Private and Public Schools In Playa del Coco/Hermosa Area

Costa Rica has many excellent private and public school options, especially here in the Playa del Coco/Hermosa area. Costa Rica has always put education first. The entire budget that was dedicated to the military was redirected towards education after the military’s dissolution in 1949. Costa Rica is considered a country free of illiteracy by UNESCO standards. 

Playa Hermosa

Here in Guanacaste, we have a multitude of great schools for parents to choose from. There are a variety of teaching styles and methods to accommodate every kind of student. We have many international schools with great bilingual programs. There are also many schools that offer International Baccalaureate Accreditation which is very highly regarded all over the world. With all the choices below this makes Guanacaste, especially the Playa del Coco/Playa Hermosa area, the perfect spot to  relocate to and raise your children in a peaceful beautiful environment.

Playa Hermosa

Private Schools

Dolphins Academy –  Dolphins Academy is a bilingual school located in the center of Playas del Coco. Dolphins Academy teaches its students using the Montessori method which is a method of education that is based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning and collaborative play. Dolphins Academy welcomes preschoolers, elementary students, and high school students. 

Sea Wonders Academy – Sea Wonders Academy, located in Sardinal, was founded by a Costa Rican couple who believed in personalized bilingual education. Sea Wonders is a family-style educational community with academic programs tailored to different learning styles and needs. Sea Wonders Academy offers education from preschool through 6th grade. 

Lakeside International School – Lakeside International School is located 15 minutes from Playa del Coco, on the way to the Liberia Airport. Lakeside is on a 200 acre aquaculture farm containing five different school buildings with a total of 28 classrooms. Lakeside International School offers quality programs using both English and Spanish as the primary language of instruction. Lakeside offers education from preschool through high school.

La Paz Tempisque – La Paz Tempisque is located in the town of Comunidad, only 20 minutes from Playa del Coco. La Paz offers an educational model that uses experiential and hands-on curricular and extra-curricular initiatives. La Paz Community School’s core curriculum is based on US standards and benchmarks. La Paz offers education all the way from early childhood to 12th grade. (International Baccalaureate Accreditation) 

Teocali Academy – Teocali Academy is located in Liberia on a 6-hectare property. There are four independent buildings that house administration, pre-school, elementary, middle and high school. Teocali offers an English program that assures every student the ability to master the language with equal fluency as Spanish. (International Baccalaureate Accreditation)  

Colegio Santa Ana – Colegio Santa Ana is an educational community located in Liberia. This school has been working since 1957 to provide an education based on values. Governed by the Ministry of Public Education, they teach levels from kindergarten to 11th grade. Santa Ana School does not offer a bilingual program, it is a Spanish speaking school only. (International Baccalaureate Accreditation) 

Colegio Bilingüe Ciudad Blanca – Colegio Bilingüe Ciudad Blanca is located in Liberia. CBCB’s mission is to provide students with Christian values and academic foundations that allow them to achieve their spiritual growth and intellectual development in a high-quality curriculum at the Costa Rica and International level. CBCB offers education from preschool through high school. 

Playa Hermosa

Public Schools

Every child between the ages of 4 and 17 will be accepted at public preschool, public elementary, or public high school. Regardless if they are Costa Rican or not. In Costa Rica, every child has the right to receive an education without cost to ensure equal opportunities for all. These public schools are a great way to immerse your child into Costa Rica culture, make many friends, and learn Spanish. 

Escuela El Coco – 2670-0491, Playa del Coco. Kindergarten – 6th Grade

Colegio Playa del Coco – Playas del Coco. High School

 Escuela Playa Hermosa – 8566-1512, Playa Hermosa. Kindergarten – 6th Grade

 Escuela Bernardo Gutierrez – 2697-0116, Sardinal. Kindergarten – 6th Grade

 Colegio Técnico Profesional Sardinal – 2697-0197, Sardinal. Technical High School

 Escuela Artola – 2697-0238, Artola. Kindergarten – 6th Grade

Playa Hermosa

No matter where you end up sending your child, they will receive a fulfilling education and plenty of new experiences. Most importantly they will definitely learn Spanish! Costa Rica takes a lot of pride in their educational system and truly believes that proper education will only make the country better. 

