FAQ

  • Yes. A valid passport is required to enter Costa Rica. Make sure your passport has validity of at least 6 months. In other words, make sure the expiration date is more than 180 days into the future from the date of your entry into Costa Rica.

  • No. People from the United States, Canada and most European countries may enter Costa Rica without a visa. This privilege depends on your country of origin.

  • Not exactly. When the visa expires, you must leave the country for at least 72 hours. Upon your re-entry to Costa Rica, the permit will be renewed automatically for 90 more days.

  • No. To enter the country, all visitors must have an entry and exit ticket, no matter the method of travel. Experts with Live Love Costa Rica, however, know some simple ways to navigate around this requirement.

  • The departure tax is $29.00 (USD), which can be paid in U.S. Dollars, colónes or with a credit card, but recently this fee has, in most cases, been included in your plane ticket.

  • You may drive for three months as long as you have a legal driver's license. Obtaining a Costa Rican Driver's License, however, is relatively easy.

  • Yes. SANSA (www.flysansa.com) flies within the country. Private air and helicopter charters are also available.

  • Sales tax in Costa Rica is 13 percent.

  • Just like in the United States, you can dial 911 for immediate assistance.

  • Dog or cats must have a health certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian and endorsed by a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Veterinary Services (VS) veterinarian. That endorsement needs to be done by the APHIS Veterinary Services Area Office in your home state, according to the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica. The examination for the certificate must be conducted within the two weeks prior to traveling to Costa Rica. The required vaccinations are: distemper, hepatitis, lestospirosis, parvovirus and rabies (for animals 4 months or older).

  • No. The vast majority of people in Costa Rica speak English, as well as Spanish. Trying to speak Spanish, however, wins you points with the locals.

  • Yes. The Tico Times and Howler are some of the more popular English-language publications.

  • No. Outlets are 110 V with standard U.S. two prong plugs.

  • While the water is potable in most of the country, bottled water is recommended, especially in areas near the coast.

  • Colónes is the national currency of Costa Rica and the only coins accepted. U.S. dollars above $1 and major credit cards are also widely accepted.

  • All major credit cards are widely accepted and ATMs are located throughout the country. Visa is accepted everywhere whereas AMEX is not.

  • Yes. Either you have an international plan (like T-Mobile offers) or you must bring an unlocked cell phone and buy a SIM prepaid card at the ICE (the national telecommunications company) booth in the baggage area of the airport (or in a telephone company office in any city around the country). The unlocked cell phone must be a quad-band GSM or 3G/4G handset or have at least an 850 or 1800 mHz band. Most U.S. phones reach these requirements.

  • Visitors only need a yellow fever vaccination certificate if they're traveling from any of the following countries: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Bolivia, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, and the Republic of Guyana.

  • When you are sent a quote or the reservation notice for a car, it's recommended that you ask about the deductible that will be charged and the cost of different types of insurance options and taxes. Likewise, if you reserve with a franchise, it's best to contact the franchise office in Costa Rica.

  • Costa Rica contains the swamp forest, alpine forests, tropical dry forests, tropical rainforests and the tropical cloud forests. The key difference between the forest types is the amount of rain and altitude. It rains more in the rain forest than in the tropical dry forest coastal regions. The cloud and alpine forests are found in higher elevations with a multitude of micro-climates in between all of them. The lower and coastal regions of Costa Rica are also home to the swamp forests in places like Palo Verde National Park (Guanacaste), Osa Peninsula (Puntarenas), and Caribbean lower and coastal regions (Limon). Species of plants and animals differ greatly depending on the micro climate, type of forest, and area of Costa Rica in which you happen to be. Costa Rica is one of the most diverse places on planet earth in terms of biodiversity and micro climates.

  • Make sure to bring a hooded raincoat, a pair of hiking boots, and insect repellent. It is also advisable to have long sleeves and pants that cover all of your skin and can be removed if it gets too hot.

  • Costa Rica offers all the comforts of home that you may be used to in the States. There are plenty of U.S. expats living and thriving in Costa Rica, English is widely spoken, a fast internet connection is available, and almost any cuisine found in the States America is found in this country.

