Costa Rica

Real Estate

Costa Rica Real Estate, Costa Rica Immobilier



costa rica real estate, beachfront properties


Costa Rica is a small country but, from many points of view, a destination which has plenty to offer the visitor, principle among which are a friendly, educated populace and a rich natural heritage.


Costa Rica is known for its civilized way of life and it is no exaggeration to describe the country as an oasis of peace. This is a fundamental concept of the Costa Rican character. Costa Rica is a seat for the University for Peace and the Interamerican Court of Human Rights, which underlines the trust which the international community places in the country's political and social stability. The Costa Ricans are characterized by three main cultural lifestyles: the peasants and farmers of the Central Valley, the people of the Guanacaste pampas and the Caribbean from the province of Limon.

Their ethnic origins are a mixture, blended together with the native inhabitants of the country (although to a lesser extent than in the other Central American countries), the Spanish colonists, and the African-Caribbean peoples, since the last century. The Costa Rican is friendly, hospitable and product of his freedom.

Costa Rica is one of the oldest democracies in America, as well as being a free and independent republic. Its habitants enjoy full political stability with a longstanding commitment to democratic freedom. Peace is Costa Rica's most valued feature. The country has had no army since its abolition half way through this century, the Civil and Rural Guard being sufficient to ensure that citizens are protected.

Costa Rica was twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Price and this award was granted, in 1987, to the incumbent President of the Republic, Dr. Oscar Arias. This signifies a well deserved recognition of the Costa Rican way of life.
The social impact of the democratic tradition of Costa Rica is clearly felt. In 1869, a compulsory state-paid system of education was established, one which also includes private institutions at all levels. The government makes the necessary funds available for medical and educational programs, with both services achieving outstanding successes. In the case of education, 93% of the population can read and write.

Life expectancy is between 72 and 75 years of age, an excellent average in Latin America. Medical services, especially preventive medicine, have reached high levels of development in both rural areas and in the cities.


There are approximately 4 million inhabitants whose native language is Spanish. However, other languages such as English, French, German and Italian are frequently spoken and foreign visitor will easily be able to make himself understood.

The population is distributed throughout the seven provinces which make up the country: San Jose, Alajuela, Heredia, Puntarenas, Cartago, Guanacaste, and Limon. The Capital city is in the province of San José, the country's most densely populated province.


The Catholic faith is the official religion. However, the right to practice other religions is guaranteed.


Since Costa Rica is a republic, the political system is distributed among the following governing bodies:

—Executive Power: President of the Republic, voted at open elections held every 4 years and who may remain in office for one term only. Two Vice-Presidents. A Presidential Cabinet, comprising 12 Ministers of State who hold offices in Economic, Social, Productivity and Cultural areas.

—Legislative Power: comprising 57 delegates elected by popular vote and responsible for drawing up the laws.

—Judicial Power: Formed by the Supreme Court consisting of four Courts. It also includes the High Court, tribunals and Mayor's offices in each sphere.In accordance with Costa Rica's Constitution, the Supreme Court of Elections, acting as an independent body within the Republic, is responsible for organizing, running and supervising the elections which take place every four years.


Electric Power

110 volts. Nationwide Service.


Pure and suitable for drinking throughout most of the country.

Telephone Network

This is one of the most efficient services in Latin America. International calls can be dialed direct from any point in the country. There are public telephones throughout the entire country and when these are not available, operator assisted telephones.

Postal Systems

National network of offices. Central Post and Telegraph Office.

Road Network

The country has a good network of paved roads and highways which makes for easy traveling throughout the country and links Costa Rica with other Central American countries. There is also an extensive secondary roads.
Public Transport The country has a large fleet of taxis, easily identified by their red color. In rural areas the taxis are four-wheel drive models for travel off-the-beaten track. Orange colored taxis provide service to and from the Juan Santa Maria International Airport. Bus services are available, both within and between provinces, as well as internationally. Similarly, Inter-urban train services cover the Heredia -San Jose and Pavas- San Jose routes. A provide provides a quick way to cross the Tempisque River and seagoing ferry services (Salinero) departs from Puntarenas to cross the Golf of Nicoya.

Banking & Currency

Local and international services are available at both state and private banking institutions. Banking hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (without a break). Evening banking services are also available from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. The official currency is the "colon" and the exchange rate against the dollar can vary. Dollars can be changed at any one of the National Banking System banks. International credit cards are accepted in most establishments throughout the country.
Office Hours These vary according to the company or institution. Most government offices are open to the public from 8:00 a.m. up until 4:00 p.m. Private companies open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Shops and business open from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. in most cases. Others keep a 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. working day. In the Capital, there are supermarkets which are open right round the clock.



Television channels broadcast in both Spanish and English. Cable television is also available in both languages, and some hotels have satellite connections.
Radio: A large number of stations broadcast in A.M. and FM throughout the country.


Costa Rica has 4 daily newspapers and several weekly publications in Spanish as well as weekly and monthly publications in English. Magazines covering a wide range of interesting and useful subject are also published.



