Biodiversity in Costa Rica

Birds, monkeys, snakes, oh my! Costa Rica is the land of biodiversity. Home to more than 500,000 species, Costa Rica is one of the top 20 countries with the highest biodiversity in the world! That number represents nearly 5% of the total species estimated worldwide. Costa Rica may be a tiny country, but it definitely has variety.

Costa Rica’s Land Biodiversity

First, let’s talk about the land. Costa Rica’s territory is so important and biodiverse, that over 25% of the land is protected! The many different biomes that can be found throughout Costa Rica are the reason the country has such great biodiversity. These biomes include: the tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests, the tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forests, the montane grasslands and shrub lands, and the mangroves. 

Each one of these eco-regions is characterized by a certain combination of flora, fauna, and climate. Many plants or animals that live in one biome cannot live in another, even though the distance between them may be small. Elevation, geographic location, climate all play an important role in creating these eco-regions. 

Playa Nacazcol drone photo showing Costa Rica's biodiversity

Costa Rica’s Marine Biodiversity

Next, the water! Costa Rica is bordered by the Atlantic & Pacific ocean. These warm coastal waters are home to a variety of whales, sharks, dolphins, fish, corals and so much more. The marine biodiversity of Costa Rica comprises a total of around 95,000 species, representing about 4.7% of all marine species reported worldwide! Off the coast is Isla del Coco, a biodiverse haven, which holds 41.5% of the country’s endemic species! 

Not only are the oceans full of life, but the lakes, wetlands, and rivers as well. Palo Verde National Park, which is 50% wetlands, is considered one of the most biodiverse areas in all of Costa Rica! It is a sanctuary for thousands of aquatic birds.

View of the sunset off the coast of Guanacaste

Costa Rica’s Flora

Costa Rica plant biodiversityOnwards to some more incredible numbers, this time about plants. Costa Rica’s abundance of flora is absolutely remarkable! This tiny country holds over 9,000 different flowering plants and around 800 species of ferns. You can even find over 1,500 different orchid species!

Costa Rica’s rainforests are a big factor in the biodiversity of the flora. Since rainforests are extremely rapid ecosystems, the competition between plants is fierce! The flora must do everything to survive and adapt, thus creating a variety of new beautiful species intrinsically designed to fit in a niche environment. 

Costa Rica’s Fauna

Lastly my favorite, the animals. Over 200 species of mammals, 850 species of birds, 220 species of reptiles, 200 species of amphibians, and a whopping 300,000 species of insects coexist in this magically biodiverse country. Costa Rica’s fauna is admired by all. The critters are the reason so many are drawn to the exquisite place. Where else can you see a toucan, sloth, monkey, macaw and red eye tree frog all happily tucked in a lush jungle landscape?

No matter where you travel throughout Costa Rica you are bound to see hummingbirds, crocodiles, coatis, snakes, and lizards. Large fauna can be a bit more elusive such as tapirs, jaguars and deer but they are alway present.

Snake in the rainforest of Costa Rica

Why bother going to the zoo or a botanical garden when you can come to Costa Rica and experience biodiversity at its finest? The ever evolving wild beauty of this country will leave a mark on your heart and a longing to never leave!

More helpful resources:

Costa Rica’s Luxury Home Tax

Taxes. Everyone’s least favorite topic but important information for those wanting to move to Costa Rica. So what is the luxury home tax? Below, I will go into detail of what this tax is and who it applies to.

patio of a home subject to the luxury home tax

What is the Luxury Home Tax and Who Needs to Pay it?

The Solidarity Tax for the Strengthening of Housing Programs or simply put, the luxury home tax, is an additional tax placed on homeowners who own a house, condominium unit, or apartment with a current value over ¢133,000,000.00 (approximately US$ 214,500).

Every 3 years, homeowners must do a luxury home tax evaluation to determine if their dwelling in Costa Rica is subject to the Luxury Home Tax. The tax rates start with 0.25% and end in 0.55% of the home’s value, determined by the home evaluation performed specifically for the luxury home tax. Payments of this tax must be made by Jan. 15 each year or penalties will be imposed.

The value of your constructed home, along with other improvements such as swimming pools, walls, bodegas, ranchos, sports fields, etc. is what will determine whether or not you need to pay this tax. The threshold at which the tax goes into effect only applies to these types of construction and improvements, but not the land itself. The land value will be added to the construction value only after you surpass this threshold. Then you will have to pay the tax based on the entire amount.

view of the Pacific Ocean from the bedroom of a luxury home in Costa Rica

So what’s the next step?