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All About Golf Carts

Playa del Coco has such a “Pura Vida” pace of life, that golf carts are a perfect mode of transportation. Golf carts have really grown in popularity over the last few years. They are easy to drive, better for the environment, less expensive, and fit just about anywhere! 

Since Playa del Coco is a relatively small town, a golf cart can easily get from one side of the beach to the other without running out of battery or gas. You can spend the entire day cruising around! Visiting the local bars or grocery stores without any worries. They have plenty of space to fit a few friends along with your cooler to enjoy a beautiful day at the beach. 

playa del coco

Playa del Coco has a plethora of options for Golf Cart Rentals. Here are a few:

You can rent golf carts for a day, a week, or a month. The price to rent an electric golf cart for a day is $30, a week is $150-$200, or a month is $500-$600. The price to rent a gas golf cart for a day is $40, a week is $200-$250, or a month is $600-$750. 

Playa del coco

If you would like to purchase a golf cart, the rental places will be happy to assist you. They often have golf carts for sale. Another great option for finding a golf cart for sale is Facebook Marketplace. You can also ask on local Facebook social media groups such as Coco Chit Chat or Coco Hermosa Beach Buzz

To recharge an electric golf cart will only cost you around $2 in electricity and you will be able to travel about 56 kilometers/35 miles. A gas golf cart with a 4 to 6 gallon fuel tank will average 100 to 180 miles. The top speed of an electric golf cart is 20 MPH and the gas golf cart is 25MPH. These efficient little vehicles are much better than hopping into a gas guzzling car only to travel the short distance to the beach or store. 

In Costa Rica, a golf cart must have a license plate. and the driver must have a valid driver license to operate. Your US/Canadian driver license is valid for 90 days while in Costa Rica. Golf carts are usually limited to paved roads that are less than 50 kilometers per hour or 30 MPH. 

Playa del Coco

Additionally for those who would like to own a golf cart, keep in mind that they are required to pass the mandatory yearly inspection called RITEVE. The RITEVE inspection can be done in Liberia but you will need to tow your golf cart there. Many of the golf cart rental companies can assist you with getting your golf cart to RITEVE and making sure your golf cart will pass inspection for a fee. 

Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any additional questions! I would be happy to assist you. I hope to see you cruising around Playa del Coco and enjoying the beautiful weather from the driver’s seat of your new golf cart! 

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Cars, golf carts, buses, or horses?

Cars, golf carts, buses, taxis, horses, or your own two feet… with so many options, which way is the best way to get around Playa del Coco, Playa Hermosa, or beyond?! To be honest, it’s all about personal preference! But the only way to make the right decision is to know what all your options are or what they entail. Let’s get started! 

4x4 rental - a great way to get around Playas del Coco

Ways to get around the area

Renting a Car

If you are visiting Playa del Coco as a tourist and want to explore the rest of the country without being reliant on public transportation schedules, renting a car is a great option. There are numerous car rental agencies on the way from the Liberia Airport to Playa del Coco or Hermosa. The price can range anywhere from $200-$850 a week depending on the season, car, insurance, accessories, and your negotiation skills. Make sure you book before your arrival or you may be forced to use public transportation. My recommendation is Adobe Car rental . If you are moving to Costa Rica and would like to purchase a car, please check out two of my previous blogs.

Renting a Golf Cart

A golf cart is perfect for those who just need something for shopping around Playa del Coco or Playa Hermosa. It has plenty of space for your groceries, your dogs, or for some friends. This is a good option for vacationers and residents alike. There are multiple spots in Coco to rent a golf cart:

Prices range from $30-$40 a day depending on if you choose a gas or electric golf cart. A week rental ranges from $150-$200 and monthly rental ranges from $500-$600.

Main street Playas del Coco Costa Rica

Riding the Buses

Costa Rica has a well established public transit system but it helps to know a bit of Spanish. Buses are ideal for those who want to travel outside of Coco but still want to save money and have a more authentic experience. Buses are privately owned, so conditions may vary. Some may have AC or WIFI, depending on the company. Since there are numerous companies, the bus stops, routes, rates, and times will vary. For example, to take the Pulmitan bus from Playa del Coco to San Jose will cost you around $10.


Taxis are a very common transportation option in Costa Rica. Official taxis are red in color and have a light on top along with a yellow triangle on the car. They are quick and easy when just needing a ride every once in a while. A ride from Coco to Hermosa will cost you around $10-$15. Typically taxi services are priced per kilometer ($1-$1.50) with a surcharge to the airport or for trips after 10 pm. 

