New Flights Coming To And From Costa Rica

High season is quickly approaching and airlines are preparing by offering new flights to Costa Rica! This is fabulous news for travelers hoping to spend some time in the sun. 

plane

First let’s talk about the U.S. airline Frontier. Frontier has announced new non-stop flights from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to the two main airports in Costa Rica.  There will be one weekly flight into Liberia International Airport starting December 17th and Juan Santamaría International Airport in San Jose will have flights twice weekly starting November 17th.

Frontier is hoping to help boost tourism by offering new routes to preferred destinations. Costa Rica is a very sought after destination for many U.S. travelers due to the country’s numerous outdoor activities, welcoming culture, and commitment to environmental preservation. 

Best part is, Frontier is known for offering ultra-low fares that allow travelers more affordable access to countries such as Costa Rica. Travelers with a love for nature can come and truly experience everything this beautiful country has to offer. 

Another airline increasing flights into Costa Rica is the Swiss airline Edelweiss. Starting November 2nd, Edelweiss will have an Airbus A340-300 fly into Guanacaste from Zurich twice a week, on Wednesdays and Sundays. Costa Rica has become a very popular holiday destination among the Swiss and there is definitely an increase in demand!

Edelweiss’ increasing frequency of flights to Guanacaste shows that Costa Rica is growing as a destination worldwide. This is a big deal for Costa Rica’s tourism sector as well as for property owners here in Guanacaste. More tourists means more rentals and more business! 

For those living here, Arajet, Dominican Republic’s low-cost airline, announced that it will begin operations in Costa Rica! Arajet offers flights to the Dominican Republic, the United States, Cuba, Colombia, Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, Curaçao, Mexico, Panama, Aruba, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Peru, Haiti, Trinidad & Tobago, Canada, El Salvador, and Jamaica from Costa Rica.

beach

Arajet has already begun offering and selling tickets for direct and convenient flights to many of these destinations starting in October.  The airline anticipates flying 5 times a week. Arajet also plans to offer ticket prices 30% to 60% lower than the market average. 

Costa Rica hopes to start this high season with an influx of new travelers as well as affordable prices for those who visit every year or who have made Costa Rica their home. Keep an eye out, other airlines are sure to increase flights into Guanacaste. Come and enjoy everything this beautiful country has to offer!

Recreational Marijuana In Costa Rica?

Costa Rica is working towards the legalization of recreational marijuana. During the commemoration of President Rodrigo Chaves’ first 100 days in office, Chaves announced a bill that would do just that! This bill for legalizing recreational marijuana will be presented to the Legislative Assembly by November 1st at the latest. 

Earlier this year in March, as soon as the Legislative Assembly approved a bill legalizing medical marijuana and hemp, former President Carlos Alvarado signed the bill into law. Both former President Carlos Alvarado and current President Rodrigo Chaves believe cannabis will be a great benefit for the country.

Hemp received a warm welcome by the agricultural and business sectors. Hemp’s legalization will help farmers generate a new form of income by taking advantage of this growing international market. Improving Costa Rica’s current economy and providing high quality exports.

Recreational marijuana may have a more difficult time getting approved by Congress. The proposal has already generated a few negative reactions in certain political sectors and some politicians are saying they will oppose the bill. The Costa Rican people are divided. Some believe legalization can lead the youth to turn into addicts or that marijuana can affect brain development.

President Chaves feels that legalizing marijuana would hinder criminal groups’ economic activity. The Ministry of Finance could start collecting taxes from the commercialization of marijuana, instead of the criminal groups lining their pockets. It is no secret that marijuana is being consumed in this country so why not have the government benefit off of it instead of the criminals?

Legalizing recreational marijuana would also make it a regulated activity, thus helping the Costa Rican government to have better control over the population’s consumption. Many other countries have already decriminalized recreational marijuana and have obtained great results. Decriminalization can lead to a more transparent use of cannabis.

Only time will tell if Costa Rica will approve recreational marijuana. When the Legislative Assembly is presented the bill later this year, they will be responsible for deciding what is best for the country.