If you are a homeowner that is currently paying the tax, you should perform a new evaluation to determine if the dwelling remains subject to the tax for the next 3 years. As well as if there are any changes in regards to how much the tax would be for those following 3 years or if the home is even still subject to the tax.

If you are a homeowner that bought a new house, condo, or apartment during 2019-2021, you should perform the evaluation to determine if the dwelling is subject to the tax for the next three years.

If you are a condominium unit owner with an area of over 120 square meters (1,292 square feet) you should contact the condominium administrator to determine if there is a decision about addressing the valuation as a group and if not, consider performing his/her own evaluation.

View of a Playa Hermosa luxury home from the side of a hill

In Conclusion

Taxes are not always a pleasant topic, but they truly are a small price to pay to live in paradise! These taxes are also very beneficial to the Costa Rican people because the purpose of this luxury tax is to build homes for people living in poverty.

If you have any questions, please reach out and I would be glad to assist you!

More helpful resources:

Flights to Costa Rica!

It is that time of the year again! The United States, Canada, and Europe are all getting chilly again… Below are all the flights that are coming into Costa Rica. This is critical information for all those looking to feel warm, relaxed, and pura vida once more! Or looking to purchase that dream property you have always thought about.

Airplane in flight

Let’s start with the United States.

For those seeking flights into Guanacaste:

  • Los Angeles: Alaska (ends in August), Delta (November to January), JetBlue, United.
  • San Francisco: United.
  • Denver: Southwest (November to April), United.
  • Austin: American (starts in November).
  • Dallas: American.
  • Houston: United (IAH), Southwest (HOU).
  • Minneapolis: Delta (December to April), Sun Country (December to April).
  • Chicago: American (November to April), United.
  • Atlanta: Delta.
  • Miami: American.
  • Orlando: Frontier (starts in November).
  • Charlotte: American (starts in December).
  • Washington, D.C.: Southwest (BWI).
  • New York City: United (EWR), American (JFK; starts in December), JetBlue.
  • Boston: JetBlue (ends in April).

For those seeking flights into San Jose, here are your options:

  • Los Angeles: Alaska (as of November), Avianca (as of December), Delta, JetBlue (ends in October), United.
  • Phoenix: American (December and January).
  • Denver: United.
  • Dallas: American.
  • Houston: United (IAH), Southwest (HOU).
  • Chicago: American (November to May), United.
  • Atlanta: Delta.
  • Orlando: Frontier, JetBlue, Spirit (ends in May).
  • Miami area: American (MIA), Avianca (MIA), Frontier (MIA; as of November), Spirit (FLL and MIA), JetBlue (FLL).
  • Washington, D.C.: United (IAD).
  • New York City: United (EWR), American (JFK; starts in November), Avianca (JFK; starts in December), JetBlue (JFK).

Playa Penca in Costa Rica

Next, Canada!

Flights to Guanacaste:

  • Calgary (YYC): WestJet (from November to April).
  • Montreal (YUL): Air Canada (from November to April), Air Transat (from December to April), Sunwing (starts in November).
  • Toronto (YYZ): Air Canada, Air Transat (from December to April), Sunwing (starts in November), WestJet.

Flights to San Jose:

  • Montreal (YUL): Air Canada (from December to April), Air Transat (from December to April).
  • Toronto (YYZ): Air Canada, Air Transat (from December to April), WestJet (starts in December).

Playa Del Coco Costa Rica

Lastly, below are the flights from Europe into Costa Rica.

To Guanacaste:

  • Amsterdam: KLM (from November to March).
  • Zürich: Edelweiss Air (from November to May).

To San Jose:

  • Amsterdam: KLM.
  • Frankfurt: Lufthansa.
  • London: British Airways (from December to April).
  • Madrid: Iberia, Evelop (ends in April).
  • Paris: Air France.
  • Zürich: Edelweiss Air.

Please remember to check with airlines and local governments because the international routes continue to change frequently due to Covid-19 and varying mandates.

Be sure to make plans to escape the cold this winter… Visit Costa Rica! The best way to stay healthy and happy is to receive plenty of sunshine and a large dose of “Pura Vida”!

More helpful resources: