fruit trees and a vegetable garden, or a cozy spot near friendly neighbors, there's a piece of land that's just right for you.

View of Playa Hermosa from a hillside building lot

As a real estate broker in Playa Hermosa, Guanacaste, Costa Rica, I can help you navigate the process of finding and acquiring the ideal piece of land. The Playa Hermosa, Playas del Coco area offers a variety of residential building lots, each with its own unique features and advantages. If you see something you like, simply email me, and I'll provide you with all the information you need.

Before diving into the specifics of different types of plots and building lots, it's important to understand the local regulations and requirements. The municipality sets certain standards that dictate aspects such as setbacks from boundaries, maximum percentage of construction allowed based on land size, and the designated use of the land, known as "Uso de Suelo" in Spanish. It's crucial to conduct thorough due diligence before closing the sale on a property to ensure that you're aware of what can be built and any restrictions that may apply.

Let's explore the various types of plots of land or building lots commonly available:

Residential Lots: These come in a few different varieties, listed below. Often, individuals who owned large parcels of land may have divided off a portion to create residential lots. These lots can be located along public roads or sometimes on easements. In order to build a home, these lots must be a minimum of 350 square meters.

Home built on a lot in Costa Rica

A) Horizontal Condominium Lots - These lots can vary in size, but most are larger than 350 square meters. When purchasing in a horizontal condominium, buyers are obligated to follow the registered covenants and restrictions. These regulations may include specifications for home style, roof materials, monthly maintenance fees, and more. Horizontal condominium lots are always part of a gated community, and the roads within are private. Subdivision of these lots is not possible without unanimous agreement from the condominium association.

B)  Agricultural Lots - By law, agricultural lots must be a minimum of 5000 square meters, or 1.23 acres. These developments are set up under an "agricultural" designation. The roads within these developments are typically easements, which means they pass through another person's property, and vice versa. This information is detailed in the title deed, property registration, and the registered lot survey. Agricultural development land can be subdivided, but each resulting property must still be over 5000 square meters. Most agricultural developments have a homeowners association to manage common areas and expenses. The main home on an agricultural lot can be a maximum of 300 square meters or 3229 square feet.

Costa Rica Rainbow over a piece of agricultural land

C) Urbanization lots - These lots are usually created by segregating a portion of a larger property. The roads within urbanization lots are public, meaning anyone can drive on them. The size of these lots can vary.

Farm land or “Fincas”: When exploring real estate options in Costa Rica, you'll find an abundance of farm lands or "fincas" available for purchase. Driving around, you'll notice signs on trees and fence posts declaring "Se Vende" or for sale, giving the impression that the entire country is up for grabs. These large tracts of land, typically over one hectare or 2.5 acres, offer ample space for various construction projects. However, it's important not to overbuild and instead prioritize the space you truly need.

As previously mentioned, the local municipality plays a crucial role in determining the land's use, known as "Uso de Suelo." When you find a piece of land you wish to purchase and build on, one of the most important considerations is ensuring a legal source of potable water. This can be supplied by the Instituto Costarricense de Acueductos y Alcantarillados (AyA), a legally registered private well, or in outlying areas, through an ASAD (Las Asociaciones administradoras de los Sistemas de Acueductos y Alcantarillados), a locally registered association that delivers water via piping.

It is also crucial to ensure that the property has a carta de luz or an electricity availability letter. This document verifies that there is an existing electrical connection to the property, allowing you to obtain an electric meter. Without this, you may face challenges in connecting your property to the power grid, which can significantly impact your ability to develop or live on the land. 

Another step when purchasing land in Costa Rica is to hire a certified topographer to mark the property lines accurately. This ensures that you know the exact dimensions of the property and can identify any encroachments or boundary disputes. Having a clear understanding of the property boundaries is crucial to ensuring that the property is free and clear of any liens or encumbrances. Additionally, a topographic survey can be beneficial for future construction projects, as it provides detailed information about the terrain and topography of the land. This information can help you plan and design your development more effectively, ensuring that it complies with local regulations and avoids any potential issues with neighboring properties.

