Why Costa Rica?

Costa Rica is a unique tropical investment, retirement and vacation paradise.  This friendly country offers inexpensive living and affordable first-world medical care. For the first time in our lives, we have an  opportunity to start over with gentle breezes, endless amounts of  outdoor activities to keep you busy and happy and stunning scenery.  Spend your days on  sun-soaked, beautiful beaches or hiking spectacular mountains and volcanoes.  This peaceful nation has had political stability and a stable democracy almost as long as the United States of America. With year round warm weather, and the friendliest and happiest people on earth, foreigners from Europe and  North American feel welcomed and right at home the moment they step off the plane. It is easy to see why Costa Rica has become top of the list of expatriate and Baby Boomer retirement and second home heavens. More North Americans live here per capita than any other country outside of the United States. They can’t be wrong!

It’s a place with DIGNITY where you can live your retirement dream.

To List a few of the great advantages of Costa Rica

FIRST-CLASS HEALTH CARE Pay a fraction of the price you pay at home and one of the top locations in the world for medical tourism. Costa Ricans have a better longevity rate than the U.S. and The World Health Organization rates Costa Rica ABOVE the U.S

WARM WEATHER Year Round, no hurricanes like the Caribbean Islands

LOW  PROPERTY TAXES. Titled land, fee simple is just .25 percent.. Now that Is LOW!!!!

VALUE REAL ESTATE INVESTMENTS: From Condos to Villas to Luxury Homes and beautiful land. Costa Rica is considered one of the world’s BEST emerging real estate markets and highly desired warm weather destination. Similar to Hawaii, Cabo  and the Caymans BUT HALF THE PRICE and considered by many to have some of the greatest ocean views in the world.

UNTARNISHED INTERNATIONAL IMAGE  Only good news in Costa Rica!!!

STABLE DEMOCRACY  Latin America’s oldest and most secure.

NO ARMY, NO TERRORISM Costa Rica has NO enemies. Money is spent on “cradle to grave” universal health care and education.

MORE NORTH AMERICAN Residents proportionately than any country in the world with a tightly-knit large expatriate community

EXCELLENT Quality of life.

FIRST WORLD COMMUNICATIONS high-speed Optic Fiber internet, Cable, 4G wireless technology and satellite services.

OPPORTUNITIES Awaits entrepreneurs of all ages and concepts.

SUPER FRIENDLY People who are warm, caring and non-confrontational and MANY speak English.ENDLESS  activities from world class fishing and diving, hiking, swimming, bird watching, surfing and the list goes on and on. Discover Costa Rica for it natural beauty. Costa Ricans are the HAPPIEST people in the world and it just may rub off on you.

What is the weather like at the Gulf of Papagayo?

From December to May(summer)
Always, always, always sunny days with a smooth breeze
and sometimes strong winds, very dry, 34°-38°
(March and April are the hottest months of the year, 40°)

May-June (winter)
Sunshine all morning until 2:00pm,
cloudy in the afternoon with 1-3 hours of rain a day, no wind, 30°35°

Same thing then May-June except for about 15 days of sunny days, 30°-35°

August (winter)
Sunshine all morning until 2:00pm,
cloudy in the afternoon with 1-3 hours of rain a day, no wind, 30°35°

September-October (winter)
High probability of strong tropical rains for many days depending of the year, 28°-32°

November (winter)
Sunshine all morning until 2:00pm.
cloudy in the afternoon with 1-3 hours of rain a day (Not every day), no wind, 30°35°

What are the activities and Tours in Papagayo?

Due to the large number of Hotels in the region of Papagayo, we have access of all kind of tours from aquatic activities to land tours and fresh water river excursions including tours out of our area like the visit of the Arenal volcano. Nationals and Residents can easily book their tours as we have tons of tour operators that also provide transportation from any location in our area.

Here are some of the tours available:

Sport Fishing, snorkeling, diving, paddle, sailing, catamaran tours, jet sky, ATV tours, Horse backriding , rafting, zip line, river boat tours, volcanoes, mud baths, hot springs pools, water falls, Turtle excursion ect…

Here´s my recommendation of the best tour operator in our area:
Tico Tours

What to do with the kids in Papagayo?

The Costa Rican “Spring Break” is a 2-week period in July. The students here love to go to some of the beaches which we have in abundance. This year my eldest daughter Bianca (who lives in Atenas close to San Jose) came to visit us here in Guanacaste (particularly her little sister Samantha who is almost 3 years old).

The “Gold Coast’s” main attractions are our beautiful beaches and perfect weather. As a result of being a main hub for tourists and a fairly large local community we have a great infrastructure which provides a plethora of different activities without having to drive large distances or many hours.

