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Monthly Archives: November 2016

Costa Rica’s Magical Dry and Wet Seasons

Costa Rica’s Magical Dry and Wet Seasons

November 24, 2016

Properties in Costa Rica

November and December mark the beginning of the dry season and the end of the wet season. Its when the snowbirds begin to flock to Costa Rica to escape the dismal weather back east and the country’s population peaks. Located in the northern hemisphere, Costa Rica is bordered by the Caribbean Sea on one side and the vast Pacific Ocean on the other. Costa Rica is known for it’s biodiversity, rich ecosystems and near perfect year round weather. This subtropical climate has two seasons: The wet season and the dry season.

From beaches to mountains to lush forests, the distinct climates create a rich country to explore. The average temperature is between 70-81 degrees Fahrenheit. The coolest months of the year are November, December and January while March through May represent the hottest months. During high season, Costa Rica experiences consistent sunny beautiful days. Coinciding with spring break, winter break and Christmas vacations back north, it’s considered the best time to visit. Many families pick this time of year to travel Costa Rica.

Dry Season represents the peak of the rental season. The streets bustle with visitors, the restaurants are full and reservations difficult to get in areas highly populated by expats. High season is also when rental properties command the highest price. It’s the time for fiestas, culture, mingling amidst buzzing towns with lots of activity and fun.

The dry season is also better for hiking and visibility especially in areas such as Corcovado National Park where the runoff from the rain makes hiking a very muddy experience. Scuba divers will also enjoy clearer water during the dry season and mountain climbers take in better views from the top. This season is optimal for outdoor activities. Visitors don’t have to schedule their day around the afternoon showers, which makes long treks more feasible during this time of year.

However, don’t dismiss the rainy season either. September and October are the height of whale watching and turtle watching. It’s also the peak season for foliage, which turns a lush green. Marking Costa Rica’s winter, everything is much quieter during this time of year. During the rainy season, life tones down a bit. Locals meander the streets, and enjoy the laid back pace of life. There are no crowds, and it’s much cheaper to travel during this time of year. Prices on just about everything are lower. Rain consists of a daily afternoon shower, which cools things off a bit. Many people find it to be a nice break from the constant sunshine. It provides a refuge. Rainy season is also when the foreign property owners tend to head down to Costa Rica for a break.

Both seasons offer advantages to the discerning traveler. For those looking to be in the center of the action, November through April are the peak months to travel to Costa Rica. People looking for a laid back atmosphere and good rates will find the rainy season optimal especially if you are planning to travel to tourist areas such as Tamarindo or Jaco.

5 Must Visit National Parks

5 Must Visit National Parks

November 19, 2016

Properties in Costa Rica

Rincón de la Vieja

Located right outside of the city of Liberia, Rincon de la Vieja is easily accessible for a day or few of nature exploration. The park encompasses three volcanoes, Rincon de la Vieja, Santa Maria and the dormant Cerro Von Seebach. Hiking to the different waterfalls, mud pots, or hot springs you’ll spot a number of the over 300 species of birds. The area is also home to cougars, monkeys, kinkajous, jaguars, and many others.

Isla del Coco

Isla del Coco, with a coastline of 14 miles, is the largest uninhabited island in the world. You may even recognize it from the opening scene of Jurassic Park. Nearly 360 miles off the coast this secluded National Park is a sight to be seen. Due to its remote location only hundreds of people have visited the island. With 200 waterfalls and around 60 species that are unique to the island, this hidden paradise is a must see for nature enthusiasts.


Located in the Limon Province of the country, Tortuguero. Despite its remote location, it is the third-most visited park in Costa Rica, reached only by airplane or boat. The tropical climate park has a large variety of biological diversity with eleven different habitats, including rainforest, mangrove forests, swamps, beaches, and lagoons. The main attraction of the park is the turtles! Green sea turtles, leatherbacks, and hawksbill all lay their eggs here. Whether its watching the eggs be laid or seeing the baby turtles emerged an scuttle down to the water you will surely be mesmerized.


Corcovado National Park is Central America’s largest lowland Pacific rainforest containing
13 major ecosystems. These include the lowland rain forest, highland cloud forest, jolillo palm forest, and mangrove swamps, as well as coastal marine and beach habitats. It’s the most important sanctuary of biological diversity and endangered wildlife in the country, and one of the most important in the world. Five hundred species of trees, more than 6,000 kinds of insects, almost 400 species of birds, plus frogs, butterflies, and many of the world’s most endangered and spectacular mammals, including tapirs and jaguars, live in this place.


