Costa Rica is the longest-standing democracy and has one of the highest standards of living in Central America. The economy is stable, with future investment into public services and infrastructure planned. Having abolished the army since 1949 and reinvesting those funds into health, education and culture, the population has one of the highest literacy rates in Latin America, not to mention they were rated as the Happiest Country in the World in 2009 and in 2012 by the New Economics Foundation. Weather is mild year round, biodiversity is abundantly thriving and there is ample availability of food and clean water sources. With an economy catering to tourists, you’ll find a wide array of services, varying from spa treatments to modern telecommunications. In order to improve employment opportunities, many Costa Ricans speak a fair amount of English.
Overall the economy is strong; and recently the Costa Rican government, demonstrating a strong stewardship of forward thinking, opened talks with China about a designated “economy zone”. This would imply less dependence on the US economy in the future and is an encouraging sign that they are diversifying their portfolio and keeping in times with the changing winds. Costa Rica offers low taxation and is the same time zone as the central part of the US, another investor benefit that cannot be overlooked. Reliable telecommunication services are being improved all the time and practically anything you need can be imported.
In Central America, it is known to be the easiest country for property purchase. Non-residents are legally able to invest in Costa Rica, assuming available funds are at hand and one has a valid passport. A very attractive feature is that once purchased, property owners then have the same legal rights as Costa Ricans. Currently it is a buyer’s market; 30% accounts for land sales and the remaining 70%of purchases are for finished homes that are ready to use right away, or as a sourceof income generation. Interesting to note, many of the sellers do not plan in leaving once they sell, rather they are looking to reinvest and move on to their next property adventure.
There are two types of buyers; those investing for profit and capital growth, and those investing in lifestyle and experience, and of course some fall into both categories. If you are looking to invest and live in Costa Rica, obtaining residency is advisable, and a good consultant can help facilitate the process immensely. For those who do not wish to obtain residency and who plan to be in and out of the country renewing their visas a minimum every 90 days, we can consider the distance to your home country if travelling from North America. San Jose is a two hour flight from Miami and a three and a half hour flight from New York. SJO International has nonstop flights from New York, Houston, and Miami. The flights remain highly affordable with flexible times being offered. It also makes it accessible for family and friends to visit.
Another important factor is culture and as a general rule ‘Ticos’, a colloquial term for a native of Costa Rica, are very friendly and promote pacifism. Rarely will you encounter hard-lined nationalists who are not supportive of foreign investment. As investors come into the country, they have recognized that there has been an increase in the quality of their everyday life. Generally speaking, the sentiment that resonates among Costa Ricans is that as long as respect is maintained and foreign investment continues to uplift and aid the overall development of the country and its people, investors need not worry about protectionist attitudes that may be foundin neighboring countries. And not enough can be said about the open attitudes Costa Ricans demonstrate. Their lifestyles reflect a laid back attitude and ‘Pura Vida’ permeates into their everyday life. Truly generous people by nature, we have much to learn about their lifestyles and culture. They say a picture is worth a thousand words and an experience is priceless. All things being equal, the experience of Costa Rica will be what ultimately wins you over; it is unlike no other in Central America.
National saying, which literally translated means “pure life”. It is used as a greeting, goodbye, or if someone asks how you are doing. It also extends beyond the simple words and infuses every day life. It is a lifestyle and is symbolic of the simple enjoyment of all life has to offer, being content with what one has and not to worry, things will work out, they always do.