Horses (just kidding)

I was kidding about horses being a serious transportation option… but they are wonderful for a sunset gallop on the beach or traversing across a farm. There are a few places between Playa Ocotal and Playa Panama to request a horseback riding tour and enjoy the company of these beautiful animals. Horses are a big deal in Costa Rica and Costa Ricans take a lot of pride in their horses. Make sure to check out the “Tope”, which is the country’s largest horse parade and is held in almost every town.

Tope horse parade in Playas del Coco

Your own two feet

The beauty of Playa del Coco is that everything is within walking distance! The grocery stores, the medical clinic, the beach, restaurants, and more are only a short walk away. There is plenty to do in Playa del Coco so why not stay and enjoy it? 

No matter which way you choose to travel around town, you will find that you have plenty of options for any style or budget. If you have any additional questions or if you would like additional information on transportation options please feel free to reach out! 

Costa Rica road sign advising drivers to watch out for monkeys, deer and coatimundis

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Retiring in Costa Rica May Get Easier

For those thinking of retiring in Costa Rica, I have great news! A bill to attract retirees to Costa Rica has passed the first debate in the Legislative Assembly. But what does this bill entail? Let me explain.

View of the Pacific from a retirement condo in Costa Rica

Costa Rica Retirement Investment Threshold

The bill that is advancing is under the file number 22.156 and is named the “Law to Attract Investors, Rentistas and Retirees.” The main objective is to reduce the capital investment requirement for a residency in Costa Rica from $200,000 USD to $150,000 USD. This investment can be in Costa Rican real estate, which is usually the most common option for investors. But it can also be an investment in registrable assets, shares, securities, and productive projects or projects of national interest in Costa Rica.

This proposed $50,000 USD reduction in capital investment is huge. It allows for a much larger window of foreign investors to come and make the move to Costa Rica. Not only does this benefit foreign investors but also the Costa Rican economy. More investors, means more consumption as well as a larger need for medical services which would generate jobs.

New Tax Exemptions for Retirees

Additionally, this bill is also proposing certain tax exemptions to incentivize investors to choose Costa Rica. The three main tax exemptions are a 100% tax exemption for importing household goods, 100% tax exemption for importing vehicles, and a 20% tax exemption for the transfer of property.

If this bill passes, all those who wish to move or retire to Costa Rica will be able to ship their personal goods for significantly less. You will be able to import 2 vehicles, for personal use, exempt from all import, tariff, and value added taxes. Currently the total tax on importing a vehicle into Costa Rica is about 45%-85% the value of the vehicle. The current tax on importing personal household goods is 13% of the declared value of said goods. Thousands of dollars will be saved by investors if these taxes are no longer imposed on them.

Retirees on a sailboat off the coast of Costa Rica

Furthermore, money earned outside of the country will not be taxed by Costa Rica, for example a U.S. pension. Only profits obtained within Costa Rica would be subject to taxation. This would prevent double taxation and is very inviting to those interested in retiring in Costa Rica.

Lastly, this bill hopes to extend the length of stay in the country of those who enter as investors, pensioners or rentiers to 10 years instead of the current temporary stay for a period of between three months and two years.

Golden Sunset in Playa Hermosa Costa Rica

All of these proposed incentives would really make a difference for those who are looking to make the move or retire in Costa Rica, and it will greatly help the Costa Rican economy. The second debate on this new bill is scheduled for Thursday, June 17th. If this bill passes the second debate it will be able to become law. Check back soon to see if it passes and keep your fingers crossed!

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Beach Day Trips From Playa Hermosa

The moment after you settle into your new home in Hermosa or Coco, is when you can treat yourself to endless beach days! Playa Hermosa and Playa del Coco are beautiful, but they are also centrally located to other incredible beaches. Why not take a day trip and explore?Nacascolo Beach in Guanacaste
Let’s head north first! The first stop is Playa Iguanita. Warning, a 4×4 vehicle is required. Playa Iguanita is about a 40 minute drive from Playa Hermosa. It is located in the Iguanita Wildlife Refuge in the Gulf of Papagayo. You will find that the waves at this beach are gentle and calm. The water is crystal clear and an estuary is located at the south end. There is a ranger station with bathrooms and showers but no other amenities are close by. Playa Iguanita is ideal for those looking for a beautiful wildlife oasis.