Arenal Volcano National Park is home to incredible hiking, magnificent views, abounding wildlife and one of the world’s most active volcano. Hiking and horseback riding tours allow you to get up close and personal with this incredible area that extends into eight different life zones.
Of the 850 total species of birds identified in Costa Rica nearly all can be found inhabiting the area. Also keep your eyes peeled for the white-faced monkeys, jaguars, deer, coatis, toucans and snakes. In Arenal you experience hot springs, rappelling, waterfalls, volcano hiking, a modern tico town with delicious food and much, much more.

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A Traditional Taste: Olla de Carne

A Traditional Taste: Olla de Carne

November 18, 2016

Properties in Costa Rica

Olla de carne is a hearty beef stew that is typically prepared on weekends both in homes and in many local sodas. The stew combines a number of locally grown ingredients to help provide its rich taste, including cassava, carrots, corn, plantains and taro roots. Olla de carne often features larger vegetables like potatoes as well to provide an extra hearth to what is already a savory stew.


  • 8 cups water
  • 1 lb lean beef, cut into 3-4 inch pieces
  • 1 lb lean beef short ribs, cut into 3-4-inch pieces
  • 1 cup potato, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 lb cassava, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 lb carrots, chopped
  • 5 corn on the cob, cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 1 lb taro roots, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 lb sweet potato, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 green plantains, peeled and cut into 3-inch pieces
  • Salt to taste


Heat water in a saucepan over medium high. Add salt, lean beef, and short ribs and cook for 20 minutes. Add carrots, cobs, green plantains, and cassava. Wait five minutes and add the taro roots, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. Cover and cook for 25 minutes on high medium heat until vegetables and roots are cooked. Serve hot with a bowl of rice.

Donald Trump Elected 45Th President of the USA: Where Does that Leave Costa Rica?

Donald Trump Elected 45Th President of the USA: Where Does that Leave Costa Rica?

November 17, 2016

Properties in Costa Rica

Just a week ago America woke up to learn that Donald Trump had been elected the 45th President of the United States. Winning the electoral vote, Trump beat Hillary Clinton in a close race. Donald Trump, a real estate mogul turned reality star emanates the 21st Century demagogue. A master of ceremonies and power broker, he is not a career politician. Hillary Clinton has been invested in US national politics since before her husband, Bill Clinton, won the election in 1992. The Clinton’s have gone on to become one of the most powerful couples in the USA.

The election broke down into a tireless fight between these two diametrically opposed groups. The Republicans gained the support of the working class disenfranchised people in the US hit hard by the loss of manufacturing jobs. The Democrats relied on the support of urbanites and the professional class to boast Hillary Clinton failing to engage the grassroots and disenfranchised in a meaningful way. A clear cultural division has emerged in the USA as a result of this election. It is symbolic of a larger struggle between globalization and nationalistic forces around the world. The fate of the USA looks precarious at this moment and so the world holds its breath waiting to see how these startling events play out in international affairs. If Wall Street is any indication, the markets did not crash. In fact, they raised higher.

Likewise, the ultimate impact on Costa Rica is still unknown. Will it be negative since the country has benefitted through trade agreements such as NAFTA? Costa Rica could see decline in the number of jobs moved to its shores from America. Or will this show little effect, as most of those exported jobs are due to be eradicated as a result of automation. The impact of Trump on Latin America relations and trade remains to be seen.

On a high note, we can expect to see a new migration of Americans moving here if things continue to unravel in the USA. As of now real estate companies have already seen an increase in interested buyers. Hand in hand with the real estate business is the rental business and 2017 is projected to be the best year yet, with record numbers in tourism. More tourism means more rentals and more rentals mean more value in real estate. Unhappy with the results? Costa Rica is waiting for you! Want to take advantage of the tourism? Costa Rica is waiting for you!

So, as the world waits to see what the fate of the nation will have on long-term impacts in the world, let us all hope for the best of outcomes.

A Costa Rican Classic: Gallos de Arracache

A Costa Rican Classic: Gallos de Arracache

November 15, 2016

Properties in Costa Rica

Arracacha, a root vegetable with a unique flavor, is the main ingredient in this delicious typical Costa Rican dish! Try this recipe at home with your family!