Here are some of the things we did;
Our first activity was visiting the Monkey Farm, located in Ocotal.  Other than monkeys we saw all kinds of farm animals like peacocks, pigs, horses, birds, rabbits, and I am sure I am missing one or two more. We even took pictures of Samantha on her very first horse ride. The pictures make it look like she is riding all by herself.

The next day we went shopping at the Liberia mall. In the middle of the mall there is a huge playground. It is completely made of rubber and cushioned flooring so the kids can go wild and crazy without having to worry about their safety. This is all a HUGE world for Samantha and she was so very excited at every section of the Park, for her it was like Disney Land!!
Sammy Parc
On the third day we went to see Ice Age 4 in 3D.  In my opinion this was the best Ice Age so far!!LOL!  Our little beach community of Playa Hermosa has a very modern movie theater so this was also another cool and unique activity that you normally would not see at the other beaches.
Alain Sammy
On the fourth day we all went on a Catamaran called “Vision” for a sailing tour. The “Vision” has 2 huge platforms, one is covered and the other one is open air. They had a disk jockey spinning tunes to which all 90 passengers were dancing and having a blast everywhere on the boat. In addition to the dancing we saw manta rays, went snorkeling by a white sand beach called Playa Huevos and we also went into a couple of natural tunnels/caverns which brought us to the other side of the peninsula exiting on the other side of the bay!!  This was a very cool afternoon for all ages, not just the little kids.

We did all of these activities in 4 days and could have done many more things and seen many more attractions. We could have gone on a River Tour to see the crocodiles and other tropical birds, reptiles and more monkeys. There are many amazing waterfalls close by. We could have gone to Rincon de la Vieja which is our closest volcano to sit in the thermal waters, exfoliate in the mud baths or sit in a natural sauna to detoxify. How about horseback riding, zip lining, jet skiing, fishing, off roading, hiking, biking, paddle boarding, well I think you get the idea. There is no lack of activities and attractions here in our immediate area of the Papagayo Region.  Regardless if you are a resident or a tourist you can enjoy the relaxing tropical atmosphere, have limitless adventures or see many of the local attractions all very conveniently located close to home! Your choice, your pace.

How is the Medical Care?

Costa Rica has some of the best medical care in the Western Hemisphere and it is only a fraction of what it costs in the U.S.A. Tourism is one of the biggest businesses going as tens of thousands of people each year come here for everything from cosmetic surgery to hip and knee replacement.  Dental care is also first class but without the high cost of North America!

Why choose Costa Rica?

Experience: Costa Rica has been hosting medical tourists for more than fifteen years and is one of the top five medical tourism destinations in the world.

Accreditation: Hospitals and clinics have attained international accreditation through U.S.-based accreditation agencies JCI, AAAHC and AAAASF

Patient-Oriented approach: Medical and dental providers offer modern technologies and protocols while providing a personal and caring approach.  Patients say that it’s like returning to a time when the patient, not the system, came first. Easy access Travel is only a few hours from most U.S. cities. English is widely spoken in Costa Rica, and the friendly environment and commitment to excellence set Costa Rica apart as a medical destination.

There is 3 state of the art private clinics located just 25 minutes away in Liberia plus another very high-end clinic right downtown of Playas del Coco.

CLINICA BIBLICA – Liberia – 2667-0891
COCO CLINIC 24 HOURS / DR. HANSEL  2670-1235  / 8308-9986
LIBERIA PUBLIC HOSPITAL – 2666-1016, 2666-0011
AMBULANCE SERVICE – 2697-1141 or 911

How is the Food?

Traditional “Tica” food is not very spicy but it is very nutritious, it is made from rice, beans, corn, vegetable, meat, chicken or fish and usually served with corn tortillas. Costa Rican veggies, fruits and meats products contain less chemical preservatives and additives then other high populated developed countries. There are thousands of Costa Rican specialties that are very healthy and economic, mostly because they all are coming from national products.

Because of the large number of immigrants from the past 25 years, supermarkets and Specialty stores offer an impressive amount of imported fine products from North America and Europe which also benefits of Costa Rican. To this day you can buy almost every specialty from other countries with great quality such as wine where there is a spectacular variety and now much cheaper than before!

Only in our small region of the Gulf of Papagayo we have 5 large supermarkets most of them located in Playas de Coco offering a mixture of national fresh products and a variety of imported products as well. There is also fruit and vegetable markets in several communities including exotic products with unique flavors that are unknown to  foreigners.

