Ivo's Blog

For your information, we have lots of volcanoes in Costa Rica

by Ivo Henfling

For your information, we have lots of volcanoes in Costa RicaWhen I started selling real estate in Costa Rica, roads were less crowded and we were very few real estate agents in Costa Rica. It was necessary to take listings that were within 5 hours drive from your real estate office if you ever wanted to sell anything. 

Since I used to supervise my sales people when I owned a spice packing company in Escazu, I got to know the country very well, much better than most locals, which helped me a lot in my real estate career.

My very first sale was a Dutch owned property located in Liberia. Back then, to get there was just under 3 ½ hours. On the day that I closed that sale at a lawyer’s office in Liberia, I showed a farm in Turrialba to another client in the afternoon; just to give you an idea of how easy traffic was at the time.

Another client bought a farm from me in the Los Santos Valley, and I made him swear not to ask me to sell the property again, because of the long drive to get there. And guess what happened……

Do your eyes see a different Costa Rica than your spouse does?

by Ivo Henfling

Do your eyes see a different Costa Rica than your spouse does? As we all know, men and women see things differently, though they’re both looking at the same thing. It’s one of those things that make a marriage interesting! But when you live in Costa Rica or when you are planning to do so in the future, those differences can become serious matter for unhappiness and even for divorce. 

If you have been married for many years, you usually know each other well, weaknesses and strengths, likes and dislikes. While doing your due diligence for moving to Costa Rica, are you both seeing the same attractions, the same advantages and the same disadvantages of moving to another country and another culture? You probably don’t, even though you’re convinced you are and that is what today’s blog is all about.

In Costa Rica, in case you didn’t know, the locals speak Spanish, have a Latin American culture and think very different from what you are used to. Where things have logic in their minds, they might not have any logic to you at all. While you would resolve a problem one way, they might resolve the same problem a completely different way. Who said your way is the correct one? 

The solution to Costa Rica’s high product prices

by Ivo Henfling

The solution to Costa Rica’s high product pricesOn April 8, 2015 the Costa Rica News published a real interesting article titled “The real reason behind Costa Rica’s high product prices”, about the fact that Costarican produced products are cheaper in neighboring countries than in Costa Rica itself, even though there is a high cost of transport. 

This article explains that commercial protectionism of certain Costarican industries, high import tax on foreign products, mostly giants like Dos Pinos (milk products) and Pipasa (chicken and meat products, fresh and frozen) make it possible to charge a much higher price for their products in Costa Rica and export cheaper to neighboring countries.

In case you hadn’t noticed, Costa Rica has become more expensive than it was a couple of years ago. Nobody moves to Costa Rica anymore because it’s so cheap to live here, there are other countries that offer a much lower cost of living. Costa Rica offers many other advantages, about which I’ve written plenty of blogs. BUT, there are ways to save a lot of money that you might not realize, which I’d like to do today, give you a solution to Costa Rica’s high product prices. 

Atenas Park Benches for rent or is a vacation rental better?

by Ivo Henfling

Atenas Park Benches for rentAtenas homes for rent are the hottest item this season. If you are looking to rent a home in Atenas - Costa Rica you need to reserve on time, please do so. If you don’t, you will have use a bench in the park of Atenas. Atenas has a very nice park, mind you, but those benches are all concrete and not very comfortable.

GoDutch Realty usually doesn’t get involved in homes for rent very much. There are several reasons for that, but this time I won’t get into that. Atenas is really the only location in the Central Valley where we really do a lot of rentals and they’re almost all occupied for this high season.

Last week I received an email that said “We are still in the area and could rent for one week but it has to be between tomorrow and March 28”. So it was either a bench in the park, a B & B or a hotel. If you are looking to rent a home in Atenas for this high season, I really have to disappoint you. In case you didn’t reserve your Atenas vacation home in time, we can still rent you a bench in the park.

Russian property buyers interested in Costa Rica?

by Kirill Blazheev

Russian property buyers interested in Costa Rica?Recently, GoDutch Realty Costa Rica has been able to secure an alliance with us at Tranio.com, the largest directory of overseas property for international buyers. Tranio offers property for sale worldwide in over 30 countries, which will make the Costa Rica real estate listings more accessible to a more ample market.

Tranio holds top positions in Google as well as in Yandex, which is a leading search engine for the Russian Market. Our alliance will allow GoDutch Realty a much different portal to showcase Costa Rica property for sale and we are looking forward to our new relationship.

We have a large inventory of overseas properties for sale at a wide range of prices and we also have a section dedicated to the luxury real estate. Here we advertise the most prestigious real estate in sought-after regions like chalets in the Alps, penthouses in Manhattan, castles in France and Germany, villas in the French Riviera, mansions in London and now luxury vacation & retirement homes in Costa Rica.

Prohibition during Easter week in Costa Rica

by Ivo Henfling

Prohibition during Easter week in Costa RicaThe United States had Prohibition from 1920 – 1933, promoted by a "dry" crusaders movement and led by rural Protestants and social Progressives in the Democratic and Republican parties.