Further north, is Playa Cabuyal. Playa Cabuyal is also a 40 minute drive but the roads are in much better condition. It has pristine white sands and crazy clear blue water. This is a wild beach with plenty of privacy and trees for shade to relax the day away. There are a few amenities like picnic tables, bathrooms, and a small parking lot for you to use. This beach has a swell but it is still very safe to swim. Playa Cabuyal is perfect for those looking for peace and quiet.

Playa Penca Beach
Time to switch directions! If you start heading south to Coco from Playa Hermosa, within 2 minutes you arrive at the entrance to some exquisite beaches! These two beaches, right before the Cacique development, have recently gained a lot of popularity. Playa Penca and Calzón de Pobre are both small pristine light colored sand beaches that feel like a wild paradise. The road can be a bit difficult depending on the season. These virgin beaches have great snorkeling and lookout spots but no amenities. Be prepared to be amazed at the beauty right next door!

South of Coco, about a 30 minute drive, is Playa Matapalo. The road to this beach is good because it is the same beach that the RIU resorts are on. The Diamante Eco Adventure Park is also located off of the same road. Playa Matapalo is a lovely long sandy beach hugged by mountains and plenty of wildlife. You have the option to rent ATVs, go horseback riding, or hike around at this beach. If you are looking for a beach that is still fairly wild but also has some activities, this is the one for you.

Playa Penca - beach in Costa Rica
Instead of going all the way to Matapalo, you can turn down the “monkey trail”. Within 40 minutes you will arrive at Playa Flamingo! Playa Flamingo is very unlike the previously mentioned beaches. It is not a virgin beach but instead it is bustling with activity, businesses, and people. Playa Flamingo is a white sand beach, almost even with a pink hue, hence the name. The waves are generally smaller but they can be very powerful. With many restaurants to choose from, this is a great beach for when you don’t feel like packing a lunch.

The last beach I want to mention is Playa Tamarindo. It is about 1 hour and 15 minutes from Playa Hermosa. This beach is well known for surfing and great night life. It is similar to Playa Flamingo because it is packed with businesses. You have so many restaurants, gift shops, hotels, and amenities to choose from. Tamarindo is a long white sand beach with Playa Grande to the north if you cross the estuary. If you are looking for a party or surf lessons this is definitely the beach to check out.

Sunset at Playa Hermosa - beach in Costa Rica
This short list does not cover all the incredible beaches close to Playa Hermosa or Playa del Coco. There are so many more beautiful beaches that can be enjoyed by taking a simple day trip. Make sure to go out and explore!

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Clothing Shopping Options Near Playa del Coco

Inevitably, since you moved to Playas del Coco or Playa Hermosa a few months ago you became healthier, tanner, and thinner. Or maybe you realized you did not bring enough bathing suits. Regardless of the reason, it’s time for some new clothes! But where can you shop for clothes near Playa del Coco?

Shopping Mall in Liberia near Playas del Coco
Shopping for clothes in Costa Rica is easy. Mainly due to the fact that the dress code is casual, comfortable, and there are no drastic temperature changes to fret about! The average temperature is between 70’ to 90’. A t-shirt, some shorts, and a pair of flip flops is all you need.

Right in downtown Coco you will find a plethora of tourist shops filled to the brim with various colorful shirts, dresses, pants, and accessories. You can never have too many shirts that say Pura Vida or I Love Costa Rica. Feel free to bargain at these shops to get a better deal if you end up buying a few outfits. The price is always negotiable!

Also in Coco you will find numerous boutiques that have various interesting fabrics and designs bound to catch your attention. These boutiques often have clothing or accessories made by local artists. These handcrafted pieces are one of a kind and perfect for the beach climate. You can help support your local community just by shopping!

Playa del Coco
Even the majority of grocery stores (such as Megasuper, Luperon, or Automercado) in Coco will carry basic clothing essentials. Along with your groceries you can pick up a tank top or a skirt. There are also a few Costa Rica clothing store chains like Fusion or Arenas in downtown Coco. These stores will have a variety of options to choose from and often have decent sales.

