Questions About Costa Rica? We Have Answers!
Jul 02, 2013
As far as retirement or second home destinations go, Costa Rica is at the top of the list… and continues to maintain it’s place as an ideal country for expats from around the world.
If you’ve been to Costa Rica, you know that it’s a stunningly beautiful country with varying topography, bustling and modern urban centers, charming rural countryside’s and beaches galore!
But if you’ve never been to Costa Rica (but have done your fair share of research) you may have some questions… and not just ‘regular’ questions about weather and safety either…
Today we’ve answered some of the more ‘obscure’ questions about Costa Rica in hopes of making your decision to move to this gorgeous land that much easier!
Why is Costa Rica so popular for retirement?
Ideal weather, proximity to North America and a low cost of living are the main reasons people continue to flock to Costa Rica. With only two seasons – dry and green, or rainy, both with plenty of sunshine – it’s bye-bye to heating bills, winter clothes and snow and ice. Although there are 21 microclimates in Costa Rica, ranging from year-round spring-like temperatures to hot and humid to dry and arid, everyone is able to find an environment that suits their needs and wants. Pair ideal weather with a laid-back way of life and a very affordable cost of living, and you’ve got a perfect storm for an ideal retirement/vacation home location.
What is the main religion in Costa Rica?
Costa Rica’s official religion is Roman Catholic. Costa Rica is a Spanish conquest and maintains the language and religion of Spain. That being said, with expat communities popping up all over Costa Rica, alternate religions to Roman Catholic are becoming more commonplace. (For more about religion in Latin America, go HERE)
Is it easy for me to bring my pet to Costa Rica?
For most, a pet is part of the family so it’s a no-brainer that you’re going to bring him/her with you when you make the move, and with a bit of pre-planning, it’s a fairly easy task. The Costa Rican government requires that all dogs and cats must have a recent (within 2 weeks of travel) health certificate, issued by a licensed vet. Necessary vaccines are hepatitis, distemper, leptospirosis, rabies and parvo. In addition, you will need to receive stamps of approval from the Department of Agriculture and your local Costa Rica Consulate. These stamps are not free, and should be considered when planning your relocation expenses.
Do local Costa Ricans like people from North America?
Canadians and Americans – affectionately referred to as ‘gringos’ – make up a very high percentage of expats and tourists in Costa Rica. Regardless of whether you’re simply visiting or residing, everyone is welcome. This is in part because of Costa Rican’s ‘Pura Vida’ mentality and attitude of getting along with everyone and simply enjoying life.
How much can I expect to pay if I want to drive my car to Costa Rica and keep it there?
Driving to Costa Rica is a very adventurous way to get your vehicle into the country! You won’t have to pay anything for the first 3 months (the same length of time as your tourist visa lasts), and can usually have an additional 3-month extension after that. Once your 3-6 months is up, you will be required to pay duty tax. This varies based on the make, model, year and value of your car. Current tax schedules are easily obtained by getting in touch with your nearest Costa Rican Embassy or a knowledgeable customs agent.
Does Costa Rica get hit by hurricanes?
Traditionally, Costa Rica has not had a problem with hurricanes. There has been the (very) odd occasion of a hurricane hitting the Caribbean side, but the mountain range that runs down the centre of the country is very efficient at protecting the Pacific side. Acting as a buffer, the mountains shield from heavy winds that are associated with large storms. (Go HERE to read more about weather and global warming in Costa Rica)
Do I have to become a resident to buy property and live in Costa Rica?
No. Anyone is allowed and welcome to buy land in Costa Rica, as well as build a house and enjoy it for as long as you like! You are simply required to leave the country every 90 days for 72 hours. Upon returning to Costa Rica, you will be granted another 90-day tourist visa. Many expats who live full-time in Costa Rica follow this practice without ever applying for residency. A process that is 100% legal!
What makes Costa Rica so much better then other countries?
Latin America is becoming increasingly popular for people looking to live out their retirement years or spend half the year in a paradise-like setting, away from the cold and snow. Although many countries in this part of the world are beautiful and incredibly affordable, they are not all equal in terms of infrastructure and stability. With no military presence, extremely low instances of crime and a stable government; Costa Rica ticks all the boxes for those looking to move abroad.
Moving abroad is a big decision, and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Asking questions, doing your research and visiting are all important parts of the pre-expat process. Where International can guide you in all of these areas! Visit Costa Rica on a Discovery Weekend to see if it’s the right country for you… we have developers in both the Southern Zone and on the Nicoya Peninsula – two gorgeous, scenic and affordable areas of Costa Rica.