82 Years later, 26 municipalities in Costa Rica still prohibit the sale of liquor in bars, restaurants, hotels, supermarkets and  liquor stores during Thursday and Friday (2nd and 3rd of April 2015) in Easter week. The local police will make sure the liquor department in the grocery stores will be covered and taped off with plastic or some other smart way to stop you from buying it (as shown in photo at the end of this blog) and there will be no beer or other liquor expended anywhere.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you will not see anybody drinking during those days. Those who live in those municipalities prohibiting the sale of liquor during Holy Thursday and Friday will make sure they purchase their rum, whiskey and beer on Wednesday. It is the unsuspecting foreigner who will be in trouble when they run out of their favorite alcoholic drink.

US Embassy security message warns for living in Escazu

by Ivo Henfling

US Embassy security message warns for living in EscazuI was surprised to read a message from the U.S. Embassy in San José, forwarded to me by one of our real estate agents, who is an American citizen. In the message, which you can read at the end of this blog in case you haven’t received it yourself, the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica warns all U.S. citizens traveling and living in Escazu, that their safety can be affected due to recent security incidents.

In the month of March, the security message explains, there have been three separate drive-by shootings in Escazu, resulting in the death of two Costa Rican citizens and a serious injury to a U.S. citizen.

I have lived in Escazu for at least 30 of my 35 years in Costa Rica and I have NEVER been shot at. Maybe I am not worth being shot at? Or maybe it’s because I am not a U.S. citizen? Maybe I behave like a normal citizen and I am not involved in the sports book business as one of them was, nor am I involved in drugs dealing even though I am your Marihuana friendly real estate broker in Costa Rica

I have never seen a security message from the Costarican government warning those who travel to Boston to be aware that it can be dangerous there because of the bombings during the 2013 Boston Marathon.

Solo Camaron for shrimp lovers in Costa Rica

by Ivo Henfling

Solo Cameron restaurant Costa RicaWe were seriously surprised to find a restaurant with such a varied shrimp menu. I knew the restaurant existed as we had walked by it several times, but from the outside, the place looks like a Johnny Rockets, not inviting enough for me. When I find a restaurant that's worth mentioning because the food, the service or the ambience is worth telling my readership about, I will do so in one of my blogs.

If you're reading this blog and you want to order a takeaway, don't call my office as many people who read my blog do, but call 2228-5981 /  8888-2449

Dany and I had planned to have a nice Peruvian lunch on a Sunday afternoon and went to Plaza Itskatzú, a great strip mall with lots of restaurants in Escazu. The parking lot of the strip mall was packed and we barely found any space. People are either making a lot of money or the credit card companies are.  Walking over to the Peruvian restaurant, we were nicely greeted by a young waiter who invited us to check out the menu. The name of the restaurant: Solo Camaron, which means Only Shrimp. 

We were surprised with the variety on the menu and Dany is a seafood person, so we decided to forget about Peruvian food for now and try the shrimp. The restaurant is not very cozy and very inviting; it looks more like a hamburger joint, which is not my favorite for a nice Sunday afternoon with my wife. 

How to go about tipping in Costa Rica

by Ivo Henfling
How to go about tipping in Costa RicaYou just arrived at the international airport in Costa Rica. As soon as you walk outside arrivals, 10 guys jump on you, trying to help you with your suitcases. Of course they want to get paid for their services, how much should you pay them?
You’re having a great lunch with friends in this fish restaurant in Jaco Beach and the service is outstanding. Should you tip at all and how much?
Propina is the right word for a tip in Costa Rica. A 10% service charge is customary in most parts of the world. Well, in Costa Rica, the 10% propina is not customary, its LAW.
In all restaurants and bars, the service charge of 10% will show on your invoice as Imp. Servicio and is charged over the total sum of the products consumed. The 13% sales tax (soon to be called IVA) is calculated after the 10% service tax is added. So you pay the sum of the products + 10% + 13%. If you are a real fanatic in finding out more, you can check the law in Spanish by clicking here  

How To Find An Excellent Real Estate Agent In Your Area?

by Daniel Clark

How To Find An Excellent Real Estate Agent In Your Area?When selling your home in Costa Rica, the most important thing is to find a good real estate agent to make the entire process easy and efficient. However, the main question is how to find a good agent who is able to promote your home better than others? 

The best agent may not necessarily work for a large country-wide company. 

However, he or she should have experience and should be knowledgeable about you’re the area your home is located in.  The agent should listen to all your needs and know the market in your area. To make this agent finding process easy, you can follow the tips given below.

Recommendation or referrals

The best real estate agents are successful because have satisfied customers refer them to other clients. When you are thinking of selling your home, it is better to ask your friends, acquaintances or neighbors for reference of a good agent. Successful agents strive to make their customers happy and build strong referral network, an easy and secure way to find an agent with a proven track record and good reputation.