The fact that we are at the beach we can buy fresh fish every day from the fishermen directly at Playas del Coco beach. We also have artisanal divers that catch seafood that do not exist in traditional markets and deliver right top your home which most of the time are cheaper than meat.

Being a very fertile country with an incredible abundance in the diversity of its food, Costa Rica offers a variety and quality of fresh and healthy food for even the most strict nutritionist and also for the most demanding culinary gastronomy lovers!

Bon Appetit!

How do you describe the Gulf of Papagayo region?

Our Paradise is part of a group of beaches that make up what is known as the Golfo Papagayo, Playa Ocotal, Playas del Coco, Playa Hermosa and Playa Panama. We are located in the NW Pacific coast region of the country, Guanacaste, also known as the Gold Coast. Costa Rica is very reminiscent of Hawaii in the 60s and 70s with active volcanoes, spectacular beaches and great climate. Additionally, Costa Rica is recognized world-wide for its biodiversity, housing over 5% of the world’s plant and animal species. Although tourists have been coming here for years, just recently investors from all over the globe are increasingly attracted to the peaceful lifestyle and excellent infrastructure that Costa Rica has to offer. The Daniel Oduber International Airport in Liberia is only 20 minutes away, with daily flights from multiple destinations. Add to that newly paved roads, municipal water, new developments, excellent private schools, first rate medical and dental services, great golf courses, world-class fishing and scuba diving, pristine beaches and some of the best surfing in the world and you begin to see the allure. The Four Seasons has opened their $350,000,000 resort for many years now with a C.R.G.A. rated Arnold Palmer Golf Course directly across the Gulf of Papagayo. Just up the road from our beaches is the Papagayo Golf and Country Club. Also, there are plans for two new marinas where there’s already one marina operating adjacent to the Four Seasons where Luxury Yacht are already parked. All of this has everyone very excited as property values, tourism and business will skyrocket over the next few years making this one of the best investment opportunities in the world. There are many reasons why the majority of investment is focused on the Papagayo area.

PROXIMITY TO AIRPORT. The Liberia airport, located just 20 minutes from this area. Its first year open, 2003, there were 3 weekly scheduled flights into Liberia, all with Delta. Now there are more then 60, with almost all major airlines arriving from most major cities. Now tourists and investors can arrive in a matter of only hours to our area and be on the beach within minutes. There´s also daily national flights at only 25 minutes to get in San Jose. There are currently plans for massive development of the area around the airport.

PROXIMITY TO MEDICAL CARE. There is 3 state of the art private clinics located just 25 minutes away in Liberia plus another very high-end clinic right downtown of Playas del Coco.

WEATHER AND BEACHES. The Papagayo and the Northwest coast of Costa Rica has the best weather in the country, with over 320 days of sunshine. The beaches of the Papagayo are the best in the country, as they are the only beaches that are not surfing beaches, making them excellent for resort and residential tourism. Snorkeling, scuba, fishing and a number of other water activities are very popular here in the area.

LARGE EX PAT COMMUNITY. The Papagayo area is known as a community of Americans and Canadians. Many people choose this as their home or retirement as there are a number of foreigners that live here.

PRIVATE SCHOOLS. Since so many North Americans are relocating with children to the Papagayo area, we have seen some wonderful private bilingual schools open in this area over the last few years.

INFRASTRUCTURE. Due to all of the growth and development in this area, the Papagayo has some of the best roads in the country. It is one of only a fraction of areas that has access to municipal water and high speed internet (Fiber Optic) , as well as all of the comforts of home. There are dozens of restaurants in the area and shopping as well, and with all of the malls and marinas being built, those comforts will only increase. The Four Seasons opened in January of 2004. Since that time, the hotel has been operating at almost 100% daily and has been booked for months in advance sometimes.Properties range in all prices. You can find a great one bedroom apartment a few hundred meters from the beach for as low as $60,000 and Ocean view condos start at about $250k. There are 2 and 3 bedroom single family homes just a short walk to the beach starting at $325,000. Playa Hermosa and the surrounding beaches are most famous for their spectacular ocean view properties.Although most of us come to Costa Rica with the vision of living on the beach, we soon find out that living on a hill, overlooking the Gulf Papagayo and the Pacific Ocean offer views that are unmatched by anywhere in the world. Once you have seen this in person you are drawn back time and time again. There are a few fabulous new communities with ocean view lots, currently selling at this time. They are all gated communities with paved roads, electricity, municipal water, cable TV, telephone and internet access. Lots in these developments run anywhere from $100,000 to $500,000 depending on size and view. This is a steal compared to other areas of the world and even Costa Rica. A view like this in Hawaii or Malibu California, if you could still find one, would run into the millions of dollars.
The government of Costa Rica, compared to other Central American countries, is very well off. But they do not have an unlimited supply of money. So when they decide to focus on an area, like they have here in Guanacaste, they are going to make sure it succeeds. They can’t afford to make a mistake, because they can’t afford to throw money away. The government has decided that this is where all of their investment dollars will be going over the next 10 years. They have sunk millions into upgrading the infrastructure: roads, municipal water, telephone, internet and cable and satellite TV. They have backed hundreds of projects from golf courses to resort hotels to marinas and have even expanded the airport to handle all of the incoming traffic. Putting your money into the Papagayo area is about as safe of an investment as you can get. More and more people are moving their money to offshore investments such as real estate here in Costa Rica. We expect to see some major growth over the next 5 to 10 years as hundreds of millions of dollars continues to be invested in our area. Guanacaste will ALWAYS be Costa Rica’s !It has the best weather, the best beaches, the calmest bays, and the airport. That is why 95% of all the major resorts and developments are coming here.

