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Never a Better Time to Buy Property in Los Sueños Resort

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2017 is the perfect time to invest in property in Los Sueños Resort & Marina

Costa Rica’s Los Sueños Resort and Marina (sueños is the Spanish word for “dreams”) on the Central Pacific Coast, is planned community of world-class luxury single family villas and condominiums. Grouped in residential communities, at Los Sueños Resort, the Pura Vida lifestyle that so many dream of, becomes a reality.   Los Sueños’ Marina Village serves as a lively town center, with great restaurants, retail shops and business services. La Iguana, the 18-hole championship course, the private Beach Club, and the Under 8teens family activity center are just some of the on-site amenities.   There has never been a better time than the spring of 2017 to invest in a second home in Los Sueños Resort & Marina. Here are some of our top listings that won’t last long in this great market.     Villas

Casa Vista Paraiso

Brand new and fully furnished, Casa Vista Paraiso is a spectacularly luxurious estate at Los Sueños Resort & Marina. Set on the resort’s Eco Golf Estates, its 8,950 square feet snuggle into a forest oasis of 100-year-old trees. With no detail overlooked, this casa is a paradise designed for plenty of outdoor living and family fun. Check out Casa Vista Paraiso here

Casa de Sueños

Casa de Sueños, at Los Sueños Resort and Marina, faces La Iguana Championship Golf Course. Built for outdoor living, the 8,000+ square foot home provides for gracious living on a grand scale, surrounded by lush gardens and rainforest.  See Casa De Sueños here

Casa Pacifica

Casa Pacifica, in the Vista Tres Bahias community at Los Sueños Resort & Marina, is an executive retreat with panoramic views of Herradura Bay and the surrounding rainforest., yet minutes from an abundance of resort amenities, Casa Pacifica is the perfect escape.  Learn more about Casa Pacifica here

Villa Shapiro

Villa Shapiro, in Los Sueños’ exclusive Altamira neighborhood, offers fabulous views of the Marina, Herradura Bay, and Herradura Island in 6,600 square feet of living space.  Find out more about Villa Shapiro by visiting this link

Condos

Marbella, 1D located close to the Marina, is one of Los Sueños’ upscale communities. This second-floor unit has great views of the marina and the ocean beyond. With 3 en suite bedrooms, powder room and top-notch kitchen, the open floor plan and outdoor terrace provide all the room anyone could ask for entertaining or a quiet evening. See more of Marbella 1D here    Bay Residence, 10B is a rarity in Costa Rica: one of the few ocean-front condos. This penthouse condo, with 2,200 square features 3 bedrooms and 2 baths with vaulted ceilings, making a tropical dream come true. The terrace faces the Pacific for great sunsets and ocean views.  Check out Bay Residence 10B   Terrazas, 3D is a 3 bedroom, 3.5 bath condo in the Altamira community features a large living area that overlooks the Pacific. It’s a perfect place to relax, watch the comings-and-goings at the marina and stare out to sea. Find out  more about Terrazas 3D   With its spectacular sunsets over the Pacific and dramatic rainforest backdrops, Los Sueños’ villas, condos, and eco-homes could be the next place you call home. We think you’ll agree: The dreams of La Pura Vida have become reality.

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Closing Costs on Real Estate Transactions in Costa Rica

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The basics of closing costs on real estate in Costa Rica

Congratulations, you’ve found your dream home at Los Sueños Resort and Marina, made an offer and the seller has accepted it. Before you call the moving company, you have some footwork to do which can be complicated if you don’t have someone to guide you through the process.

Make sure you understand all of the transactions you are participating in. Ask for a translator if you feel you need one so you know what to expect and what’s expected from you.

In Costa Rica, notaries are highly trained lawyers with additional legal duties; your real estate lawyer should also be a notary.

While you have the same rights as a Costa Rican citizens, it’s common to buy property as a limited liability corporation or sociedad anonima (S.A.) to protect your purchase and separate it from all your other assets. Should you decide to go this route, there would be a cost involved to set up that entity. Your real estate lawyer can likely assist you with this, as well.