Our country holds a privileged place in the world, being located in the very center of the isthmus of Central America. It is flanked
to the east and northeast by the Caribbean, to the southeast by Panama and by Nicaragua to the north.


Costa Rica's total surface area is only 51.110 sq. km; but it contains a wide variety of rivers, plains, mountains, valleys, volcanoes, beaches; a diversified flora and fauna in numerous nature and wildlife reserves, and many more attractions for the tourist, including a wide range of climates.


Costa Rica is a small tropical country, situated between two oceans. These factors combine with a complex, mountainous topography, giving rise to a wide variety of habitats. These range from Tropical Dry Forest to Lowland Rainforest to Highland Paramo, with a corresponding variety of climatic conditions. In general, however, temperatures vary between 14 and 22 Celsius, in the high Central Valley and between 22 and 28 Celsius in the lowlands. Temperatures in each region remain relatively stable throughout the year, although some slight changes occur according to whether it is "Summer" (the dry season) or "Winter" (the rainy season). "Summer" usually prevails from December to April and "Winter" from May to November. These seasons are clearly defined on the Pacific side of the country but much less notable on the Caribbean side where precipitation is more evenly distributed throughout the year.


The highest regions of Costa Rica are found in the center of country and the lowlands, which are more extensive and flat, extend to Caribbean coast in the northeast. On the Pacific side, the marine shelf cuts sharply into the coast forming bays, capes, cliff faces and inlets. The Costa Rica mountain ranges form and independent group within the Central American massif. Three of these ranges run roughly from northwest to southeast with a fourth crossing them at the widest part of the country and forming a huge cross. In this Central Range lie the Central Valley (where we find the cities of San Jose, Alajuela and Heredia) and the Guarco Valley, in the province of Cartago.

Two volcanic ranges dominate the northwest of Costa Rica. First, the Sierra Volcanica Guanacaste with its volcanoes, Orosi, Miravalles, Tenorio and Arenal, which offers a breathtaking show with its night-time eruptions, plus Rincon de la Vieja, whose volcanic activity keeps the mud in the foothills bubbling permanently. In this area, we can also visit Lake Arenal. With a surface area of about 85 sq. km, it is an ideal spot for water sports such as windsurfing, water-skiing, motor boat racing and fishing.

Second, in the northwest, is the Sierra Volcanica Tilaran, formed by the hills of Abangares, Aguacate and Cedral. In the transverse chain of the Central Highlands, the volcanoes Poas, Barva, Irazu and Turrialba are the most accessible to the visitor. All of these volcanoes form an important part of our country's natural and geological heritage. Finally, to the south, are Costa Rica's highest mountains, in the non-volcanic Talamanca Range.

Of these, Chirripo is the most impressive, being the highest in the country at 3,821 Mts. Also, due to the type of landscape, composition of the soil and climatic conditions at the summit, its vegetation is similar to that found in bleak mountain ranges -still another facet of Costa Rica's incredible natural heritage.


The rivers of Costa Rica are of great interest to tourists, not only for their beauty but also for the opportunities they provide for adventure, sport and leisure activities. On the Caribbean side lies the Reventazon-Parismina River system, 145 km long, and the 108 km Pacuare. Both rivers are ideal for fishing and for shooting rapids. Also on the northern Caribbean slopes, we find the 96 km Colorado and the Sarapiqui, both of which are perfect for outings and sporting activities. The Pacific side boasts numerous rivers such as the Corobici, most noted for float trips on its gentle rapids. The Corobici and many other north Pacific rivers empty into the great Tempisque River which stretches for 135 km to the Gulf of Nicoya. The marshes, rivulets and estuaries of the Tempisque Basin provide important nesting grounds for numerous native bird species and sanctuary for many migrants.

Caribbean Coast

The Caribbean coastline, stretching for 212 km; runs from the northeast to the southeast and can be divided into two distinct sections: Rio San Juan-Limon (which extends from the border with Nicaragua to the city of Limon), and Limon-Rio Sixaola (from the city of Limon to the border with Panama). The first section consists of a long stretch of coastline which separates the sea from a series of fresh water lakes, fed by numerous rivers. In this region are the famous "Canales of Tortuguero", a network of more than 100 km of navigable canals and lagoons and which are the habitat of seven species of turtles. Located at the mid-point of the Caribbean coastline of Limon, one of the country's major ports and birthplace of our Afro-Caribbean culture. Just offshore, to the south of the city, lies the island of Uvita, originally named Cariari by Christopher Columbus who stopped there on his fourth voyage to the New World.

Pacific Coast

The Pacific coast stretches over 1.200 km, from one border to the other and offers a variety of landscapes, islands, gulls, headlands, swamps, inlets and peninsulas. From Bahia Salinas, in the north, to southern Punta Burica, Costa Rica's Pacific coastline boasts many wide beaches which are perfect for tourists to enjoy themselves. Santa Elena, Nicoya and Osa are the main peninsulas on the Pacific side. On the northern part of the coast is the bay of Salinas (where a small archipelago called Murcielago affords ideal scuba diving) and the Santa Elena Peninsula and Culebra Bay (where the "Golfo de Papagayo" tourist complex is currently under construction).