How do I obtain residency in Costa Rica?

Residency as an Investor

The foreigner can apply for this type of residency if he/she has and demonstrate investments in Costa Rica for USD$ 150.000 . The investment should be in specific areas as tourism, reforestation, shares in a CR corporation, properties and/or any other activity supported by the Costa Rican government.

Residency as a Renter

The foreigner and its family  can apply for this type of residency if he/she receives  US2.500 -minimum amount-  as a monthly rent or has bank investments in CR for $150.000  and will not work while living in Costa Rica. To prove the income, the foreigner must get a letter from a Costa Rican Bank or financial institution , foreign bank, CPA or Law Firm certifying he/she will be receiving a monthly rent of $2.500  for the next 5 years. If letter is issued outside CR must be authenticated by correspondant CR Consulate.

Residency as a Retired Person  

The foreign can only apply for this type of residency if he/she is entitled to a lifetime pension of $1000 per month in their country of origin and will not work while living in Costa Rica. The applicant must obtain  a letter to prove lifetime pension and letter must be authenticated by CR Consulate.

Married to or Relationship to Costa Rican Citizen – “Vínculo” Program

The non-Costa Rican applicant must prove that he/she is in a relationship in the first degree, either by marriage or by birth, with a Costa Rican citizen, and the Costa Rican citizen must be willing to sponsor the applicant’s residency. The Vínculo Program includes applications for a spouse, son, daughter, father, mother, and unmarried siblings (brothers or sisters), but the program does not include grandparents, uncles or aunts.

Foreigners having childrens in Costa Rica

If your child is born in Costa Rica, both parents and the child qualified to apply for their residency!

How do I get a Bank account?

With a handful of state-owned banks and more than 20 private banks, there are plenty of options for opening an account in Costa Rica. All banks offer services to foreigners, whether residents, students or workers; tourists may open accounts at select institutions. Most offer accounts in colones or dollars, and some private banks have accounts in Euros.

The first decision you’ll want to make is whether to choose a private or a state bank. State-owned banks guarantee all deposits and have numerous branch and ATM locations. Banco de Costa Rica (BCR) offers the most ATM locations – 400 scattered all around the country. While there are a number of advantages to state banks, there is one very important downside to keep in mind: long lines.

The most common type of account – and the easiest to open – is a savings account. Like in the United States, Costa Rican savings accounts earn a small amount of interest, and they have a very low minimum balance (usually $10 or less), and are easily accessed with an ATM debit card. Since personal checks are not commonly used in Costa Rica, a savings account is adequate for almost any type of transaction. Ask your bank to provide you with an international debit card for use abroad.


Patience is the first requirement when doing business with state banks in Costa Rica. If possible, avoid bank and ATM visits on Fridays closest to the 15th and 31st of the month, which are typical paydays in Costa Rica. Lines will be especially long at this time.

If you do not have the time or patience to wait, most private banks have shorter lines. Additionally, the staff at private banks is more likely to be bilingual.

Both public and private banks in Costa Rica divide customers up by their transaction. For general business, like exchanging currency or making a withdrawal, you’ll be in the standing line. For customer service needs, opening an account, requesting a new debit or credit card, and similar transactions, you’ll be directed to a separate section. If you’re in the seated section, be sure to take a numbered ticket called a ficha as soon as you enter. Lines move slowly and are by number only, so you want to secure your spot.

If you’re pregnant, accompanied by a young child, elderly or disabled, you qualify for the preferential line, called the fila preferencial. This teller window is usually located to one side of the other tellers, and will have a shorter line.


