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Summer Escape to Los Sueños Resort Costa Rica

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Beat the heat!Escape the long hot of summer & head for Los Sueños Costa Rica.

 

If you want to beat the heat, heading to a tropical rainforest may not come to mind as a first choice. However, there are more ways to stay cool in Costa Rica than you might think – and none of them involve wandering around an air-conditioned mall all day.

Whitewater Rafting

With the spray of water in your face and the rush of wind around you, whitewater rafting is a thrilling way to beat the heat. The summer months fall within Costa Rica’s wet season. This is the the perfect time to go whitewater rafting, as the rivers swell with the heavy rainfall and create the ideal rush of currents. There are many rivers in Costa Rica, and there are rafting options for those of any skill and comfort level.

Surfing

Costa Rica is one of the surfing capitals of the world, and surfers from all over visit the Central American country to test, hone or learn new surfing skills. With just over 800 miles of coastline, and extensive beaches along both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, there are a wide range of prime surfing spots located all over the country. You’ll have point breaks, reef breaks, beach breaks and river mouths to choose from, and whether you want to take lessons from the experts on the relatively tame Jaco Beach, or you are an expert looking to challenge yourself on the famed Salsa Brava, there is a way for you to keep cool in the surf in Costa Rica.

Diving

You won’t feel the heat underwater, and Costa Rica’s two oceans make it a fantastic place to get a glimpse of colorful undersea life. A multitude of dive companies all over the country offer diving tours and excursions of all kinds. The best spots for diving are on the Caribbean coast, but the area is more secluded and less developed, making tours harder to come by.

Heading Upward or Inland

Costa Rica’s mountains loom thousands of feet high in the air. The air gets considerably colder the higher you go – even in the summer, hiking through the mountains can be quite a chilly experience. Be sure to bring a jacket!

In Costa Rica’s inland valley, you’ll find beautiful green rolling hills, stunning volcanoes, lush cloud forests, and year round temperatures of 72 degrees. Hiking along volcano crests and trekking through cloud forests won’t just help you beat the heat – it will introduce you to some of the country’s most incredible wildlife.

 

 

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Expat Living in Los Sueños Resort Costa Rica

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Insider Tips for getting the most out of your new life in Los Sueños Costa Rica

If you’re like most expats living in Costa Rica, you chose this beautiful country because of its exotic landscape, wildlife and affordable lifestyle. Congratulations on deciding to join the Los Sueños community to boot; you couldn’t have selected a better location to settle.

As with any change, moving to a different country—no matter how widely traveled you are—can be challenging. Here are our five tips to help you settle into your new life in paradise.

Careful planning

Time your arrival at your new home to avoid the height of tourist season or the holiday season. Give yourself a chance to find your way around the neighborhood without having to fight crowds in the stores or on the streets. Moving is stressful, give yourself time.

Embrace the difference

The Tico culture and lifestyle center around the national philosophy: Pura Vida. Pura Vida means a respect for the natural harmony of life and living in harmony with it instead of striving against it. The pace of life is slower and Ticos generally have no sense of urgency about life’s daily tasks.

Take advantage

At Los Sueños Resort & Marina, your neighbors have already been through much of what you’re facing; ask for their advice or recommendations. Every situation is different and you’ll naturally want to do things your way, but you don’t have to face every challenge without the benefit of others’ experiences.

Speak up

Learn at least some Spanish—having numbers, directions, simple requests and phrases under your belt can go a long way toward making life easier. Speaking some Spanish won’t help you with intricate legal transactions, but you’ll at least follow the process and know when to ask questions. You don’t have to speak like a native, but at some point, English will not be of much help to you. Speaking louder or slower will not improve communications if no one around you speaks English.

Reach out

Part of the reason you decided to move to Costa Rica is the diversity of its people and culture.
If you only hang out with other expatriates, you’re missing an opportunity to enrich your life with new perspectives on living. Ticos won’t push themselves forward; if you’re respectful and genuinely interested, you just might form new, lasting friendships.