Title searches or title insurance (1% – 2% of the purchase price) to guarantee clear title are becoming a common practice in Costa Rica.

Strictly speaking, closing costs include registration, notary and attorney fees, documentary stamps and transfer taxes. The basis for these costs amount to no more than 6% of the purchase price. In most cases, as the buyer you are responsible for these costs, which are calculated as follows:

 

  • The fee for the transfer deed, by law, is 2% on the first 10 million colones, 1.50% on the five million colones thereafter, 1.25% on the 15 million colones thereafter and 1% on the balance of the sales price.

 

  • Property Transfer Taxes: 3.1% of the declared property value, which is always lower than market value. Registering the declared value means lower property transfer fees up front, which valuation to use is up to you.

 

  • Government Taxes and Fees: Your notary pays a 0.5% registration fee (0.5%) and buys a combination of fiscal stamps (0.55%) to affix to the property documents.

 

  • Mortgage Registration Fees: The borrower pay sale mortgage drafting and registration fees. The assessed cost is approximately 0.25% of the sale price, plus 0.53% of the sales price in documentary stamps. An additional 0.5-1.25% of the mortgage amount is due in notary fees.

 

  • Attorney fees are phased: 1.5% of the first $1,750 (one million colones) and 1.25% of the remaining sale price.

 

Of course, there may be other costs and fees involved in your new Costa Rica home purchase, such as appraisal fees or real estate agent commissions; though these are normally paid by the seller, they are sometimes split between the two parties.

Los Sueños is a carefully designed and master-planned resort community, you can be sure that your new home reflects the luxury standards set for a unique residential community set in a brilliant and vibrant tropical landscape.  The experts at HRG are professionals who can provide a wide range of real estate services, and advice, which will meet all your needs.

 

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The Foodie’s Survival Guide to Living in Los Sueños Costa Rica

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Los Sueños Resort is a great place for foodies to call home

Foodies can live the dream at Los Sueños Resort & Marina: Fresh, locally sourced seafood, tropical fruits and vegetables, as well as local spices and coffees, are readily available. Here’s how to eat well without breaking the budget.

Right next door to Los Sueños Resort & Marina, you’ll find the Harradura shopping center, which is home to Automercado, the nation’s higher end grocery store. Automercado has a decent wine, beer and liquor section, and also stocks plenty of imported goods, as well as local fare including fresh fish, fresh meat, cheese, veggies (with a great organic section) and fruits.

In Jacó, 10 minutes from Los Sueños Resort, you can find artisanal breads, cheeses, and tropical fruits and vegetables at the farmers’ market. Known as feria verde, the market opens Friday mornings at the south end of Avenida Pastor Diaz. From the center of town, turn right at the Palacio Municipal, then right again near the Post Office. Jaco also boasts a Mas x Menos supermarket (owned by Wallmart), and a Maxi-bodega for the more budget-minded shopper.

If you’re planning a trip to San Jose, there are several ferias throughout the week. Arrive early, within the first few hours, for the best selection.

Saturdays, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. the Feria Verde de Aranjuez is fun to visit at the Polideportivo of Barrio Aranjuez, and you’ll find plenty of seasonal organic produce. Food vendors sell breakfast, coffee, smoothies and more at the pavilion, including Bolivian peanut soup and falafel sandwiches. You’ll also find artesanal breads, pastries and cheeses at this very popular street market. With live music and a high vibrational, hippy kind of groove, it’s a great place to spend a Saturday morning.

Escazú’s market, every Saturday, 4:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., is on the south side of the San Miguel de Escazú church. Though not organic, you’ll find farm-grown fresh produce—the old standbys as well as the more exotic fruits, herbs and vegetables indigenous to Costa Rica. You’ll also find barley, chan, linseed, tamarind and other products—cheeses, juices, empanadas, tortillas, handicrafts, plants, flowers and live aquarium fish.