Further south the Gulf of Nicoya also has great tourist appeal. The "Salinero" and Tempisque" ferries cross its waters to the isolated beaches of the southern part of the Nicoya Peninsula. The shoreline of the gulf forms many bays and promontories and Nicoya's waters are dotted with small islands. The largest of these are the islands of Chira and San Lucas. Others of great natural beauty are Venado, Bejuco, Caballos, Negritos and Cedros Islands.

Near the city of Puntarenas (administrative center of the province, also called Puntarenas) is Puerto Caldera, the Pacific's most important port. Caldera has developed into a modern port complex for cruise ships and cargo boats. Five hundred km off the Pacific coast lies Coco Island, famous for its legend of hidden treasures. However, its main riches are very beautiful and luxuriant flora and fauna, both on land and in its surrounding waters.

These natural treasures are in need of protection from visitors to the island. Finally, the south Pacific coast is divided into two major zones. To the southeast, is the Golfo Dulce. On the gulf, stands the historic city of Golfito, better known today for its duty free shopping centers. To the southwest lies the Osa Peninsula where the Osa Conservation Area protects perhaps the most extensive and richest variety of flora and fauna to be found in the country.


Its coasts, lakes, natural water basins and rivers make Costa Rica a real paradise for lovers of water sports. It is a special place where one can practice fishing, fresh water sports (the country has over 80 km of navigable rivers, famous world-wide, and which are enjoyed both by kayakers and rivers rafters in search of challenging adventures and by those who wish to experience the thrill of white water for the first time), surfing (Playa Pavones is internationally famous for having the longest waves in the world), skin diving (given the variety and richness of the reefs and the flora and fauna along the coastline), windsurfing (practiced mainly on Lake Arenal), kayaking, boating and water-skiing.



It is for the nature lover and the conservationist, however, that Costa Rica has become a true mecca. As of 1992 Costa Rica is the world headquarters for the Earth Council, because of its natural resource conservation activities. At present, the National Parks Service is responsible for the care and conservation of 20 natural parks, eight wildlife refuges and one area which has been declared a national archaeological monument. At the same time, the Forestry Service is in charge of 26 protected areas, nine forest reserves, seven fauna sanctuaries and a national forest. These protected areas total 1.277.308 hectares and represent 25% of the national territory, meaning that Costa Rica has a larger percentage of its total area set aside in Parks and Preserves than any other country in the world.

The protection of Costa Rica's natural resources has implications beyond its borders because they encompass an incredible biodiversity, including fauna and flora on the verge of extinction. All of this means that the country has become one of the most attractive destinations for visiting ecologists. On the whole, access and facilities to these areas and accommodation are freely available provided the natural habitats are respected. These protected areas are ideal for walking bird watching, camping and enjoying the rivers, beaches, forests, volcanoes, historical and archaeological sites, as well as for observing natural phenomena which are of major importance to the continent. For its work in the conservation of natural resources, Costa Rica has been awarded numerous distinctions including the St. Francis of Assisi prize as well as the award given by the ecological organization ASTA (Association of United States Travel Agents) and the Smithsonian Institute's award.


Costa Rica caters to all types of tourist with services which make the visitor's stay in the country a most enjoyable experience. Air Travel Flights from more than 17 airlines land each day at the Juan Santamaria International Airport. Domestic airline services are available to get from one point to another within the country. Or you can hire an air taxi.

Car Rental

Upon arriving in Costa Rica you can rent a car at any of the agencies at the Juan Santamaria International Airport, or in San Jose. Car rental services are also available in the capital cities of some of the provinces. In view of the country's different types of terrains, rental agencies offer various types of vehicles: light vehicles, four-wheel drive, vans, limousines, latest models, etc.

Travel Agencies

A large number of agencies offer the tourists different tours in order to get to know Costa Rica. The Costa Rican Tourist Board (I.C.T.) in the Tourist Information Office (located in Plaza de la Cultura in San Jose, between Avenida Central and Segunda, fifth street), informs visitors of the different agencies operating throughout the country, as well as the tours they offer.


In Costa Rica you will find a wide range of hotel services, catering to all tastes, styles and budgets. There are large hotels providing full service, swimming pools, restaurants, discotheques and conference rooms -either in the city itself, on the outskirts, or in the countryside. Or, you may choose the cachet of one of the small, friendly hotels located in beautiful old converted houses. There is also a wide selection of mountain lodges and hotels, beach hotels, jungle lodges and cozy cabins. Many lodges also offer facilities for
every type of event, such as conventions, business meetings, etc.


Restaurants in Costa Rica offer the tourist a wide variety of international cuisine and, for those wishing to try Costa Rican cooking, there are many places which serve typical regional dishes.

Crafts And Shopping

Costa Rican craftsmanship is found in a wide variety of goods which reflect the country's typical traditions and features, ranging from replicas of pre-colombine objects, or the traditional Costa Rican cart up to the modern, elegant designs. Wood and clay sculptures, pottery, leather goods, jewelry and wickerwork are also to be found. Articles can be bought in the center of San Jose and in other places such as Moravia, Sarchi (Alajuela) and Guaitil (Guanacaste).

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