  • Yes. Staying in touch with your family and friends is easy. Costa Rica has a fast internet connection available, affordable telecommunication rates, and you can use your cell phone. Plus, there are plenty of affordable flights to and from the country.

  • Besides the property purchase, one should consider the following:

    • Electricity is often more than twice the price of electricity in Florida, for example. This is due to the country only producing environmentally friendly hydro, wind, and solar power.
    • Home insurance is a lot cheaper than you'd find in the U.S. and is based on your deductible, value of property, and what coverage you want.
    • Health Insurance is also significantly lower.
    • Maid/Garden/Security Services are less expensive by far and, therefore, very common practice in Costa Rica. For only between $900 and $1200 (USD) per month, you can have a full-time caretaker that handles maintenance, cleaning, cooking, gardening, laundry, pool service, and security. This fee includes all social security and Medicare payments.

  • Applying for retirement or permanent resident status is relatively easy. One for resident status can simply deposit 60,000 into a bank account and create an automatic payment plan to oneself of 1,000 a month for 5 years, and one obtains temporary resident status that once completed one can apply for permanent status or even citizenship.

  • Costa Rica is safe. Compared to the U.S., gun violence is very low. In fact, guns are not widely available and are rarely seen here. That said, crime does exist but usually only in the form of petty theft, and the majority of the low number of gun-related deaths here involve drug crimes.

  • In terms of ownership security, Costa Rica enjoys the most transparent ownership rights in the Americas, with foreigners enjoying the same ownership rights that nationals do. Ownership is, therefore, very safe and comparable to the level of ownership security of the United States. Title insurance companies are available, as well, making owning real estate in Costa Rica is now as safe as it is in the U.S.

  • Costa Rica enjoys great internet connectivity, even in remote places, and almost the entire country has # and 4G wireless coverage.

  • No. The vast majority of people in Costa Rica speak English, especially the younger population, as well as Spanish. Trying to speak Spanish, however, wins you points with the locals.

  • We suggest you open a company with which you can open a bank account and hold your real estate and other assets in. Costa Rica has a very large expat community, and sending money from the U.S. is common practice in any bank in Costa Rica.

  • Dog or cats must have a health certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian and endorsed by a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Veterinary Services (VS) veterinarian. That endorsement needs to be done by the APHIS Veterinary Services Area Office in your home state, according to the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica. The examination for the certificate must be conducted within the two weeks prior to traveling to Costa Rica. The required vaccinations are: distemper, hepatitis, lestospirosis, parvovirus and rabies (for animals 4 months or older).

    Source

  • You can literally find every type of healthcare facility. Since Costa Rica is a leader in medical tourism, investments in the health sector have been significant. The country has amazing facilities that rival those found in the states. Clinica Bilica and CIMA are just two examples of highly respected, state-of-the-art facilities.

  • Yes. There are several options available:

    • Licensed, authorized taxis, red in color and affectionately known as "rojos," are affordable and one of the most convenient ways to get around in Costa Rica. Check for a yellow triangle on the vehicle's doors to be sure you're getting in a legitimate cab and not an illegal one.
      • Make sure you call for the right type of taxi. For instance, if you need a ride from the airport, call for an orange cab, because "rojos" are licensed to only drop people off at the country's airports, not pick them up.
      • Another safe choice: "Porteadores" are privately-owned, licensed taxis. They can be any color and will not bear the yellow triangle that "rojos" have. The driver's permit, however, will usually be displayed in plain sight. They can pick up passengers from either hotels or private residences, and they cannot be flagged down on the street.
      • Uber is also a popular choice
    • Public buses are perhaps the most affordable way to get around. Although there is not a unified national bus network, these buses go to basically every major and minor destination in the country. Routes typically avoid major highways and make frequent stops in small towns and villages.
    • Shared shuttles are comfortable, air-conditioned minibuses that have a network that covers most of the country, a good value. There are two main shuttle companies in Costa Rica—Interbus and Gray Line.
    • Domestic flights are generally quick and are a great way to cover a lot of ground. Flights can get you to every major city and are sometimes the best way to get to remote destinations. Air fares are generally affordable. SANSA and Nature Air both fly within the country.
    • Boats and ferries are the way to go if you're looking for a nice day on the water or you want to visit areas only accessible by boat, like the islands off both coastlines.
  • Yes. There is an American Legion in Costa Rica for veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces. You can look for a post here: https://www.legion.org/posts.

