Costa Rica Real Estate Market Trends

By Properties in Costa Rica

Ocean view

Costa Rica real estate prices continue to rise. In the last ten years, even the Osa Peninsula, known as the edge of the world, has experienced a robust market as development continues to spread south. This small vibrant country has become an expats’ paradise. In many countries, buying property as a foreigner can be a complicated, nerve-wracking process. Costa Rica law makes the process fairly simple, which is a huge selling point. Beyond the natural beauty, sustainable lifestyle and great climate, a big selling point, it is relatively easy and uncomplicated for foreigners to establish residency and buy property in Costa Rica. Foreigners are entitled to the same ownership rights as citizens.

The booming Costa Rica housing market is not expected to slow down anytime soon. Prices continue to rise. While Costa Rica does not report median homes prices, the available data suggests the strong growth experienced in 2014 will continue through 2015. Foreign buyers are driving market prices. It is also important to note that Costa Rica’s economy is stable with steady GDP growth projected through 2015. Right now ¼ acre beach lots sell for $40,000 to $200,000, and beachfront homes start at $165,000 going as high as $3 million plus. For Americans, the strong dollar also means being able to get a lot more for your investment.

Regardless of whether you are looking to purchase something in the low six figures or high sevens, the majority of the available housing inventory in Costa Rica is desirable. The surging real estate market in the southern pacific offers a different lifestyle than exploding Guanacaste province. Dominical is known for its laid back rustic lifestyle, whereas Tamarindo has become a golfers’ paradise. From retirees on a fixed budget to the independently wealthy to young families looking for a more self-sufficient lifestyle, Costa Rica attracts different types of people with widely varying reasons for purchasing property here. Depending on your tastes and lifestyle choices, you can find your niche as an expat.

An added benefit of purchasing Costa Rica property is the potential investment income. Costa Rica is a popular vacation spot with year round near perfect weather, which means you can rent out your property a good nine months and create a secondary income source. Owning property in a foreign country is a means to protect your assets and wealth, and beautiful, stable Costa Rica is one of the top destinations for foreigners for good reason.

If you are considering purchasing property, take a few trips to Costa Rica to become familiar with the nuances of the different areas and explore what the country has to offer. Also, reach out to experts and expats for input and information.

4th of July Gets a Nod in Costa Rica

by Properties in Costa Rica

USA Flag with Fireworks

Independence Day in America conjures up images of red, white and blue, lots of flag waving, parades, marching bands, baseball and hotdogs galore. It’s the classic Americana celebration. While Costa Rica’s version of 4th of July may be more understated and absorbing some of the local influences of Tico culture but due to the large numbers of expats, the day is hard to ignore. From the white sandy beaches of Tamarindo to bustling San Jose to deep in the Osa Peninsula, there are pockets of expat gathered throwing their own celebration. Initially attracting surfers, adventure seekers and nature lovers, Costa Rica has grown in popularity among retirees and families, and these expats are continuing their traditions including a colorful, festive 4th of July celebration.

4th of July is a classic holiday for Americans living and traveling in Costa Rica. There are a ton of festivities taking place throughout the country. Costa Rica has a long history as a favorite destination for adventurous Americans to vacation. Since the 1950s, expats have gathered to celebrate America’s Independence Day. Sponsored by the U.S. Embassy, the 1st annual 4th of July celebration in Costa Rica took place in the 1950s. Beginning in the 1950s, Expats celebrated the day at the American Colony Committee. Traveling here regularly, purchasing properties, and some even permanently moving here, the number of Americans discovering the ideal lifestyle Costa Rica offers continues to increase each year. As a result, expat communities have popped up throughout the different regions of Costa Rica.

Neighborhoods and towns with strong expat communities throw Independence Day parties that everyone can enjoy, especially in San Jose. During the rainy season, the capital city remains one of the most active areas in the country. It’s a place for people to gather together from the more remote areas of Costa Rica, as well as a top destination among visitors. July is the slow season. Since it is not the high season for rentals, many homeowners take their vacations here during this time. While it is not as busy a time of year as December/January, there is certainly a strong showing of Americans in the country, and enough to celebrate the classic holiday. With plenty of parties, barbeques and fireworks, it’s a day for everyone to enjoy.

Retirees Seeking Sustainable Living and Green Homes Move to Costa Rica

Green Sustainable Lifestyle

According to a recent New York Times article, green communities are gaining popularity among downsizing retirees. A combination of factors including a desire to cut cost of living and wanting to live a more sustainable lifestyle are driving this trend. Costa Rica does not have a shortage of green homes or planned communities. The high quality of life combined with a low cost of living continues to attract retirees from North America and Europe seeking a slower pace of life without sacrificing quality. The demand for green homes and communities is expected to significantly grow in the coming years. Costa Rica is also on track to become the first carbon neutral country by 2021. It’s become a global model for other countries to follow. The climate is very conducive to solar powered homes, and a large number of developers are building sustainable homes as well as communities. It’s a major priority in Costa Rica.