Another option right in town are stores called “Ropa Americana” which are second hand clothing stores. These shops sell gently used American/name-brand clothing at a very reasonable price. This is a great way to get American quality clothing for super cheap and be eco-friendly! You never know what trendy pieces you will come across!

As you start heading towards Liberia, the clothing options are endless. Pricesmart, which is similar to Costco, has a large selection of high quality clothing for fantastic prices. From underwear to raincoats, you can cover all your bases. Another great option is Walmart, which most folks are familiar with. They have a large variety and cheap prices.

Once in Liberia, every way you turn your head you will see clothes! From chain clothing stores to street vendors to various “Ropa Americanas” it will take you a week to check them all out. There are clothing options for all sizes, all styles, and all budgets. There is even a shopping mall in Liberia!

Inside the Liberia shopping mall in Costa Rica

Make the move to Costa Rica today. With so many places to shop, you don’t even need to pack a suitcase.

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Update on Covid-19 in Costa Rica: May 20th, 2021

Covid-19 is still a constant in everyone’s lives all over the world. Here in Costa Rica, specifically in the Guanacaste region, we have been very lucky to have had a very mild experience. We continue following social distancing protocols, wearing masks, and washing our hands as frequently as possible to stay healthy and safe.

Tranquil Costa Rica beach
Last month, during the Holy Week, we had a spike in cases. Many folks from San Jose traveled to the beaches for the holidays. Thankfully, we were able to keep the Covid-19 cases under control. The Costa Rican government was quick to reinstate curfews and additional driving restrictions to keep the spread of Covid-19 down.

On May 4th, Costa Rica was close to administering almost 1 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine! This means that 1 in 6 adults has already received one vaccine dose. All regions of the country are already inoculating the 1st and 2nd groups of people, with some regions having started on the 3rd group as well. Costa Rica is actively requesting loans or donations of additional vaccines to quicken the inoculation process.

Costa Rica plans to reach herd immunity by the end of 2021! Which is great news for everyone who wants to come and visit. Costa Rica has recently been recognized among the best-perceived international destinations during the pandemic by a survey of tourism professionals in Spain. This poll considered details such as “Covid-19 security, prices and offers, nature and open spaces, connectivity/accessibility, reputational image and sustainability.”

Tourists near Playa Panama enjoying a vacation during semana santa
To enter Costa Rica, you will still need to have completed the online “Health Pass” form which can be found at You must continue to have proof of having obtained travel insurance. The great news is that a negative Covid test is not required for entry. You also will not need to quarantine. Hurray!

Many countries continue to require a Covid-19 test for return flights. Since May 14th, the SJO airport has been offering rapid antigen tests with results guaranteed within the hour. Locally, you can get a PCR test done in Playas del Coco. You can also get a rapid test done the day of your flight at the Liberia airport.

Come on down! The green season is just beginning. The Guanacaste region is starting to turn a lush green. There is plenty of room to social distance and enjoy the incredible weather! The beaches and national parks are all open. As a tourist you have no driving restrictions to worry about. As a homeowner/resident, there is nothing better than returning to your Costa Rican paradise and taking it easy. Isn’t it time you got out of quarantine and took a dip in the ocean?

Sunset at Playa Hermosa, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
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Exports of Costa Rica

Have you ever wondered what Costa Rica’s main exports are? The moment you start driving from the Liberia International Airport towards Playa del Coco or Playa Hermosa, you see fields and fields of crops growing. You often see sugar cane being harvested, cattle grazing, or melons being tended to. The statistics are quite fascinating and very impressive!

Pineapples - a major export of Costa Rica
Costa Rica which translates to a rich coast also has very rich soil! A large portion of what Costa Rica exports all over the world are agricultural goods. Costa Rica is very diversified in the products that are grown throughout the country. The main agricultural exports are bananas, pineapples, coffee, melons, ornamental plants, sugar, and beef.

In 2019, Costa Rica exported $1.18 billion in bananas. That’s more than a bunch of bananas! Costa Rica is actually the 3rd largest exporter of bananas in the world and it is their 2nd most exported product. The main destination for all these bananas is the United States. Costa Rica is also the top exporter of pineapples, 44% of the world’s pineapples are grown here. That is a total of 2.13 million tons of pineapples.

