About Costa Rica
Columbus called Costa Rica the “Rich Coast” upon his discovery in 1502. Rich in beauty, rich in ecology and rich in flora and fauna with thousands of species of plants, animals, birds and insects that live in magnificent and sometimes mysterious tropical forests. Costa Rica’s wealth of natural resources is so abundant that it even exports oxygen, an essential nutrient for a better, healthier and cleaner way of life. Some call Costa Rica the “Switzerland of the Americas”, others call it “Paradise on Earth”.
You can call it what you like but one visit to Costa Rica and the memory of it will be etched in your mind forever. About the size of West Virginia, Costa Rica encompasses about 20,000 square miles of enchanting rainforests, majestic mountains, and countless virgin beaches among rocky bluffs, enclosed by numerous peninsulas and bays of unsurpassed scenic beauty. Its natural heritage form one of the world’s most outstanding biological reserve and national park systems.
Click on the following links, to find out more of the advantages, facts, the immediate area, public roads, climate, cost of living and the great investment opportunity of Costa Rica.
- Health Care
COSTA RICA UP CLOSE
Most Costa Rican visitors fall in love with this beautiful country and its very friendly people and start to dream about living in Costa Rica. From exotic beaches and verdant mountains where the climate is always pleasant, to tropical rain forests with amazing flora and fauna, Costa Rica enchants everyone.
Costa Rica has much to offer. Whether you come as a visitor or an investor, or are thinking about living in Costa Rica, there is something attractive here for you.
As one of the oldest democracies in the Americas (and having abolished its army over 50 years ago), Costa Rica has instead chosen to spend its money on education, health services and now infrastructure. All this makes living in Costa Rica a great idea. Having established political and social stability, Costa Rica is a peaceful and prosperous nation, safe for the foreigners as well locals.
The People – The expression “Pura Vida,” literally translated as “Pure Life,” best describes the Costa Rican way of life. Ticos, as the locals commonly call themselves, are their country’s greatest asset and are renowned for their friendliness. They are warm hearted, gracious, educated, entrepreneurial and ready to accept you into their country, their lives, and their homes. In addition, foreigners are usually pleasantly surprised to discover how many of their neighbors are also from foreign soil. In Costa Rica the pace of life is a reflection of strong traditional family values serving as the foundation of a society where respect for oneself and tolerance for others are common traits. Friendliness and a commitment to hospitality serve as two large factors in the growing number of returning visitors to Costa Rica year after year.
The Language – The official language of Costa Rica is Spanish, but a great many Costa Ricans speak English. Additionally, as Costa Rica continues to attract visitors from the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia, other languages such as French, German, Italian, Chinese and Dutch are becoming more and more prevalent.
The Currency – The national currency of Costa Rica is the Colon. U.S. dollars can be easily exchanged throughout the country at any bank, national or private, and also at most hotels and money exchange companies. In addition, nearly all hotels plus some restaurants, gas stations and shops will accept U.S. dollars as payment.
Banking – The banking system in Costa Rica is very modern and offers all local and international services. This includes issuing credit and debit cards, loans and both personalized and computerized banking. Automatic Teller Machines (ATM’s) are available throughout the country and will accept PLUS cards as well as local ATM cards. Visa credit card advances are easily obtained at most local banks.
The Climate - In the northern province of Guanacaste they say half the year is like living in Hawaii and the other, like living in Palm Springs, California. Guanacaste has an average annual temperature of 82 F (28 C) with high temperatures above 90 F (32 C) from February through April. Although this is Costa Rica’s sunniest region, you can expect regular afternoon showers from June through October – excluding a traditional dry spell in July called “veranillo” or little summer. The North Pacific has an average annual rainfall of 55 inches (1400 mm) and boasts its sunniest months from January through April.
Cost of Living – The cost of living is probably one of the most important issues concerning prospective full-time residents. Although the cost of living here is less than that of the United States, the difference is not dramatic. Housekeeping and gardening help is very affordable, as are other conveniences, which are often considered a luxury. On average, a monthly income of $1,500 to $2,500, with established accommodations will provide for quite a comfortable lifestyle.(Cost of Living)
Taxes – Out-of-country income is not taxed in Costa Rica, and if you are employed in this country, income tax is minimal. Basic property taxes are 0.25% of the property stated value, which is nominal by North American standards.
