Guest Blogger's blog

Before moving to Costa Rica – consider the people location

Before moving to Costa Rica – consider the people location Everybody knows that in buying a house, it is all about location. The physical location is most vital, but what about the “people location”?

If you are considering moving to Costa Rica, it is critical to plan. There are people who “stick a pin in a map, roll the dice” and hope for the best, however it is recommended that thought and planning goes into the decision. 

Consider the “people location”. It is difficult to understand the culture and subcultures of a town or neighborhood. As an expat, it is essential to take into consideration the people who you will be interacting with every day.

The principal given reason for moving to Costa Rica is “lower cost of living”, and that is true (with caveats).  In general, it seems that there are three very broad groups of expats. To be able to find the right people location for you and your spouse, belonging to one of those groups will help you adjust after moving to Costa Rica. 

Costa Rican Construction Standards

Installation of plumbing tubes so shower sprays are above your headMany expats who are considering buying a house in Costa Rica ask "What are the Local Construction Standards?" Are the standard building materials and installation methods that the majority of the people who grew up in Costa Rica are accustomed to the same as yours? 

If you have not spent much time in Costa Rica, you may not initially notice the lack of amenities that you have taken for granted your whole life. Many times it isn't until after a foreigner has purchased a house here, and has lived in it for a while, that they realize how different the local construction standards are.

Local contractors in Costa Rica, pay much less attention to details and the average Costa Rican feels that many of the amenities that foreigners take for granted are extravagant and unnecessary, such as:

4 Top Design Elements of Portable Buildings


The increasing demand for secure and, budget-friendly housing units has led many people turn towards modular buildings. It is totally a new concept in the construction industry. These structures are manufactured in a closed unit and delivered to customers in the form of a modular building. The best part of these buildings is that they can be carried from one to place another place easily and are especially beneficial for the storage needs. They are available for both commercial and domestic applications. 

These buildings are environment-friendly and do not pose any negative impact on the location. The only thing you require is enough space at the destination and these buildings provide several benefits to people who want shelter on immediate basis. The amenities required for these structures come pre-assembled so there is no need for digging or excavation work. These portable buildings are relocated with the use of a forklift jack and a pallet. They prove cost-effective and offer significant advantages, when compared to traditional construction practices. 

The Costa Rica Asada Saga


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.

Turn your Costa Rica house into a vacation rental successfully

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).

The reasons Pablo bought property in Atenas Costa Rica

PABLO R. | AUGUST 15, 2014

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.

How to dissolve your Costa Rican corporation

 How to dissolve your Costa Rican corporation

As many of you are aware, or certainly should be aware by now, the Costa Rica government imposed an annual corporation tax on all Costa Rican corporations by way of Law No. 9204 in 2012.  

The date the law was implemented is important for two provisions that I will discuss in detail in this article. 

(1) The permission for the legal representative of the corporation to unilaterally resign from the Board of Directors and

(2) The Dissolution of the corporation for non-payment of the corporation tax.  

1.    The Resignation of the Legal Representative

Since the Corporation Tax Law holds the legal representative personally liable for the corporation tax the law allowed a period of 2 years for the legal representative to resign from the corporation.   The period to unilaterally resign expires on April 1, 2014.   

For purposes of this law the legal representative can be the President or any other officer or non-officer of the corporation that holds a Power of Attorney (Apoderados).   

I found Yoga in Costa Rica at 51 years old

by Corinne Aulakh

Yoga in Costa Rica when at 51 years oldI am a fan of Ivo’s blog and especially enjoyed the recent submission, Suggestions on what to do with your free time in Costa Rica by guest blogger, TicoNuevo.  Humbly, I would like to add to his many valuable recommendations and suggest using this extra free time to find, develop, and enhance a healthy lifestyle.  

I came to Costa Rica as a pensionado with 3 young children to raise 22 years ago.   I did not speak a word of Spanish.  I actually did do pretty much all the actions suggested in TicoNuevo’s blog.  I joined a Spanish-speaking group to learn the language, I volunteered my time with PANI, I volunteered in the school my children attended, and I joined a couple of women’s groups that met weekly. 

Atenas Costa Rica - a dream come true

Atenas Costa Rica - A dream come trueIn another blog, a couple of weeks ago, I told you who I am and how I ended up living in Atenas – Costa Rica.

Today, I will tell you more about the town of Atenas and what it means to me to live here, a dream that came true, now 12 years ago.

In those days, when driving around Atenas, you could meet about three or four foreigners in a whole day. Today if you stop at any street corner, any time of the day you’re sure to count at least five or six of us expats just by looking around, all happy and enjoying the beautiful weather and the slow pace of Atenas.

In Atenas, you’ll find quite a few outstanding residential communities where mostly expats are living.

The best climate in the world

Sitting in the mountains enclosing the West part of the Central Valley, Atenas is a little town already well known for having the best climate in the world. Indeed the weather will be in the eighty’s Fahrenheit about every single day of the year. But because of its low humidity factor, those high numbers reveal themselves perfectly comfortable. Nobody uses air conditioning for one thing; neither will you find any heating devices! Most washers and dryers stay under roof but outside the houses.

The benefits of living in Atenas

The Benefits of Living in AtenasMy family and I relocated to Atenas in 2003 and have enjoyed the benefits of living in Atenas tremendously. We moved from Colorado, USA, not yet ready to retire and have been very happy since. Many of our clients, when searching for the right place to live, ask me “why Atenas and not anywhere else?” My answer is that we fell in love with Atenas, that’s why. Let me tell you a bit about it, so you understand why. 

Atenas is not a city but it is still a small Costa Rican town that hundreds of ex-pats from the U.S., Canada and Europe have chosen to call “home” which is what makes living in Atenas so attractive.  Climate, natural beauty and location are just a few of those reasons.  Daily, you see both Costa Ricans and foreigners walking, jogging and biking throughout Atenas. Everyone waves and smiles at each other making this a truly wonderful place to relocate to.

Everyone waves and smiles at each other making this a truly wonderful place to relocate to.  There is the weekly Farmer’s Market where you can find almost everything – organic coffee, fresh baked breads, pies, countless varieties of fruits, vegetables, cheeses, flowers all surrounding the park. Find out how you can cook those local products and try something new, which would one of an immense benefit to you if you look forward to living in Atenas.