Aerial view of a Costa Rica farm near Playa Hermosa

Not only does Costa Rica export TONS of fruit but they also export a lot of coffee. 1,472,366 60 kg bags to be exact! Over 93,000 hectares of land are dedicated to growing this morning staple. Due to its quality and environmentally friendly production, Costa Rica coffee is generally priced at a premium. To sweeten the deal, Costa Rica grows an impressive amount of sugar cane. Coffee and sugar definitely go hand in hand. 230,000 metric tons of sugar are exported all over the world from Costa Rica. The Guanacaste region handles a large percentage of the sugar production for the country.

Shockingly enough, even with all this produce, Costa Rica still finds plenty of space for livestock. Livestock is one of the main economic activities in the rural sector of Costa Rica. As a matter of fact, pastures for livestock cover 20% of the national territory!

Costa Rica cattle
Not everything Costa Rica exports can be seen as you drive through the countryside. The country’s most important exports are medical instruments. In 2019, Costa Rica exported over $3 billion in medical instruments, $2 billion more than bananas. It is the 11th largest exporter of medical instruments. Costa Rica exports medical products such as therapeutic devices, medical and surgical instruments, disposables and diagnostic equipment. In 2017, medical devices overtook agricultural goods as the country’s most exported products.

Some additional interesting exports from this country are artificial body parts (prosthetics), pneumatic tires, insulated wires, medications, and fruit juice. In 2019, the total value of all the merchandise exported from Costa Rica was 11.4 billion! Costa Rica is a small but definitely mighty country.

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Furniture Shopping Options near Playa del Coco

You have just purchased your dream condo with a gorgeous view of Playa del Coco or a beautiful beach home just a few steps from Playa Hermosa. Now you focus your attention on giving the interior your own flare.

Maybe you feel attached to your furniture in the US or Canada. If so, you can ship your possessions to Costa Rica as I explained in a previous blog. But why not try out something new? The styles and options are endless! Modern, coastal, tropical, traditional, or zen, it’s all here! Once you decide, it is time to go on a shopping spree/treasure hunt for furniture! You have several options for where to buy furniture that are all within an hour of Playas del Coco. Also you have the option to shop online which will further expand your horizons.

tropical themed bedroom furniture in Costa Rica
We will start with the options closest to Playas del Coco and then explore a bit farther afield.

Monge & Gollo are two stores located right in the town of Playa del Coco! They do not have an extensive collection of furniture but you can definitely find a few couch, bed, or table options if you need something quick or in a pinch.

Furniture Outlet (next to the Do It Center near the Liberia airport) is a large warehouse stocked full of furniture for all the rooms in your home. They offer a variety of styles and prices. The Outlet gets 5 out of 5 on their Facebook reviews.

Bali Outdoor Living (in the Solarium near the Liberia airport) carries a full line of outdoor furniture, spas, grills, and accessories. They sell individual pieces or sets made of natural materials, synthetic rattan, metal, or plastic with quick-dry cushions.

tropical style living and dining furniture in Costa Rica
La Artistica (in the Solarium near the Liberia airport) is a Costa Rican furniture company with 80 years of experience. They have a store in Liberia offering a wide variety of living, dining, and bedroom furniture with a European flare. They also happen to be affiliated with Ashley furniture, keep reading it is listed below.

PriceSmart (across from the Liberia Airport) is similar to a Costco or Sam’s Club. It carries quality furniture at decent prices; however, the inventory changes often and it is usually not extensive. But it is worth taking a glance down the furniture aisle if you are shopping there anyway. You might be surprised at what is in stock!

Pequeño Mundo (in Liberia) is similar to PriceSmart in that it is not exclusively a furniture store. Mixed in amongst its extensive and varied inventory are budget-priced pieces of furniture. Most items are made of some combination of glass, metal, or laminated MDF. You can’t beat Pequeño Mundo for handy storage options, bar stools, decorative items, and housewares.

Casa Nova Interiors (in Huacas) is on the road to Flamingo Beach. The Central American company says they take the “overwhelming” out of furniture shopping and interior design. According to their website, the manufacturers they represent are “trendsetters who break the mold with new technology and design innovation.”