  • Yes. SANSA operates within the country with a lot of airports to choose from. Private air and helicopter charters are also available.

  • Sales tax in Costa Rica is 13 percent.

  • Just like in the United States, you can dial 911 for immediate assistance.

  • Just like in the United States, you can dial 911 for immediate assistance.

  • Yes. The Tico Times and Howler are two of the more prominent English-language publications.

  • Some vaccines are recommended or required for Costa Rica depending on the country from which you are traveling. The CDC and WHO recommend the following vaccinations: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, yellow fever, rabies, meningitis, polio, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), chickenpox, shingles, pneumonia and influenza.

  • Income produced abroad is not taxed, even if the income is produced abroad by a Costa Rican company. Unlike in the United States, taxation in Costa Rica is territorial.

  • Very easy. Most medicines are widely available here, and many are even produced here. A lot of medicines are available over the counter, whereas prescriptions are required in the U.S. Drug costs are also significantly lower here.

  • You are automatically granted a 90-day visa, and you'll need to stay outside Costa Rica for 72 hours to properly retain another 90-day visa upon re-entry.

  • Yes. Most expats keep their U.S. citizenship while they continue living in Costa Rica with either the 90-day visa or the temporary/permanent resident status.

  • None, except for possible IRS rules that apply in the U.S. for income that you produced abroad (Costa Rica, in this instance).

  • Many do it, but it is time consuming if you do not hire a moving company. Also, the import tariffs are high. It might be wise to purchase a new car here, which levy's lower taxes (70 percent on used cars and 30 percent on new cars).

  • Fortunately, residency status is not a requirement for purchasing investment real estate or opening a business in Costa Rica. When you do come to visit, you'll be granted a 90-day visa with no questions asked. The only stipulation is that you must travel outside the country at the end of the 3-month period, which essentially serves as an excuse to fit in a quick vacation if nothing else. Starting a business or investing in real estate gives you an edge when it comes to gaining residency, if that's something you're interested in.

  • Location and Timing are key when purchasing a home or land to construct on. With past, current and future appreciation trends, it is wise to secure the land and home prior to retirement. Otherwise, you might not be able to ensure you can afford your dream home later on. With a good property manager, you will even produce profits from renting your home out.

  • For foreigners, obtaining a mortgage in Costa Rica is a time-consuming challenge. Due to the high cost of lending in Latin America, with interest rates being between 7-11 percent for residential real estate, it is quite un-common for foreigners to finance real estate locally. LiveLoveCostaRica has a network of private lenders in case you are interested in commercial loans. Due the fact that property values have grown steadily at 10-20 percent annually, financing at higher rates becomes feasible if one does not have financing alternatives in the United States.

  • If in a gated community (homeowner association) or condominium (condo association), HOA/COA fees usually apply and completely depend on the amenities and services each community offers.

    Real estate taxes are very low, with only one tenth of 1 percent of assessed value, which is generally far below real market/assessed value. This is due to the lack of federal, state and county property appraisal assessments.

    It is very common, however, to have a caretaker (garden, pool, maintenance) and that cost runs between $900-$1,200 (USD) a month, considering all social security and medical expenses.

  • This is a multi-faceted Yes and No question. First, it depends on the location. The market is starting to turn into a sellers' market in popular destinations. Whereas, in remote areas and parts of the central valley where prices have risen very high in recent years, you can sometimes find an oversupply and, therefore, lower competition.

    Remote areas if of interest one still can find great deals due to the lack of buyers = competition, but one needs to be aware that appreciation rates and liquidating (selling) your property will take substantially longer to realize.

    Then there are these rare exceptions our real estate experts also specialize on, which are areas that are being developed that will prove high appreciation in coming years where one can find higher competition in former rather undeveloped areas.