During the due diligence period, it's essential to ask your attorney to verify all these details: water and electricity availability, survey report, and to conduct a title search. This process confirms that the property is appropriately titled, the seller is the rightful owner, and the property is free of any liens, encumbrances, outstanding debts, or taxes. Failure to do so can result in significant costs down the line.

When searching for the perfect piece of land in Costa Rica, where stunning locations abound for building your dream home, it's crucial to fully understand the intricacies of your purchase before finalizing the sale. With proper due diligence and the guidance of a knowledgeable real estate professional, you can ensure that your investment is not only a sound one but also a gateway to a fulfilling life in this tropical paradise.


Interested in finding a property in Costa Rica? Check out our extensive listings here:

Want to keep up with everything that is happening here in Costa Rica? Join my email list!

Need more information about Costa Rica in general? Read our FAQS about Costa Rica page.

Interested in owning a property in Costa Rica, checkout some great options here

Have a comment or a question? Feel free to EMAIL ME

Like the article? Please share!

HOA Fees in Costa Rica: Navigating the Pros and Cons

Real Estate

Hey there, future homeowners! If you're considering buying a property in a community with a homeowners association (HOA) here in beautiful Costa Rica, it's important to weigh the pros and cons of Costa Rica HOA fees. HOAs can offer some fantastic benefits, but they also come with their own set of considerations. Let's take a closer look at what living in an HOA entails, so you can make an informed decision that suits your lifestyle and preferences.

The Pros of Living with a HOA in Costa Rica

Landscape Maintenance

One of the biggest advantages of living in an HOA community is the professional landscape maintenance of common areas of the development. Imagine waking up to lush, manicured gardens, vibrant flowers, and perfectly trimmed hedges—all without lifting a finger. HOAs often hire landscaping companies to maintain the community's green spaces, ensuring that the entire neighborhood looks pristine year-round. This not only enhances the beauty of your surroundings but also helps maintain property values. If you end up purchasing a property and are not planning on staying in Costa Rica full time, and if it is a single family home, you may ask the HOA to take care of your personal landscaping as well. It is a convenient way to have your landscape taken care of. This way, you do not come home to an overgrown jungle!

Exterior Home Maintenance

Link to Costa Rica properties

In an HOA community, particularly in a condo complex, exterior home maintenance is often taken care of for you. This means that tasks like painting, roof repairs, and gutter cleaning are handled by the HOA, saving you time and hassle. Plus, because the HOA oversees these maintenance tasks, you can rest assured that they are done to a high standard, keeping your condo in top condition. If it is a single family home the maintenance will be the responsibility of the homeowner.

Amenities

Many HOA communities in Costa Rica offer fantastic amenities that residents can enjoy. From swimming pools and fitness centers to tennis courts and walking trails, these amenities can enhance your quality of life and provide opportunities to socialize with your neighbors. Best of all, the cost of maintaining these amenities is included in your HOA fees, making them a cost-effective way to enjoy a range of leisure activities.

Conflict Resolution

Hillside condo community with an HOA in Costa Rica

Living in close proximity to your neighbors can sometimes lead to conflicts, but HOAs can help mitigate these issues. HOAs often have rules and regulations in place to address common disputes, such as noise complaints. Additionally, many HOAs have a formal process for resolving conflicts, which can help maintain harmony within the community.

Security

Security is a top priority for many homeowners, and HOA communities often offer enhanced security measures. This can include gated entrances, security patrols, and surveillance cameras, all of which help keep residents safe. By living in an HOA community, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that your home and neighborhood are well-protected.

The Cons of Living in an HOA in Costa Rica

Fees

One of the most significant concerns for homeowners in an HOA is the fees. HOAs typically charge monthly or annual fees to cover the costs of maintaining common areas, amenities, and services. While these fees can vary widely, they can add a significant expense to your monthly budget. It's essential to carefully review the HOA's financials and fee structure before purchasing a property to ensure that you can afford the ongoing costs.

Exterior Regulations

Living in an HOA community often means adhering to strict exterior regulations. These regulations can govern everything from the color you can paint your home to the type of plants you can have in your yard. While these rules are intended to maintain the community's aesthetic appeal, they can feel restrictive to some homeowners who prefer more freedom in how they maintain their property.