Green communities offer the opportunity to live among like-minded retirees who want to live a more sustainable lifestyle. It’s a community of people who share a common purpose. Costa Rica has a large number of planned green communities. Boomers retiring are conscious of the environmental concerns plaguing the planet. Cutting their personal energy consumption is a priority and living in a green community or home contributes to creating a sustainable world. They are also concerned with rising energy costs. Green homes save both energy and money. There are green homes that offer top of the line amenities in beautiful communities here. These homes provide the opportunity to live a high quality of life without sacrificing the needs of the future. It’s a winning combination for everyone.

Whether you are looking to buy a parcel of land to build your dream green home or purchase a home in an established community committed to sustainability, there are many choices. With the cost of green homes ranges anywhere from five to seven figures, anyone looking to purchase a sustainable home is able to finding something that fits his budget. From the simple casita to the luxury home both offer a high quality of life and comfort comparatively. Low tech or high tech, it’s about utilising the best of modern design practices and local materials to build and design these homes.

Buyers must their research before purchasing a green home of moving into a green community. There is a wide spectrum of what people define as “green.” Examine the home’s energy use and output, and if you are moving into a community, ask them the same questions. It’s also best to work with a reputable realtor who can help guide you in the right direction. Purchasing green or moving into a green community raises your overall quality of life and contributes to creating a sustainable world. Costa Rica is an ideal place for those looking to purchase a green home and live a sustainable lifestyle.

Costa Rica Home to World Champion Surf

Pavones Beach, Top Surf Destination in Costa Rica Costa Rica was recently crowned the world champion surf capital. Last week Costa Rica’s team won a gold medal in the International Surfing Association (ISA) 2015 World Surfing Games held in Playa Popoyo, Nicaragua. It was another historic moment for this team. Costa Rica continues to hold it’s legendary reputation as the world surf capital. There is great surfing in places popular with tourists as well as off the beaten path places you can trek to for mind-blowing breaks and legendary tubes. Surfing and Costa Rica are synonymous.

Here are some of Costa Rica’s best surfing destinations:


Known as the gateway to the southern zone is Dominical, a surfing capital and a must stop for all surfers headed to the remote Osa Pensinsula. Dominical is very laid-back and the surf is consistently good here. It’s a beach break with a river mouth, and when the swells are strong the waves can get pretty huge.


Playa Hermosa located in Jaco, the central Pacific region of Costa Rica, is a daring surf adventure. With strong swells and waves getting as high 13 feet, the surfing is for experts, not beginners. Every year, it attracts pros from all over the world. It is also home to the International Quicksilver Surf Championships.


Playa Tamarindo is probably one of the most heavily trafficked surfing destinations in Costa Rica. It is perfect for beginners, surfers getting a refresher and child friendly. Close by there are a few more challenging breaks in the area such as Ollie’s Point and Witches Break more suitable for pros. The general area is home miles of beach breaks friendly to both beginners and experts.


Along the Caribbean Coast, there are many top surf spots. Just offshore from Porto Limon is Isla Uvita an incredible barrelling left wave that peels around the islands reef and is quite a sight to behold. There is also Cahuita, home to the largest coral reef in Costa Rica and accessible only by boat or foot.


Playa Jaco is a world-renown surf destination and home to some of Costa Rica’s most famous surfers. The small beach town is filled with surf shops and surf camps. The surf attracts both beginners and experts, and it is the first stop in everyone’s surfing itinerary. This popular spot gets crowded but a great place to land and get your footing in Costa Rica’s legendary surf. Jaco features a small beach break with lots of peaks and waves here can get as high as ten feet.


Along the southern tip of Nicoya Peninsula are Santa Teresa, Playa Carmen and Mal Pais. These are some of the Pacific Coast’s best beaches. Mal Pais is the most rustic of the three areas and offers incredible surfing. This rustic destination is also very popular with younger crowds. There are several excellent surfing spots in the area. Suck Rock is a right-hand break that can get pretty big with eaves as high as 20-feet. Playa Hermosa is never crowded and has a great right-hand point break that works well in medium and low tides. Playa Carmen produces the most consistently good waves in the region. La Lora is also consistently good and home to several surfing competitions.


In the southern zone in the Osa Peninsula bordering Corcovado National Park and across the Golfo Dulce is Pavones. This area is known as the edge of the world. The area is home to several legendary breaks that for a long time were only known through word of mouth by surfers in search of the ultimate wave. Accessible only by boat, this surfing mecca attracts surfers from all the over the world. It also home to this year’s world surfing champions. It has a left-point break that is the world’s longest wave in the world. On a good day, it can last as long as two to three minutes. Puerto Jimenez is also a not to be missed legendary break in the region. At the southern tip of the Osa Peninsula is Matapalo with three right point breaks.

