Costa Rica Real Estate Blog

Is it true that Costa Ricans never say no?

by Ivo Henfling

A good reason to move to Costa Rica?

A reason to move to Costa Rica?There are many reasons for moving to Costa Rica but the most attractive one is that Costa Ricans are nice people, which is why they have a hard time saying NO. If you compare the Ticos, which is how they call themselves proudly, with the neighbors, the Panamanians and the Nicaraguans (Nicas), they come way ahead in friendliness.

Ticos have a different attitude, to my opinion, due to the fact that they never had to really suffer through dictatorship and civil wars. During the only Costa Rican civil war, the revolution of 1948, took the fighting parties only 44 days to figure things out between them. Costa Rica has always had a huge middle class and social unrest has been practically unknown to them.

Following the civil war, the army was abolished and the money usually budgeted for an army, was used to build schools, which is what made the Tico the most educated population in Central America. This is what sets them apart from the rest of their continent and why Costa Rica is the happiest country in the world.

Expats and InterNations in Costa Rica

by Gregor Willis

Expats and InterNations in Costa RicaNobody Stands Alone is one of InterNations’ slogans and the expat community in Costa Rica is no exception. Costa Rica has well-established expat communities in many of its towns and cities; as an InterNations’ member, you are able to connect with fellow expats and share the wonderful experiences that come with living in a foreign part of the world.

What’s an expat?

The dictionary may define an expatriate as simply “a person who lives outside their native country” but we at InterNations see expats as so much more! An expat is someone brave and adventurous, someone who has dared to leave the safe and easy confines of their natural environment and, instead of just venturing out into the world, has made the planet his or her home!

Will new visa fines stop perpetual tourism in Costa Rica?

by Ivo Henfling

Should you worry about having to pay $100 visa fine per month or not?

Should you worry about having to pay $100 visa fine per month or not?In 2011, a new article of the immigration law was approved and came in effect on August 1st, 2014. This article fines tourists $100 per month after their tourist visa expires. Those who cannot pay or are unwilling to do so, will not be allowed back into the country for three times the length they overstayed on their tourist visa.

Thousands of foreigners from the US, Canada, Europe and elsewhere live in Costa Rica as a perpetual tourist. I imagine the government doesn’t know either how many people live like that in Costa Rica. Many are snowbirds and rent short term and others just live here long term and leave the country every three months to renew their tourist visa.

Quite a few perpetual tourists even own property in Costa Rica or have a business here but have never bothered getting their legal residency or did not apply for some reason. Many do not know they can apply for legal residency if their property is appraised in the municipality for at least $200,000 and  do not have to worry about leaving the country every 90 days.

Renting our home as a Costa Rica vacation rental

by guest blogger John Doe

How to advertise your Costa Rica vacation rental property better?

How can you best advertise your Costa Rica vacation rental property?It has been some time since I reported on my experience with buying property in Costa Rica and living there, and I thought it would be useful to give an update.

My wife and I are not yet at the point of retiring fully, but are rapidly approaching that time. Our purchase of property in Costa Rica was a preliminary step in that direction. Since we do not use our property ourselves all that much, our plan was to rent it as a vacation rental, to recover some (or if possible, all) of the costs and our home is located in an area that GoDutch Realty or their affiliates don’t service.

Things started out quite slowly, and it took some time to get registered on rental sites (HomeAway and Tripadvisor, currently). I considered using local real estate agents for sourcing potential tenants, but after checking with them, there did not seem to be much interest. I was not surprised, since our experience when we purchased our property was also that they were not helpful (story for another time).

Not retiring to Costa Rica because of your kids?

by Ivo Henfling

You are ready to retire and you are dreaming to do so in Costa Rica. You see yourself already walk the beach or sitting on your terrace at your pool, enjoying the views, while having piña coladas.  But, there is one but…….

Your kids. It’s your kids that are the problem. It’s not so much the fact that you are going to miss them so much, or the grand kids. You are just afraid they cannot survive without you.

A couple of weeks ago, someone sent me a photo of the smartest message I have seen parents leave their kids. You can love your kids to death, you can enjoy them as well as your grand kids. But believe me, we all deserve a life, you, your kids and your grand kids.

The reasons Pablo bought property in Atenas Costa Rica

by guest blogger Pablo

The reasons Pablo bought property in Atenas - Costa RicaWalt Disney said that “dreams really do come true.”  Now we believe it – or at least we are starting to.

