Welcome to Costa Rica, a place to live the “Pura Vida” lifestyle.
Costa Rica by all accounts is a small country. It is roughly the size of West Virginia has a population of 4 Million people.
With its stunning scenery, ideal climate, wonderful people and proximity to International Airports, Costa Rica has become a popular area for investment, relocation and retirement for many North Americans and Europeans alike.
Costa Rica is a democratic nation who abolished its army back in 1948. The official language is Spanish, although
English is widely spoken in many areas. The local currency is the Colon (named after Christopher Columbus), although most real estate prices are quoted in US Dollars.
Costa Rica has long been recognized for its rich flora, fauna and biodiversity (5% of the world’s biodiversity in one-tenth of 1% of the world’s land mass).
For over 50 years, Costa Rica has been known for its stable democracy, lack of an army, universal health care and literacy. President Oscar Arias and the previous administration have made Costa Rica the “Switzerland” of Latin America.
The Guanacaste province in northwest Costa Rica is an area of breathtaking beauty. The beaches are caressed by the warm, beautiful blue waters of the Pacific and some beaches are host to breeding grounds of the majestic sea turtle. These parts of Costa Rica are home to a rich variety of flora and fauna, with national parks and wildlife refuges, volcanic peaks, jungle valleys, scenic waterfalls, natural hot springs, nature explorations, eco tours, white-water rafting as well as historic sites and quaint villages.
Guanacaste offers a comfortable year-round climate with low humidity, sunny days and pleasant star-studded nights. Paradise awaits you!
Costa Rica Popular Destinations
Costa Rica’s top destinations offer locals and visitors a wide range of accommodations and activities that have attracted many people all over the world.
In many of the Costa Rica Destinations, tourists are captivated by the unique natural landscape and habitat.
One of the most notable features in Costa Rica is the Arenal Volcano. This impressive volcano resides within the 29,960 acres of Arenal Volcano National Park. Arenal is what is known as the stratovolcano, a tall and symmetrical volcano that is built upon successive layers of ash, lava, and rock.
Volcan Arenal, formed some 7,000 years ago from the adjacent Chato Volcano. Since the year 2010, the seismicity of the volcano, lava and explosions flows have decreased significantly. At present, locals and tourists will not be able to see the lava flowing down its side or find any plumes of ash rising from its top.
Still, there is so much to see and do in the Volcan Arenal like rainforest hikes, horseback riding, and white water rafting. All of these activities, visitors will undoubtedly enjoy.
The single most visited place in Costa Rica is their capital city. More of the travelers are taking advantage of the new international airport in San Jose. San Jose is the hub for all the domestic flights and public buses. The city is a mixture of history and modernity. Ticos love to have fun at night especially during Fridays. They love to drink as much as they love to dance. There are two entertainment places in the town, one on the east and one in the west. In Escazu you will find a fashionable environment where bars are expensive but you will find nice looking people and fun until 4 in the morning. In San Pedro, all the bars around are very cheap and full of young students.
Covered in clouds, the stunning Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve has a unique air of mystery to it. A distinctive mountain forest where the humidity is usually 100 percent, Monteverde is home to more than 3000 species of plants and animals. The variable climate and large altitude gradient have helped to produce an incredibly heterogeneous set of creatures that live here.
Costa Rica Beaches
Many people come to Guanacaste because of our beautiful Costa Rica beaches, access to services, and the newly remodeled Liberia International Airport, which is located under an hour from most of the beach areas. Our area has two private hospitals, access to 24-hour medical clinics, grocery stores, shopping, restaurants, entertainment and more. For outdoor lovers, you won’t find a better place to enjoy nature! With over 300 days of sunshine per year and temperatures which stay consistently warm and the least amount of rainfall and humidity, it’s no wonder that more and more people want to invest in the Guanacaste region.