Education – Costa Rica provides free education for its residents and boasts the highest literacy rate in Central America, rivaling even that of many larger and much wealthier industrialized nations. The right to primary education for both sexes was established in 1869 and has been declared obligatory. In addition to free public education, there are several high quality private institutions extending from the primary level up through the university. Although most of these institutions are located in and around San José, the rapid development of the Guanacaste Gold Coast area has begun to attract some of the private, higher quality schools to the region, such as the Country Day School (English Language and U.S. Accredited).
Immigrations – Tourist visas are good for 90 days and one can renew these visas easily at the Liberia airport. Permanent residency takes approximately a year to obtain.
Employment - Employment opportunities are limited, as Costa Rica gives job priority to its residents and requires work visas for any foreign visitors who seek employment in this country.
Religion – Perhaps as much as 90% of the Costa Rica population practices Catholicism, the country’s official religion. Other religious beliefs exist freely although and are protected by the Constitution as well.
Government - Costa Rica is a free and independent republic and its people have enjoyed a peaceful, democratic way of life since 1889. The military as a division of the Costa Rican government was abolished in 1948 and is now prohibited by the Costa Rican Constitution. The current leadership consists of three branches of government including the President, elected by popular vote for a period of four-years and exercising executive powers; the Congress, a single chambered legislature, whose members are also elected by popular vote for a four-year term; and the Supreme Court, acting as the judicial body of the nation. The Constitution guarantees and protects its people’s right to life, freedom and basic civil liberties. Perpetual Neutrality was proclaimed in Costa Rica in 1983.
Crime – The biggest crime facing Costa Ricans is petty theft. Violent crime is nearly non-existent and virtually all crimes committed are in and around the larger cities. (Safety)
Communications – Costa Rica’s communication network is among the very best in Central American. Postal, facsimile, telephone and cell phone services, as well as electronic mail (Internet), are readily available anywhere in the country.
Environment – Costa Rica is perhaps the most biologically diverse of the Central American countries, contributing to almost 5% of the world’s total biodiversity including: 10,000 plant species (which include 1,200 orchid species, 27% of which are native to the country), 1,239 butterflies, 848 birds (7 of which are native to the country), 205 mammals (105 of which are bat species), 216 reptiles, 160 amphibians, and 1,630 fish species. Natural Resources include agricultural products (including bananas, coffee, maize, oranges, rice, sugar cane, and cocoa), cattle, forests, biodiversity, bauxite, gold, iron ore, silver, sulfur.
- Total Forest Area – 1.968 million hectares (2000), 39% of total land area.
- Deforestation rate – 7% (between 1990-2000)
- Protected Areas – close to 1.26 million hectares of Costa Rica is protected under their national conservation system, including 10 biological reserves, 22 national parks, 34 wildlife refuges, and 12 forest reserves.
- Conventions/agreements – Party to Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), Kyoto Protocol, Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD), Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES), Ramsar Convention, World Heritage Convention
With a good personal credit rating, our homes are often financeable with most North American banks. Rates are at record lows currently in North America which can make this an attractive option though normally a minimum of 25% of the purchase price down is required. Local banks, such as Scotiabank Costa Rica also offer financing.
The property developer in some instances may be able to close a financing gap on a low percentage of the purchase price with a short term loan to the buyer. Terms and interest rates are negotiable. Having clear title to the lot and new house is essential for obtaining a loan from any bank, local or international. This is the situation with our homes and provides the security lenders need to make a loan.
Travel & Hotels
The international airport in the Guanacaste region is located near Liberia. It has direct flights daily, from several cities in the U.S. The Costa Rican Estates is only 15 minutes (10 miles) from the airport by car and there are several car rental agencies at the airport. Essentially from the Southern U.S., you are three hours from your home in Costa Rica! To find out more on air travel, bus services, car rentals or lodging.
The Daniel Oduber International Airport or the Liberia International Airport (LIR) is located in the north of Costa Rica in the Guanacaste province, within minutes of our community. Situated in the provincial capital Liberia, this modern airport is fast becoming the airport of choice for those travelers interested in relaxing or having some fun on the beautiful sunny beaches of Guanacaste and the Nicoya Peninsula. Arriving here means that you can get to the property or the nearby beaches within minutes. Most North American carriers fly to Liberia including American, United, Delta, Jet Blue, Air Canada, etc. Schedule varies between seasons.