Community road in Costa Rica maintained by the home owners association

Rules

HOAs typically have a set of rules and regulations that all residents must follow. These rules can cover a wide range of topics, including noise levels, parking restrictions, and even the types of pets allowed. While these rules are designed to create a harmonious community, they can sometimes feel overly strict or arbitrary to residents.

Cookie-Cutter Designs

In some HOA communities, there may be restrictions on the types of homes that can be built. This can result in a neighborhood where many homes look similar or have a "cookie-cutter" design. While this uniformity can create a cohesive aesthetic, it can also lead to a lack of individuality and personalization in your home.

Management

The management of an HOA can also be a concern for some homeowners. While many HOAs are well-run and efficient, others may suffer from poor management practices or lack of transparency. This can lead to frustration among residents and issues with the upkeep of common areas and amenities. Most HOA if not all have a Board of Directors that are made up of actual owners in the development, that will oversee the administrator to make sure the owners best interest are in place.

In the end, the decision to live in a community with an HOA boils down to your individual needs and priorities. While some may appreciate the peace of mind and amenities that come with HOA living, others may prefer more freedom and flexibility. Whatever you choose, Costa Rica offers a variety of housing options to suit every taste and budget. If you're ready to explore your real estate possibilities in this tropical paradise, don't hesitate to reach out.


Interested in finding a property in Costa Rica? Check out our extensive listings here:

Want to keep up with everything that is happening here in Costa Rica? Join my email list!

Need more information about Costa Rica in general? Read our FAQS about Costa Rica page.

Interested in owning a property in Costa Rica, checkout some great options here

Have a comment or a question? Feel free to EMAIL ME

Like the article? Please share!

Owning Property in Costa Rica: A Guide for Foreigners

Legal and Financial
Real Estate

Many foreigners are drawn to the natural beauty, warm climate, and laid-back lifestyle that this stunning country offers. But one question that often comes up is whether foreigners can own property in Costa Rica. Well, the good news is, yes, they can!

 

Costa Rica is known for its welcoming attitude towards foreigners, and its property laws reflect that. Whether you're looking for a vacation home, an investment property, or a place to retire, owning real estate in Costa Rica is within your reach.Casa Arcos in Costa Rica

 

One of the key reasons why owning property in Costa Rica is so accessible to foreigners is the country's laws regarding property ownership. Unlike some countries where restrictions may apply, Costa Rica has almost no restrictions on foreigners owning property here. Whether you're a resident or a non-resident, you can own property outright in your own name.

 

Why Consult an Expert?

 

When it comes to buying real estate in Costa Rica, having a knowledgeable broker by your side can make all the difference. As a seasoned broker here in Playa Hermosa, I've seen firsthand how crucial it is for buyers to have expert guidance throughout the purchasing process.

 

Costa Rica's real estate market is unique, with its own set of regulations, customs, and challenges. Without the right guidance, buyers can easily get overwhelmed and make costly mistakes. That's where a knowledgeable broker comes in.

 

One of the key benefits of working with a broker is their expertise in the local market. They have in-depth knowledge of the different neighborhoods, property values, and market trends. This insider knowledge can help buyers make informed decisions and find the perfect property that meets their needs and budget.

 

Additionally, a broker can help buyers with negotiations. They can leverage their experience and market knowledge to negotiate the best possible price for the property. This can save buyers thousands of dollars in the long run.

 

Another important role of a broker is to provide access to a network of professionals. From lawyers to inspectors to contractors, a broker can connect buyers with trusted professionals who can help with every aspect of the buying process.

 

A broker can also provide you with finding the proper legal team for legal advice. In Costa Rica, real estate transactions can be complex, especially for foreigners. A broker can help explain the legal intricacies, ensuring that the transaction is conducted properly and all legal requirements are met. This is especially true when you are not familiar with the process and terminology involved in transacting business in a foreign land.

