Property Ownership

Costa Rica’s national constitution guarantees the right to own property to anyone, with foreign nationals enjoying the same rights as Costa Ricans. Land can be owned outright with a deed, allowing the owner to sell or pass it along to their heirs. Homes, living expenses, insurance and property taxes are all significantly lower than in the U.S. Unlike Mexico, where property can be “purchased” by foreigners for up to 99 years (when, presumably, it reverts to previous ownership or to the government), land, homes, condos, and businesses in Costa Rica can be owned by citizens of other countries – without restriction. A “clear title” to property in Costa Rica is available to anyone who has the finances to make the purchase.

Process of buying property

The management team at Rancho Cartagena will assist you in streamlining the process. To simplify matters, property here can be purchased using a Power of Attorney. There are several attorneys that we work closely with to coordinate the process of buying property. When you contact us, we will review the steps with you and explain how we can help – from picking a lot that reflects your interest all the way through to completing the purchase. We will give you a list of attorneys you can choose from knowing that we have personal experience working with each one.

Financing

For those individuals wanting to finance their lot and building of your home, we provide assistance to potential buyers helping to navigate through the Costa Rica banking system. Our business relationship with Desyfin Bank offers individual financing for qualified buyers utilizing competitive rates here in Costa Rica. If you are considering this route, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Banking

Costa Rica does not discriminate between residents and non-residents. Financial institutions in Costa Rica are regulated by the Central Bank, through the General Superintendent of Financial Entities. Costa Rica has strict banking secrecy laws. The banks do not share any banking information with the tax department or with any other government departments other than the central bank. A combination of strict secrecy laws, the country’s offshore status and legislative changes aimed at increasing competition and efficiency continues to affect the growth in the banking sector. Deposits in any of the state owned banks are fully guaranteed and you may open an account (after supplying required information) in either colons or dollars. Private Banks also must meet rigid standards to support their deposits, including providing annual financial statements to their customers.

Cost of Living

An important factor that determines the cost of living for foreigners in Costa Rica is their lifestyle. If you are used to a wealthy lifestyle, you’ll spend more than someone accustomed to living frugally. The cost of living in Costa Rica is significantly lower than in the U.S. Many Americans have chosen to live in Costa Rica since their income buys much more than in the states by American standards. There’s an abundance of inexpensive labor, domestic services, and construction costs are much less than in the United States. Property taxes are also low relative to American standards and there are no capital gains taxes. Medical and dental care is very affordable. Inexpensive public transportation is widely available and food, shelter and clothing are affordable within the domestic economy, while being very cheap to ex-pats from most other countries.

Long-term investment

Diversifying your financial portfolio by owning property in Costa Rica is a great way to add to your retirement investments. It’s also a good way to “bank” your money because of low property taxes on real estate. Costa Rica is the most secure, politically-stable country in Central America, and the nation’s government has enacted laws that protect foreign investors. Up until 2008, early buyers enjoyed substantial appreciation. Now, as the economy continues to recover many investors have returned to put their money into real estate here. To the observer, the development of Costa Rica’s Gold Coast is still in its early stages. Costa Rica’s economy is steady, slow and diversified growth. Baby Boomers looking for quality of life, affordable health care, a welcoming people, a relaxed lifestyle and healthy living are quickly discovering this gem and its investment opportunities.

Climate

Rancho Cartagena is located in the “dry rainforest”, where temperatures are similar to southern California. In general, Costa Rica, as a whole – is located in the tropics, less than 10 degrees above the equator and outside the hurricane belt. The climate can be tropical and subtropical, with rugged mountains, including a few active volcanoes. Seasons vary from the green season to the dry season, with the primary difference being the amount of rain that falls. Generally, the rainy season (or "green season") is from May to mid-November. Costa Ricans call this wet time of year their winter. The dry season, considered summer by Costa Ricans, is from mid-November to April.

It doesn't rain all day during the green season; you'll wake to sunny mornings with blue skies and showers typically roll in between 2 and 4 p.m., sometimes later. September and October are usually the rainiest months, especially in the Central Valley and Pacific. Temperatures are comfortable, averaging in the 70's in the Central Valley and 80's on the coast.

The dry, or "high" season brings blue skies and warm sunshine. Daytime temperatures hover in the low 80's around the Central Valley, while the mid-90's are common for coastal areas. December and January are very windy, and though the constant sunshine ensures comfortable weather, these are actually the coolest months of the year. March and April are the hottest months of the dry season. From late December through mid-March, rain is almost unheard of except in the Caribbean.

Economy

The economy in Costa Rica relies on tourism, agriculture and exports of building materials, software and electronic components. Tourism has been growing and has recently surpassed agriculture in contribution to their Gross Domestic Product. Average per capita income was $10,400 in 2012, compared to $41,000 in the United States and unemployment is about 8%. The official currency is the Colon at an exchange rate of about 548 to the dollar. Currently, Costa Rica's GDP is $49.6 billion which ranks 82nd in the world.