If you are looking for world-class surfing and adventure, there is nowhere in the world that can top Costa Rica. It is the best of the best and a place not to be missed.

Purchasing Property in Costa Rica

House keys with a house keyring

The recession is officially over in the United States and economies are picking up. More foreign buyers are turning their attention to Costa Rica to purchase property. Both European and American buyers are attracted to this Latin American country known for its high quality of life. Costa Rica’s stable economy and government, as well as near perfect weather makes it popular among foreign buyers. Today, second homes are more than a place to retreat for a vacation they are also a smart investment opportunity. People with large cash reserves are turning their attention to real estate as an alternative investment opportunity to diversify their portfolios. There are few countries in the world as friendly to foreign buyers as Costa Rica. The country grants foreigners the same property rights to non-citizens as citizens.

The real estate market is predominantly cash based here and therefore stable. Unlike the US, there is little threat of a major real estate crash because there is very little debt financing involved in the market. Year round great weather at a fraction of the price of comparable beach communities in the US or places such as the South of France makes purchasing property in Costa Rica a very attractive option for many foreign buyers.

The steps to purchasing property in Costa Rica are fairly straightforward. First, it is critical to check the chain of title through the National Registry and verify ownership rights. In Costa Rica, there is a large of amount of untitled land and concession property, which is not privately held. While it is possible to possess property not held under a title, it does not grant ownership rights. Most foreign buyers want to avoid concession and untitled property because of the risk involved in taking possession without a title.

Once you are ready to make a purchase, you begin the process through an option purchase agreement or promissory note, which is notarised. At this point in the process, you do all the necessary legal research and due diligence on the property including checking the title, borders and boundaries. Once the research is completed, a conveyance deed is drafted up. This document transfers the ownership title to the new owner. Next the notary public must register the property with the National Registry. It is the last and vital step in purchasing property in Costa Rica. Ownership is not officially transferred until the title appears in the National Registry.

Choosing a reputable notary public is critical in ensuring a smooth transition of property ownership. Once the conveyance deed is recorded, the owner or a representative must declare the property with the local municipality for tax purposes. When purchasing property in Costa Rica as a foreigner, it is not essential to be in the country. An attorney can also represent you. When it comes time to select someone to represent your interests in purchasing property in Costa Rica, research and do your due diligence. Working with reputable individuals who not only possess expertise in the real estate market but also have strong relationships with the local culture and municipalities will help streamline the entire process.

The Pros and Cons of Prefab Homes

By Properties in Costa Rica

With so many parcels of land available in Costa Rica, prefab (or modular) homes are gaining in popularity as buyers seek simple relatively inexpensive ways to build a home on recently purchased lots. There are pros and cons to consider when deciding whether to go with a modular home or to build a custom design home. With a modular home, you are choosing from a limited number of models where portions of the home are built in a factory and then assembled on site. With a custom designed home, you start from scratch working with an architect to design the home and a contractor to build a home on site from the ground up.

Here are some of the pros and cons of prefab homes:



Modular homes use fewer resources, and many companies create green designed homes. If you want to reduce your carbon footprint, use fewer resources and create less waste then a prefab home is the preferred option

Fast and easy to build 

You’ll have your own home up and inhabitable much faster than if you custom design a house. If you need to build a home quickly than a modular home is the best choice. It can be completed in a matter of weeks.


Limited choices

If you are looking to build your dream home than its time to hire an architect to help you construct your ultimate vision. While there is some flexibility, modular homes offer designs with limited customizable options.

Resale price

Also, with a modular home you will save in cost with the initial cash outlay but the resale value will be less than with a custom design home. In the long run, a prefab can cost you money.

It all depends on your intention for purchasing the property and designing the home. If your main purpose is to have an investment property and you have the cash available than a custom design home would be the preferred option. However, if you are planning to live in the home, hold onto the property long term and have limited funds available than a modular home may be the best option. Also, keep in mind that the cost of land can be equal to that of purchasing a property with an existing home. Take the time to think through both your short term and long-term goals when making a decision about whether to go the prefab or custom design route.

Spotlight Town: Tamarindo

by Properties in Costa Rica

If you are looking for a relaxed warm friendly beach town, explore Tamarindo. A popular spot for expats relocating to Costa Rica, it attracts visitors from Europe, Canada and the US. The town’s mantra is “surf, eat and party.” Located in the Nicoya Peninsula of the Pacific Coast in the Guanacaste province, it is relatively accessible and only a 50-minute drive from Liberia International Airport.

The area has undergone a development boom expanding into the surrounding coastal communities. There are several supermarkets, a couple of banks, a farmers’ market and a handful of boutiques and surf shops. With a selection of upscale restaurants and bars, the town also has a lively nightlife to kick back in the evening after a packed day of outdoor adventure. There is also a strong wellness community in the area with plenty of opportunities for yoga, pilates, a facial or even a body scrub. With juice bars, sushi, Mediterranean food and more, this multi-cultural destination does not lack in culinary options either. With near perfect weather, there is always something to do in Tamarindo.