 

Due Diligence is Key

 

A title or deed is called an "escritura" in Costa Rica. The first thing you are going to want to find out about a property is if the title is properly registered and free of liens, encumbrances and annotations. This is extremely important because it is common in Costa Rica for properties to have been in a family for years. Often these properties were never properly registered or have had the taxes paid. To do a title search, your lawyer will take the Folio Real Number of the property and insert in the national registry System to ensure it is clean or if it has issues. They will check their records and provide you with current information about the desired property.

 

The process of transferring the title must be prepared by and executed before an registered licensed notary. In North America, a notary only authenticates signatures, but in Costa Rica, the role is much more expansive. To be a notary in Costa Rica, you first must be an attorney, then go to school for 2 more years and pass more exams to become a "Notario" or notary.

 

Closing Costs

 

Home in Mariners Point community of Costa RicaHow much can you expect to pay in closing costs? The custom in Costa Rica is for the buyer to pay the costs. The closing costs will be about 4-5 percent of the purchase price. The seller typically pays the realtor’s commission. For a more in depth breakdown of closing costs please check out this article (Buyers closing costs in Costa Rica)

 

Beachfront Property: A Special Case

 

There is only one type of property that a person who has not been a legal resident of Costa Rica for 5 years cannot buy outright, and that is concession beachfront property. The first 200 meters inland from the medium high tide mark is called the Maritime Zone and can only be leased by a concession from the local municipality. This land is not titled. Concessions can be granted for 5 to 20 years, the latter being the more common.

 

The lease could be transferred through a legal shell corporation in which a Costa Rican citizen is the majority shareholder. Keep in mind the first 50 meters from the medium high tide mark is considered a public space and cannot be built on. There are strict requirements for building on the remaining 150 meters. For example, there are restrictions on building heights in certain areas to protect the environment and preserve the natural beauty of the country. So you will want to do all sorts of due diligence BEFORE deciding to purchase the concession. 

 

Conclusion

 

There are so many beautiful properties in the Playa del Coco area just waiting for you to customize and call home. What a relief it is to know that you can own it without being a resident…although once you live here you will never want to leave! 

 


Interested in finding a property in Costa Rica? Check out our extensive listings here:

Want to keep up with everything that is happening here in Costa Rica? Join my email list!

Need more information about Costa Rica in general? Read our FAQS about Costa Rica page.

Interested in owning a property in Costa Rica, checkout some great options here

Have a comment or a question? Feel free to EMAIL ME

Like the article? Please share!

Adventurous Day Trips Near Playas del Coco

Activities
Travel & Tourism

Costa Rica is the land of beautiful beaches… but it has so much more to offer! Why sit at the beach all day when you can go on an adventurous day trip? These magical spots are only an hour or two away from Playa del Coco!

Day Trip to Cortez Waterfall

Just 1 hour away from Playa del Coco is the Llanos de Cortez waterfall. This truly magnificent waterfall is located in Bagaces. Affordable and very well maintained, this is an ideal spot to bring the family. There are restrooms and showers. The walk down to the falls is manageable for most visitors in decent physical shape. When you arrive at the base of the falls, you will be enchanted. A sunny sandy beach hugs the shore of the falls where you can take a refreshing swim. You can even swim beneath the waterfall! Interested in other waterfalls? Check out my previous blog about Costa Rica waterfalls.

Llanos de Cortez Waterfall in Costa Rica

Day trip to the Mud Baths

Do you love being slathered in mud? Well I have some great news about another day trip! Both the Rincon de la Vieja and Miravalles volcanoes are surrounded by bubbling mud pits. These hot bubbling mud pits are rich in minerals and have plenty of therapeutic as well as rejuvenating properties. There are numerous locations, all within a two hour or less drive from Coco, that offer this muddy spa experience. A few great options are Hacienda Guachipelin, Borinquen Mountain Resort, or Las Hornillas.