Moving is never easy, whether around the block or across the world. Expat life in Costa Rica has many benefits and you’re obviously open to the possibilities ahead of you—you wouldn’t have taken the plunge. The staff at HRG Properties and Rentals are committed to helping you make a successful move; just ask them for a little help if you need it.

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First Steps For Relocating to Costa Rica

Pair of beach loungers on the deserted coast sea at sunrise.

If You are Thinking About Relocating to Costa Rica, You May Want to do a Scouting Expedition First.

As with any contemplated move abroad, Costa Rica should receive a good, thorough scouting expedition before you sell your stuff, pack up that shipping container and join the many expatriates who have made Costa Rica their new home.

When it comes to possible locations for the adventurous of heart to consider, Costa Rica can’t be beat.

Close enough to the United States to boast direct flights provided by over a dozen major airlines, Costa Rica is just a 3 to 7 hour flight from home so it is easy to get back to visit family and friends. In fact, its not much different from moving from one end of the United States to the other, except that you’d be moving to an entirely different country and all the benefits that come with that.

If you are on your way to becoming a Costa Rica expat, there are a few things you can do to prepare.

Launch a major scouting expedition

Any contemplated move to any country in the world should be preceded by a good long experience in the country of choice. If you can, you should try to visit more than one and definitely spend a few months getting to know the culture, the area, the language and more. One weeklong vacation in Costa Rica does not serve to tell you whether or not you can live here. You need to experience the place from the perspective of a resident.

Study Your Spanish

Once you’ve decided that indeed Costa Rica is the one for you, you should make an effort to start learning Spanish. Just the basics will do at first, and you can load an application on your smart phone or carry around a small translation dictionary to get around, but everyone who chooses to relocate to another country should make an effort to learn the language of their host country. Don’t expect others to figure it out for you. Let go of the “Ugly American” stereotypical expectation that others should speak English; part of the adventure is total emersion.

Reach out to Other Expats for Advice

There are a number of forums, blogs, and websites that are by expatriates and for expatriates. Among them are Internations, Expat Focus,  and others; you can also check out the Tico Times, which is the “gringo” paper in CR. On these you will find plenty of information, advice and guidance for your adventurous move abroad. Others who have gone before you can answer important questions you may have about banking, health care, shopping, real estates, taxes, and more. Reach out, get social and don’t be shy; when you join the conversation and bring yourself authentically to the table, you will find there are plenty of those out there who want to help you.

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10 Reasons Why Investing in Costa Rica is a Good Idea

Jaco Costa Rica

Costa Rica-  A Great Place to Work and Live

Costa Rica is a veritable paradise. Its friendly people, great weather and beautiful natural scenery make it a great place to visit and live. But what many people don’t realize is that Costa Rica has a great atmosphere for conducting business, and is the perfect place for investments. There are countless reasons why this is the case, but we have narrowed it down to the top ten.

Economic Stability

Costa Rica is tied with Chile as the country with the highest level of economic freedom in Latin America, and it ranks 19th for economic freedom in the world. The country’s economy has been stable for decades, and is currently growing thanks to a booming tourism industry, an increase in foreign investment and a growing middle class. Data released by the Statistical Institute showed that the economy expanded 3.0% in Q3 2015 over the same period of the previous year, marking an acceleration from the 2.7% tallied in Q2. The reading came on the back of robust growth in domestic demand, in particular fixed investment. The momentum is expected to continue as manufacturing showed signs of recovery in H2 2015 and the monthly index of economic activity tallied its best result since June 2014 in November.

Government Stability

Costa Rica has featured a well-functioning, democratic government since the 1940s. The country is committed to peace, and doesn’t even have an army. It ranks as one of the most stable countries in Latin America, and in fact, the world.

Great Opportunities

Costa Rica’s business-friendly climate makes it ideal for entrepreneurs, and its affordable, upward-bound housing market and prime location make it perfect for real estate and tourism investment.