Financing In Costa Rica With LAFISE

Financing options for foreigners were always very limited in Costa Rica but now Banco LAFISE  is making mortgage loans available for USA and Canadian citizens. Loan availability will now make buying your dream home in paradise a possibility!

Founded in 1985, LAFISE is a modern and diversified business holding company. LAFISE has established itself as the regional financial leader in specialized services such as banking, brokerage houses, investment banking, insurance, investments and management of venture capital funds. LAFISE operates in the markets of Central America, the United States, Mexico, Panama, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic and Colombia.

Currently, LAFISE has conditions for mortgage loans for home purchase, lot purchase, construction on own lot and transfer of mortgages or the purchase of a current mortgage in another bank. The maximum term is 30 years for a house or condo, and 15 years for a lot.

Now let’s talk about the requirements for USA and Canadian citizens interested in getting a mortgage loan through Banco LAFISE.

  • Copy of passport
  • Income tax of the last 3 years
  • 6 months of statements and certification of income by public accountant (required for self-employed)
  • Last 4 pay stubs with salary constance and 3 months of statements (required for salaried employee)
  • 3 credit references or score (for example: Equifax, TransUnion, Credit Solutions, Karma Credit, Borrowell, Experian, etc.)
  • KYC form, credit application form, and SUGEF form, all must be completed by the client and signed
  • Proof of pension (required in case of being pensioned)
  • Value of the property you wish to acquire
  • Contract of purchase and sale or reservation

LAFISE requires each client requesting a loan to have a life insurance policy with LAFISE. In the case that a client has a preexisting life insurance policy, that policy can be used as long as LAFISE is named the beneficiary. 

The interest rate in dollars today is 6.75% fixed for 2 years and from the 3rd year the rate is variable with a TRI-merge credit report of 12 months + 4%. Depending on the property, LAFISE can lend from 50% to 80% of the value of the property according to the appraisal.

If the property is near a beach (for example located in Playas del Coco or Playa Hermosa) the client needs to put a 30% premium. Although if the value of the condo or house is high the client may need to put up to a 40% or 50% premium. Also if the property will be used as a rental or vacation home, the premium starts at 35% or higher depending on the value and location of the property.

If the property is far from a beach, such as a city like Liberia, the premium can start as low as 20% but if the value of the condo or home is high, LAFISE will require a higher premium percentage.  Each individual case is different.

LAFISE has an office in Miami, Florida, which is in charge of reviewing these documents. These documents can be submitted digitally to a loan agent who will carry out  a credit study. Once approved, the client must be present in Costa Rica for the signing of the mortgage protocol at the LAFISE office in Liberia. 

Loan availability with reasonable interest rates in Costa Rica is a game changer! So many more people will be able to make their dreams a reality. Interested in more details or getting in touch with an agent at LAFISE? Please reach out and I would be happy to assist you!

Masala – Indian Food In Playas Del Coco

Don’t get me wrong, I love gallo pinto and a fresh grilled garlic Mahi Mahi, but every once in a while it’s nice to have some new flavors. That’s why I was thrilled to find out Masala has opened up in Playas del Coco!

Masala is a truly authentic Indian restaurant. Currently, Masala has three locations. The first restaurant opened in Liberia in 2019 and was the only place that offered Indian food in the area. Then in 2021, Masala opened another location in Brasilito. Finally, July 29th 2022, Masala arrived in Playas del Coco. Seems like there is quite the demand for delicious Indian cuisine!

The restaurant is located right in the heart of Playas del Coco, across the street from Coopeguancaste. Masala has a clean, colorful, and inviting interior. You have the option of sitting in their air conditioned indoor space, at the bar, or enjoying the outdoor terrace that looks out onto main street Coco.

You will be blown away by the exceptional cuisine! Masala serves traditional & modern Indian food. Meals and beverages are served in imported hammered copper bowls and cups. Even the gorgeous utensils are all imported from India. Spices are hand ground and they use a real tandoori oven. Since the chefs are from India, they know exactly the taste expected in every meal.