Day Trip to Rincón De La Vieja


Rincon de la Vieja Waterfall in Costa Rica

After being coated with mud and feeling 20 years younger, you can go for a hike at Rincón de la Vieja. Rincón de la Vieja is a national park located only an hourand 20 minutes away from Playa del Coco. This national park is over 31,000 acres and has a plethora of incredible walking trails. Within this park are also many beautiful waterfalls. You will come across endless wildlife and breathtaking landscapes as you hike throughout the park. Rincón de la Vieja is a must see destination and is great for all ages. For more information, check out my previous blog about Rincon de la Vieja.

Las Hornillas mud baths in Costa Rica

Day Trip to Palo Verde Boat Tour

Crocs, monkeys, birds, oh my! A Palo Verde Boat day tour will captivate you for hours. Palo Verde National Park surrounds the Tempisque Conservation area. This conservation area is especially important because it is one of the most endangered ecosystems in all of Central America. This boat tour will teach you about all the migratory birds that depend on this area for mating and raising their young. You will see 6ft long crocodiles and playful capuchin monkeys as you gently cruise down the river. A great experience for birders or families!

Crocodile seen on the Palo Verde Boat Tour

Whitewater Rafting Day Trip

Lastly, this one is for the real thrill seekers! An hour away, just outside of Canas, you will find RCR Rafting. This whitewater rafting tour company will take you down the Tenorio River toexperience Class III-IV rapids! Whitewater rafting is perfect for those looking for a wild adrenaline rush while still taking in the beauty of Costa Rica! An experienced guide takes you through the rapids and teaches you a few things along the way. For those who are a little less adventurous… RCR also offers a slow moving tour of the Corobici River.

No matter what Costa Rica day trip adventure you choose, it is bound to be a great experience. Costa Rica is definitely so much more than just a beautiful rich coast!


Interested in finding a property in Costa Rica? Check out our extensive listings here:


Whitewater Rafting day trip

Want to keep up with everything that is happening here in Costa Rica? Join my email list!

Need more information about Costa Rica in general? Read our FAQS about Costa Rica page.

Interested in owning a property in Costa Rica, checkout some great options here

Have a comment or a question? Feel free to EMAIL ME

Like the article? Please share!

Have you tried these Costa Rican fruits?

Miscellaneous

We all love the deliciously ripe, sweet mangoes, pineapples, papayas and bananas that we eat daily in Costa Rica. Have you noticed how much better fruit tastes here? It is because we are eating fruits picked at the peak of ripeness, not picked green for exportation.

But maybe there are a few fruits that you have seen in the markets or on menus that are unfamiliar to you. Should you try them? Mostly definitely! Let me introduce you to 4 of my favorite Costa Rican fruits: Cas, guanabana, guaba, and mamon chino.

Cas is a sour guava. It is a small, round fruit about the size of a golf ball and is yellow when ripe. To make a drink with it, wash the outside, remove the stem area, cut it in half and remove any little white worms but not the seeds. Blend with water and strain out the pulp. Add sugar to taste. Fresco de cas is a refreshingly tart drink rich in antioxidants and Vitamin C.

Cas a tangy Costa Rican fruit.     Costa Rican Fruits, Cas

Guanabana (soursop) is by far one of the ugliest fruits you will ever see. It is the size of a football (or sometimes bigger), brownish-green in color with brown prickles all over. But don’t be put off by its exterior! Inside is the juiciest, sweetest white flesh. Don’t bother with utensils to process this fruit—tear it open and peel the skin off with your bare hands, and dig the shiny black seeds out with your fingers. It’s absolutely therapeutic—and very messy! You can eat it raw or blend it with water and sugar to make a drink. Dr. Axe says the guanabana has “super healing properties as a high-oxidant food,…may help reduce eye disease…and could potentially kill pancreatic cancer cells.”

Guanabana.     Cus Guanabana

Guaba (not guava) is actually a legume and not a fruit, but it is the sweetest bean you will ever eat. It is a long green pod that grows on a tree that you can pry open with your hands. Inside you will discover a row of seeds (beans) nestled in a bed of white cotton—nature’s own cotton candy! Pull that white fluff out and savor it—but spit out the seeds. Because of its slight vanilla flavor, guaba is call the “ice cream bean.” The indigenous people say the guaba has anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and other healing properties. It is mostly just fun.