Tamarindo has three kilometers of one of the most beautiful white sand beaches you can find anywhere in the world. This surfers’ paradise has two professional level breaks: Pico Pequeno and El Estero. Here the waves rise as high as 12 feet in November and December. Along the coast, there are also many smaller breaks perfect for the beginner just learning how to surf. Other outdoor activities include: sport fishing, swimming, snorkeling, hiking and horseback riding. There’s also golf nearby. The Tamarindo National Wildlife Preserve is also a great place to hike the forest spotting wildlife and bird watching. The area neighbours Central America’s largest mangrove estuary, Estero de Tamarindo. For the eco-tourist and outdoor adventurer there are plenty of activities to enjoy here. There are many opportunities to relax, rejuvenate and take a breath here as much as there are for adrenalin pumping adventures.

During the tourist season, this town’s population swells from 500 to 5000. Attracting visitors from all over the world, Tamarindo is known as a place that has integrated the influence of foreigners into the native Tico culture nicely. Tamarindo’s small town cosmopolitan vibe makes it a popular spot for expats moving to Costa Rica who want to live in pristine place that is accessible to major airport. The town is the perfect escape from the hectic hustle of Western cities. Tamarindo offers the best of both worlds with its laid-back vibe and cosmopolitan flare. It’s a vibrant beach town that welcomes both expats and visitors escaping the high stress life of major cities.

Micro Farming in Costa Rica

Micro farms refer to homeowners who grow their own food and raise their own  livestock on several acres or less.

Micro farming is a growing global trend, and common practice in Costa Rica that attracts foreign buyers. The country’s year-round growing season and climate makes it a great place to garden and farm. Small-scale farming is part of the global movement toward self-sufficiency and supporting a sustainable lifestyle. Across the diverse eco-system and microclimates of Costa Rica, there is rich terrain in both the high lands and low lands that provide optimal conditions for micro farming.

Micro farms refer to homeowners who grow their own food and raise their own livestock on several acres or less. The average family one need one hectare (2.5 acres) to grow their own food. There are many small parcels of land for sale in Costa Rica conducive to this popular practice. An increasing number of homebuyers are seeking a more self-sufficient lifestyle and purchasing land with this intention. To meet the foreign buyer demand for micro farms, developers purchase large numbers of acres, and then subdivide into the land into lots of about a hectare.

Micro-farms provide not only an opportunity to be more self-sufficient but also a secondary income opportunity. Popular cash crops include wild coffee, cocoa, fruits such as bananas and plantains, as well as medicinal plants. These crops also grow wild and can be foraged in the surrounding forests. There is also the possibility of raising Tilapia on farms as well as chickens and eggs, which can also be sold at the local markets. A micro farm provides an opportunity to live a sustainable lifestyle and make extra income. These farms can be purchased at very reasonable prices with many plots available for under $100,000.

For people moving to Costa Rica seeking a more self-sufficient lifestyle and escape from the high-pressure grind of industrial life in major urban centers, micro farms are a great option. While it does require some amount of training to master the various techniques required to run a small farm or large garden, it can be done by anyone willing to take the time to learn. These farms create an opportunity for a simple fulfilling lifestyle that also supports sustainability. It is a low stress way of life that offers many intangible rewards such as the opportunity to enjoy fresh organic food grown by your hands.

Spotlight on Dominical: Sleepy Beach Town Waking Up?

by Rod Martin

Dominical is the gateway to the Costa Ballena – a 30 mile stretch of beaches, river valleys, and lush jungle covered mountains. This sleepy beach town sits 30 minutes south of Quepos/Manuel Antonio and 45 minutes west of San Isidro del General. For years it has been a surfing destination, but even if you don’t surf the 2.5-mile beach is perfect for long walks or just relaxing. After a long day of fun and sun, enjoy a cold drink and live music at Tortilla Flats, a popular bar/restaurant on the beach.

Spotlight on Dominical

This small town has always been a popular destination for travelers on a budget, but Dominical is evolving with stronger tourism and investment. The local municipality has improved the initial access off the Costanera Sur (The Coastal Highway) with asphalt and has begun construction of a concrete promenade along a 1km beachfront section. In addition, the opening of Patron’s, an elegant steak house and bar with live music, looks to attract a wider range of people.

South and Beyond

Drive five minutes south of Dominical, and you will find its younger brother Dominicalito. The waves are smaller at this crescent-shaped beach and there are a few stand-out restaurants close by. The land and luxury homes on the hillside sport some of the best ocean views on the entire Costa Ballena, and there’s even a gorgeous waterfall called Pozo Azul that is two-wheel drive accessible. For these and other reasons, it is also the strongest vacation rental market. If you like to explore, continue driving south. The small towns of Uvita and Ojochal offer fantastic day tour and restaurant options, respectively.

