Properties in Costa Rica Blog


Pet-Friendly Costa Rica

Pet-Friendly Costa Rica

May 19, 2018

Properties in Costa Rica

Among runways, nutritive discussions, food stands, and many dogs, last Saturday we celebrated a total party at the first dog food festival the “Doggie Food Fest” in Lindora,San Jose. Dozens of pets with their owners showed up and were able to enjoy a nice morning with activities such as and share tips of nutrition and training with professionals. A great activity for our 4 legged friends!

These type of activities in the country increasingly acquired more support after May 2017, when the Costa Rican Congress approved a law that punishes up to two years in prison for the mistreatment of domestic animals, as well as economic fines. This movement also increases the awareness of the treatment of animals and especially the responsibility that comes with having a pet.

The ideology of “Pet Friendly” becomes stronger each day and is portrayed in cafeterias, restaurants, hotels or even commercial establishments. This policy has allowed several establishments to be more popular not only for allowing pets but for a special attention for the animals which includes water buckets and treats while gaining the loyalty of consumers throughout an excellent marketing strategy.

This law led to the opening of dog parks in different areas of the city, where a close space is provided for pets to play and many of them with water fountains as well as different ramps and tunnels. In most of Costa Rican beaches, you’ll be able to appreciate dogs running freely and having fun in the ocean. Some places charge a minimum extra fee per day or per stay for bringing your dog, but others don’t. This movement also reinforces the owners to be responsible and clean after their dogs, that’s why in parks, beaches, national parks, you’ll find dog stands with garbage bags.

Costa Rica has the largest dog shelter in the world called “Territorio de Zaguates”, with an approximate of 700 dogs, plenty of acres of open field to run and play. Something very important about this project is that during the weekends they receive visits from volunteers to help them with the maintenance as well as people who are willing to adopt and give a better life to the dogs. Another case which shows the solidarity with animals is with the fire brigade who have created dog eaters with plastic bottles so that street dogs can have access food and fresh water during the day, this was implemented in different municipalities of the country.

Costa Rica is a country with almost 2% of the world’s biodiversity, with animals of all types, sizes and colors. Ironically, until a few years ago, the image of domestic animals has been changed. Awareness campaigns, social networking groups, and non-profit organizations help encourage people to give the best life possible to our four-legged friends.




Amusing Presidential Inauguration Ceremony

Amusing Presidential Inauguration Ceremony

May 11, 2018

Properties in Costa Rica

Last Tuesday, May 8th, Costa Rica was a witness of the transfer of power between the outgoing government of the Solis-Rivera administration and the new government, commanded by the new president elected over a month ago, Carlos Alvarado. He is part of the same party as the former government, and becomes president of this beautiful country only at age 38, being the youngest president in the history of the nation.

The event consisted of a total of 106 delegations from different countries, including 6 presidents such as Panama, Ecuador, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic as well as President Evo Morales of Bolivia. The venue designated for such a prestigious and important ceremony was the Plaza de la Democracia (Democracy Plaza), created in 1989 during the first government of former President Oscar Arias Sanchez. The importance of this place for Costa Ricans is absolute, place of the Bella Vista Barracks where the army was abolished on December 1st, 1948.

One of the biggest features that the country experienced on Tuesday was the humility and transparency with which the new president of the country arrived. As much as his wife and first lady, Claudia Dobles, they both decided to use only nationally designed clothes and accessories, thus promoting the hard work of thousands of Costa Rican designers, which highlights their strong national identity and feeling.

However, the center of attention was their arrival in a private bus which his entire cabinet, giving a great example of how carpool and public transportation reduces the environmental impact. Don Carlos made his first appearance as president in a carbon neutral bus created and developed by former Costa Rican astronaut and physicist Franklin Chang Diaz, once again showing his pride for his country and people. The name of the bus is “N’YU’TI”, which means star in Chorotega, the language of ancient indigenous populations that inhabit the country. This electric bus that runs on hydrogen fuel will take Alvarado’s cabinet on a 3.3km route, leaving from the Costa Rican Art Museum to the Plaza de la Democracia.

