Buying Real Estate in Costa Rica

What You Need to Know About Buying Real Estate in Costa Rica


Many retirees choose to live in the Central Valley of Costa Rica, which is the region surrounding the capital city of San José and its international airport, shopping, and medical facilities—featuring the top physicians and facilities in both the public and private systems. The services and amenities here are the best in the country. But while the immediate area around San José is quite urban, there are plenty of places to get away from it all in the countryside. The weather is also an important factor—this area enjoys year-round spring-like temperatures averaging 72 F. Days can get up into the mid-80s F and nights dip into the 60s F. Elevation plays a large role in temperature—the higher you are, the cooler the climate.


2016-or-sunsetOther beach loving expats choose to live near the water…the Guanacaste Province, the region on the northwest Pacific coast, also known as the Gold Coast, is one of the most popular. There are expat enclaves here; luxurious communities, as well as simple beachside villages where expats mingle with friendly locals.

The Central Pacific Coast from Jacó to Quepos is also an expat destination. Here the amenities of San José are just an hour to two hours away, and you can enjoy the fun of bustling beach towns with a great restaurant scene, active nightlife, and more. Plus, while this one of the most developed beach areas, there is still plenty of natural beauty, including some of Costa Rica’s best national parks.

The Southern Pacific Coast, also known as the Southern Zone, is an up-and-coming area near the border with Panama. Here you won’t find large-scale development. Visitors tend to be into eco-tourism—it’s an area of vast rain forests full of wildlife and deserted beaches with migrating whales just offshore. Many expats live in homes on jungle-covered hillsides with panoramic views of the coast. It’s a small but active expat community…and surprisingly there are a good selection of gourmet restaurants here—some say the best in the country.

About three hours’ northwest of San José is Lake Arenal. This 33-square-mile lake is pristine, undeveloped. Verdant green hills rise gently from the shore, dotted with villages and homes. In North America a lake like this would be packed with marinas and other noisy lakeside development. But here that’s not the case, although there are several restaurants, cafes, and art galleries lining the narrow and winding road that hugs the lakeshore and offer great views of the water.