If you are tired of snow and cold, Dominical is the place for you. Even in the rainy season, which runs from May through November, the climate is warm like the Costa Rican people. In July, the area typically gets a second summer—less rain, more sun.

This is the country of “pura vida” or “pure life”, and it is ever-present in Dominical. Like the wildlife, the area has quickly become a melting pot of residents… each adding their own unique colours and flavours to the community.

Did you know you can get organic food in Costa Rica?

by Properties in Costa Rica

Yes, one of the many benefits of Costa Rica’s natural resources is the possibility to cultivate and grow organic products in our land.

Small producers are getting more attracted towards growing and producing organic foods. Options are growing all over Costa Rica and the more interest the population shows the more possibilities we have.

As I said, the places where to get organic food grows as the demands get bigger. The central valley has several options of daily markets, street fairs and restaurants, other areas of the country still have limited options but there are a few.

This is a compilation of markets and restaurants that sell and serve organic products including fruits, vegetables, meats, cheese, milk, coffee, cleaning products, etc.

1.   Green Center Supermarket - Río de Oro de Santa Ana and Curridabat. Offers fruits and vegetables, cleaning products, personal care products, meats and much more. It has express service where you can order the products and have them delivered to your home.

2.    El Trueque Fair San José – Barrio el Carmen, Paso Ancho. Takes place every Saturday from 6 am to 12 pm and it offers fruits and vegetables, cheese, milk, etc.

3.    Aranjuez Green Market – Barrio Aranjuez. Saturday from 6 am to 12 pm

4.    Buena Tierra Organic Fair Escazú – In front of the Red Cross of Escazu. Wednesday from 8 am to 11 am

5.    Organic Fair Km 0 – Avenida Escazú. Saturday from 9 am to 2 pm

6.    Organic and artisans Maket – Ciudad Colon (Mercado Viejo). Thursday from 2 to 6 pm.

7.    Viandas Market – San Jose downtown. Online shopping available.

8.    Mar Verde Biodynamic Farm – Punta Leona, Jaco. Offers fruits, vegetables, honey, herbs, etc.

9.    Ecological Market El Guayabo – Nicoya, Guanacaste. Monday thru Friday from 6:30 am to 5:30 pm and Sunday from 6:30 am to 1:30 pm

10.  Guápiles Organic Fair – Guapiles, Limon. Saturday from 5 am to 12 pm.

11.  Heredia Green Fair – Santo Domingo, Heredia. Sunday from 8 am to 2 pm.

12.  Turrialba Organic Fair – Turrialba. Saturday from 6 am to 2 pm.

I personally like going to the market and enjoy all those colors and smells, it is not a simple shopping shore. Some of these fairs have become social events where people with similar interests and life styles get together.

Dining options are also available with vegan, organic and raw food. Take a look at the following list:

1.    Buena Tierra. Escazu.

Cuisine: Vegan-friendly, Lacto, Organic, Western, Caribbean, Beer/Wine, Take-out

2.    Mandala. Plaza Vita, Escazu.

Cuisine: Ovo, Lacto, Organic, Western, Pizza, Juice bar, Beer/Wine, Take-out

3.    La Oliva Verde. Momentum Lindora, Santa Ana.

Cuisine: Vegan-friendly, Lacto, Juice bar, Mediterranean, Non-veg

4.    Oasis Restaurant and Bar. Trejos Montealegre, Escazu

Cuisine: Vegan-friendly, Ovo, Western, Beer/Wine, Take-out, Delivery, Non-veg

5.    El Brotario. Barrio Escalante, San Jose.

Cuisine: Vegan, Organic, Western, Fusion, Raw, Juice bar, Take-out

6.    Mantras Veggie Cage and Tea House. Barrio Escalante, San Jose.

Cuisine: Vegan-friendly, Lacto, Caribbean, Costa Rican, Raw, Take-out, Delivery

7.    Pu Ti. Guadalupe, San Jose

Cuisine: Vegan-friendly, Chinese, Take-out, Taiwanese

8.    The Flying Tomato. La Fortuna, San Carlos

Cuisine: Vegan-friendly, Ovo, Lacto, Organic, American, Western, Juice bar

9.    Elemental Samara. Samara Beach.

Cuisine: Vegan, Juice bar, Raw, International, Take-out, Delivery

10.  Pajara Pinta. Jaco.

Cuisine: Vegan-friendly, Ovo, Costa Rican, Fusion, Organic, Beer/Wine

Consuming organic products is not only something we should do for ourselves, of course the benefits to our health will be enormous but we are also helping the small local producers directly. We are not buying products from big companies so it is assured that we will be helping social development of small communities. In the bigger picture, we are also helping the whole environment, as organic agriculture is a way of reducing global warming.