The transfer of powers is a ceremony with feelings and national identity, in which everyone feels proud of the democracy that exists in the country, regardless of the electoral party supported. More than 3,000 attendees and people who felt it in through homes, jobs, hospitals, “sodas”, were satisfied by how the event went and hoped the best luck to the new president of Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado.




Ruta Nacional 160 – Paquera to Playa Naranjo Becomes a Reality

Ruta Nacional 160 – Paquera to Playa Naranjo Becomes a Reality

May 4, 2018

Properties in Costa Rica

I have lived on the ‘Island of Nicoya’ for over 26 years. Located on the bottom of the peninsula of Nicoya, you will find one of the most beautiful parts of Costa Rica, with an abundance of nature and minimum commercial development. Not technically an island, the access to this area over the years has been by boat or by plane, as is true with all islands. Before the Barceló company began the ferry service here, there were only a few boats that carried people, crops, and livestock to the markets of Puntarenas and back. During the years the ferry service has been improving, adding more boats with bigger capacity. Nowadays, there is a third ferry that carries 160 cars back an forth on 7 different trips daily. This service alleviated the problem of commerce and travel between the Lower Peninsula and the Costa Rican mainland.

Each additional ferry helped every time a little more, increasing tourism as well as commerce and the development of the area. There is an actual road to the north of us that connects the Lower Peninsula to the Guanacaste Upper Peninsula, but that road has been a nightmare to travel on for 50 years. It is a road that technically exists but it is only used as a last resource. The road was poorly designed and maintained, the washboard sections lead to deep holes, constant landslides, hills of soft silt and sections that have fallen into deep ravines dangerously cutting into half of the road. It is an uncomfortable and dangerous road, mostly during the rainy season. Locals would rather pay the $25 ferry fare to inspect their cars in Puntarenas than travel to Nicoya on this road. The government has promised to pave the road for over 25 years without any action. Each administration has been very good at ‘kicking the can down the road’ to the next administration.

When Highway 27 was completed from San Jose to Puntarenas, there was real hope that the government would fulfill their promise. In July 2015 the demonstrations became serious as residents took to the streets, and complained about the unpaved road. This time, the government got the message and negotiations began, promising a road for 2016. It is now, on May 2018, when machinery has finally arrived at the area. The negotiation of building a new road from Naranjo to Paquera ended last year.

There is a budget of US $27.5 million for 21.6 kilometers that needs to be done totally new, including 3 bridges that will be redesigned and rebuilt to have two lanes. In addition, the maintenance will be part of this budget as well as the correct signals along the road and security measures. An important aspect of this needed investment consists of building land and aerial wildlife corridors, to benefit the wildlife of the area as well. This road will increase tourism, commerce and improve the lifestyle of the towns around since dust will be reduced with the new pavement.

Jim Shaw

jim@propertiesincostarica.com




How to get to Santa Teresa and Montezuma

How to get to Santa Teresa and Montezuma

April 28, 2018

Properties in Costa Rica

Santa Teresa and Montezuma are two popular beach communities located right
across the Nicoya Peninsula. A must visit portion of Costa Rica where you will find the
Pura Vida lifestyle at it best! Expats, hippies, wannabe hippies, adult surfers, kids
surfers, dog surfers, a place to connect with all kind of people. This area gets a lot of
tourism during the peak season (December thru April), but the long beaches have
enough space for everyone, you won’t even notice the number of people around you.
There’s one big question once you arrive in Costa Rica, how do we get to these
astonishing beaches?

The most popular way of crossing the Nicoya Gulf to get to Montezuma and Santa
Teresa is by ferry. This is a speedboat that transports vehicles and people from
Puntarenas to two different docks on the other side. You have two routes options:
Puntarenas – Paquera and Puntarenas – Naranjo.