Ten years ago, Katya and I first visited Costa Rica.  We stayed on the Nosara peninsula, visited Arenal and spent some time in an eco-lodge on the Osa peninsula.  We also made a huge mistake – we saw a piece of land near Nosara for sale and decided … not to do anything.  Talk about bad decisions – even if we had done nothing but hold the property and resell it we would have made a mint.  

So when we saw some land here in Costa Rica this past January we didn’t hesitate – and now we are proud owners of property in Atenas, Costa Rica.  Over the coming year we will design a house, break ground, and, in 18 months, move to Costa Rica and have a new place to live.  When it’s done, we plan to spend most of the winter in Costa Rica and parts of summer as well while spending Spring and Fall back with family in the States.

Piropos or catcalling in Costa Rica

by Ivo Henfling

Piropos or catcalling in Costa RicaLast week, in my blog on Machismo in Costa Rica, I told you a bit about piropos or cat calling. They are like pick-up lines in English. A piropo is the Latin American way of giving another person a compliment and they are a tradition in Costa Rica, like it or not. Originally, machismo would allow only men to give women a piropo, but with society having changed and making acceptable what was not before, you will hear piropos now from women to men, men to men and women to women, and why not? Isn’t it nice to have someone say something real nice to you?

Piropos are supposed to be romantic, which is what Latin Americans generally are a lot more than Caucasians but they can also be very offensive. Caucasians, I guess due to the Lutheran upbringing, are generally not romantic, so we’re not used to say piropos or to receive them. Depending on the education though, piropos can vary tremendously; they go from romantic to humorous to daring to sexy.  It is a way for men to pay a beautiful woman their compliments.  There is a huge amount of piropos that don’t pass because of their vulgarity though.

Why is MacGyvering a must in Costa Rica?

by guest blogger TicoNuevo

Why is McGyvering a must in Costa Rica?In this blog, I’d like to recount an experience I had recently that is indicative of the way you’ll find product availability in this country. My story is about buying lumber. It is not particularly important taken at its face, but it exemplifies why “MacGyvering” is so prevalent, even a way of life here, why you may sometimes wonder why Ticos are resigned to settling for the second-best solution and, perhaps, why Costa Ricans can be counted among the world’s most patient people.

If you were to buy wood for a project in North America, you’d most likely head to the lumberyard or big box building materials store. There you would find a wide selection of all kinds, sizes and lengths of lumber. Except for EPA, there aren’t many big box stores in Costa Rica and the local ferreterias will typically have even fewer choices, some carry no lumber at all.

Machismo in Costa Rica

by Ivo Henfling

Machismo in Costa RicaMachismo is part of the Latin American culture and though education and travel are changing this gender gap, you will still see a lot of machismo in the lower and middle social classes in Costa Rica. But what is machismo?

Machismo is a concept of masculine pride, associated with men feeling very manly and at the same time denigrating feminine or less masculine characteristics or behavior. Macho is a Spanish word and in the Merriam – Webster encyclopedia is explained as having or showing qualities (such as very noticeable strength and aggression) that agree with traditional ideas about what men are like : manly or masculine in a very noticeable or exaggerated way, something you will have to learn with when living in Costa Rica.

Machismo is part of the Latin culture; therefore machismo is very visible in Costa Rica, even though you will find a lot of it in other cultures as well. For many men, having power over women, keeping them in line by control, treating them as a servant and even getting to the point of violence is part of machismo.

How to obtain your Costa Rica driver's license when having a residency ID

by guest blogger TicoNuevo

How to obtain your Costarican driver's license when having a residency IDNearly all obstacles to our residency in Costa Rica are in the rear-view mirror except for the matter of getting our Costa Rican driver’s licenses. If you have a current/valid driver’s license from your home state or province, this should be one of the easiest items to tick off your list, but Costa Rica’s bureaucracy has one more little gotcha’ in store.

It’s probably another case of the left hand not knowing what the right is doing. The latest policy in effect at COSEVI, Costa Rica’s department of motor vehicles, states that Costa Rican driver’s licenses cannot be issued until one has their cedula de residencia and their 90-day entry visa has expired. There is no logical reason, I can see, behind making you wait until, at least, the 91st day before allowing you to get your license.

For first-time license applicants, your initial driver’s license must be obtained at COSEVI headquarters in the La Uruca district of San Jose about three kilometers from the Migración offices and a reasonably long drive from many gringo bastions of habitation.