Where to Go in Costa Rica?


Year after year Costa Rica remains a popular tourist destination, is home to countless activities to keep every traveler entertained, and offers a little something for everyone. It is no surprise that the country’s tourism industry is a $2.2 billion one, and with over 2 million foreigners visiting each year.

So what is it about Costa Rica that makes it so magical? Surely each visitor can be their own judge here, but I would say that the country’s variety would be a determining factor. Variety, ranging from the type of vacation travelers are looking for (i.e. fun, educational, relaxing, romantic), to the amount of money needed to enjoy a high quality vacation, to the kind of experiences visitors get out of a trip, not only adds to Costa Rica’s desirability factor but also makes vacation planning a challenging feat for most travelers. For those who know little about the country, simply narrowing down the specific areas worth a visit can be a daunting task. Fortunately, Costa Rica’s various towns and regions are as diverse as the travel population itself, so knowing the type of traveler you are and what you are looking for in a vacation will direct you where to go and look for help in determining the best places to visit.

Adventure and Nature

Adventure enthusiasts in search of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences that are difficult to obtain at home. For this reason, they need a location that not only offers a lot to see and do, but also offers unique activities that cannot be experienced elsewhere (without sacrificing experience quality). The following areas of Costa Rica are recommended to those travelers who want access to a variety of activities from within the same location. Ideal for those with limited time in Costa Rica and/or with an interest in participating in combo tours that combine two or more activities in one full day tour experience. For nature lovers, areas that offer plenty of outdoor activities for optimum eco-immersion and rainforest/cloud forest education are most desirable, as are areas that offer a variety of accommodation types (beyond high-rise and resort hotels) including bungalows, chalets, cabins, and eco-lodges that allow visitors to experience nature in an up close and personal way.

  • La Fortuna (Arenal)
  • Monteverde
  • Manuel Antonio
  • Rincon de la Vieja
  • Sarapiqui
  • Tortuguero

Couples and Honeymooners

They seek romance and prefer destinations that can offer an experience beyond a typical beach vacation. To them this “extra something” may be a high-class resort-quality hotel, whereas to others it may be an area of the country where romantic activities (such as spending an evening at the volcano hot springs or taking in a sunset sailing cruise) are easily accessible. In either case, quality is key, as are destinations that make the happy couple feel confident about choosing Costa Rica for their romantic getaway. Another important factor? Dining opportunities. Couples/honeymooners are more likely to visit restaurants within the areas in which they stay, so for those travelers who do not plan to stay at one of Costa Rica’s few all-inclusive resorts, choosing towns that offer a wide variety of dining options (and that do not require a long commute to/from such dining options) is a smart decision.

  • La Fortuna (Arenal)
  • Manuel Antonio
  • Osa Peninsula
  • Papagayo Gulf

Families with Children

Families that travel with young children do so with a list. Some of the most important questions topping the list include destination safety, transportation accessibility, and transportation duration between routes, child-friendly dining options, and child-friendly activity options. While not always the case, the most popular tourist destinations in any country tend to be those that are best equipped to accommodate the needs of families travelling with young children, primarily because they tend to be developed enough to offer it all. Since safe areas appeal to parents and fun/unique areas appeal to kids, ideal vacation destinations for this travel group demographic offer both.

  • La Fortuna (Arenal)
  • Monteverde
  • Manuel Antonio
  • Tortuguero

For those families with older children have more flexibility about longer commutes, more dining options and adventurous activities.

  • La Fortuna (Arenal)
  • Monteverde
  • Manuel Antonio
  • Tamarindo
  • El Coco


Costa Rica is a well-known surf destination. It regularly hosts surf championships, offers plenty of coast and breaks to explore, and has a surf culture all of its own, containing Costa Ricans and international surfers that call Costa Rica home. As to be expected, the surf culture is backed by a surf industry, complete with an abundance of surf shops, schools, and camps. Lessons for beginner, intermediate, and advanced surfers are available, as are surf tours to remote beach areas offering the best surf breaks. For those looking for an authentic surf experience that is truly off the hook, trained by only the best local surf experts and world-renowned surf champions, Costa Rica’s got it.

  • Tamarindo
  • Manuel Antonio
  • Dominical
  • Jaco
  • Santa Teresa and Malpais

Vacation Rental Home Fanatics

Looking for a home away from home? Vacation home rentals are scattered throughout the country, however particular regions offer more concentrated rental areas than others. Ideal for those who wish to take day trips to/from one central location throughout the duration of their trip.

  • Tamarindo
  • Hermosa (Guanacaste)
  • Coco
  • Manuel Antonio
  • Dominical
  • Jaco

It doesn’t matter what kind of tourist you are, bottom line Costa Rica has something for everyone. Enjoy Costa Rica!!