Famous white sand, this Costa Rica beach is located in the northwest portion of Costa Rica. Located only 45 minutes from Liberia Airport and directly south of Flamingo Beach, Conchal beach has access via Brasilito Beach and Puerto Viejo beach on the south end. Conchal is bordered by the 2300 acre Beach and Golf Resort community known as Reserva Conchal. The beach is famously known for its millions of crushed shells, beautiful white sand and great snorkeling in the calm sea. To the north of Conchal is the town of Brasilito–an authentic “Tico” town with some great dining options. Brasilito beach is a nice calm beach also good for swimming. The Country Day School, an American School that educates students from Pre-K to 12th grade, is located in Brasilito.
Playa Real/ Pirate’s Bay
To the south of Conchal is a beautiful lesser known and more isolated Costa Rica beach called Playa Real or Pirate’s Bay. Pirate’s Bay has legends of buried treasure located in the small island in front of the beach itself, but to date, nothing has been found. What you can find here is a beautiful beach, perfect for snorkeling and an occasional surf break which attracts surfers! Pirate’s Bay is located about 7 km from the nearest town of Matapalo and only a 5 minute drive from the south end of Playa Conchal. There are a few small developments in the area for those who are looking to be off the beaten path away from all the tourists, but amongst some of the best beaches in the province.
Flamingo Beach considered to be one of the most beautiful white sand beaches in all of Costa Rica. The topography of Flamingo lends to some of the most magestic ocean views around. The beach itself is perfect for swimming and the Catalina Islands off the coast, are regarded as a great spot for diving and deep sea fishing. Some plans to develop a new marina are under way in Potrero Bay. The area is largely residential with just a handful of hotels and condos. This is one of our most popular areas for vacationers and investors alike. You’ll see many beautiful luxury homes found beachfront and in the hills above the bay. BothLinda Carter and Liz Taylor once owned homes here! In the town of Flamingo there are a good handful of options for dining as well as a mini-mart, pharmacy and some nightlife. The La Paz Community School, an International bilingual school educating students from Pre-K to 12th grade is located in Flamingo Beach.
Potrero Beach is less populated than its neighbor to the south, Flamingo Beach. Potrero is more of a residential area and has some services in walking distance such as a mini-mart, pharmacy, and some boutique hotels such as Bahia del Sol. The Surfside development consists of single family homes, some condos and lots. Many people call the Surfside area home year-round. Potrero beach is a dark sand beach and its calm waters make it ideal for swimming.
Playa Prieta/Playa Penca
These are lesser traveled Costa Rica beaches. they have beautiful white sand and are located just north of Playa Potrero. These are more isolated, lesser-known beaches that are great for swimming and snorkeling.
Playa Pan de Azucar (Sugar Beach)
Isolated beach just north of Potrero. Bordered by the Sugar Beach Hotel (a well known boutique hotel). Great beach ideal for swimming and snorkeling.
Tamarindo Beach is the most developed beach town in our area of northwest Guanacaste as well as the most requested vacation destination and top area for investors. There are many beautiful homes and condos in Tamarindo to meet every budget need. The town itself caters to every type of tourist with hostels to five star hotels and luxury rental homes and condos. with over 40 restaurants, shops and nightlife, there is plenty to keep you busy. What draws most people to Tamarindo is the consistent surf and the long beautiful light-sand beach. Some of the most beautiful sunsets in the world happen in Tamarindo!
Playa Negra is one of Costa Rica’s most sought after surf spots. Located just 20 minutes south of Playa Tamarindo, this area is famous in the surfing world, having been featured in the Surf cult move “Endless Summer”. Playa Negra is a small town with a handful of boutique hotels, surfer cabinas and single family homes. Playa Negra has a dark sand beach, rocky in some areas, and ideal for surfing.