Guaba opened up      Guaba

And finally, I introduce to you the mamon chino (rambutan). This hairy, bright red fruit is native to Southeast Asia and related to the lychee. Though it looks like a sea urchin, its spikes are not sharp at all. Just slice the shell with a knife—or pry it open with your fingers—and you will find a tasty little white grape inside. Pop it in your mouth and chew or suck on it until you are down to the seed, which you spit aside. They are very addictive! I don’t know if it is the punk-rock exterior or that sweet interior, but you cannot eat just one. Buy them by the kilo, eat the whole bag, and you will have met your Vitamin C requirement for a couple of days—plus a little copper, which is good for your hair, interestingly enough.

Mamones Chino.     Mamon Chino

So, the next time you are in the farmer’s market, don’t be afraid to try one of these unfamiliar Costa Rican fruits. Ask the person selling the produce how you peel, eat and process it in order to avoid the mishaps that come with experimentation. More often than not, they will give you a sample to try. Enjoy, and good health to you!

Like the article? Please share!

If you want to keep up with what is happening in Costa Rica sign up for my monthly email. I never spam and will never pass on your email to any other party.

Getting Your Costa Rica Driver's License

Miscellaneous

UPDATE FEBRUARY 9th 2022

The steps for getting your driver's license in Costa Rica haven't changed too much but there are some new things to keep in mind as of Feb 9, 2022.

You will have to schedule an appointment for the homologation of your license. Homologation of your license essentially means validating a foreign license to receive a Costa Rican license. The homologation process saves you the hassle of having to take local written and driving tests to receive a Costa Rican drivers’ license. Appointments can be scheduled on the MOPT/COSEVI website.

(https://servicios.educacionvial.go.cr/Formularios/SolicitarCitaTramite).Image of the COSEVI website where you register for an appointment to get a Costa Rica driver's license.

It is important to keep in mind that the appointments are released slowly and only at certain times. Just because you fill out the necessary information online doesn't guarantee you will receive an appointment. Oftentimes it will take a few attempts. Appointments are usually released between 7:45am-8:00am, Thursdays. Be sure to be ready and on your computer at that time.

Costa Rica drivers License

COSEVI/MOPT announced that for the month of February an appointment is not needed. They will be accepting walk-ins Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 7am to 12pm. It is advised to be there early, before 7am because there will be a long line. Make sure you have all the necessary documents and your physical before going. Continue reading below for an overview of all the necessary documents.

You have made the move to Costa Rica, and you are all excited about starting a new life in a beautiful country. It is you new home! However, before you get to “Pura Vida” there is one thing you need to do. It is time to get your Costa Rica drivers license. So what do you do?

You will need to get your Costa Rica drivers license because your foreign license is only good for the same time as your last current passport stamp (90 days is the max). Here is a list of items you will need. If you don’t have them all, you will be denied and have to go back again. I know–I went through this process.

Passport Stamp Costa Rica required for driver's license

  1. Your present license must be up-to-date and in good shape. Meaning it is not torn and everything can be clearly read on it.
  2. You will need two copies of both sides of your license. They won’t make copies for you!
  3. Medical check-up form: you can obtain this from many local area doctors that have been certified to perform the check-up. Heck, there is even a doctor’s office right across the street from the location in Liberia. But I advise doing it a day before or so.
  4. Your present resident card or your work permit, that is still valid and not expired.
  5. You will need two copies of your resident card or your work permit, both sides.
  6. You will need to present your current valid passport showing you have been in the country legally for 91 days.
  7. You will need copies of your passport that is issued from the same country as your foreign driver’s license along with copies of the last immigration stamp in your passport.
  8. Have the required fee amount ready to go. Presently it is 5,000 colones.

Dictamen is the health check required for a Costa Rica drivers license

With all the proper paperwork, your photo will be taken and a new Costa Rica drivers license will be issued on the spot. Well, on the spot is a relative term–you may have to wait an hour. Remember “Pura Vida”!