Masala’s extensive menu has something for everyone! The menu indicates whether dishes are lactose free, gluten free, vegetarian, etc. With so many options, you can eat there for a week straight and never order the same thing twice! This is a perfect restaurant to go with a group of friends or family because the meals are meant to be shared.

Never had Indian food? Well this is definitely the place to try it, you won’t be disappointed! Interested in other dining options in the area? Check out my restaurant guide on my website (https://www.costarican-american-connection.com/Playa_Hermosa_Area_Restaurants/page_2639415.html). Hope to see you around town enjoying all the flavors that Playas del Coco has to offer!

Nya – An All Encompassing Community

Something huge is coming to the Guanacaste area, over 900 hectares of huge to be exact (that’s 2,223 football fields!). Nya is breaking ground just minutes from the Liberia International airport.

What is Nya?

Nya is an expansive real estate project that will be an all encompassing community. Residential, retail, health, recreation, green spaces, sport, education, hospitality, and a trade free zone will all make up Nya. 

What does Nya offer? 

Over 60 amenities will be offered! The biggest amenity will be the Crystal Lagoon with white sand beaches, more on that later…. There will be a retail village with plenty of shopping. Numerous dining options such as fancy rooftop restaurants, little cafes, smoothie shops, wine lounges, bars, mini markets, as well as just casual lunch spots. You can enjoy the various entertainment spots including a playground, marina, or concert pavilion. Interested in getting work done? There will be office buildings and a co-working center you can make use of. If you like sports and wellness, Nya will offer a gym, wellness spa, pickle ball, soccer, basketball, tennis, and a yoga center. Nya means tree in the Chorotega language so nature will play a large part in this development. There will be an Eco Canyon that will have an incredible assortment of flora and fauna. As well as a mile-long canyon, river, cliffs, waterfalls and endless trails to enjoy. Feel free to hike, horseback ride, atv or bike all 19 magnificent miles of trails nestled in nature. 

Crystal Lagoon

Nya has partnered with Crystal Lagoons to create a 8.6 acre clear turquoise lagoon. This lagoon will have 7 white sand beaches, some private and others public. So much will be offered at this lagoon. You will be able to kayak, paddle board, jet board, sail, enjoy an inflatable water park or simply just relax in the luxurious cabanas and lounge chairs. If you are hungry food service will be available and you can also make use of the wet bar! There will be restroom facilities, shaded areas and handicap friendly beach entry. 

Beachfront Condominiums

The beachfront condominiums will be the first residential project within Nya. These condominiums will be located right in front of the beautiful Crystal Lagoon. You have the options of a 1 bedroom, 1 bedroom + flex room, 2 bedroom, 2 bedroom + flex room, and a 3 bedroom (a flex room is an extra room that can be used as an office or a small bedroom). All units will have family sized balconies, floor to ceiling windows, views of the volcanoes/lagoon, cabinetry with quartz countertops, central AC, and hookups for a dishwasher, dryer, and washing machine. Aside from the Nya amenities, the condos will offer additional amenities such as beach volley courts, a dog park, BBQ ranchos with horseshoe pits, kids playground, 24 hour security and HOA fees averaging only $350. Prices start at only $199,000!

 

Sustainability

This massive project is also taking many steps towards being environmentally conscious and sustainable. Solar panels will be installed over parking spaces and provide renewable energy not only for Nya but for nearby communities as well. There will be recycling and composting programs as well as an initiative to reduce river contamination in the Liberia river. 100 hectares will be reserved for green areas, dedicated to reforestation and preservation of local wildlife. All waste water will be treated and used for landscaping. Even the Crystal Lagoon is innovative! The lagoon will use only 2% electricity compared to traditional swimming pools and uses 100x less chemicals! Nya has definitely taken into consideration Costa Rica’s green ideology! 

Nya is truly an all encompassing community with everything you need to live, work, and enjoy life to the fullest. Please contact me if you are Interested in more information or purchasing a condominium. Nya also offers financing! Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity coming December 2023.  

Coopeguanacaste Introducing Gasification Technology For Green Energy

Costa Rica prides itself on being a green country, especially when it comes to green energy! Coopeguanacaste plans on making history by being the first organization to bring gasification technology into Central America! 