Large Expatriate Community

A large community of expatriates means that you will have many opportunities to network with people just like yourself — who speak your language, know the ropes, and can help you navigate the ins and outs of doing business in a foreign country.

Ideal Place to Live and Work

Costa Rica is a fantastic place to put down a few personal and professional roots. The climate is great, the people are friendly and hard-working, and the atmosphere is laid-back. The cost of living is low, in spite of the fact that Costa Rica enjoys one of the highest standards of living in Latin America, and the health care is excellent. There is also plenty to do and see during your down time.

Attractive Tax Incentives

Costa Rican investors enjoy taxes that are considerably lower than those in the United States and Canada. The country has no capital gains tax, the property tax rate is only .25 percent, and income tax is only applicable to income earned in Costa Rica.

Legal Rights and Protection

What’s more, foreign investors enjoy the same rights to own and rent out titled fee-simple properties as citizens, and those rights are legally protected.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Spot This! Whale Watching in Costa Rica

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Costa Rica is a great place for whale watching

The sparkling azure and turquoise waters of Costa Rica’s Pacific coast lure many visitors out on the water and whale watching is a favorite activity. Because whales of the northern and southern hemispheres migrate to their winter birthing grounds in Costa Rica, you are nearly always likely to spot a whale or two, or  more. The most common whale in these waters is the humpback, although several deep-water species—blues, grays, pilot, sei and beaked whales—are sometimes seen farther offshore.

Humpback whales have broad, round heads; in profile, their heads look long and slender. Large bumps, tubercles, hair follicles, cover their head and jaw. Humpbacks have stocky bodies with a clearly visible hump. Their tail fins can be as long as a third of their bodies and the color patterns and shapes of their fins and tail are unique to each whale, making it easy to identify individuals. At maturity, humpbacks measure 40 – 50 feet and weigh between 50 – 80,000 pounds. They live at least 50 years.

Newborn calves are about 20 feet long and nurse on the mother’s pink, high-fat milk for about six months. After that, calves begin to feed independently while nursing less and less until about a year old.

The first indication there’s a whale in the area is a blow, a heart-shaped cloud of water rising about 10 feet above the surface. Keep looking and you’ll notice a stubby dorsal fin soon after the blow. The flukes will be clearly visible as the whale surfaces. If you spot one, you’re likely to see several whales: After the humpbacks arrive in Costa Rica, they congregate in pods of as many as a dozen whales.

Humpbacks are famous for their songs, which change slightly from year to year. Whales sing one 10 – 20-minute song continuously for hours. North American whales sing a different song from their South American counterparts, but all males within each population sing the same song, despite great distances between groups. Males float head down, almost motionless, while singing. The songs span several octaves, some undetectable by humans.

Northern humpbacks start arriving in December and stay through April. In June, southern humpbacks migrate up from Antarctic waters, arriving in July, leaving in October. The greatest concentration of humpbacks is in October and November, when both populations are present offshore. Aside from dedicated tours, many sunset cruises and excursions will divert to known whale locations.

 

 

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Where to Vacation When You Already Live in Paradise

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Paradise Has Plenty – Expat Mini Getaways within Costa Rica

Many expats live in or near Los Sueños Resort because it’s been their dream to live in the tropical paradise that is Central Pacific Coastal region of Costa Rica. While it’s hard to imagine anywhere better, variety is the spice of life. We have some suggestions to spice up your next local getaway, when you already live in paradise.

In Begaces, just north of Palo Verde National Park, locals are friendly and the countryside idyllic. It’s perfect for side trips to Arenal, Río Celeste or Palo Verde. If you fancy a bit of hiking or cycling, the canyons near the forest trails that are ripe for an afternoon of exploration. You can also tour the canopy via zipline. Swimming and sunbathing afterward at Begaces Waterfall (aka Llanos de Cortés) will refresh you.