Playa Avellanas located just south of Tamarindo and north of Playa Negra, is a beautiful light sand beach. The area has no village and no shops, but is a famous spot for surfing and consistent waves all year long. The focal point of Avellanas, is Lola’s Bar. Lola’s bar is one of the nicest beach lounges in Costa Rica. It offers stylish and comfortable beach furniture with a front row view to the surf, and their pizza is famous. The bar was named after the capricious diva of Avellanas: Lola, the mischivious, big pig who used to bathe in the surf of Avellanas.
We hope you’ve learned a bit about the beaches in Costa Rica. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions!
Costa Rica Gold Coast
Guanacaste is known as The Costa Rica Gold Coast. It is famous for its pristine beaches, stunning coastline, and an amazing variety of wildlife. You don’t need a guide to discover its treasures. In our area of Guanacaste, a simple morning walk beneath the jungle canopy is all you need to experience the sights and sounds of howler monkeys. Iguanas, parrots and exotic birds are all daily companions.
But why Guanacaste? There are three coastal areas in Costa Rica. Guanacaste and Puntarenas are on the Pacific Ocean while Limón is on the Caribbean. The northwestern province of Guanacaste is by far the most preferred destination, as it is less populated than the Central Coast and better developed than Limón. That’s one of the reasons why it is referred to as “Costa Rica Gold Coast.” The most popular time to visit Guanacaste is during the dry season (November to June).
Guanacaste is named for the guanacaste tree, a magnificent tropical deciduous tree which is also the national tree of Costa Rica.
Costa Rica Landscape
The Gold Cost of Costa Rica is home to some of the last remaining tropical dry forests in the world. This rare landscape of volcanic peaks and jungle valleys is dense and green during the wet season (July to October). The dry season turns the landscape to warm golden tones. Tropical deciduous trees drop their leaves for a short period in December, followed by a burst of brightly colored and aromatic flowers in February and March.
Costa Rica Climate
Daily temperatures usually linger around a very pleasant 75° to 85° F (24° C to 30° C). Guanacaste receives less rainfall during the wet season than the central coast, which is yet another reason why Guanacaste is preferred for coastal living. Shifting trade winds bring the moisture in May, generally in the form of afternoon showers followed by vast amounts of sunshine.
Costa Rica National Parks
Over a quarter of Costa Rican land has been set aside as federally protected conservation areas and parks. The Costa Rica Gold Coast is home to five National Parks and a variety of wildlife refuges. Two of Costa Rica’s most significant National Parks are within a two-hour drive of our beach area: Santa Rosa National Park and Volcán Rincón de la Vieja National Park.
Liberia is the capital of The Costa Rica Gold Coast, and home to the Daniel Oduber International Airport (which recently added a brand new multi-million dollar, state-of-the-art terminal). Libera is a colonial city known for its white-washed houses. Liberia is the ultimate expression of dignified provincialism. The art and craft centers of Guaitil and San Vicente are worthy day trip destinations, along with Santa Cruz, known as the National Folkloric City, and Nicoya, which is the oldest city in Costa Rica.
Costa Rica Residency
There are several options if you are considering acquiring Costa Rica Residency. The requirements to enter Costa Rica depend on your country of nationality. Generally, citizens from the United States, Canada, and European countries do not require a visa to enter Costa Rica. Instead, those citizens can enter Costa Rica with their valid passports and remain in the country for up to 90 days. If you are under 30 or 60-day category, then the law will allow you to apply for an extension of up to 90 days. If you have a 90-day visa then the law does not allow you to apply for an extension unless you leave the country and re-enter to obtain another tourist visa in Costa Rica.
All residency applicants are processed by the Costa Rican Department of Immigration, which in turn overseen by the ministry of the Public Security and Police.
Costa Rica Residency grants foreign nationals from other countries the legal right to live in our beautiful country. If you are planning to permanently relocate yourself to Costa Rica, you should obtain Costa Rica residency status. There are two ways to obtain permanent residency
First is through a first-degree relation to a Costa Rican citizen. Second, is by holding a temporary residency for a period of almost three years. Permanent Costa Rica residency must be renewed every two years but this does not expire.