  • Beach and oceanfront Properties along the coast and popular beach-towns are already owned mainly by foreigners from North America and Europe.

    Prime agricultural and commercial land oftentimes is owned by foreigners and Costa Rican nationals alike.

    The majority of land in the central part of the country and Central Valley (where 60 percent of the population lives) is owned by nationals.

  • Overall, most large trucks of land are considered agricultural in terms of taxation. Holding costs are, therefore, very low compared to the United States.

    Expenses that may exists are:

    • Security Perimeter Fencing and maintenance of this fencing, such as clearing borderlines.
    • Property Management (ensuring no land squatters are present and, in the rare cases there are squatters, following the legal and low-cost steps to remove them).
    • If the property is an income producing property (i.e. land lease, operating farm for agriculture produce) management/administration fees are manageably low since labor is cheaper in Costa Rica.
    • Insurance is nationalized and, therefore, very affordable compared to the U.S. Additionally, the insurance in Costa Rica has a good track record of paying. We can relay our own personal experience and are happy to speak to you about your specific concern.
  • Costa Rica is safe. Compared to the U.S., gun violence is very low. In fact, guns are not widely available and are rarely seen here. That said, crime does exist but usually only in the form of petty theft, and the majority of the low number of gun-related deaths here involve drug crimes.

    In terms of ownership security, Costa Rica enjoys the most transparent ownership rights in the Americas, with foreigners enjoying the same ownership rights that nationals do. Ownership is, therefore, very safe and comparable to the level of ownership security of the United States. Title Insurance companies are available, as well, making owning real estate in Costa Rica now as safe as in the U.S.

  • Yes, it's not a problem. You can set up a bank account here and make wire transfers. ATMs in Costa Rica accept all major debit and credit cards. Checks are not advised, simply because they sometimes take a long time (several weeks) to clear. All banks in Costa Rica work with U.S. intermediary banks, so sending money to and receiving money from the U.S. is common practice.

  • Costa Rica prides itself as one of the best places in the Americas to receive top health care. Facilities are state-of-the-art, and medical tourism has steadily increased; many doctors here have been educated in the U.S. and Europe. The quality of care is very high and the cost is very low, compared to the USA, which is another reason why so many North Americans retire to Costa Rica. People here can obtain basic health insurance below $200 (USD) per month. Costa Rica also has a social welfare program that covers everyone.

  • Yes. There are several options available:

    • Licensed, authorized taxis, red in color and affectionately known as "rojos," are affordable and one of the most convenient ways to get around in Costa Rica. Check for a yellow triangle on the vehicle's doors to be sure you're getting in a legitimate cab and not an illegal one.
      • Make sure you call for the right type of taxi. For instance, if you need a ride from the airport, call for an orange cab, because "rojos" are licensed to only drop people off at the country's airports, not pick them up.
      • Another safe choice: "Porteadores" are privately-owned, licensed taxis. They can be any color and will not bear the yellow triangle that "rojos" have. The driver's permit, however, will usually be displayed in plain sight. They can pick up passengers from either hotels or private residences, and they cannot be flagged down on the street.
    • Public buses are perhaps the most affordable way to get around. Although there is not a unified national bus network, these buses go to basically every major and minor destination in the country. Routes typically avoid major highways and make frequent stops in small towns and villages.
    • Shared shuttles are comfortable, air-conditioned minibuses that have a network that covers most of the country, a good value. There are two main shuttle companies in Costa Rica—Interbus and Gray Line.
    • Domestic flights are generally quick and are a great way to cover a lot of ground. Flights can get you to every major city and are sometimes the best way to get to remote destinations. Air fares are generally affordable. SANSA and Nature Air both fly within the country.
    • Boats and ferries are the way to go if you're looking for a nice day on the water or you want to visit areas only accessible by boat, like the islands off both coastlines.
  • Yes. SANSA (www.flysansa.com) flies within the country. Private air and helicopter charters are also available.

  • Sales tax in Costa Rica is 13 percent and is applied to many services, commissions and products.

Contact Us For Any Additional Questions or Information.

(888) 755-4040

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