What is Gasification?

Gasification is a process that converts organic or fossil-based carbonaceous materials at high temperatures without combustion, with a controlled amount of oxygen and/or steam into carbon monoxide, hydrogen, and carbon dioxide. Gasification technology has been around for more than 50 years and is in use all over the world such as in Europe, the U.S., and Asia. 

What is Coopeguanacaste’s plan? 

Coopeguanacaste plans to use gasification technology on municipal solid waste to convert it to energy that can be used to supply power to many homes in the region. The plant will be located in Belen de Carrillo and hopes to receive 150 metric tons of waste daily. Waste will be collected from Liberia, Carrillo and Nicoya.

How much power can this new gasification plant generate? 

Over 17,500 homes could be supplied with electricity. The 150 metric ton volume of waste can generate between 7.7 and 9 megawatts per hour.

What are the other benefits? 

Being able to use waste for energy will minimize the final amount of waste that ends up in the landfill. This is a step towards a better waste management system that will promote reduction, reuse, recovery and recycling. The municipalities of Liberia, Carrillo, and Nicoya will benefit from a quicker and safer disposal of waste and a strict control of gaseous emissions. There will be lesser risk of contaminated aquifers and spontaneous combustion in landfills as well. 

 

How is this project being financed?

Coopeguanacaste announced that they will have tradable green bonds on the National Stock Exchange with which they hope to raise the ȼ31 billion colones necessary for the creation of the gasification plant.  

The National Decarbonization Plan (2018-2050)

This gasification plant is just one of the many goals in the National Decarbonization Plan Costa Rica has created to achieve net-zero emissions in 2050. Costa Rica is always striving towards having a positive environmental impact and being a leader in the green movement. 

Visit this beautiful and forward thinking country today! Better yet, buy a property and make Costa Rica home. I would be more than happy to assist you. 

Paw House Roasters Is The New Place To Check Out In Playa Hermosa!

Something new has opened in Playa Hermosa… Paw House Roasters is a coffee roasting house, coffee shop, bakery, wine bar and so much more! All your favorites in one place, it doesn’t get better than that.Paw house roasters in Playa Hermosa Costa Rica

Located in Hermosa Heights, Paw House is just off the main road and open to the public. Open from 7am to 5pm, Monday through Saturday and closed on Sundays. 

Paw House Roasters takes their coffee very seriously. Offering only the highest quality gourmet coffee. The raw coffee beans or “green” coffee beans are sourced from Cafe Monteverde, an association consisting of 18 families. These beans are sustainably grown in Monteverde and then roasted on the spot at Paw House. It truly doesn’t get fresher than that! 

Coffee roaster at Paw House Roasters

Want to try every style of roast and wash? Check out the tasting sessions that Paw House Roasters has to offer. Not only will you enjoy delicious coffee but you will learn about coffee culture in Costa Rica. Tasting sessions can be booked Tuesday – Saturday (8AM, 10AM, 12PM, 2PM and 4PM). 

Paw House Roaster's menu

Nothing compliments a cup of coffee better than a sweet treat. At Paw House you will find an incredible assortment of mouth watering goodies. A variety of cheesecakes, pastries, cakes, sweet empanadas, breads, and cinnamon rolls will have you coming back each day to try something new! 

Not much of a coffee drinker? That’s okay! Paw House has a nice selection of tea, soft drinks, freshly made smoothies, and milkshakes! For those who enjoy a savory treat instead of a sweet one, there are croissants, meat pies, enchiladas, quiches, and pizza rolls. Everything you see is made fresh each day. 

Looking for something a little stronger? No worries, Paw House has you covered. Stop by and wine down. You can enjoy a wine tasting or just order a nice big glass of wine. To accompany the wine, Paw House offers a small bites menu which includes mini hamburgers, caprese skewers, hummus, and other yummy snacks! 

Paw House is always keeping it fun and interesting. They just started offering baking classes for kids! The perfect place to teach your child measuring, counting, following directions, and a formal clean-up. Paw House also hosts mixer events for the community and has a large event space upstairs equipped to seat 30 people. Make sure to follow them on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pawhouseroasters) to stay up to date with all the exciting news and events! 