A permanent resident may legally work in Costa Rica. A first-degree relationship includes children less than 25 years of age and parents of Costa Rican citizen, siblings or parents of disabled Costa Rican citizens, and minor siblings of Costa Rican citizens.
Temporary Costa Rica residency allows foreigners the right to live in Costa Rica for a period of time, usually from one to five years. The most common types of temporary residency are the annuity holder, investor, and retirees. Temporary residents are permitted to live, collect income from businesses, and own a business. As a temporary resident, you are subject to annual requirements and you may have to exchange a required amount of dollars each month.
If you are planning a Costa Rica Retirement and have pension or investment income, then you can qualify for Pensionado Residency. This kind of program is governed by the New Immigration Law, which confers residency status as pensioned-based residency or investment and income based residency.
Tourists from Canada, United States, and many European countries are permitted to enter Costa Rica for up to 90 days even without a visa. After 90 days, they are required to go outside the country for 72 hours. Perpetual tourists are the tourists who live in Costa Rica and renew their entrance permit every 90 days. The perpetual tourist is not considered illegal, but he has also not obtained legal residency in Costa Rica. Perpetual tourists have limited services. For example, they do not have permission to access public services such as the public health system. Additionally, perpetual tourists are not allowed to legally work in the country.
Costa Rica School System
The Costa Rica School System boasts that it has more teachers than policemen. Additionally, many of the rulers of Costa Rica have been educators; therefore, they have placed great importance in the expansion of primary and secondary education, even in the most remote areas in the country. Thanks to the ongoing reforms, the Costa Rica School System has a 93% literacy rate.
Primary education in most Costa Rica Schools lasts for almost six years. Costa Rica High School might require five or six years, the latter years are for the development of technical or professional skills. At the end of high school, Costa Rican students will receive a title in Science. The system is applied to all public schools in Costa Rica. However, there are also private grammar schools and high schools, which utilize European and American systems. There are many laws that assure the integrity of the school system.
In 1869, Costa Rica became the first country in the world to not only require education, but also make it free. This fact is expressed by Article 78 of the Costa Rican Constitution. In Article 79, it guarantees the freedom of education. This means that educational institutions may confer grammar school and high school degrees. Moreover, students in public schools are required to wear official uniforms in order to lessen the economic and social distinctions between students.
Costa Rica education adapts with the times. A recent president in Costa Rica declared the teaching of Computer Science and English to be mandatory in all the public schools in the country. As a result, 500 more teachers were promptly trained.
Apart from public schools, there are many private school options in the Costa Rica School System. There are North American, German, and Japanese Schools. The explosion of private schools and foreign schools in the country has helped ease the burden of over-enrollment in public schools, as they have provided an alternate educational system for those students who can afford to go to private schools.
Country Day is an American School in Costa Rica that was founded in San Jose in 1963 and caters to students ranging from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. Country Day School in Costa Rica is one of the most well known American schools in Costa Rica. This school is geared towards students that speak English as their first language; however, some students who do not know how to speak English are accepted on a conditional basis. Country Day is located in Escazu, very close to the Escazu Central Park. There is also a campus in Guanacaste in the town of Brasilito. Country Day School Guanacaste was founded in 2002 and has a beautiful campus with great facilities. It also offers boarding for students.
La Paz Community School is a newer school in Guanacaste, specifically Flamingo Beach. La Paz was founded in 2007 and offers great education to students from Pre-K to 11th grade. The school is 100% bilingual. It is also a non-profit school that offers scholarship programs to students that cannot otherwise afford a private school education. There are currently 180 students enrolled in La Paz from Costa Rica, USA, Europe.
If you have any questions about the School System in Costa Rica, please don’t hesitate to reach out, we are always happy to help.
History of Costa Rica
Human habitation can be traced back more than 100,000 years but it appears that the country was sparsely populated and a relative backwater in the pre Columbian era.