Bandera Azul Ecológica… sounds exotic, doesn’t it?

by Rod Martin

Bandera Azul Ecológica… sounds exotic, doesn’t it? Well, it is exotic in a pristine tropical beach kind of way. Bandera Azul translates to English as “Blue Flag” — a designation awarded annually by the ICT (or the Tourism Board in Costa Rica). Eighty-nine beaches received at least one Bandera Azul, while some received an additional two, three, and even five stars for exemplary status.

Inspired by a similar program developed in Spain in 1985, the “Bandera Azul Ecológica” is intended to curb the negative impacts of increasing tourism and population by helping the local community to protect the beach environment and limit pollution. Costa Rica’s version was started in 1996, and 10 beaches received a blue flag designation that year. In 2004, an executive decree was made that clarified and organized the various government institutions to better manage the program. That foresight to protect one of its most precious attractions (clean beaches and water) is part of the reason why Costa Rica is booming now. Over 2.5 million visitors came to Costa Rica in 2014 (not to mention an influx of new coastal residents), and eco-tourism is one of its fastest growing sub-sectors.

For those who like the specifics behind a catchy headline, the beaches are evaluated on seven different criteria:

  • Quality of Seawater (35%)
  • Quality of Water for Human Consumption (15%)
  • Quality of Sanitation, which includes garbage (10%)
  • Domestic Sewage (15%)
  • Industrial Sewage (5%)
  • Environmental Education (10%)
  • Safety and Administration (10%)

If the beach earns at least a 90% rating, they are awarded a Bandera Azul. In addition, multiple stars are now awarded if the beach community makes an extra effort in areas such as safety in the form of lifeguards and signs announcing “heavy surf/rip currents”, toilets and showers, bins for trash and recyclable items, and environmental education, among others.

Three beaches received a 5-star rating—Matapalo and Punta El Madero in Northern Guanacaste, and Playa Blanca on the Central Coast. There were three beaches within the southern Pacific zone of Costa Ballena that received blue flag ratings—Playa Dominical, Playa Arco, and Playa Hermosa – a beach that now has designated trash bins and lifeguards thanks to community initiative.  Those lifeguards have saved 30 people from drowning in recent weeks, so safety is an ancillary benefit to a community. House hunters even base their searches using this Blue Flag criteria. If you are one of those seeking pristine and protected beaches, check out both our Dominical and Tamarindo listings.

Last year, the Costa Rican Times reported “[…] more than 90% of the beaches in the Costa Rica have minimal pollution levels, with little to no risk to human health.” This is good for beach-goers and for everyone who will benefit from tourism in the years to come. So, if you are planning a trip to Costa Rica in the near future, don’t forget your beach towel and your sunblock. The water is warm and the tropical beach experience is definitely part of the pura vida.



Steady Improvement of Real Estate Investment in Costa Rica

by Properties in Costa Rica

As a real estate company trying to provide a quality service in the main areas of Costa Rica, we are very interest in the development of the market in Dominical.

Dominical used to be a fishermen town, according to 2011 government´s census the Bahia Ballena´s population was 3306 people and 500 of them were permanent residents of Dominical. Known mostly for its big waves, the beach is a surfer´s paradise but with time it´s becoming more appealing to potential buyers who want to own a vacation home or become permanent residents.

An article recently published in the New York Times and written by Kevin Brass points that Dominical´s real estate market is experiencing a rise. Joshua Kanter, one of our real estate agents in the Dominical area was consulted for this article. He was asked about the impact that the new paved road finished in 2010 had on the market “Bad timing” said Josh “… you could make an offer for 30 percent off and get it”.

The 2009 recession came affecting all areas of real estate and Dominical was no exception. Properties were selling for 30%, 40% and even 50% off their original price. Home owners were selling their properties abroad to avoid losing their homes back in their country. Most of the buyers in Dominical are American and they had to leave Costa Rica.

We have experienced an increase in the sales since 2012, and is has gotten better every year since, allowing us to think that this area is developing rapidly and attracting more buyers every year.

The area´s natural resources and tourist attractions, not to mention the proximity to the Whale´s Tale, one of the most famous attractions of Costa Rica, make this small town a buyer´s paradise.



Wondering What is the Best Place to Buy a Vacation Home in Costa Rica?

by Andrés Murillo

Ocean view

We’re certain you’ll be as convinced as we are that it’s by far the best place to buy a vacation property in Costa Rica

It’s no secret that Costa Rica is quickly becoming one of the top destinations where expats from United States, Canada and Europe want to buy property, either as a vacation home or as a full-time residence. But although Costa Rica is a relatively small country, its coasts, cities and beach towns are as diverse as can be, leaving many prospective property owners wondering, “Where should I buy?“.

Truthfully, it’s hard to go wrong when buying property in Costa Rica, but through the years people has discovered what we consider the prettiest, most idyllic beach town, located on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, near the international airport and close to a seemingly endless list of incredible eco-tourism opportunities. Tamarindo, Costa Rica, is being recognized as the best beach town in Costa Rica to buy your vacation rental home.