The distance, by car or bus from San Jose to Puntarenas is about 1 hour 30 minutes.
Nevertheless, you should have a margin of 30 minutes to 1 hour to assure your place in
the ferry. During the high season, the time to get to Puntarenas changes, if you have
your own vehicle you must calculate about two to three hours from San Jose and you
must arrive at the dock at least 3 hours before to have your place assured in the ferry.
Both routes include fully equipped ferries, with air conditioner, indoor seats, tables,
outdoor seats and tables, a kiosk that includes chips and typically snacks such as
“pastelitos”, music and in both you will appreciate incredible views of the golf. On the
ferry, you’ll have beautiful views of “Isla San Lucas” an island located in the middle of
the gulf previously used as a jail. Also, if you ride during dawn you’ll be able to catch the
sunrise emerging through the mountains.

Let’s discuss the two routes to cross the Nicoya Gulf:

Puntarenas – Paquera: The ferry ride from Puntarenas to Paquera has a duration of one
hour and 10 to 20 minutes. Once you get to Paquera, you will have to wait your turn to
get off the ferry which, could last at least one hour or even more during the high season.
There you will have a one hour drive to Montezuma, and one and a half hour to get to Santa Teresa or paradise. The roads are mostly paved but you will have trams of
unpaved and curvy roads through the mountains. It is a bumpy ride, but totally worth it.

This is the best option to get to both beaches.

Puntarenas – Naranjo: This other option to cross the Nicoya Gulf is mainly a plan B. The
ride on the speedboat has the same duration as the one of Paquera: one hour and 10 to
20 minutes. However, once you get to the dock, you’ll have to add an extra 40 minutes
ride to get to Montezuma and Santa Teresa following the same road as if you take the
other ferry. This is a less required ride, that’s why during the peak season, riding the
Naranjo ferry could be a good option.

Tips:

Use comfortable clothes: If you don’t find a seat inside the ferry you will have to be on
the deck where the sun really burns. It gets warm, and sunblock is a must!
Pet-Friendly: Both speedboats are pet-friendly, there’s a special area where they can
stay during the ride aside from the multitude.

Time: Always make sure to get to the dock on time! If not, you will have to wait for at least 2
hours for another boat. A good tip is to call the central in Puntarenas to check the hours
of the ferry and their prognostics for the day you are going.

Enjoy: The most important part, be happy. Appreciate the views, feel the salty breeze,
take pictures. If there’s music on the ferry, dance!




Travelling to Costa Rica? Documents required to enter Costa Rica as a tourist

Travelling to Costa Rica? Documents required to enter Costa Rica as a tourist

April 17, 2018

Properties in Costa Rica

Traveling to Costa Rica is pretty simple. Not everyone that travels here needs a “tourist visa”, it all depends on your nationality, duration of stay, residence and the purpose of your visit. There are some things to keep in mind if you are traveling here.

If you plan on visiting Costa Rica as a tourist and your country of origin is The United States, Canada or you are a European citizen, the only document you will need is a current valid passport in good conditions. Keep in mind that the authorities will demand a demonstration of economic solvency, requiring a minimum of $100 per month staying in the country. In addition, a return ticket or exit ticket must be shown for them to verify when you are leaving the country and for how long are you staying.

The maximum length of stay allowed is 90 days, which you can extend with a new tourist visa for another 90 days if you leave the country for a minimum of 48 hours.

For you to have a safe and tranquil return, make sure that the immigration officer who examines your passport when you enter Costa Rica stamps the corresponding “entry stamp” on it. If you plan on staying in Costa Rica for more than 90 days you must apply for a tourist Visa.

Another requirement to take in consideration is the yellow fever vaccine. If you, before entering Costa Rica, have remained in countries at risk, you must be vaccinated against yellow fever, which should be verified by means of the “International Certificate of Vaccination against Yellow Fever”, which is valid from 10 days after vaccination.