The Juan Santamaria International Airport or the San Jose International Airport (SJO) as it is better known sits just outside of downtown San Jose. It is served by most US and International airlines.
An excellent network of ground transportation exits throughout the country, serviced by private enterprises. Regularly scheduled trips between San José, Liberia and all regions of the country are reliable and very economical. In addition, there are several bus companies that offer scheduled departures to Panama, Nicaragua and the rest of Central America at competitive rates. There are also several companies that offer micro-bus direct transportation to/from and between the airport and major tourist spots around the country.
There is an impressive choice of car rental companies to choose from in Costa Rica. Costa Rica’s highway system is extensive and most areas are paved or have 2-WD dirt roads. Some roads that may be drivable in the dry season can become impassable during the green season and may require 4-WD. There are a few tollbooths throughout the country, but the charge is minimal. Gas stations are plentiful and many are open 24 hours a day. There are no self-service gas stations in Costa Rica so sit back and enjoy the luxury.
In Guanacaste, the Liberia International Airport (LIR) is serviced by several rental car companies. Some of these companies include
- • Avis: www.avis.com
- • Hertz: www.hertz.com
- • Dollar: www.dollar.com
- • National: www.nationalcar.com
- • Alamo: www.alamo.com
- • Budget: www.budget.com
Cellular telephones can be rented directly from the car rental companies.
Following is a list of hotels near our community. All Inclusive Hotels
- • Four Seasons, Papagayo Peninsula, 5 Star, Beach, Golf, Spa, Fitness Center, Restaurants. +506 2 696 0000, www.fourseasons.com
- • Allegre Papagayo Resort, Papagayo Peninsula, 4 Star, Beach, +506 2 690 9900, www.occidentalhotels.com
- • Hyatt Andaz, Papagayo Peninsula, 5 Star, Beach, Golf, Spa, Fitness Center, Restaurants. +506 2 690 1234 http://papagayo.andaz.hyatt.com/en/hotel/home.html
- • Grand Papagayo, Playa Panama, 5 Star, Beach, Spa. +506 2 672 0191, www.occidentalhotels.com
- • Hilton Payagayo Resort, Playa Panama, 5 Star, Beach, Spa, Fitness Center, +506 2 672 0000, www.hilton.com
- • Villas Sol, Playa Hermosa, 4 Star, Beach, Spa. +506 2 257 0607, www.villassol.com
- • Hotel RIU, Guanacaste, 5 Star, Beach, Spa. +506 2 2570607, www.riu.com
Hotels near the beach
- • Hotel Playa Hermosa. Playa Hermosa ,Beach, Restaurant. +506 2 672 0046, www.hotelplayahermosa.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
- • El Mangroove Hotel, Playa Panama, Beach, Restaurant +506 4701 0000, www.elmangroove.net
- • Casa Conde del Mar. Playa Panama, Beach, Restaurant. +506 2 226 0808, www.grupocasaconde.com
- • Villa Acacia. Playa Hermosa, Beach, Restaurant. +506 2 672 0272, www. playahermosacacia0.tripod.com
- • El Velero Hotel, Playa Hermosa, Beach, Restaurant. +506 2 672 0036, www.costaricahotel.net Hotels near the airport
- • Hilton Garden Inn, near Airport, www.hilton.com
- • Best Western Las Espuelas, in Liberia, www.bestwestern.com
- • Best Western El Sitio, in Liberia, www.bestwestern.com
- • Hotel Santa Ana, near Airport http://www.liberiacostarica.com/hotels/hotel-santa-ana/hotel-santa-ana.html
- • High Season: December – March
- • Low Season: April – November
HEALTH AND MEDICAL
Costa Rica has one of the best health systems in Latin America with well-trained doctors, many times with degrees from North America.