The market in Ciudad Colon, Tuesdays, 3 – 9 p.m., at the Mercado Viejo is associated with the Aranjuez organic market and like the Feria Verde de Aranjuez, vendors must meet organic growers’ guidelines. Fresh-picked produce, specialty cheeses, organic gluten-free flours, lovely spice mixes, local honey, breads and pastries rival any American health food store, including garden plants and handcrafted gifts.

If you hanker after the taste of home, Jimmy T’s Provisions and Gourmet Foods, at the Los Suenos Marina, has a variety of specialty items: Buckhead Beef, local and imported cheeses, marinades, Asian and Italian ingredients, as well as spices and condiments to satisfy the exacting epicure. Jimmy T’s has deli trays and offers concierge, chef and catering services that will keep the pantry full without lifting a finger.

Also in the Marina Village, you’ll find a well stocked wine specialty store so you can always find the perfect pairing for your gourmet meals.

Finally, many restaurants in and around Los Sueños take pride in innovative menus that offer a Tico take on the best of international cuisine. Most weekday evenings, one of the restaurants in Marina Village has great offers on great meals. For our top 10 picks, check out our post, “A Foodie’s Dream.”

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Six Things You Should Know About Buying Property in Costa Rica

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Buying property in Costa Rica is easier than you think; here’s what you need to know:

The decision to buy a home in Costa Rica is exciting. The purchase process may seem straightforward, but there are potential pitfalls, especially if you’re buying a previously owned property. Here are six things to know about buying property in Costa Rica.

You have the same property ownership rights as Costa Ricans except for beachfront property. The Maritime Zone Law governs about 95% of Costa Rica coastline. The first 200 meters from the high tide mark define the Maritime Zone boundary. Property within the Maritime Zone is available only as a concession for use defined by the Maritime Zone Law and other regulations set by municipalities and the Institute of Tourism. Only Costa Rican citizens can own a concession. However, you can enter a partnership with a Costa Rican as the majority partner.

An attorney who is also a Public Notary is a requirement and a good idea. An attorney knows whether you’re buying property with an ownership right (derecho de propiedad) or a right of occupation (derecho de ocupación). A right of occupation means the land isn’t registered, cannot be title-searched and will require a long process before entry in the Public Registry. Ownership rights give you clear title to the property once the formalities are complete.

Most properties in Costa Rica have a unique identification number registered in the Folio Real system at the Public Registry in San José. Before you buy or make an offer, ask for a title search in the Folio Real that provides all the property information, including area, ownership, boundaries, location, mortgages and other liens. Some properties aren’t in the Folio Real, but are still searchable.

You’ll also need a surveyor. Your attorney must record a survey at the Public Registry to transfer, mortgage or acquire a property. A municipal authorization is also required on the survey. Both bodies validate and approve the property survey. You should register a new survey to avoid boundary line disputes.

Some properties were never recorded; families have lived there for generations and others were never occupied. Sometimes people will claim ownership and put a property up for sale. Unless it’s recorded at the Public Registry, there’s no clear title. Avoid such a property; there’s simply no way to prove transferable ownership or determine what you’re buying.

Your attorney will prepare the deed for signature at the close of escrow and record it in her notary book, before immediately recording it at the Public Registry. Upon submission to the Registry, you’re protected against subsequent third party interest. Once the deed is verified as correct, staff will record your ownership.

You probably dream of life in a balmy tropical paradise where you can enjoy the creature comforts in your home overlooking the ocean. Los Sueños Resort and Marina caters to that dream, making one of its master-planned properties a great investment. The professionals at Los Sueños have the experience to smooth your path to your new home.

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Everything You Need to Know About Shipping Your Belongings to Costa Rica

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Moving to Costa Rica is easier than you think. Here’s what you need to know about shipping your stuff.

The adventure of an overseas move to your new home in Costa Rica comes with a few challenges that are easily met with preparation and advance planning. Just as with any move, you’ll probably want to pare down your belongings and decide what you what to take, dump or store. To help you make informed decisions, here are a few things to consider.

Contact two or three companies that specialize in international moves. Ask specifically about the company’s experience with moving to Costa Rica. A knowledgeable move coordinator can give you a reliable shipping timeline, explain the firm’s procedures and knows the paperwork required for particular items. The coordinator can also advise you on the correct container size for your possessions.

The Costa Rican government levies taxes and duties on everything shipped into the country, even clothing and toiletries. However, whatever is in your suitcase when you arrive is exempt from import duties. Extra baggage charges are almost certainly going to be less than taxes and duty. Also be sure the declared value of the items you ship is as low as you can reasonably state it.

With the right preparation, you can bring high-value items—vehicles, boats, large appliances—with you, but import duties will be expensive. Washing machines and similar home appliances incur heavy import duties, but they are very expensive to buy in Costa Rica for the same reason.

It’s fairly easy to bring dogs and cats into Costa Rica, you’ll need a health certificate (APHIS FORM 7001, in duplicate—a Spanish translation may also be a good idea) and proof of current vaccinations from your vet. Pets usually have a 72-hour quarantine and there are specialty companies that can handle the details for you. Costa Rica will allow you to bring your bird, but your bird will become a permanent resident—Costa Rica does not allow bird exports under any circumstances. Registered, purebred animals will require a statement or purchase receipt indicating market value.

Do your research about required vaccinations or you’ll risk having your pet euthanized or quarantined. A veterinarian from the U.S.D.A.’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Veterinary Services area office must endorse the health certificate. Visit Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) for more information

You’ll probably want to want to buy into the Caja if you are a legal resident. Costa Rica’s healthcare system is one of the best and least expensive healthcare systems in the world. Costs vary depending on income but the monthly cost covers an entire family. Private insurance similar to that available in the U.S. is another option.

Moving is never easy, whether around the block or across the world. Ex pat life in Costa Rica has many benefits: beautiful scenery, friendly people and an easy lifestyle.

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Creating Your Community Connection in Los Sueños Resort

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Moving to Los Sueños Resort in Costa Rica is the start of a new chapter; now it’s time to make some friends!

When you decide to buy property and enjoy luxury living at Los Sueños Resort & Marina, you may find that once you’ve settled in, you feel- as with any new move to a new neighborhood- a bit lonely.

It’s time to explore the neighborhood, meet people and find things to do. With the Central Pacific Coast at the front door and a vibrant tropical rainforest reserve out the back, you won’t lack for opportunities for an active life.

Marina Village’s merchant square is where you’ll find the bank, golf cart rentals, shops, the medical clinic and business services. The village is the heart of the Los Sueños and is often the go-to the venue for special events, including outdoor concerts, an arts and crafts festival, wine tastings and the annual holiday celebration each Dec. 27.  In addition to that, there is plenty of outdoor seating for the Village restaurants and cafes, and many Los Sueños residents enjoy time there, thus creating an excellent atmosphere for socializing.

The Marina Village has a host of restaurants offering a wide range of international cuisine with menu specials each weeknight. Bambu Sushi hosts regular Sushi Mondays, while El Galeón, serves or delivers prime rib dinners each Sunday. Thursdays at the Lanterna enjoy two-for-$39 three-course Italian specials. Wine Wednesdays at the Terrace Lounge, just upstairs from Lanterna, feature bottles of specially selected wines at half-price. The Terrace is also a great place to meet and mingle with the barkeeper’s specialty cocktail while enjoying the Pacific sunset. Try Dolce Vita in the village for an open-air brunch or afternoon ceviche or typical Tico dishes.

The Hook Up, a friendly sports bar at the Los Sueños Marina, serves American and international comfort food complete with a 270-degree view of the marina, mountains and Herradura Bay. It’s a great place to catch the sporting events on any of the restaurant’s seven televisions or the video wall over the bar.

Of course, the marina is where you can dock your boat or hire sport fishing, scuba or snorkeling charters. You’re also likely to meet folks from around the globe—Los Sueños boasts 200 slips at the only private, international marina in Costa Rica.

The young folks in your family can meet friends at the Undr8teen’s family center, also on the square next to the marina. The kid-friendly venue includes a snack bar with smoothies, popcorn, chips, hot dogs and other kid-friendly food. you and your family can enjoy ping-pong, air hockey or foosball. The big-screen TV includes Play Station, movies and music videos.

If golf’s your game, tee up at the par-72, Ted Robinson-designed La Iguana Golf Course at the Marriott Ocean Resort onsite. The course layout runs alongside the rainforest on one side, with breathtaking ocean views on the other. You’re likely to get a good look at the monkeys, scarlet macaws, toucans or other wildlife as you play through.

As residents, you have access to the oceanfront Los Sueños Beach Club with its large free-form swimming pool, Jacuzzi, shower and change facilities, extensive decks, a swim-up bar and an elevated, white sand beach. Relax under shaded palapas for a stunning view of the marina and Herradura Bay.

With a 200-slip marina, 18-hole championship golf course, the Beach Club and Marina Village’s restaurants and shops, you’ll have plenty of opportunities experience the Pura Vita lifestyle in Los Sueños’ unique and exclusive residential community.

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Property Management For Your Vacation Home in Los Sueños Costa Rica

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It’s easy to take care of your Los Sueños Costa Rica vacation home investment when you’re not around

Purchasing a vacation home in Los Sueños Resort Costa Rica can be a wonderful investment, not only for the sake of your future memories but also for your financial portfolio. However, Costa Rica real estate investments must be cared for and if you’re not around to do it yourself, you’ll need to find someone to do it for you.

A good property manager who can safeguard your investment, as well as  market your property as a Los Sueños vacation rental  in order help you get a return. They will also provide on-site staff to check guests in and out, clean up after them and answer their questions—details that are hard to handle over the Internet or when you live elsewhere.

Vacant properties are vulnerable to everything from theft to deferred maintenance. No one wants to arrive for a relaxing vacation to find a burst water pipe, damaged roof tiles, or vandalism. In addition, regular maintenance—such as clearing gutters and drains, checking for leaks, corrosion, mold or mildew—is important to keep your investment looking its best in Costa Rica’s tropical climate. There are many things to consider in choosing a property manager. As an absentee owner, you are at a disadvantage: you simply don’t know where to find the well-qualified experts to rely upon.

Here is a great checklist of things to consider when you select a property manager:

  • Do you want a property manager to pay monthly bills—insurance, utilities, taxes, homeowner association fees?
  • Does your property manager have experience handling upmarket properties?
  • Will your property manager be available 24/7 for emergency response? Where is the manager/staff located and what is the response time?
  • How often will your property manager inspect your home? Weekly, monthly, annually?
  • Do you want to market your home as a vacation rental and if so, does your property manager coordinate related tasks?
    • Local and Internet marketing
    • Reservation enquiries
    • Booking proceses and payment collection
    • Maintenance and repairs
    • Housekeeping
    • Concierge services for guests
  • Does your property manager understand the language, local customs and how to do business in Costa Rica?
  • Does your property manager understand the U.S. tax implications for offshore properties? What about Costa Rican property taxes?
  • Does your property manager have access to professional services such as attorneys, tax experts or accountants?
  • Does your property manager screen housekeeping and maintenance staff members for trustworthiness, experience? Are they insured? Bonded?

 

HRG Properties and Rentals, located near Los Sueños Resort has years of experience in the property management in a tropical setting. As part of Hardy Real Estate Group, HRG’s property management team has an in-depth knowledge of all the properties at the resort.

In addition, HRG Vacations staff provides quality service to you and your guests, including concierge and vacation planning for your guests. From booking tee times to restaurant reservations, excursions to grocery shopping, HRG offers you full service worry-free property management and vacation rental expertise.

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5 Reasons Why Owning a Vacation Rental in Los Sueños Costa Rica is a Great Idea

There are a number of big benefits to owning a Los Sueños Resort vacation rental; here are just a few

Owning a vacation home in Los Sueños Resort, Costa Rica has benefits, not least of which is a luxurious base for your own vacations.

Here are our top five benefits of owning a vacation home:

Location

Vacation properties tend to retain their value because they’re at popular destinations, often in spectacular settings with great views along the coast, in the mountains, lakeside or forest. There is no guarantee a vacation home will realize a higher sales price, but it’s likely your real estate investment will appreciate over time.

Income Potential

If you’re planning to rent out your vacation home when you’re not in residence, you can offset mortgage and maintenance costs. You have the flexibility to decide how long and how often you want to book people into your second home. You can set aside times for your own vacations and generate income when you’re not using the property. Rental fees vary but during peak season weekly rental fees equal or exceed the monthly mortgage payment. You can break even with an annual occupancy of about 30% in terms of cash flow.

Tax Savings

Depending on personal usage (which includes relatives) versus rental, the tax benefits vary. If you rent out your property 14 days or less in a year, you can treat your mortgage the same as the mortgage on your primary residence. Tax implications depend on whether you occupied the property less than 10% of the time you rented it or less than two weeks, depending which timeframe is greater. Consult a tax profession or review IRS Publication 527 on vacation rentals for advice on your specific tax situation.

Convenience

Instead of packing everyone’s vacation paraphernalia every time you head for Costa Rica, you can store everything you need. Knowing you have what you’ll need on hand, spur-of-the-moment vacations become a lot easier to pull off.

Expat Retirement Preview

Many part or full time retirees choose Costa Rica to avoid the worst seasonal weather at home or to take advantage of the cheaper cost of living. A vacation home is an excellent opportunity to audition your retirement home before your actual retirement. You’ll have time to correct or even change your plans if the experience doesn’t match your expectation.

Los Sueños Resort & Marina, Costa Rica is a 1,100-acre master-planned resort community of luxury homes, villas and condominiums that includes a private 600-acre rainforest reserve. At Los Sueños, amenities include a full service 200-slip marina, an exclusive Beach Club, 18-hole championship golf course, tennis courts and pool. It’s the perfect combination of location, convenience, income potential, tax savings and a jump-start on an ex pat retirement lifestyle.

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Expat Living: A Simpler Life in Costa Rica

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The Simple Pleasures of Living in Costa Rica

If you’re thinking buying property and living in Costa Rica to take up the life of an expatriate, you could be forgiven for visions of a future filled with nothing but strung up hammocks and umbrella drinks. Indeed, not every day will be “just another day in paradise,” but the culture and laid-back approach to life in Costa Rica, famously known for its Pura Vida (pure life) vibe, does make it easier to live a simpler life than that which we experience in the United States, Europe or Canada.

Ticos don’t spend their lives ticking off tasks on their to-do lists; they approach responsibilities with an attitude of … well … mindfulness. They may make a plan, but typically expect it to develop at its natural pace. Costa Ricans know that regardless of the undertaking at hand, something will happen; it may not be a final result or even close, but progress will be made and everything will resolve itself in good time so there’s no point in tilting at windmills or trying to force a result.

Culturally, Costa Rican life is about living in the moment; experiencing the great weather, the beautiful scenery, friends and family. A philosophy that avoids stress and embraces a peaceful life, Pura Vida exemplifies respect for natural life, and living in harmony. As a result, “Tico Time” is very flexible: “8:30 p.m.” could really mean 9 or 10; “tomorrow” might really be next week and “soon”, a few months; likewise, “the other day”, could really refer to something that happened several months ago.

In Costa Rican culture, people are reluctant to say “No,” or “I can’t do that,” because they don’t want to offend. Likewise, most are reluctant to give direction, give unsolicited advice or information, or otherwise meddle in the business of others. A non-confrontational culture, it is important sometimes to read between the lines and pay attention to unvoiced cues, but this can also be appreciated for its more tranquil, less aggressive atmosphere.

Because there are two season: summer or the dry season (December – April) and winter, known as “green” season because of the rains (May – November) the temperature remains fairly constant (low 70s to mid-80s). Even during the rainy season, mornings and evenings tend to be sunny and dry, especially on the Central Pacific Coast. Basically, every day is a summer’s day in Costa Rica and that makes life feel just a little sweeter, simpler and steady.

There are many reasons to consider making the move. While not as inexpensive as in years past, you can live quite comfortably on as little as US$2,500 – $3,000 per month, especially if you join the national health service (the Caja). Monthly living expenses for utilities, food, domestic help, medical care, and transportation vary according where you choose to live. Beach areas are slightly more expensive, but expect to pay about 22% less than what you do in the States, again depending up the area from which you hail. In a master-planned community, such as Los Sueños Resort & Marina, housing costs could include HOAs, but the good news is that property taxes are lower in costa Rica than in the United States. If you’re looking for the best of both worlds, living the dream of Pura Vida at Los Sueños just might be the answer. This overall lower cost of living helps expats to attain the simpler way of life they’re seeking; less stress, less pressure, less of a temptation to try to keep up with the Joneses.

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Expat Living: Shopping in San Jose Costa Rica

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Expats living in Los Sueños Costa Rica can find everything they need and more in San Jose

For ex-pats living in Los Sueños, Costa Rica, “Chepe” (a local moniker for the capital city of San Jose) can be a getaway destination for much more than a night or two out on the town.

Local shops and suppliers near Los Sueños Resort and Jaco may not offer the range of choice that San José can for household goods or DIY supplies. A trip to San José can provide a nice dose of cultural and retail therapy for ex-pats.

Angloinfo, an online A to Z business and service directory for English-speaking ex-pats, has recommendations and reviews for everything from boutique women’s clothing retailers to construction to travel services. The site sorts listings by category and provides links to the stores’ webpages and online catalog.

For do-it-yourselfers, Ferreterías EPA, El Lagar and Ferreterías del Mar represent Costa Rica’s version of Home Depot, Lowe’s and other American chain hardware stores. The EPA store in Escazú just misses the Home Depot standard, but it’s still an excellent resource for DIY materials—paint, tools, industrial equipment, plumbing, electrical and construction materials—as well as some how-to advice. Home repair projects or redecorating projects can mean multiple visits to multiple stores, so be prepared.

Retail therapy in San Jose includes the Multiplaza in Escazú or Zapote, or Paseo de las Flores in Heredia among other U.S. style shopping malls. The Multiplaza shops include high-end retailers within its 246 shops, a supermarket, theatre and a food court.

Mercado Nacional de Artesania carries quality, handcrafted products, such as paintings, sculptures, ceramics, textiles, leather, woodwork, beadwork, jewelry and more, all made in Costa Rica.

Ashley’s Furniture is a good choice for US-style furnishings and décor, such as hard to find table lamps, mattress and box spring sets. Ashley’s is located on the 27 freeway between Santa Ana and Ciudad Colon. For higher end, interior design quality furnishings, head through Escazu toward Santa Ana (and perhaps take a quick tour through Guachipilin)- you’ll find at least a half a dozen, or more, boutique interior design and furniture shops just driving down the main road. Specialty shops for lamps, art, upholstery, flooring and window coverings abound throughout the entire area.

If you’re looking for upscale furniture and soft furnishings for outdoor living, the Bali Home Center, on the 27 close to the Ciudad Colon exit, will appeal to the interior decorator within.

Avenida Escazu,  located next door to Hospital Cima, is the newest and liveliest outdoor shopping center, with live entertainment, DJs, and dance performances along the car-free zone of high-end boutiques and hip eateries.  Shops, stalls and vendors line Avenida Central, in downtown San Jose, offering everything from coffee and fresh produce to cell phone accessories and clothing.

Of course, life requires the more practical shopping too, and therein comes Pricesmart (Latin America’s own version of Costco), Wallmart, Office Depot, and Pequeno Mundo with its wide range of inexpensive products ranging from clothing to food, furnishings, household décor, toys and more.

Shopping in San José also means you can take in live dance and theatre performances, visit exhibitions, enjoy the Saturday morning organic farmer’s market, go out dining or dancing, and treat yourself to a mini-break (as though you need one from the paradise life you’re living in Los Sueños, Costa Rica!)

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