Employees of Paw House Roasters making coffee

It’s easy to see how Paw House has it all. The perfect place to kick back, relax, and enjoy incredible coffee right in Playa Hermosa. 

Everything You Need To Know About The Digital Nomad Law in Costa Rica

One year ago, the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica approved the “Digital Nomad Law” but never got around to the regulations. Thankfully on July 4th, 2022, President Rodrigo Chaves approved the regulations of the “Digital Nomad Law” to finally start attracting digital nomads/remote workers to come to Costa Rica! The good news is, the visa process is much simpler than initially proposed.

Digital nomad office space

Costa Rica has recently become one of the most popular travel destinations in the world! Which comes as no surprise since the weather is incredible, there is a low crime rate, beautiful beaches, high speed internet, and state-of-the-art healthcare. What’s not to love?

Now that many folks have the luxury of having a remote job. Why just travel to Costa Rica, when now you can make it home. If you can work anywhere, then you might as well be sitting in an ocean view home or a walk to the beach condo!

View of the ocean from my digital nomad office

So what are the requirements to be eligible to become a digital nomad in Costa Rica?

  • You must have proof that you are receiving a stable income of no less than $3,000 per month, when traveling alone. If you have a family that you are bringing along, the monthly income must be a stable $4,000.
  • You must provide proof of health insurance for the whole duration of your stay in Costa Rica. If you are bringing your family, all members must be covered as well.
  • The income cannot be generated inside Costa Rica. The company must be registered outside of Costa Rica. The Immigration Authority has a list of remote jobs allowed.
  • You must make a one-time payment for being allowed to stay as a Digital Nomad/Remote Worker and this amount will be determined by the Directorate of Immigration.
  • Once the migratory condition is granted, you will be authorized to enter and there will be a 3 month processing period for the migratory accreditation document. You will have to attend a face-to-face appointment with an immigration official to complete the process.

Becoming a digital nomad in Costa Rica does not give you a residency. Instead you are granted the ability to stay in Costa Rica up to one year, with the possibility of extending it for another year. This law has authorized a new migratory category of non-resident and is strictly for digital nomads/remote workers.

What are the perks?

  • The income received from abroad by digital nomads will receive a total exemption from Costa Rican income tax.
  • Digital nomads will be exempt from paying all taxes on the importation of the following items: a basic personal computer, telecommunications equipment, or any other similar equipment necessary to fulfill the tasks of their job.
  • Driver’s license from the digital nomads country of origin will be valid for the purposes of driving in Costa Rica, as long as the license is in good standing.
  • Digital nomads may open savings accounts in Costa Rican banks.

Out of all the 45 countries that have similar laws in place, Costa Rica is by far one of the easiest places to apply! Immigration is even making the process 100% online and hopes to have the platform working next month. So what are you waiting for? Grab your laptop and enjoy the ocean view! You never know you may end up deciding to stay for good and own your own piece of paradise.

Are You Ready To Buy In Costa Rica?

Your heart may be set on buying a property in Costa Rica but are you truly ready or qualified? Below are a few things to keep in mind before taking the leap. It’s critical to know all the details so you can make your dreams an actual reality.  

Luxury ocean view home in Costa Rica

Financing

Or should I say lack of financing? If you are not a Costa Rican citizen or legal resident you will not be approved for a loan. There are a few banks that “say” they offer financing to foreigners, but I have yet to see some one get a loan in the 14 years I have been here. Even if you become a legal resident, the odds of getting a loan are slim but doable. I know because I got one. Costa Rican banks have a very hard time verifying your financial information from the US, Canada, Europe, etc. thus making it difficult to secure a loan. 

But don’t lose hope! There are other ways to secure financing.

  • Sometimes sellers or developers will offer owner financing. 
  • If you own a home in North America you can get a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit. 
  • You can use your retirement fund. If you are from the US, your 401k or IRA can be converted into a self-directed IRA which can be used to make your purchase.
  • Lastly, you can use a private lender, but be prepared for higher interest rates then the local bank which are high to begin with.

