Costa Rica Real Estate Blog

Road Obstacles when driving in Costa Rica

When driving in Costa Rica, don't let a tree get in your way

by Ivo Henfling

Road obstacles when driving in Costa RicaDriving in Costa Rica can be overwhelming when you first arrive. I compare it to driving in Paris, Rome or Madrid, any Latin American city in Europe. It’s mainly the lack of discipline that turns roads into a madhouse, especial at peak hours. We all want to get to our destination as soon as possible, even if we have to break all the rules simultaneously if we have to. We don’t pay any attention to road signs and road markings; this is the wild, wild west for anyone not used to drive in Costa Rica. 

Costaricans are very nice and easy going people, but once they hold a steering wheel in their hands, they’ll go nuts. Since they are always running late, which we call Tico Time, they try to recover lost time on the road. Doing so, they will do anything that is not allowed, no matter how crazy it sounds.

Now, don’t run scared now, if you follow my articles, you will be aware of many of the obstacles you will find, the weird actions that some drivers take and the mistakes made by road planners. In no time, you will be either a careful driver or as crazy as the locals are when driving a car.

What is a chorizo in Costa Rica

Chorizo or kick-back is accepted in local culture

by Ivo Henfling

What is a chorizo in Costa Rica?Most people know a chorizo as a sausage made of minced meat and spices, usually dark red or brown and of elongated cylindrical shape. In Costa Rica we have two types of chorizo, a legal one and an illegal one. 

Most butchers in Costa Rica make their own chorizo or sausage, some good and some bad. You just have to try them out in different places. Some grocery stores have real good ones; it just depends on the recipe. But that’s not what my blog is all about today.

Today, I will explain all about the other chorizo, a cultural habit that used to be very accepted in Costa Rica but now rejected by many. This other chorizo has nothing to do with a sausage. This chorizo is a bribe, a kick-back or an illegal business transaction. The person who commits the act of the chorizo is a chorizero (chorizera when female) and the plural form of a chorizo is chorizos. A chorizero can also be a person who sells just anything he can get his hands on and . Jaquemate, a well-known Costarican band produced the song El Chorizero in 1983, click here to see the video.  

American Football in Costa Rica sports bars

Where can you watch American Football in Costa Rica?

by Rudy Matthews

Where to watch American Football in Costa RicaThere are a lot of die-hard American football fans in Costa Rica. I have to admit I belong to that group and when not working will be at a sports place - restaurant watching a game. Some places are great because they have the ability to show 2-3 games playing at the same time schedule. And most serve you real good burgers as a bonus.

Also now many restaurants have installed televisions and games can be seen. Even Denny’s restaurant by the airport has multiple televisions and if you can afford Denny’s prices you can catch a game. I would like to share with you some of the places I go and perhaps you can check them out and if you go to a place not mentioned here you can share. 

Fiesta Casino - Alajuela

The casino has a sports bar-restaurant that if in America would be packed every Sunday. There are many televisions and there are big and medium screens. They can show a variety of games at the same time and you can request what game you want and they try to show those games.

The Costa Rica Asada Saga

Water certification is needed for building permits

by guest blogger Pablo R.


Water certification needed for building permitsMy wife, Katya, and I speak some Spanish (though probably not enough).  Still, we thought we knew the word “asada.”  It meant “roasted” and frequently modified “carne” or, in a masculine form, “pollo.”  Who knew that “asada” also means “local water administration?”  Well, now we do, and therein hangs a tale. Here it is (though I offer a strong caution that we aren’t sure we understand it completely, so ask Ivo or a lawyer!):

The area where we bought land, Hacienda Atenas, supplies water from a joint local well.  We pay a monthly fee to the water association for the water we get.  Their association, known as an “ASADA,” is currently informal in nature.  It has not officially registered with the Costa Rican government.

Apparently, it’s been like that for years.  And, apparently, for years that’s been OK.  But it seems that there was a law passed (who knew) many years ago requiring all “informal” Asadas to register with the government and become formalized.  And, lo and behold, the deadline for that registration was September 1st, 2014.

How to get a Costa Rica mailing address

What will be your mailing address when you order online from Costa Rica

by Ivo Henfling

Costa Rica mailing addressYou are living in Costa Rica and you need a mailing address, which seems like a simple task at hand. Well, it can be, depending on how easy you want to make it yourself.

Most everything you pay for online, will not allow you the space on the order form that you need. Some mailing addresses in Costa Rica will take up three or more lines, since we don’t have normal street names and house numbers.

So it’s easier to understand what I’m saying, my own official home address is as follows:  300 norte, 25 este de Centro Comercial Paco, primera casa mano izquierda con tapia blanca, San Rafael de Escazu. And I can assure you that my mailing address is a lot easier than many. When I really need to mail something, it would have to be sent to PO Box 287, 1250 Escazu, Costa Rica.