Let’s clarify that vacation rental home, what we mean is that you can buy a property in Tamarindo, Costa Rica primarily for your own vacation use, but also rent that property to other vacationers when you’re spending time in your home country… You can actually enjoy your property for vacations PLUS it is paying itself and even better: it is generating real income after expenses!

Here are just a few of the main reasons why owning a vacation home in Costa Rica will not only provide you and your family with unparalleled entertainment, but is also an extremely sound investment in terms of resale:

It’s close to Liberia International Airport. At just 45 minutes from the international airport in the city of Liberia, Tamarindo is easily accessible. Finding a shuttle, a rental car or a taxi to take you from the newly renovated airport to your doorstep is not only a breeze, it’s very affordable.

- The tourism is unmatched. World-famous waves, beautiful estuaries, dormant volcanoes, miles of clean beach, great shopping, excellent food and outdoor activities are right at your doorstep. Tamarindo is one of the fastest-growing towns in Costa Rica, touristically speaking, meaning you’ll never be in short supply of incredible experiences to take advantage of.

- A return on investment that’s virtually guaranteed. Anyone from this town will assure you that land values in Tamarindo have increased steadily over the years. It’s almost unheard-of that a property might sell for less than its purchase price. Tamarindo is a highly desirable place to live and vacation, and for you that means resale prospects.


Tamarindo has one of, and maybe the, strongest vacations rental market in all the Pacific Coast

- Strong vacations rental market. Tamarindo has one of, and maybe the, strongest vacations rental market in all the Pacific Coast… That said, you could expect an excellent return on your investment while you can also enjoy the property with your family and friends. Depending in the property and its location, properties can be returning between a 4% to a 10% after ALL expenses (property taxes, HOA fees, utility bills and maintenance expenses).

Key to all is: 1. Having a proper marketing program for your property and 2. Hire the right property management company – Ask for advise and we will provide it.

- There are incredible deals to be found on vacation properties. Despite a spike in popularity over the last dozen or so years, land values in Tamarindo are fairly low, making it a very viable option for homebuyers looking to purchase a second, or vacation, home in Tamarindo.

- The variety is endless. Tamarindo housing types are as varied as any town or city. Tamarindo is home to multi-million dollar estates with panoramic ocean views, luxury ocean view condos, and quiet homes located off the beaten path. You’ll likely find that whichever type of vacation home suits your tastes, the prices will compete with anything you might find back home.

- Great people and excellent infrastructure. Costa Rica is anything but a third-world country. Instead, it is very well developed, with excellent roads, great cellphone reception, and reliable electricity and water service – especially in Tamarindo.
Further, the people who live in Tamarindo, both the locals and the expats who have already made their full-time or part-time homes here, are extremely friendly and welcoming to newcomers. In Tamarindo you can find a real multicultural mix with residents from ALL over the world living in this small beach town.

Once you see the supreme natural beauty that Tamarindo has to offer, we’re certain you’ll be as convinced as we are that it’s by far the best place to buy a vacation property in Costa Rica.

Contact Properties in Costa Rica today so we can begin finding you your dream vacation home in Tamarindo, or wherever you’re dreaming of.




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Medical Tourism in Costa Rica

by Properties in Costa Rica

Medical tourism or health tourism, currently has a dual function for a large percentage of the population in developed countries, as the possibility of surgery and medical treatment at a lower costs that otherwise they could not afford. On the other hand is a source of income for countries that offer the services. As PROMED (An organization founded in 2009 to promote and regulate medical tourism in Costa Rica) indicates it is a possibility for 49 million Americans that do not have health insurance and 108 million who do not have dental insurance, a situation that is similar in other European countries.

This represents an interesting opportunity for countries like Costa Rica where the cost of medical treatments represent a third of the United States. Also the quality of Costa Rican medical professionals and excellent hospital infrastructure also plays an important role. It is estimated that the country receives about 100,000 tourists each year who go through some type of medical procedure.

Medical tourism or health tourism is a new way to attract visitors, where medical services (surgeries, medical checkups, rehabilitation) represent the main attraction but also mean another set of related services like lodging, transportation, recovery and nutrition. In other words it’s not just health care and lodging, but also the enjoyment of the country and its numerous attractions.

Another key factors are the well trained doctors and the prestigious government and private universities training all these future doctors. In fact, the need to provide a quality health service and guidance is what led to the creation of PROMED, which aims to find the positioning of Costa Rica as one the countries providing world class medical services that go hand to hand with the tradition of Costa Rica as a warm welcoming country with lots to offer. All this will be possible by joining efforts between the Costa Rican government and the private sector.

There is a special interest from the governement and private institutions in promoting medical tourism in Costa Rica, and the advantages of the country are evident.

Source: PROMED