If you are interested in more financing information, please read my blog (Financing Property in Costa Rica) or send me an email to jaaechef@gmail.com.

Location

Are you happy with the location you have decided on? Is being in close proximity to an International Airport convenient? Do you enjoy all the amenities such as Pricesmart, Walmart, state-of-the-art hospitals, a variety of grocery stores, plenty of fabulous restaurants, little boutiques, banks, hardware stores, appliance stores, post offices, dentist and doctors’ offices and more? Do you care about great roads and reliable internet? Most importantly the weather!

View of Playa Hermosa in Costa Rica

Obviously, Playas del Coco and Playa Hermosa are my first choice but maybe you still want to search around? Maybe you are interested in the traffic jams and crime in the Central Valley around San Jose or what seems like the endless rain and humidity down in the southern Pacific region like Dominical, or Manuel Antonio? Now don’t get me wrong, they are interesting and can be fun places to visit, but not necessarily a place I want to have a home and spend lots of time.

Type of Property

Have you thought about what kind of property you want? Are you hoping to rent this property or is it strictly for personal use? Do you prefer an ocean view or a walk to the beach? Are you interested in having an HOA or being within a gated community? How many bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, lot size? It is good to know all the advantages and disadvantages of each style of property. 

Luxury condos in Playa Hermosa Costa Rica

If you are not ready to move to Costa Rica maybe a piece of land is the right choice. Or if you want to get your foot into the door, start small and get a condo. It’s important to look at all your options to make sure if they work for you. 

Expenses 

Just being able to afford the property isn’t always enough. It is true that property taxes in Costa Rica are low, only a one quarter of one percent ( .25 of 1%) but there are always additional financial responsibilities. If this is a second home for you, then it will be double the everyday expenses such as utilities, upkeep, HOA fees, travel costs to get to the home, property management fees, taxes. 

It is important to budget accordingly and factor in all the expenses. You want to guarantee you have enough in savings to cover any unexpected expenses. Things to consider can be….

View of the Pacific Ocean from a luxury home in Playa Hermosa

  • Do you have an emergency cash fund readily available?
  • Do you have any credit card debt? Or still paying down another loan?
  • Is your current home paid off? Or are you still carrying a mortgage?

I am eager to help make your dreams a reality but it is important for buyers to take a step back and see if they are both ready and qualified to take the leap.

Beach Bistro Cinema Playa Hermosa

Lights, camera, action! Playa Hermosa has its very own movie theater. Tucked inside the Hermosa Heights development you will find the Beach Bistro Cinema! 

Beach cinema in Playa Hermosa Costa Rica

This charming movie theater in Playa Hermosa is open to the public and has a varying schedule depending on movie releases. More often than not, you can come see a movie on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. Beach Cinema often has specials, where you can see 2 movies for the price of 1! To find out showing times and specials, check out their website https://beachcinemahermosa.com

Beach Cinema may be a small movie theater with only one auditorium, but that doesn’t stop it from having all the latest movies! You can watch new movies as soon as they are released! Movies are often played in English with Spanish titles, depending on the schedule. This cinema also offers movies in 3D! 

Inside the Beach Cinema in Playa Hermosa

This cozy movie theater was recently completely renovated and offers very comfortable seating and leather loungers up front. Always kept very clean, you won’t have to worry about a sticky floor or stale popcorn in your chair. 

Speaking of popcorn… Beach Cinema has fantastic popcorn. You can get regular orPopcorn kettle or the two mixed together, which I highly recommend! They also offer nachos, hotdogs, candy, soda, water, tea and BEER! Not only do they have local beer but also craft NUMU beer. 

Interested in having the Beach Cinema all to yourself? No problem! This theater lets you rent the entire space for private events. There is seating for 100 guests and every seat offers a fantastic view of the screen. The space is perfect for parties, corporate meetings, fundraisers, and more.

Make sure to check out this fantastic little movie theater next time you are in Playa Hermosa. It’s the perfect activity during the rainy season or a great way to relax after spending the day at the beach! Interested in other amenities in the area or purchasing a property? Feel free to reach out and email me, I would be happy to assist you!