If you have been in transit through countries at risk in their trajectory towards Costa Rica in airports, ports and inter-border posts of countries at risk you will be exempted from the yellow fever vaccination requirement.

You are also exempt from the vaccination requirement if you have been in countries considered at risk but later have remained for at least 6 days, in a country that is not risky and have not developed fever in that period.

Countries that do not need a tourist visa are: Alemania, Andorra, Argentina, Austria, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bélgica, Brasil, Bulgaria, Canadá, Ciudad del Vaticano, Chile, Chipre, Croacia, Dinamarca, Eslovaquia, Eslovenia, España, Estados Unidos de América, Estonia, Finlandia, Francia, Grecia, Hungría, Irlanda, Islandia, Israel, Italia, Japón, Letonia, Liechtenstein, Lituania, Luxemburgo, Malta, México, Montenegro, Noruega, Nueva Zelanda, Países Bajos, Panamá, Paraguay, Polonia, Portugal, Principado de Mónaco, Puerto Rico, San Marino, Serbia, Sudáfrica, Reino Unido e Irlanda del Norte, República Checa, República de Corea del Sur, Rumanía, Singapur, Suecia, Suiza, Trinidad y Tobago y Uruguay.

The countries considered at risk are: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, SierraLeone, Sudan, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Guyana and Venezuela.




The climate in Costa Rica

The climate in Costa Rica

April 12, 2018

Properties in Costa Rica

If you are moving to Costa Rica or planning a trip here, there’s some information
regarding the weather that you should consider. Costa Rica is known for its diverse
climate and vegetation that varies during the different seasons. It is composed of two
seasons: Dry or summer, and Rainy/green/winter.

Let’s discuss some of the pros and cons for each season.

Dry/summer:

Pros: From December thru April you will find sunshine and little clouds throughout the
country. Costa Rica is diverse and unpredictable regarding climate, so the season can
begin earlier or prolong a little bit. This is the peak tourist season since people from the
northern countries try to avoid the cold winters and come looking for the true tropical
experience. During this period of the year, most of the modern amenities such as bars
and restaurants, groceries stores, hotels are always full of foreign and locals tourists. If
you would like to visit volcanoes and mountains, this season means fewer clouds and
fog. Most volcanoes will be exhibiting the peaks and offering a surreal experience with a
clear view of the crater. You will be able to enjoy surfing, fishing, scuba-diving, all in
translucent oceans with the ideal temperature. As well as extreme sports such as
bungee, canopy and hiking with little or no rain at all.

Cons: Since the dry season occurs during Costa Rica’s peak season, prices tend to be
a lot higher. Finding an affordable private house for your vacation, or vacancy in a hotel
may be a tough task if you don’t book it with anticipation. Flights prices also tend to go
up for these months. Costa Rican tourism is also strong, and when combined with
foreign tourism beaches may seem full as well as the highways. Expect long waiting
lines in restaurants and overbooked tours.

Rainy/Green/Winter:

Pros: The rainy season goes from May thru mid-November. Just like the dry season,
these periods may extend or diminish. Nevertheless, rain begins until 3 pm, having
plenty of time during the morning to enjoy the light breeze and sunshine. Rain often help
alleviate the warm and humid weather. Activities such as hiking and rafting are
predominant during the “winter”. Making reference to the name of “green season”,
plants and trees that were once dry from the previous season, will nourish while
enjoying the tropical rainforest habitat to its maximum. This is the best time to visit the
rainforest and have a full experience of it. Another good reason to visit Costa Rica
during this season is that it offers a majestic show of whale watching, a unique and natural experience. Another pro for this season is that prices are lower and you will be
able to find different promotions and offers for tours and lodging.