Costa Rica was part of the Intermediate Area between the Mesoamerican and Andean cultural regions. In 1502 when Christopher Columbus landed in the Puerto Limon, less than 20 indigenous tribes occupied the lands which are now called Costa Rica. They lived in several autonomous tribes with all their distinct cultures and customs.
The golden bands that the region’s Carib Indians wore as nose rings and earrings inspired the crew to name the country Costa Rica which means Rich Coast. Columbus’ arrival ultimately led to the eradication of the native populations as fatal battles and exotic diseases took their toll. The native peoples were conquered by the Spanish in the 16th century.
The Costa Rica was then the southern-most province in the Spanish territory of the New Spain. For nearly three centuries, Spain administered the region as part of the Captaincy General of Guatemala under the military governor. The Spanish called Costa Rica as the rich coast in the hopes of finding gold and other riches in the country. However, the country has offered them with volcanic soils very good for the agriculture.
In 1821 of the Costa Rica History, Costa Rica and other provinces in the Central America declared their independence from Spain. In 1824, they initiated the construction of ports and roads and established a judicial system.
His progressive administration expanded their public education.
Moreover, the nation’s chief of state encouraged coffee cultivation by providing free land grants to many farmers. The cultivation of coffee would transform the country in the 19th century. At this time, only small numbers of families owned sizable properties.
As the country began to develop, few families rich in land soon became some of the wealthiest in the country of Costa Rica. After more than a decade of the political turmoil, General Tom s Guardia seized power in the year 1870.
Though he ruled as a military dictator, his twelve years in power were marked by the progressive policies such as free and compulsory primary education, taxing coffee earnings to finance public works, and restraining the excesses of the military.
An era of peaceful democracy began in the country in 1899 with the elections considered the first free and honest ones in the history of Costa Rica. The country has avoided much of the violence that has plagued much of the Central America.
Today, the country still has a large agricultural sector which includes banana, coffee, sugar, and pineapple exports. In the last 20 years, the technology and eco-tourism of the country have made people from all over the world. Costa Ricans enjoys a high standard of living.
Why is Costa Rica Unique?
This is because the country boasts a high literacy rate, and a stable government that has functioned without the armies for more than 60 years. Also, the land ownership is widespread in the country.
Costa Rica FAQ
Do I need a Passport to go to Costa Rica?
A valid passport is mandatory to enter Costa Rica.
Do I need Visa to go to Costa Rica?
Depending on your country of origin, you may enter the country without a visa. USA, Canada and most European countries enjoy this privilege.
Do I need an International driver’s license to drive in Costa Rica?
With a legal driver’s license, you are allowed to drive for three months
Is the water drinkable in the country?
The water is potable in most of the country. However, we recommend bottled water, especially in areas around the coast.
What is the currency in Costa Rica?
The colón is the currency of the country. US dollars and major credit cards are also widely accepted.
What documents are required to enter with a pet to Costa Rica?
Dogs and cats entering the country must have a health certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian, endorsed by a veterinarian service (VS) veterinarian. The examination for the certificate must be conducted within the two weeks prior to traveling to the country. The required vaccinations are: distemper, hepatitis, lestospirosis, parvovirus and rabies (for animals 4 months or older).
How can I get a working visa?
You must apply for a working visa at the Costarican Consulate.
What do I do in case of emergencies?
In the country, the 911 Emergency System is in place. However, it’s sometimes faster to call the Costa Rican Red Cross (128). Make sure to leave a copy of your itinerary with a family member or a neighbor at home with contact numbers for where you’ll be each day.
What is Costa Rica’s time zone?
The country does not observe daylight savings time, so it operates at GMT-6 year-round. During daylight savings time in the United States (mid-March through early November), the country is in the Mountain Standard (MST) time zone. The rest of the year, the country is in the U.S. Central Standard (CST) time zone.
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