Real Estate Frequently Asked Questions


Aside from its incredible beauty, great location, friendly locals and endless activities, Costa Rica has the most stable government and infrastructure of any Latin American or Caribbean country. Costa Rica has been called the Switzerland of Central America, because it is militarily neutral. In 1949, Costa Rica abolished its army, allocating defense monies instead to education and healthcare. As a result, Costa Rica enjoys a very high literacy rate, a talented and skilled workforce, and top-rated healthcare facilities.

Where exactly is Costa Rica?
Are Costa Rica's government and economy stable?
Is Costa Rica a safe place?
Do U.S. based companies have a presence in Costa Rica?
Are there restrictions for foreigners owning land in Costa Rica?
Who is buying property in Costa Rica?
What is the infrastructure like in Costa Rica?

Where exactly is Costa Rica?

Costa Rica is situated on the Central American isthmus, flanked by the Pacific Ocean to west, the Caribbean Sea to the east, Nicaragua to the north, and Panama to the south. There is a distance of approximately 155 miles between the two coasts, and 132 miles from north to south, making Costa Rica roughly the size of the U.S. state of West Virginia. Costa Rica is approximately a 2.5 hour flight from Miami, and a 3.5 hour flight from -Houston and -Dallas.

Are Costa Rica's government and economy stable?

Yes. As a Republic of the people, Costa Rica re-elected Oscar Arias, a former president, for a second term of office in the spring of 2006. President Arias won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987 for his assistance in ending the civil wars in Nicaragua and El Salvador, and continues to stand his ground for peace in Central America. He also favors foreign investment, and is conmmitted to solidifying the Costa Rican economy with advances in tourism. The U-S. dollar is consistently strong in Costa Rica, and Costa Rica boasts excellent banking and stock market infrastructures.

Costa Rica has transformed its economy from agraeian-based to one based in service and industry. Currently, agriculture makes up 16% of the national economy, while service and industry maintain 58% and 26%, respectively. Tourism is included in the service sector of the economy, and has increased dramatically in recent years, with expectations to continue increasing with the real estate boom and new presidency.

Is Costa Rica a safe place?

Costa Rica has a very low crime rate. Most incidences of crime are related to petty thef and are more prevalent in the city. Common sense precautions that should be observed in any big city should be employed.

Do U.S. based companies have a presence in Costa Rica.?

Yes, many U.S. based companies have operations in Costa Rica. Here are just a few:

Are there restrictions for foreigners owning land in Costa Rica?

Foreigners enjoy the same rights to land ownership as nationals. These rights are protected by the Costa Rica constitution, and are limited only on beachfront property within 200 meters of the median high tide mark. However, homes and/or condominiums built on this land can be owned outright.

Who is buying property in Costa Rica?

The majority of foreigners buying property in Costa Rica are from North America, mainly The United States and Canada. However, Europeans hold strong to a small piece of the market share, with predictions for this market share to grow.

What is the infrastructure like in Costa Rica?

Electricity Costa Rica's mountainous terrain and abundant rainfall have permitted the construction of a dozen hydroelectric power plants, making it largely self-sufficient for most energy needs. Costa Rica exports electricity to Nicaragua, and has the potential to become a major electricity exporter, once plans for new generating Plants and a regional distribution grid are completed.

Roads and Highways

Costa Rica has an extensive road system of more than 30,000 kilometers, with many road improvement projects currently under way and on the way. Getting around in Costa Rica is relatively easy, although there are some areas which do require four-wheel drive. Paved, all-weather roads connect the east and west coasts, and the Pan-American highway travels from -north to south within Costa Rica.

Healthcare

The Costa Rican socialized healthcare system is comprised of a network of hospitals, clinics and complete medical services in all major cities. Considered to be among the best lowcost medical systems in the world with preventative and curative care, healthcare in Costa Rica is accessible, affordable and comprehensive. Costa Rica is also considered a premiere destination for cosmetic and plastic surgery.

Education

Costa Rica supports its legacy of an educated population by continuing to build its educational system and emphasizing the presence of IT in the curriculum. A tremendous effort has gone toward ensuring that education facilities produce appropriately skilled, knowledgeable workers and professions to contribute to the success and development of Costa Rica.

The Costa Rican government has expanded the Costa Rican Technological Institute into what has become on of Latin Americans most advanced computer science and software engineering schools. This dedication is also exemplified by the redistribution of expenditures from defense funding into education. The results of this effort are-an extremely literate and highly-skilled workforce.

Communications

Costa Rica offers the ease of many developed countries with regard to telecommunications. Telephone lines traverse the country, enabling telephone and fax usage throughout Costa

Television and Broadcasting

Costa Rica has thirteen local television stations, and cable TV service is available, which offers many of the channels available in the U.S. and Canada. DirecTV is also available in Costa Rica, offering digital television and music channels. Costa Rica also enjoys AA4, FM and short-wave radio stations.

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