Costa Rica Real Estate Blog

Smoking in Costa Rica

by Ivo Henfling

Smoking in Costa RicaYou cannot smoke in public places in Costa Rica. If you are a smoker, you are only allowed to smoke in your own private home or on the public street. Costa Rica congress promoted a ban on smoking in February 2012 that was signed on March 22nd, 2012 by Costa Rica President Laura Chinchilla.

Malls, shopping centers, restaurants, bars, casinos and every public place you go, you need to walk to the public road to have a smoke. This law prohibits smoking in public places as well as any advertising by the tobacco companies. The tobacco companies now also have to put preventive warning on the cigarette packages, which they have been doing in most countries in the world for a long time.

How Ticonuevo got his Dimex residency card in Costa Rica

by guest blogger TicoNuevo

Costa Rica Dimex Residency CardOur “moving-to-Costa-Rica” travails are pretty much behind us. Our recent focus has been getting our DIMEX residency cards (cedulas de residencias) making us official full-time retired residents of Costa Rica. It was the biggest item and the one that has also taken the longest, has just been completed. It has taken far longer than we planned to make this a reality. Since I covered some of this more than a year ago, I’ll recap the “before” and “during” highlights for you here.

We were referred to an immigration lawyer and had our first appointment to see her the day after we arrived at the end of February 2013. Our lawyer presented all of the required apostiled documents and copies of other docs shortly thereafter to Costa Rican immigration and we were approved for the process of being granted “pensionado” residency status, being given an in-process letter and number in May 2013.

An Orosi Valley real estate can of worms

by Ivo Henfling

An Orosi Valley real estate can of wormsI’d like to introduce you to a couple of Orosi Valley real estate agents: Carol and BF Wilkinson of Land and Homes in Costa Rica who I referred a client to, who was not happy at all, and they didn’t pay me the referral fee we agreed on. Why do I write about it?

Not because I’m starving to death because they didn’t pay me almost $1,500 real estate referral commission that was rightly mine, but to show you what can happen when you deal with the wrong  Orosi real estate agent. The worst part of it all is that I referred those buyers to agents I had never done business with and after this adventure never will again!

As you know, I am not only owner of GoDutch Realty but also coordinator of the American European real estate network with 29 real estate agents from coast to coast. I was contacted by clients, who we will call the Joneses in this blog, who were looking for their piece of paradise in Costa Rica real estate and who I would like to apologize to publicly for such a terrible referral.

Our tips for moving to Costa Rica

by guest blogger TicoNuevo

Our tips for moving to Costa RicaI titled this blog, “our tips for moving to Costa Rica” it easily could have been titled “our moving nightmare.” It seems that even when you are careful, get recommendations and follow expert advice, everything still can go to heck in a hand basket.

As I have already covered some of our moving to Costa Rica experiences in my previous blogs, I will skip over much of the detail and just hit a few of the relevant “lowlights.” Even though we were careful and went by the book, there are things happened to us that you may be able to avoid.

After soliciting moving quotes, we selected an experienced Costa Rican international mover given to us by a trusted “recommender.” This C.R. mover was bonded as was their U.S. agent that packed us in California. (We wanted to insure our load and bonded agents are required to allow the client’s possessions to be insured while stored and in transit.)

Costa Rica lost the game and is still happy

by Ivo Henfling

Costa Rica lost the game and is still happyIt is no wonder Costa Rica is the happiest country in the world or better said, the highest life satisfaction in the world. Even when they lose their game against Holland in the quarter finals of the world cup Brasil 2014, the Ticos hit the streets and will be partying until they drop. I started writing this blog before the exciting soccer game Holland – Costa Rica and just had to re-write it as I never expected Costa Rica to lose by penalties. Costa Rica again played 120 minutes without receiving one goal. They lost by penalties…….but they’re still heroes.

I know, a lot of you are more into American Football, Baseball, Basketball or Hockey, but if you want to live in Costa Rica, you should know that soccer is more important than religion and you should learn to enjoy and be happy even when you lose the most important game in your life. Ticos know how to do that. In this blog, I'll post some photos that show how happy they can be.

Someone wrote me an email last week, saying “Next Saturday is bound to be conflicted for you at the World Cup. Are you going to root for your beloved adopted country or your native one? Or are you going to hide in the bedroom until it's all over?”

Low cost of labor makes it affordable in Costa Rica

by guest blogger TicoNuevo

Low labor cost makes it affordable in Costa RicaIn this blog, I will cover some specific examples of shopping for items and services that are inexpensive by comparison between Costa Rica and North America. Pretty much every inexpensive good or service mentioned in this blog is a result of Costa Rica having such a low cost of labor. There are many more solutions that involve a high percentage of labor compared with a smaller percentage of raw materials; putting the resulting cost below that of getting it made or repaired farther up North.