Cons: If you are an outdoors person that doesn’t enjoy the rain, this is a big problem.
The rainiest months occur in October and November where the entire country receives
from 330-350 millimeters of water, having dark and colder days than the rest of the year.
If you go to the beach, on the Pacific side, be prepared for storms and strong currents in
the ocean. Also be cautious while driving, the highways in Costa Rica have plenty of
dangerous bends and in the rain and fog they tend to be difficult to see. Another issue
on the highway are landslides, so be alert all the time to prevent accidents of this
magnitude.

Something to keep in mind, when the Pacific coast has one kind of climate, the
Caribbean coast will have the opposite climate. Anytime you visit Costa Rica you will be
able to enjoy the beautiful landscape, beaches and activities that it has to offer!




What to expect for Easter in Costa Rica

What to expect for Easter in Costa Rica

March 23, 2018

Properties in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a Catholic country, so when it comes to easter we are talking about one of
the most important holidays of the year. This year, 2018, the holy week starts from
March 26th to April 1st, being Thursday and Friday the only holidays by law.

Nevertheless, the celebration begins earlier since most of the people and institutions
take the entire week off.

If you live in the Central Valley you will be gratified to notice how empty the streets are.
Some people will pack up their families and head out to the beaches, both to the
Caribbean or Pacific coasts, while others will prefer the mountains. Nevertheless,
expect to have an entire week of full traffic when leaving San Jose. In addition, on the
highway you will always find ambulant salesmen on the street, offering mangos, chips,
and peanuts through your car window.

Traffic police will be in service. Please don’t be using your phone, don’t speed while
having a continuous yellow line and don’t exceed the speed limit under any
circumstance. At this time of the year, they tend to be more cautious and attentive to all
of the infractions.

Some things to take into consideration before starting this holiday: most businesses
might have shortened hours or be totally closed from Thursday thru Sunday, especially
banks. Liquor cannot be sold legally on Thursday and Friday. If you want to have a cold
beer at the beach or your sunbathe while having a favorite cocktail you might have to buy
the alcohol previously.

On these days you will be able to appreciate the Catholic traditions at its fullest. The
streets will be full of religious parades. You’ll be surprised to see children and grown-ups
walking down the streets, dressed up with tunics, carrying a cross and singing church
songs, even at the beach with the extremely warm temperatures. Sunday is when
churches are full, and people then head to their homes to celebrate Easter with family or
close friends.

The long hours of waiting in the car and the previous preparation for this week of
Catholic celebrations will be worth it once you are relaxing near the translucent ocean or
hiking through the beautiful mountains.




Let’s talk about financing in Costa Rica

Let’s talk about financing in Costa Rica

March 19, 2018

Properties in Costa Rica

A very popular hobby among those who like to browse the internet or peep in to magazines is to daydream about the wonderful joys and places that they would love to own or experience…

Walking with your couple to the market to buy exotic fruits for breakfast.

That sunbath in the company of scarlet macaws in Uvita.

Dining in some sophisticated restaurant on a tophill enjoying the city lights.

Showing your children the march of the leaf cutter ants towards their dwelling under the shade of a kapok tree.

Receiving some extra money from the rent of your apartment in Costa Rica.

The fact is that when we´re back in reality our wallet tell us a different story. Good news is that more and more sellers are starting to include financing options to smooth the way down to the prospect´s goal. The formulas are different but what they have in common is that makes easier to the client the first step towards ownership.

The first possibility is always to appeal to the bank: A mortgage over the property you’re buying is always a valid solution, however, sometimes in Costa Rica is difficult for a foreigner to be subject from a local bank to credit. Interest rates tend to be higher compared to options back home. This rates are around 9% in United States dollars for a long term loan.

Another approach is to knock the door for private financing. Options are broader, terms are more flexible and the possibility to offer collateral Real Estate in the United States or Canada is also part of the game. Yet, this alternative might be better for those who are familiar with this instruments and also have enough leverage for this operations.

Last but not least, owner financing is also available for many of our listings. A scenario where both parts of the property crossroads help each other to round up a good business is possible. Rent to buy options, the chance to move in a spectacular home with a downpayment and then paying the rest under the most convenient terms for both parts, is definitely the most exciting formula when financing is needed.