When I first got my Costa Rica license I had to go to the Central Valley to the licensing department which is part of COSEVI located in La Uruca. However, it is getting easier thanks to the General Directorate of Road Safety which provides the service. There are now 13 different location throughout the country and you do not need an appointment. They are Limon, Perez Zeledon, San Carlos, Liberia, Nicoya, Puntarenas, Rico Claro, Alajuela, Sam Ramon, Guapiles, and of course La Uruca.

Costa Rica drivers licenses

You may be thinking “HMMM, I do not have a residency card yet. It hasn’t been issued yet”. Well, unfortunately to keep your current foreign license valid you will need to leave the country and come back to get a new 90 day stamp in your passport. Unfortunately, the Immigration laws and the transit law never took foreigners and this process into consideration.
Getting your Costa Rica drivers license can be frustrating, but in the long run it is just part of moving to another country and getting to know their laws and customs.


Interested in finding a property in Costa Rica? Check out our extensive listings here:

Want to keep up with everything that is happening here in Costa Rica? Join my email list!

Need more information about Costa Rica in general? Read our FAQS about Costa Rica page.

Interested in owning a property in Costa Rica, checkout some great options here

Have a comment or a question? Feel free to EMAIL ME

Like the article? Please share!

Gallo Pinto, The Spotted Rooster

Food & Cuisine


Gallo Pinto Costa Rica

First, I just want to say, I hope that you and all yours are safe during these crazy times we are living in. When all this mess of the COVID-19 finally passes and you come to Costa Rica you have to try Gallo Pinto.If you don’t try it you have not experienced the true culture of Costa Rica. What is Gallo pinto you ask? Well, it is one of the most cooked and served dishes in Costa Rica. But what is it? Why the title Spotted Rooster? Let me put your mind at ease, you won’t be eating a rooster, although rooster is pretty tasty when roasted on an open fire. Gallo Pinto is one of the national dishes of Costa Rica. There is a small feud between Costa Rica and Nicaragua about who invented Gallo Pinto, but that’s another story.

Let me tell you about my first Gallo Pinto experience. The first time I came to Costa Rica in 1999, I ended up staying in a beachfront hotel in Playa Hermosa, Guanacaste. I arrived late and the restaurant was already closed, as the guard informed me upon check-in. So I just crashed in the room for the night. Upon waking early in the morning to the sound of monkeys in the trees, I rolled over, looked at my watch and crap, it was only 5:30 in the morning. Already fully awake, I wanted to go out and see if I could find those darn monkeys that woke me up. Since I did not get a chance to eat dinner the night before I figured on my way out of the hotel I would see what time the restaurant opens. I was famished, but the restaurant was not open yet, the same guard that checked me in the night before – what only seemed like a few hours earlier – looked fresh and alive. I wondered “did he stay up all night or did he sleep as well?” Anyway, even with my lousy Spanish I was able to find out the restaurant opens at 7:00 am.

I know you are wondering: “What about the Gallo Pinto?” Well keep reading, I am getting to it.

Playa Hermosa Guanacaste

With the hotel being beachfront ( and not being able to find those monkeys) I decided to take a walk on the soft sand of the beach. After walking the beach twice (it is only about a mile long) I decided the water looked just too inviting and decided to jump in for a swim. The water was great – warm, no big waves, perfect for swimming and playing. But I was still hungry and I was wondering is the restaurant open yet, “it has to be”, I thought. The sun is rising fast it’s got to be close to 7:00 AM.

Leaving the clear waters of Hermosa beach I walked back to the hotel to fill my screaming belly with a hearty breakfast. Luis the server greeted me with a big smile and a welcoming “Buenos Dias”. He invited me to take any table that works for me and would be right back with a menu. I was thinking “just let me go in the kitchen and I will whip something up myself”.