  • BAC San Jose: 2295-9797
  • Banco de Costa Rica (BCR): 2284-6600
  • Banco Nacional: 2212-2000
  • Banco Popular: 2211-7000
  • Banco Promerica: 2519-8090
  • Citibank: 2239-9019
  • HSBC: 2287-1111
  • Scotiabank: 8001-SCOTIA (800-172-6842)
account cuenta
ATM cajero automatico
balance saldo
bank branch sucursal
local bank-to-bank transfer transferencia bancaria or transferencia SINPE
bill recibo
cash efectivo
to cash cambiar/cobrar
change cambio
checking account cuenta corriente
credit card tarjeta de credito
debit debito
debit card trajeta de debito
debt deuda
deposit deposito
deposit slip hoja de deposito
income ingresos
interest rate tasas de interes
invest invertir
loan prestamo
money dinero
mortgage hipoteca
online banking banco en linea
payment pago, abono
receipt recibo
savings ahorros
securities valores
tax impuesto
withdraw sacar dinero, retirar

How are the schools?

In 1869, Costa Rica became one of the first in the world to make education both free and obligatory. Public and private schools are found throughout the country in virtually every community. Costa Ricans feel that their high education level sets them apart from many less fortunate countries in Central America and around the world and are extremely proud of their education level. Primary education usually lasts 6 years while high school might be 5 or 6 years depending on the school of your choice and which degree/degrees are offered.Public and Private school are working Monday to Friday which is nice for parents that most of the time also have week-end off in Costa Rica!

There are three types of diplomas offered in Costa Rica and this will vary with each school.

1) The Costa Rican Bachillerato Diploma accredited by the Costa Rican Ministry of Education. (MEP) This is the National Baccalaureate/Diploma of Costa Rica.

2) The International Baccalaureate Diploma, accredited by the IBO in Geneva, Switzerland.

3) USA High School Diploma, accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)

Over the last 10-15 years a number of high quality schools have established themselves in the Guanacaste/Papagayo region providing schooling at a level of those of the Central Valley.Not only will you kids get a great education but it will be in a bilingual setting with students from different cultures and countries.

Although attending University in Costa Rica could be very positive, all of the private schools offer accreditation so they can apply to attend University in the US or Europe. Make sure that the school you send your child to has the accreditation that they require to further their education.

Here is a list of the bilingual, accredited Private Schools within the Guanacaste/Papagayo area:

Dolphin’s Academy
Playas del Coco
Day Care and Pre-Kinder through High School

Lakeside International School
Day Care and Pre-Kinder through High School

Academia Teocali
Pre-Kinder through High School

If you want to give your child a true Costa Rican education there are public schools in every community that are Kindergarten through grade 11.

Here is a list of the Public Schools in the Papagayo Area:

Escuela Cacique
Playa Panama
Kindergarten through 6th Grade

Escuela El Coco
Playas del Coco
Kindergarten through 6th Grade

Escuela Playa Hermosa
Playa Hermosa
Kindergarten through 6th Grade

Escuela Bernardo Gutierrez
Kindergarten through 6th Grade

Escuela Libertad
Kindergarten through 6th Grade

Escuela San Blas
San Blas
Kindergarten through 6th Grade

Escuela Artola
Kindergarten through 6th Grade

Escuela de Guardia (Recommended)
Kindergarten through 6th Grade

Liceo de Guardia (Recommended)
High School

Colegio Tecnico Profesional Sardinal
Technical High School

Colegio Playas del Coco
Playas del Coco
High School

La Paz School (Highly Recommended)
Project Mar Vista, Brasilito
506 2654-6087
High School

Can You Drink the Water?

One thing really amazed me 32 years ago is that I was able to drink the tap water anywhere in Costa Rica even at the beach!!After living in Mexico, Dominican Republic and Venezuela it was nice to finally drink potable water and It kind of help my decision to stay in Costa Rica because it was telling me that this country was respectful with the environment!

I have traveled all over the country and I have never felt the need to buy bottled water. I have not met a single person who has ever had a problem with the drinking water.

But like anywhere in the world, there are exceptions to the rule: In the last seven years or so there have been examples of contaminated water from farm animals and even reports small amount of Arsenic in some of the drinking water around the country.  These are very rare situations, but it has existed. So my advice, is to ask the locals, they will tell you. When traveling in very remote rural areas, or the poorer parts of the city, you should be cautious.

Here in the Papagayo at the beach it is not an issue however a good rule of thumb should be: if you have any concerns at all, buy bottled water. It is very unexpensive.