Gallo de Arracache

  • 2 lbs arracacha, peeled and chopped
  • 1lb lean ground beef, chorizo sausage or Italian sausage
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon annatto food coloring
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 (5 oz) can tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon oregano, ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt and pepper to your liking
  • Tabasco sauce to taste



Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat adding in the annatto, onions, garlic, red bell pepper, cilantro and tomato paste stirring often for five minutes. Add meat of your choice, arracacha, and 2 cups water, cover for two minutes. Uncover saucepan and simmer, stirring often until arracacha is soft. Add cumin, oregano, salt and pepper to taste. Serve on a tortilla!

The 10 Best Adventures in Guanacaste

The 10 Best Adventures in Guanacaste

November 14, 2016

Properties in Costa Rica

1. Llanos Del Cortes Waterfall

A great location to spend the day with family and friends. Bring a cooler with a spread of food and drinks to enjoy by the waterfall. The main fall is large and powerful, but you can still jump from the rocks and stand underneath to feel the magnificent force. If you’re lucky you’ll find the hidden path to a more secluded smaller waterfall with naturally heated water!

2. Barra Honda

After a short hike through the forest you’ll arrive at the caves. Once you get harnessed in you’ll make your way down into one of the caves, but don’t look down! In the cave you’ll admire the art the natural world has created over thousands of years. If you’re adventurous enough to reach the furthest point you’ll experience the amazing sensation of being in complete darkness and hear echoing drips of water all around.

3. Rio Celeste

Unlike any waterfall you’ve seen before, Rio Celeste has the most vibrant unique color. The color is caused by a physical phenomenon where two rivers collide causing a significant drop in the pH level. In the park you’ll also see several hot springs and lots of pizotes, a unique Costa Rican creature.

4. Sensoria- The Land of Senses

Sensoria is surely not to be missed. While easily accessible, this park focuses on maintaining the natural balance of the ecosystem while letting visitors get up close and personal with all the rainforest has to offer. Hike to several stunning waterfalls and be on the lookout for snakes, frogs, monkeys, and so many other animals that call Costa Rica home.

5. Diamante Adventure Park

Newly opened this park has it all. From watersports and ziplining to an animal sanctuary and horseback riding. Spend the day enjoying all of the park’s activities with their day pass that includes a lunch buffet with typical costa rican cuisine, as well as, some favorites from back home.

6. Typical Fiestas

Each weekend of the Costa Rican “summer” a different town hosts their own fiesta. The town comes together to set up a rodeo where everyone gathers to watch the bull riders and take a shot at running with the bulls. Everyone stays up all night dancing, celebrating, and enjoying Imperials and typical dishes.

7. Visit The Amazing Beaches

Guanacaste is known for its miles and miles of pristine coastline. Enjoy as many as you can by going on a beach hop! Every beach is unique, from the color of the water and sand to the wildlife you’ll find. Some beaches are secluded, so you may have the whole place to yourself. Others are booming with life, but never overcrowded, where you’ll find tons of activities to enjoy. Surfing, snorkeling, stand up paddling boarding, fishing, these beaches have it all.

8. Ostional Wildlife Reserve

Every year the turtles return to the same beach where they were born to lay their eggs. At times there are thousands of turtles covering the beach digging holes to plant their eggs. If you come at night you’ll follow your guide with a red light, as to not disturb the turtles, to witness this amazing event. You can also come as the sun is rising to see the turtles as they finish the job and scurry back into the water. Once the eggs are laid it’s only time until the main event, the hatching of the baby turtles. What an incredible experience to see them emerging from the sand and finding their way to the water. Hundred of little turtles swimming out to sea for the first time to join their families.

9. African Safari Adventure Park

In the Costa Rican savannah you’ll ride past the incredible animals you find on an African Safari. You’ll see Emu, Giraffes, Zebras and so many other exotic animals. You even have the opportunity to pet some of them up close! After the animal tour enjoy a hike to the waterfalls or take a ride on the quads through the winding trails of the park.

10. Mountain Bike

Guanacaste is becoming a big destination for mountain biking! More and more communities, like Hacienda Pinilla, are creating trails where avid riders and beginners can explore the natural beauty by bike. Up and down the mountains you’ll arrive at some incredible view point, so don’t forget the camera!