When I pay for something online though, the system won’t allow me to fill out my PO box and my street address won’t fit in the order form. So I invented my own mailing address: Multiplaza 1, Escazu.

 

Do Ticos love or hate gringos

What can you expect from the Tico’s behavior towards the Gringos who live in Costa Rica

by Ivo Henfling

Do Ticos love or hate Gringos?I thought it was a good idea to get some comments from my blog readers about this specific topic: do Ticos love or hate gringos? You can read some nice and some not so nice comments on this same issue on Costa Rica Living Forum, where some tend to be a little blunt. Please leave your comments at the end of this blog, it will be appreciated very much.

First of all, let’s explain the word gringo. The non-derogatory term “Gringo” is mainly used in Costa Rica to refer to a foreigner who is does not speak Spanish as a native language. Originally used by the Mexicans but now also used by the Ticos as well as other Latin Americans. So North-Americans, Canadians, Germans, French, Dutch, Russian, Rumanians, Serbs and many others are gringos. Spaniards, Argentinians, Portuguese and Brazilians are not and are not called any name that I know of. Asians are generalized as “Chinos”.

More tips on how to turn your home into a successful Costa Rica vacation rental

Even more Vacation Rental Tips and Ideas

by guest blogger John Doe

More tips on how to turn your home into a successful Costa Rica vacation rentalLast week, I published the first 3 tips to how to turn your Costa Rica house into a vacation rental. My wife and I have purchased a house in Costa Rica before we are ready to retire and we are trying to cover the cost of the maintenance of the property by renting the property as a vacation rental while we are absent owners. 

The following tips might be useful to you as they help us a lot to get ahead in the game of Costa Rica vacation rentals and generate some nice rental income.

4    Don’t try to do it all at once

Be flexible and willing to think outside the box. I remember when we started to rent, how big a task it seemed. What would we do if...? There are so many things that “could” go wrong...and we were thousands of miles away. In the beginning, we had only our housekeeper, who was recommended by our developer, who also still lived in the development. We relied completely on our developer and his very helpful wife to act as a go-between in dealing with our property.

Costa Rica retirement tours

Take a retirement tour BEFORE you decide to retire in Costa Rica

by Ivo Henfling

Costa Rica retirement ToursIf you really think you have the tolerance to move to another country and  even enjoy the ups and downs you will encounter, you’ve just passed STEP ONE of our Costa Rica Retirement Exam. 

Once you have signed up for George Lundquist’s Costa Rica retirement tours, you’ve also passed step two and you’re ready for adventure. George calls his Costa Rica retirement tours “Retire in Costa Rica on Social Security” but it doesn’t matter to him if you bring a lot more money that just your social security, don’t worry. 

What is that adventure all about? Not running scared I hope? Find out now what we have for you on this incredible trip. It’s going to be the best trip you’ve ever made in your life, your due diligence trip for retirement. 

 

Water issues obstruct building permits in agricultural subdivisions in Costa Rica

No Building Permits at Municipalities without Water Certification

by Ivo Henfling

No Building Permits at Municipalities without Water Certification

Do you have a building lot in an agricultural subdivision in Costa Rica? Or maybe you are planning to buy one? If so, you better read this blog, so you can save yourself a lot of headaches later on. 

The fact is that starting September 1st, 2014 if you own a property in Costa Rica and you want to be able to get building permits from the municipality where the property is located, the owner has to get a certification from the water company (carta de agua) that certifies there is water available for that property. If the property already has a house, you don’t have to worry, but as soon as you want to build additional footage to your house, you will need a building permit. 

Most municipalities even go a step further and they oblige you to get that same letter when you request an “uso de suelo”, which is a document that shows what you are able to build on that particular property and it will tell you if the property is residential, commercial or industrial as well as the density (how much construction is allowed).

Turn your Costa Rica house into a vacation rental successfully

Vacation Rental Tips and Ideas

by guest blogger John Doe

Costa Rica vacation rental tips and ideasIn this blog, and another one next week, I will provide some tips which may assist you to increase your success rate if your intent is to purchase a property to rent out part or all of the time. This is based on my own specific experience, from purchasing a house and small acreage in Costa Rica, which we visit for a couple of weeks once or twice a year, and otherwise make available to rent.

Therefore, it is not meant to be all-inclusive vacation rental. Some of these tips may overlap, but for completeness, I will include them all (in no particular order of importance). Today, I'll will publish the first three that I came up with and will do the rest next week.

1.    Make contacts with Ticos 

Don’t restrict yourself to the expat community. On our last visit, my wife and I arrived at our house to find that the water was not working. I had no idea what the problem was. As we pondered the situation, the guard from the guard-house arrived on his 4-wheeler, since he had been told we came through the gate, and wanted to come and greet us. (Keep in mind this was on a Saturday, as I relate the rest of the story).

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