Don’t wait more for the good times to come, they might be already reachable with some help, here in Costa Rica.




Facing Climate Change in Costa Rica

Facing Climate Change in Costa Rica

March 8, 2018

Properties in Costa Rica

All evidence suggests that climate change is already affecting the whole planet, jeopardizing some of our most valued places. Coastal erosion, warmer temperatures, and stronger meteorological phenomena are some of the consequences that are no longer a threat but part of the reality that we have to face as a species.

When media and most of the people talk or mention about this issue, the first pictures that come to our mind are polar bears and melting glaciers. However, in our tropical context is possible to point many of the effects of this process. The good news is that some action is being taken.

An interesting approach is coming from the Ministry of the environment. The biological corridor program objective is to identify areas that are important to manage in a sustainable way, allowing species to move from one area to another looking to warranty their existence for the years to come. The land in this areas stays in private hands but the productive activities are consequent with conservation. This not only helps the wildlife but also becomes a strategy against global warming, as more CO2 is captured since more forest area is grown.

The coasts are also an important target. For example, in Uvita a NGO is looking to help local fishermen to use sustainable techniques to have a healthy ecosystem. Along with this effort, they are encouraged to complement their income with tourism services. The result is a better environment and the protection against global warming effects in an indirect way.

Our treasured beaches in the south Pacific are being protected already, and the great news is that similar programs are running in other beach paradises in Costa Rica.

We know that these efforts need to be accompanied by individual measures as some of the problems we are experiencing according to the UN are in direct relations to Livestock one of the most significant contributors to today’s most serious environmental problems, so please inform yourself and read more about this.

Nevertheless, we are happy to hear that efforts are taking place. More efficient energy use and the use of renewable sources is something that is not new to this nation.

It is difficult to adapt and embrace change, but this country is moving in the right path to conserve the most important places to face this at the same time that prepares wisely for the inevitable. Make compassion choices and stay in the safe side for your Real Estate investments!




The Nicoya Roads

The Nicoya Roads

February 19, 2018

Properties in Costa Rica

The Nicoya Peninsula boasts some the most idyllic places in Costa Rica. The Santa Teresa waves, the Montezuma waterfalls, secret coves with swimming pools that feel like the mother’s womb and the most dramatic sunsets of this tropical heaven. All of this and much more in a part of Costa Rica that has its unique authentic vibe.

To reach some of this places, sometimes really becomes a quest. An ATV, small aircraft, though four-wheel drive jeeps, mountain bikes or a good pair of shoes are some of the equipment you´ll need to enjoy some of the wonders of this peninsula. For the adventurous traveler, it’s a great chance to show off all of the gadgets meant for this places. The exuberant nature also appeals to those looking to challenge themselves. But the best is that sensation to be “off the beaten track” and the adrenaline rush that comes within is a plus for many.

But let’s face it… Everyone would appreciate more time in the nice places and fewer hours inside a car or a bus cruising dusty roads.

This is why two major changes regarding infrastructure need some attention, especially if you’re planning an investment in that area:

  • Finally, the road between Paquera and Playa Naranjo will be paved. This will boost the commercial and touristic activity in the northern part of the peninsula where some of the main towns of the area are located. Lepanto and Jicaral won’t be considered unreachable locations thanks to this investment.
  • There are plans to relocate the ferry dock from Puntarenas to the Caldera port. Enough space to park the car, proper areas to wait for the boat, and less time driving from the central valley are very good reasons to consider this move. However, opposition from the people in Puntarenas is already an issue and it will take a smart negotiation to make this happen.

The fact is that this corner of heaven is getting pampered by the government and real estate will get the benefits from it.

That being said, ist important to put things in perspective: many places in the Nicoya area will be hard to reach for most of the people. Those looking for their getaway will still have great chances to find it in this paradise, and this time of the year is the best to look for it!.



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