What do beachfront concessions mean to those who are buying beach front property in Costa Rica?
For the most part, beachfront property is untitled in Costa Rica. Ownership and possession of the Costa Rica shoreline is governed by the Maritime Zone Law (Ley Sobre la Zona Maritimo Terrestre). This law restricts the possession and ownership of beachfront property.
In the 1970’s, the Costa Rican government declared that all beaches would be public domain and are for the enjoyment of all locals and tourists. This decision was very similar to most countries around the world.
The government was going to allow for two types of concessions, one which was 200 meters above the mean high tide line and the other was to be 50 meters above the mean high tide line. In order to get the 50 meter concession the government gave land owners the opportunity to submit a survey plan of their property to the national registry showing their property lines and the 50 meter distance from the mean high tide line.
Not many people realized the value of doing this so in the end there were only abut 5% of Costa Rican coast line that became titled to the 50-meter line.
So what does this mean for Playa Herradura and Jaco Beach landowners?
Playa Herradura and Jaco Beach were two of the only beaches in Costa Rica where property owners submitted their survey plans. Had it not been for those landowners back in the 1970s, Los Sueños Resort and Marina would not exist.
So, the bottom-line? The public zone of 50 meters can be enjoyed by anyone and never be built on, while the 150-meter concession can be leased from the government in 20-year increments.
The good news is, that leased land can be built on; however, it obviously does not have the value of titled land. This is the main reason why you do not see too much luxury high-end development on the beachfront in Costa Rica.
When you buy property in Costa Rica, especially on the beachfront, make sure you do careful research to get all the information you need, and deal with a reputable lawyer and real estate agency.
Still, one of the benefits of buying beachfront property in Costa Rica is that you can still buy an established home on the beach for much less than what you would pay for a comparable property in the United States.