Health Care Facilities in Costa Rica
There are several private emergency health care services located nearby. Lifeguard International is located in the town of Sardinal, just 15 minutes away. This company is equipped to cover emergencies and offer ambulance and air ambulance 24 hours a day. Lifeguard also offer services for chronic patients (diabetes, hypertension, etc.), pre-natal care, medical consultation, bilingual doctors and staff, U.S. style clinics (minor surgery labs), air-conditioned facilities, pharmacy discounts and alternative fee structures, including attractive membership packages.
Lifeguard has a relationship established with the Clinca Madre Teresa and San Rafael Arcangel Medical Center, private clincs/hospitals in Liberia and all the major hospitals in San Jose. However, the big advantage of being in Guanacaste is frequent, non stop flights to Dallas, Houston, Miami, Atlanta, New York, Charlotte, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Chicago, Calgary and Toronto, with U.S. insurance or Medicare coverage. For more information click here.
Clinica Biblica has a clinic in Guanacaste, located next to the Do It Center, just 10 minutes away from the property. This branch has a full-time bilingual doctor who has access to some 35 specialities from parent hospital located in San Jose. The clinic also has a laboratory, pharmacy and insurance office. For more information click here.
A Houston, TX based health care facility has recently opened, located just 7 minutes from the property. The clinic offers a complete array of services comparable to U.S. health facilities/hospitals and has agreements with the Veterans Administration and affiliations with the Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas,Texas.
Private health care is inexpensive. Privately operated hospitals offer highly educated physicians and personnel, excellent facilities and multidisciplinary Medical Corps. Medical Tourism in Costa Rica continues to grow and the country continues to provide some of the best service in the world. The Medical Tourism industry in Costa Rica caters to the needs of many foreign visitors who frequently take advantage of the better value and best professional medical care offered.
Cosmetic surgery plus dental and optical care are very affordable and are in particularly high demand. Insurance is also available locally and a lot of U.S. insurance covers situations for limited periods in overseas health systems. It’s not uncommon to receive the same dental procedure in Costa Rica for around $10,000 that would cost over $50,000 in the USA.
Owning a home in Costa Rica is a sound way to diversify your portfolio, preserve wealth and will act as a great dollar inflation hedge as well. Costa Rica has a stable government, no military, stable currency, tax incentives, no ownership restrictions and a healthy local economy.
Costa Rica is a sound investment choice
Strong and stable economic growth. Costa Rica remains one of the safest and most attractive countries for foreign investment in Latin America. The Costa Rican government, its ministries and financial institutions maintain a decidedly pro-U.S. and continental stance in regard to financial security and tax laws. The stated aim is to entice primarily high-tech corporations to take advantage of Central America’s most educated, computer literate and disciplined workforce, along with the modern production infrastructure the country is currently creating. The economy is being transformed from its long-time dependence on coffee, bananas and cattle raising to one centered on microprocessor production, high-tech telecommunications services and medical tourism.
Pro-Environment. Costa Rica is perhaps the most biologically diverse of the Central American countries, contributing to almost 5% of the world’s total biodiversity including: 10,000 plant species (which include 1,200 orchid species, 27% of which are native to the country), 1,239 butterflies, 848 birds (7 of which are native to the country), 205 mammals (105 of which are bat species), 216 reptiles, 160 amphibians, and 1,630 fish species. Close to 1.26 million hectares of Costa Rica is protected under their national conservation system, including 10 biological reserves, 22 national parks, 34 wildlife refuges, and 12 forest reserves. Costa Rica has pro-environment country policies and has signed many of the international environmental agreements and conventions.
Booming Costa Rica tourism industry. Huge numbers of tourists visit Costa Rica. This number increases annually. The country’s biodiversity attracts nature lovers from all over the world. The primary attraction for many visitors is the 850 recorded bird species, which include the resplendent quetzal, indigo-capped hummingbirds, macaws and toucans. Costa Rica’s tropical forests have over 1400 tree species and provide a variety of habitats for the country’s fauna including four types of monkeys, sloths, armadillos, jaguars and tapirs. There are also a number of dazzling butterflies. National parks cover almost 12% of the country, and forest reserves and Indian reservations boost the protected land area to 27%.
Good health and life expectancy. According to the World Health Organization, Costa Rica has the same life expectancy of 77.0 years as the United States. It is interesting to note, that Costa Rica spends more on health care than the United States. The per capita expenditures of the gross national income are $4,280 as compared to $3,751 in the United States.