Luis came back within minutes with hot coffee and warm milk, a tall glass of orange juice and the menu. He said I will give you a minute to look over the menu, but have you ever tried a traditional Costa Rican breakfast? I did not hesitate for one second. Being a chef at the time, and not really knowing the foods of Costa Rica as it was my first time here, I jumped in. “Sure, I will take your suggestion Luis”, I said, “but I would like to keep the menus just in case”. We both laughed.
A plate of Gallo Pinto, Costa Rica's traditional food

Enjoying the freshly brewed coffee with the warmed milk – I assumed was local – I looked at the menu and the first thing I saw was Traditional Costa Rican breakfast. Below was written Gallo Pinto, scrambled eggs, queso, tortillas, natilla, (whatever that is) and fried plantains. Now it had me thinking “what is Gallo Pinto and this thing called natilla?” I knew the rest of the food items but not Gallo pinto and natilla. As I wrote earlier, my Spanish was not that good but I did work with a lot of guys from Cuba, Dominican Republic and Mexico back in New York, so I knew a few words. Gallo, huh, guess I will be eating some kind of chicken?? Not 100% sure, but what the heck, I was now extremely hungry.
Traditional Costa rica Breakfast with gallo PintoLuis returned with my breakfast, placed the plate in front of me and said “Provecho”. I was thinking “this looks pretty good, but where is the Gallo, or at least what I thought would be chicken”? The eggs looked perfect, softly scrambled and fluffy. The plantains cut on a slant and fried to perfection; the tortillas looked to have been a pre-bought variety but they were tossed on the grill to add marks and heated up as well. The cheese, I assume was local, so I would for sure try it . And, there was a small cup of a white substance, I thought it may be mayonnaise until I tasted it ( natilla is sour cream). Then there was this mound of a dark looking rice mixture, with black beans, green and red peppers, onions and what looked like chopped cilantro. Is this Gallo Pinto? It must be!
Plate of Gallo PintoThe first thing I did was grab my fork and dive straight into the rice mixture. I have to tell you, I never tasted anything like it before. No lie, it was delicious. The rice was soft but a little crispy as well, the beans cooked to perfection still holding their shape and not hard. The addition of the peppers onion and cilantro really married well with the rest, but there was a taste I could not quite put my finger on. I ate everything, the plate was so clean it looked like it had been licked by a dog.
Luis returned and asked “Amigo, how was your breakfast”. Great I said, but I have a question? Can I order another side of just the rice and bean dish? With a big smile, he said: “Oh you liked the Gallo Pinto”! I responded with a resounding YES it was great but there is a flavor in it I can not tell what it is. It has almost a little curry flavor to it. Luis smiled that big smile again and said I’ll be right back. Upon his return he has a small plate with more Gallo Pinto and a very small cup with this brownish/greenish stuff it in. I looked at it, then looked at him, and took one more look at the small cup and said “what is this”?
Bottle of Salsa Lizano, used in making Gallo PintoAt this point, you could tell Luis was very proud to share the secret ingredient. He said “try it first before I tell you, dip your fork in it”, and of course I did! What a wonderful surprise, a burst of flavor across my lips and on my tongue and there was a soft, somewhat curry flavor. I did not hesitate one second, I took the small cup and proceeded to pour what was in it on the Gallo Pinto, just a few drops at first, of course, I did not want to ruin it. As I looked up Luis was gone but I could see him close to the kitchen with a bottle in his hand. As he returned, he showed me the magic juice. Salsa Lizano, the Costa Rican condiment of choice.

Needless to say, that first time experience of Gallo Pinto was great. After Breakfast I got in the car to find the closest grocery store to stock up on bottles to bring back to the US.

I enjoy it now almost every day, minus the natilla (sour cream). Living here in Costa Rica for over 12 years now, I could almost (again I emphasize ALMOST) be called a “Tico”. When you come to Costa Rica, and you will – if not you are really missing out – be sure your first breakfast is a “tipico” breakfast. I am sure there will be Gallo Pinto on the plate. Enjoy!


Interested in finding a property in Costa Rica? Check out our extensive listings here:

Want to keep up with everything that is happening here in Costa Rica? Join my email list!

Need more information about Costa Rica in general? Read our FAQS about Costa Rica page.

Interested in owning a property in Costa Rica, checkout some great options here

Have a comment or a question? Feel free to EMAIL ME

Like the article? Please share!

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Joseph Emanuelli's blog
Other currencies
Pricing terms

The price is based on current exchange rates but is only an approximation. Please contact us for a final price