• Foreigners have the same rights as Costa Rican nationals, except in the case of concession land (government-leased). The majority (95%) of beachfront property is located in the Maritime Zone and is subject to increased regulation and considerations. Everything else is titled, fee-simple land.
  • Costa Rica Properties can be held in the name of individuals or corporations.
  • It is often advisable to purchase properties in the name of corporations which can be purchased through an attorney.
  • Sociedades Anonimas (SA’s) are the equivalent of C-corporations.
  • Sociedades Responsibilidad Limitadas (SRL’s) are the equivalent of S-corporations.
  • Both allow for the division of shares and on a potential way of creating partnerships.
  • The base property tax is .25% of the registered value annually. 
  • There is a luxury tax that is only applicable to high end residences. It is based on the cost to rebuild the home/condo in terms of materials. In practical terms, it applies to very large, recently constructed Costa Rica properties. You can ask if the luxury tax applies to a home you are considering purchasing.
  • There is only one insurance provider in Costa Rica at this time, the Instituto Nacional de Seguros (INS).
  • Residential insurance costs between $500 and $1500 annually for fire, earthquake, flood, etc. damage.
  • Theft is a separate policy.
  • Liability is a separate policy.
  • Most deals start with an offer to purchase or letter of intent which is composed by a real estate agent or an attorney. This OTP or LOI will include the main terms of the deal such as, purchase price, legal information of the property, length of the Due Diligence period, inclusion and exclusions etc.. Once signed by the buyer, it is presented to the seller.
  • If accepted by the seller, and this usually within a week a 10% of the purchase price is deposited b y the buyer in escrow with a title company and due diligence starts.
  • During Due Diligence, the attorney who represents the buyer will study the title and ensure there is nothing wrong from a legal standpoint with the property. Also during the DD, an inspection and inventory will be executed to ensure the physical property does not present any concerns. 
  • * Important to note that the buyer is free to renounce to the deal and repossess the security deposit at any given time during the DD period and this with no repercussions or specific reason.
  • At the end of the Due Diligence and if the green light is given, the buyer will proceed to wire the balance due and the closing date is set.
  • At the closing, the buyer and seller or attorneys with powers of attorney will sign off and complete the transaction.
  • Residency is not necessary to own property.
  • You do not need a visa to arrive in Costa Rica and will be granted a 90 day tourist visa upon arrival.
  • A simple way to get residency is called Rentista, wherein you establish that you are able to live off of your own means:
    • You need to submit a criminal background check and birth certificate.
    • You need to establish that you have $2,500/month in outside support that can be converted into Colones.
  • You can also get a visa through marriage to a Costa Rican.
  • Investor and business-owner status exist also for investments greater than $220k
  • The currency of Costa Rica is the Colon, although prices on all large items including real estate are generally in US dollars.
  • There are national banks: Banco Nacional, Banco de Costa Rica, Banco Popular, etc.
  • There are also many private banks: Citibank, Scotiabank, BAC San Jose, Davivienda, etc.
  • Most banks will allow you to keep funds in Dollars, Colones, or Euros.
  • Wiring between accounts within a bank is typically free.
  • Wiring to accounts in other banks is generally very inexpensive: $1-$2.
  • You can pay most bills online via transfer or a direct interface with the service provider: utilities, insurance, credit cards, etc.

Since Nov. 1, Costa Rica has allowed all countries in the world to enter by air, as long as they meet the country’s visa and COVID-19 entry requirements.

The Government of the Republic has facilitated the entry of international tourists, and since Oct. 26, eliminated the requirement of RT-PCR tests for the detection of the coronavirus. Neither Costa Ricans nor foreigners will be issued sanitary confinement (or quarantine) orders when entering the country by air. These measures are subject to change and dependent on the evolution of the pandemic both in Costa Rica and around the world.

Tourists visiting Costa Rica are asked to abide by the sanitary protocols implemented for carrying out all tourist activities in the country.

Entry requirements for the country

For information on visas, refer to the General Directorate of Migration and Foreigners: https://www.migracion.go.cr/Paginas/Visas.aspx

The following requirements remain during the pandemic:

  1. Complete the digital form called HEALTH PASS and available at https://salud.go.cr
    • This pass will be available 48 hours before boarding. It must be accessed in an updated browser (except for Internet Explorer). An individual form must be completed for every person, including minors.
  2. Purchase health insurance
    • It is mandatory that tourists purchase travel insurance, covering their accommodations in case of quarantine and medical expenses due to COVID-19 illness. An explanation of one’s travel insurance coverage, addressing Costa Rica’s requirements, must be uploaded or entered into the HEALTH PASS in order to be reviewed and approved by the Costa Rican authorities. If more information on international insurance is needed, the Costa Rican authorities will contact the passenger at the email address indicated in the HEALTH PASS.
    • In the case of international insurance, the tourist must request from their insurer a certification issued in English or Spanish, noting at least three conditions, without forgetting to add it to the HEALTH PASS:
    • Validity of the effective policy during the visit in Costa Rica.
    • Guarantee of coverage for medical expenses in cases of pandemic disease COVID 19 in Costa Rica, for at least US $50,000 (fifty thousand dollars of the United States of America).
    • Minimum coverage of US $2,000 for extended lodging expenses due to pandemic illness or trip interruption/cancellation due to illness, which covers the extra cost of the passenger due to quarantine.
    • If you do not have international insurance, it is possible to opt for travel insurance from Costa Rican companies approved by SUGESE (General Superintendency of Insurance of Costa Rica), which offer their services at Juan Santamaría international airports (city of San José) and Daniel Oduber Quirós (city of Liberia).
    • National insurances meet all the requirements to have coverage of medical expenses for illness, including COVID-19, for a minimum amount of $20,000 and coverage for extended lodging expenses or quarantine, due to pandemic illness, for a minimum amount of $2,000.
    • In the case of foreigners with the migratory category of permanent or temporary resident, or special category in the latter case, with the exception of the Student Subcategory, they must demonstrate the insurance by the Costa Rican social security, which can be verified at https://sfa.ccss.sa.cr/servMedicos/validarDerechos.do

If these requirements are not met, the passenger will not be able to enter the country.

Private flights

  • Private flights from the United States of America and the rest of the world are permitted to enter the country. For passengers on private flights, the same requirements already described apply.
  • Costa Rica seasons are divided into two: Dry Season and Green Season. 
  • Dry season goes from December to May, and this time of the year it is considered as Summer. Rainy season from May to November, and it is considered as Winter, and also our “Green Season”, when everything gets lush and colorful. September and October are to be the months of the year that see a lot of rain.
  • The north Pacific Coast of Costa Rica is well known for all year round warm climate with sunny days throughout the entire year and afternoon rain showers during the green season. The North Pacific Coast of Costa Rica has  a more intense Dry Season, with no rain and sunny hot days for several months. The South Pacific of Costa Rica is more humid, with a shorter dry season and stronger rains during Winter.
  • Best time to visit the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica is from November to the end of August.
  • Average water temperature throughout the year is 28celsius or 82 fahrenheit.

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