Medical Care

After Costa Rica decided to abolish its army in 1949, resources that were used for military purposes were redirected toward education and health. This has allowed the country to achieve the best health indicators of Latin America, comparable only to those of developed Buying property in Costa Rica and Reasons to re-locate - countries. Free universal health care is available to all Costa Ricans. Besides the public health system, the country has a strong private health network that counts on many hospitals and clinics of great prestige and reputation. According to the United Nations Population Fund, Costa Rica has the highest life expectancy at birth within Latin America, at 78.1 years. Costa Rica’s rate beats the U.S.’s life expectancy of 77.5. This is surprising since the US spends almost 10 times as much as Costa Rica per capita on health. The average cost of a hospital outpatient visit in Costa Rica is $27; in the US it’s $366. Hospitalization is $102 per day for those in Costa Rica versus $1107 in the U.S.! Many foreigners travel to Costa Rica for medical and dental procedures that cost much less than in the United States, recently aptly named “health tourists.”

Education

Costa Rica places high emphasis on education. 28% of their national budget is spent on education. In 1869, they were one of the first countries to make education free and obligatory. Elementary and High schools are to be found in every community. Elementary school has 6 year levels, whereas high school has 5 year levels. There are four state run universities and many smaller private ones. It is not unusual to see young families from the U.S. settling here and raising a family and educating their children in the public sector.

Political stability

Costa Rica has been a democracy since before the Civil War in the U.S. It has no military but maintains a domestic police force and a Special Forces Unit as part of the Ministry of the President. As presented in Wikipedia, the politics of Costa Rica take place in a framework of a presidential, representative democratic republic, with a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the president and his cabinet, and the President of Costa Rica is both the head of state and head of government. Legislative power is vested in the Legislative Assembly. The president and 57 Legislative Assembly deputies are elected for 4-year terms. The Judiciary operates independent of the executive and the legislature branches but remains involved in the political process. Costa Rica is a republic with a strong system of constitutional checks and balances. Voting is compulsory in Costa Rica but it is not enforced. In 2009, the state monopolies on insurance and telecommunications were opened to private-sector competition. Certain other state agencies enjoy considerable operational independence and autonomy; they include the electrical power company (Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad), the nationalized commercial banks (which are open to competition from private banks), and the social security agency(Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social). And violent crime is not a major problem here. Costa Rica is often described in tourist publications, magazine articles, and travel guides as having one of the friendliest cultures of any country on earth. Ticos (an endearing term for Costa Ricans) do not like confrontation. Maybe that’s why tranquilo (relax and enjoy) is such a prevalent attitude. And, unlike the U.S., Costa Rica is not a gun culture.

Accessibility & Getting here

Travelers can find convenient direct flights from many major gateway cities in the US, in just under three hours. Americans need only a passport to visit Costa Rica and there are a number of ways to be granted residency, without giving up your U.S. passport.

Rancho Cartagena is only 45 minutes from Costa Rica’s Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport also known as Liberia International Airport, which is one of four international airports located in Costa Rica. The Liberia airport serves the country’s northwest beaches with direct flights from Atlanta, Miami, Charlotte, Fort Worth, Houston, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Toronto and Calgary in Canada and London. In addition, the country’s major airport, and the largest, Juan Santamaria Airport (SJO) in Alajuela, is located within the Central Valley region north of San Jose. Located on the outskirts of the capital, San Jose, also has direct flights from many U.S. airports. Nature Air and Sansa provide commuter flights from San Jose to Tamarindo, just a 20 minute drive from our property. You can also drive from San Jose, with much of the trip along the scenic Pan American Highway – in about a 4 hour timeframe.

Beautiful landscapes & topography

Costa Rica has been called “the Jewel of Central America” and considered a top location in eco-tourism and sustainability. This peaceful and prosperous nation has nearly 27% of its territory in designated protected areas, national parks and reserves. Natural wonders abound on its unspoiled beaches, rain forests, mountains and rivers.

Covering only 19,560 square miles (50,900 square kilometers), an area about the size of West Virginia, Costa Rica contains an astonishing quantity of plant and animal life - about five percent of all known species on Earth. Its resident plants include more than 800 ferns, 1,000 orchids and 2,000 kinds of trees. Among its 200 animal species are jaguars, sloths, scarlet macaws, toucans, monkeys and the extravagantly plumed quetzal bird. An hour’s journey from the capital of San José would take a traveler through a dizzying array of ecosystems: dense rainforest, rare tropical dry forests, mountain cloud forests cloaking the slopes of volcanoes, dry savanna, and soft white beaches. Just beyond the breakers lie jeweled strands of coral reefs. One side of the country is lapped by the usually gentle waves of the Caribbean and is lined with five species of mangroves, along with swamps and sandy beaches.

On the other side is the wild Pacific Ocean with its rugged gulfs and headlands. Costa Rican rain forests have been compared to vaulted cathedrals, magisterial in their proportions as quoted by National Geographic Magazine. The natural topography of the land is amazing. With the highest peaks topping 12,000 feet, it is typical to see 5,000 foot mountains set just a few miles back from gorgeous Pacific Beaches. There are 774 miles of coastline on both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean combined. Costa Rica still contains unspoiled virgin primary forests.