In the States, we always wished that we could afford a housekeeper. We just never could find a way to fit it into our budget, even if only twice a month. Here we are retired in Costa Rica and it wouldn’t it be nice to finally be able to give my wife and me a break, eliminate the sweat and drudgery, and free up our time for more creative and productive endeavors—well, we can and do. Not just twice a month, but Kathy comes every week for a monthly expense of less than one domestic helper’s visit in the States.

All about kissing in Costa Rica

by Ivo Henfling

All about kissing in Costa RicaThe title of this blog should really be “how do people in Costa Rica greet each other”, but I think more people will read this blog with the actual title. Anyway, it IS all about kissing because in Costa Rica we greet people by kissing them, depending on your sex. Now, don’t be shocked, there is nothing wrong with kissing. I know many North Americans, when they greet someone, they don’t kiss but they hug.

In many other countries, family kisses family when greeting and within the family, `men kiss men and women kiss women, some on the cheek, some on the mouth. In my home country, Holland, there is even a difference between the different areas. I was born and raised in the west where most people are of Protestant religion and we kiss people of the other sex once on each cheek. In the southern provinces, where my mom and dad are born and raised and people are mostly Catholic, people kiss people of the other sex three times. In the Maori culture (New Zealand), the traditional greeting involved people touching and lightly rubbing noses together, no matter what their sex is.  This is known as the Hongi, a formal Maori event. The above was just meant for those who haven’t traveled much, to explain that not all people hug.

Shopping for new and used clothing in Costa Rica

by guest blogger TicoNuevo

Shopping for clothing in Costa RicaIn this blog, I will cover shopping for new and used clothing as well as leather. Some of those are inexpensive by comparison between Costa Rica and North America. Pretty much every inexpensive good or service mentioned in this blog is a result of Costa Rica having such a low cost of labor.

There are many more solutions that involve a high percentage of labor compared with a smaller percentage of raw materials; putting the resulting cost below that of getting it made or repaired farther up North.

While I believe that there are few, if any, leather tanning facilities Costa Rica, factory made and handmade leather goods can be very affordable when compared to comparable leather items in the States. I had custom-fitted western-style leather boots handmade, which included decorative stitching plus clones of my prescription orthopedics. My wife had custom-fitted leather boots handmade with decorative leather lacing and decorative stitching. Each pair cost us $175.00. Similar custom boots, if you could even find handmade boots, would easily double or triple in cost in North America.

Shopping for an Healthy Diet in Costa Rica

by guest blogger TicoNuevo

Shopping for an Healthy Diet in Costa RicaIn this blog, I’m going to cover some foods that are in abundance and an inexpensive way to have a healthy diet. So, let’s eat. I’ll also mention several other specific examples of where to save money and in a few cases, it means go native.

I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned viveros (nurseries) previously, but flowers and plants purchased at viveros are, pardon the pun, dirt cheap in Costa Rica. This is probably because you can stick almost any type of cutting or seed in the ground and if it gets water, it’s going to grow. You are not stuck with having a selection of merely ornamental plants and trees, viveros have a vast selection of fruit-bearing choices also. And, not only are plants inexpensive, they grow to maturity much faster in Costa Rica—maybe 20 to 50% faster than a similar plant or tree in the States. So, you’ll start harvesting edibles much sooner than you might expect.

A word of caution: look out for plants’ and flowers’ natural enemies. There are several enemies of growing things, but grasshoppers and leaf-cutter ants (a colony can travel from as far away as 150 meters and strip a large plant or a small tree of all living leaves and/or flowers in a night).

Costa Rica had pasta for breakfast last Friday

by Ivo Henfling

Costa Rica had pasta for breakfast Pasta is an unusual type of food to have for breakfast and Ticos usually have Gallo Pinto at that time of the day as you all know by now. You might not know that soccer is a religion in Costa Rica. Last Friday, the Costarican National Soccer Team had Italian for breakfast by winning 1 – 0 from Italy at  and head coach Jorge Luis Pinto put Costa Rica on the map AGAIN. Italy had never expected to be losing from Costa Rica and honestly, I didn’t either. See player Brian Ruiz, who scored, celebrating in the photo on left.

Soccer is has always been the number one sport in Costa Rica, we call it futból. If you are thinking of moving to Costa Rica, now is your chance of learning about soccer because as soon as you put a foot on Costarican soil, you will have to get used to soccer being more important than anything else in life. Costa Rica already has a #1 ranking on the Happy Planet Index and I invite you to enjoy the party with us and get a real feeling what Costa Rica is all about.  

Costa Rica was virtually unknown until President Oscar Arias received the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1987 for his efforts to end the Central American crisis. The Nobel Prize in combined efforts with the start of green tourism has put Costa Rica on the map for the first time.  And now it has happened for the 2nd time.

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