Source: Travel + Leisure
From its top-rated surf breaks and diverse wildlife to its tropical climate and fresh fare, there are dozens of reasons why Costa Rica continually ranks among our most-recommended vacation spots. (Not to mention it’s a less-than-five-hour flight from Houston, about a four-hour flight from Atlanta, and a three-hour flight from Miami.)
Thanks to the many benefits of Costa Rica life, vacationers often feel like they never want to leave. Luckily, they don’t have to: “There are no restrictions to purchasing property in Costa Rica,” confirmed Wagner Loria, real estate agent and broker with Keller Williams Tamarindo. (The only exception is when applying for some beachfront and coastal properties, which may require a certain percentage to be owned by a Costa Rican, added Melanie Engel, broker and owner of Flamingo Beach Realty in Playa Flamingo, Guanacaste, Costa Rica.) “American citizens have the same rights as locals when it comes to investing in the country. A good real estate attorney, title company, and accountant, plus an immigration expert and a good real estate agent, will be your best resources.”
If you’re interested in investing in a vacation home in Costa Rica, expect the process to take about one to three months, including prospecting, showings, offers, contracts, deeds, escrow, appraisal, inspections, and taking possession of the property, Loria added.
PHOTO: CHARLES WOLLERTZ/GETTY IMAGES
Any investment of more than $150,000 allows you to apply for residence as an investor, which offers benefits like expedited immigration window for residence, exempted import of up to two vehicles and one container exempted from taxes with households, among others.
“Related costs for the buyer range from 4 percent to 5 percent of the total investment. Real estate taxes are as low as 0.25 percent to 0.55 percent per year,” he explained.
Once you plant roots in this Central American country, you’ll either be in — or nearby — one of the five Blue Zones on the planet. Nicoya, Costa Rica is a Blue Zone where residents practice healthy habits that make it more common for them to live to 100 years or older.
“Investing in real estate for $150,000 or more can lead to potential residency options, which may be appealing for those looking to spend extended periods in Costa Rica,” said Anna Velez, real estate consultant with Coldwell Banker Coast to Coast Properties in Guanacaste, Costa Rica.“This comes with many perks including a tax free import of two vehicles for personal use.”
You can also tap into the 180-day tourist visa as you search, or utilize the new digital nomad visa, which allows Americans to stay up to one year without having to renew the visa if they can show a certain amount of income per month. (Work from beach home? Yes please.)
“Every imaginable taste and need can be satisfied in Costa Rica; be it a desire for a luxury lifestyle or one that embraces nature. Infrastructure and public amenities are reliable throughout, too,” Engel told Travel + Leisure. “The real estate market in Costa Rica is surprisingly stable and not prone to the bubbles and bursts experienced in North America. Those seeking to make Costa Rica their permanent home or aiming to purchase a second home can feel confident that their investment is sound.”
In addition, Velez added that compared to many U.S. vacation destinations, Costa Rica offers competitive real estate prices.
“Our clients are constantly surprised with the amount of house and land they can buy here with the same budget compared to their home cities in the U.S. The country’s thriving tourism industry also offers excellent rental income potential for vacation homes when you’re not using them,” Velez said.
If all of this sounds like a sweet deal, here are the best destinations to consider investing in your second home in Costa Rica.
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You’ll be ahead of the curve if you snap up a second home in Las Catalinas.
“This newer car-free beach town presents an irresistible opportunity for buyers seeking a captivating blend of lifestyle and investment potential,” Engel said.
It’s a secure community that’s located on Playa Danta and Dantita, a region that offers a lovely blend of nature, beaches, and what Engel defined as “abundant conveniences.” (Think: Ocean-view and beachfront restaurants, a food court, an onsite grocery store, wine cellar, beach club with multiple pools, an indoor and outdoor gym, and miles of hiking and biking trails through the tropical forest.)
If yard work isn’t your idea of fun, consider the Casa Chameleon Hotel, which is situated at a high point within Las Catalinas. This offers some of the best views in the area and has residences currently up for sale.
Lots in Las Catalinas are $150,000 to $2 million, condos run from $400,000 to $2 million, and homes start at $1.5 million and climb to $10 million.