The US Election Holds the World’s Attention

The US Election Holds the World’s Attention

November 8, 2016

Properties in Costa Rica

The US election this year has been like no other election in history. The whole world watched a knock down drag down fight between two unlikely opponents. For the Republicans, Donald Trump ascended from a splintered party divided into factions to win the party nomination. Hillary Clinton won the Democratic party’s nomination. Hillary Clinton has always been the favored candidate but no one anticipated the rise of populist and nationalistic fervor that has seized the nation. With many people holding their breath, (too many), it appears the fate of the USA and the world hangs in the balance. Will Hillary Clinton win the election to become the first female President of the USA? It’s the question many people are asking themselves right now.

This election is a battle between a newcomer and an old pro. Donald Trump, a real estate mogul turned reality star emanates the 21st Century demagogue. A master of ceremonies and power broker, he is not a career politician. Hillary Clinton has been involved in US politics since her husband, Bill Clinton won the election in 1992. The Clintons have gone on to become one of the most powerful couples in the history of United States. The election has broken down into a nasty fight between these two diametrically opposed interest groups. With many of the disenfranchised people in the US supporting Trump, while urbanites and the professional class support Hillary Clinton. A clear division has emerged in the US as a result of this election. It is symbolic of a larger struggle between globalization and nationalistic forces around the world. As we saw with BREXIT, many now fear the election of Trump will mark a frightening retreat into nationalism in the USA.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton would be the first lady in US history to become President. The election of Clinton would symbolize a significant historical moment. Reminiscent of the Suffragists who marched down the streets demanding the right to vote over 100 years ago dressed in white, Hillary Clinton has also been spotted wearing white on many occasions. While she does not have the charisma of Barack Obama or Bill Clinton, people who work with her have called her a pragmatist who gets things done. She has been surrounded by controversy the entire election. We suspect women will be the deciding factor. All eyes are on the USA today as its citizens vote.

One thing is for certain, it promises to be a close race as battleground states such as Pennsylvania will be the deciding factor. People will likely wait until the early morning hours to find out who will become the next President of United States. We will soon know the results of this historic US election. The world awaits to see the fate of the nation that will have a long-term impact on the fate of the whole world.

Tax Advantages of Living in Costa Rica

Tax Advantages of Living in Costa Rica

November 3, 2016

Properties in Costa Rica

The magic of the Costa Rican lifestyle is being discovered by people from all over the world, recent graduates, retirees, and families included. The laid back lifestyle found here is desired by many, but possibly even more desirable are the tax advantages of living here.

Income Taxes

Here only those earnings made by an individual within Costa Rica are subject to taxes. This means income taxes concern only those who have a job or business in the country. Please note, that a vacation home rental is considered a business and will be prone to taxation. Pensioners, social security collectors, freelancers, telecommunicators, and online business owners all have the advantage of not having to pay taxes on their income. Those individuals working in Costa Rica must pay a 15% progressive tax based on their monthly earnings. The tax is levied on both employment source income and non-employment source income. For self employed parties the taxes are anywhere between 10 and 25%.

Business’s income tax is determined on the difference between the gross income and allowable deductions. For businesses making under $25,000 the rate is 10%, under 50,000 is 20%, and more than 50,000 is 30%. Businesses in free trade areas are exempt from paying taxes.

Sales Tax

When a property is purchased there is a 1.5% transfer tax on the value of real estate purchased, typically paid by the purchaser. This tax must be paid at any point where the property is transferred to a new owner. Sales tax is 13% and is levied both at importation and at the sale. It is levied on all goods with the exception of food products, medical products, and a number of other items. Sales tax must be collected by all business owners from their customers and transferred to the government.

In Costa Rica investors are exempt from paying capital gains taxes on real estate investments. Costa Rica has the maximum tax rate set around 30 percent with no city or state taxes and low property taxes.

When to Pay?

Taxes are assessed provisionally based on the previous year’s results and payable each quarter. The fiscal year runs from Oct 1 to September 30th of the next year. The balance of due taxes is then payable on December 31st.

While Costa Rica has excellent tax regulations in place, US citizens are required to pay income taxes wherever they are living. US income tax returns must be filed yearly through the American Embassy. All income earned abroad must be declared, but you can claim a tax exemption up to $78,000 on foreign-earned gross income. Married couples can claim up to $144,000 of foreign income, but you cannot combine the two exemptions. While this may be a downer, the US gives all citizens living abroad a 2 month extension to file their taxes. Be sure to contact your account for further information and help in ensuring you file your taxes properly.

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