Costa Rica has become one of the most popular destinations for international
travelers. It is often called “the Switzerland of Central America”.
Combining its incredible scenic wonders, relatively low cost of living,
and diverse set of activities, Costa Rica now welcomes almost two million
tourist visitors per year. Over time, the investment security, the beauty,
and the diverse tourism possibilities attract many of our visitors to
invest in Costa Rica real estate.
Costa Ricans are very proud of their democracy -- one of the oldest
in Latin America. Through its constitution, the country abolished its
army in 1948 and invested the resources previously committed to military
defense in education and health initiatives. Several political parties
exist in Costa Rica and over 80 percent of the citizens participate
in the political process. While it is common for political power to
change from election to election, transitions between parties are comparable
to those in North America and Western Europe; we have recently witnessed
this with the recent election of Oscar Arias, the former president and
Nobel Peace Price winner.
Costa Ricans, or “Ticos,” form an eclectic and diverse culture.
Though most Ticos descended from European immigrants, Tico culture and
commerce has also been enhanced by immigrants from other Latin American
countries. Regardless of their origins, the common greeting among Ticos
is “Pura Vida!” (meaning “pure life”).
Economic and Social Stability
Economic growth in recent years has propelled Costa Rica to lead in
exports among Central American countries. The creation of jobs contributes
to stabilization, allows for a large middle class and the absence of
extreme poverty levels. A prosperous middle class thrives and the progressive
educational system provides opportunities for just about everyone. In
fact, the 93 percent literacy rate is the highest in Latin America.
Education is free and compulsory for all children and youth. The Costa
Rican health care system, modeled after the Canadian system, includes
both public and private care providers. The life expectancy for Costa
Ricans is the same as the United States – 77 years. This type
of advanced health and educational system has made Costa Rica Central
America’s leading market for tourism, manufacturing, and real
Natural Diversity and Beauty
Costa Rica comprises only 0.01 percent of the earth’s landmass
(less than 20,000 square miles), yet it is home to five percent of the
planet’s animal and plant species. There are more species of plants
and animals per acre in Costa Rica than anywhere in the world. Biodiversity
is evident everywhere: 10,000 species of plants, 850 species of birds,
800 species of butterflies, 500 species of mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.
You don’t have to travel far within the country to experience
a different and unique ecosystem: mountains over 12,000 feet; active
volcanoes; cloud and rain forests; waterfalls and tropical jungles;
banana, sugar, pineapple, coffee, and papaya plantations; mangrove forest
and coastal swamps; and beaches and marine environments that support
a variety of water fowl, fish and crustaceans. Approximately 30 percent
of Costa Rica is protected as national parks, biological and archeological
reserves, and wildlife refuges. In the Dominical area, several protected
areas exist, and these areas maintain a harmony with the nearby available
real estate, unique among Costa Rica real estate opportunities.
Cost of Living
For expatriates, the cost of living in Costa Rica is significantly less
than in the United States, Europe, or Canada. Property taxes are low
and there are no capital gains taxes. Excellent food, housing, entertainment,
and medical care are available and quite affordable. About the only
commodity that is more expensive in Costa Rica than in the U.S. is an
automobile because of import taxes. Affordable living is one of the
main attractions for investors in Costa Rica real estate.
of Our Lady
of the Angels in Cartago
in Central Valley
by indigenous people,
Gold Museum, San José
turtles on their
way to nesting sites