Seaside Home Interiors (in Tamarindo) offers name-brand or custom-made furniture, window treatments, and decorating accessories. Their website says, “Our local knowledge of the unique nuances of furnishing and decorating in tropical conditions will ensure you make all the right decisions.”

living room furniture in Costa Rica
Casa y Mas (near Villareal) is a 5,000-square-meter household furniture store. The owner is originally from France and has more than 50 years in the furniture business—from design to manufacturing to sales. A European style is predominant in the wide selection of living room, dining room, and bedroom furniture. There are also a few pieces by Costa Rican woodworkers on display.

Jungle Luxe (in Tamarindo) has curated furniture, décor, bedding, and lighting from around the world. Their products definitely have a colorful, tropical, Asian vibe.

Crate & Barrel is in San Jose but you can make your selection online or in-store and have it delivered to your doorstep. Crate & Barrel is known for its timeless and contemporary furniture and decor which gives your home a natural, comfortable feel. They also offer dinnerware, textiles, artwork, lighting, and decorative items that complement organic modern design.

Ashley Furniture HomeStore is also located in San Jose with an extensive online catalog from which you can make your selection, place your order, and they will ship the order to your home. Besides indoor and outdoor furniture, they have a full line of lighting, rugs, and mattresses.

If you have in mind decorating your home with furniture made from exotic hardwoods, keep your eye out for local craftsmen that have their pieces displayed outside. Stop in and look around! The craftsmanship is usually top notch, and the wood is the jungle’s masterpiece.

Welcome home!

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Can a US citizen own property in Costa Rica?

Most of us spent a large portion of 2020 shopping online and traveling vicariously around the world. We would check out real estate sites and dream of living somewhere else—anywhere besides the place we were quarantining.

Before the pandemic, we dreamt of the possibility of staying home for a few days to relax and stop running the rat race. Then when we found ourselves trapped at home, we desperately wanted out. You were not alone in these feelings. Millions of people searched “living in Costa Rica” and hundreds—if not thousands—are now in the process of buying property in paradise.

Ocean view property near Playa Hermosa Costa Rica
Which raises the question, is it really possible for a foreigner to own property in Costa Rica? The simple answer to that question is yes. A foreigner that has not established residency has the same right to own property here as Costa Rican citizens. Ownership rights are guaranteed by law and apply whether the property is in the name of an individual or a corporation. Even if you are living in Costa Rica on a tourist visa (and leaving the country every 3 months) you can own property.

Consult an Expert – Due Diligence is Key

Although a real estate broker or realtor is not required to purchase property, it is always a good idea to have an expert guide you through the process. Especially when you have little or no experience purchasing property outside your native country. That is especially true when you are not familiar with the process and terminology involved in transacting business in a foreign land.

A title or deed is called an escritura. The first thing you are going to want to find out about a property is if the title is properly registered and free of liens. This is extremely important because it is common in Costa Rica for properties to have been in a family for years. Often these properties were never properly registered or have had the taxes paid. To do a title search, you (or your lawyer) will take a copy of the survey plan to the Public Registry of Properties in the city of Liberia. They will check their records and provide you with current information about the desired property.

Beautiful condo with a pool in Costa Rica
The process of transferring the title must be prepared by and executed before an attorney or notary. In North America, a notary only authenticates signatures, but in Costa Rica the role is much more expansive. To be a notary in Costa Rica you first must be an attorney, then go to school for 2 more years and pass more exams to become a “Notario” or notary.

How much can you expect to pay in closing costs? The custom in Costa Rica is for the buyer to pay the costs; however, this can be altered by agreement. The closing costs will be about 4-5 percent of the purchase price. The seller typically pays the realtor’s commission.

One Type of Property Foreigners Cannot Own

There is only one type of property that a person who has not been a legal resident of Costa Rica for 5 years cannot buy outright, and that is beachfront property. The first 200 meters inland from the high tide mark is called the Maritime Zone and can only be leased by a concession from the local municipality. This land is not titled. Concessions can be granted for 5 to 20 years, the latter being the more common.

Ocean view condo complex near Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste
The lease could be purchased through a legal shell corporation in which a Costa Rican citizen is the majority shareholder. Keep in mind the first 50 meters from the high tide mark is considered a public space and cannot be built on. There are strict requirements for building on the remaining 150 meters, so you will want to do all sorts of due diligence BEFORE deciding to purchase the concession.

There are so many beautiful properties in the Playa del Coco area just waiting for you to customize and call home. What a relief it is to know that you can own it without being a resident…although once you live here you will never want to leave!

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