Las Hornillas Hot Springs is a 35-minute drive north of Begaces, at the base of the Miravalles Volcano. After hiking the trail—via suspension bridges—up to the waterfalls, rejuvenate with a mud bath spa experience. Later, choose from natural pools of warm, hot or cold water to complete the treatment.

The Monteverde Cloud Forest is one Costa Rica’s outstanding wildlife sanctuaries. On the Continental Divide, it extends down the Caribbean and Pacific slopes. Variable climate and terrain support extremely high biodiverse wildlife populations. Admission to the reserve includes a choice of tours, including one for birdwatchers. If you’re more independent, there are plenty of trails to choose from—difficulty and length vary to suit your abilities. You can also tour the canopy via bridge, tram or zipline for a view of life at the top.

Arenal puts on a spectacular show of fumaroles, flows and pyroclastic emissions. By night, even from a long distance, the fiery red lava flows are clearly visible on the mountainside.Arenal Reserve offers spectacular views of the volcano and Arenal Lake. You can try hiking trails flanked by an abundantly lush landscape filled with exotic animals. Other trails close to the volcano will give you a chance to experience the sights and sounds.

Be sure not to overlook the Caribbean Coast, with its Afro-Creole influences. In September and October, it’s often dry when the rest of Costa Rica isn’t. The food isn’t typical Tico fare: jerk, curried goat or chicken, seafood and spices fill the menus. Its rivers and national parks include stunning scenery and an abundance of wildlife. The beaches and coral reefs shelter an abundance of marine life with excellent surfing, snorkeling and diving. Leatherback, hawksbill and green sea turtles frequently nest on the southern beaches.

Residents and wildlife live side-by-side on the Osa Peninsula, where scarlet macaws and white-faced capuchin monkeys are an everyday sight. Corcovado National Park, home to 2.5% of the planet’s total animal species, encompasses virgin rainforest, deserted beaches, jungle-edged rivers and vast, inaccessible swamps. Many tiny, unnamed beaches and several well-known sandy stretches are ideal for swimming, boogie boarding and body surfing. Whale watching never gets old and Golfo Dulce is a prime spot for it.

While life is good at home on the Pacific coast, it’s fun to get a different perspective on paradise in Costa Rica. Besides, even those of us who already live in paradise need a little vacation once in a while.

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Romance in Costa Rica

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7 Romantic Things to do on Vacation in Costa Rica

With the holidays upon us and Valentine’s day just around the corner, its a good time to think about surprising your special someone with a romantic escape to Costa Rica. Relaxing, luxurious, and exotic, Costa Rica is a perfect place for an intimate getaway. From colorful tropical forest vistas, to hidden lakes and waterfalls, to secluded beaches, there are romantic spots everywhere in Costa Rica. There are also a wealth of romantic activities to enjoy with your significant other.

Here are a few of our favorite romantic Costa Rica vacation activities:

A Sunset Cruise

Heading out on a tropical sunset cruise is one of the most romantic things you can do in Costa Rica. The salt air, the lush green backdrop, the sounds of the sea . . . it’s a beautiful way to celebrate. One of Costa Rica’s best sunset cruises is the Sunset Champagne Cruise, which departs from Los Sueños Marina and offers champagne and exquisite hors d’ouervres.

A Horseback Ride

There are many places in Costa Rica to enjoy a romantic horseback ride together, whether through the rainforest, over the beach, or up the mountainside. Discovery Horseback Tours in Jaco offers a tour perfect for couples; their Jungle Spa Adventure Tour takes you through beautiful mountain, beach and rainforest scenery to a hidden waterfall. Enjoy your time in the secluded heart of the jungle, and indulge in a refreshing natural mud spa.

A Nature Hike

Whether you would like to trek through remote parts of the rainforest, check out an active volcano, or take a leisurely walk through a gorgeous cloud forest, there are endless places for a private hike together in Costa Rica. You may even find some secluded spots perfect for a romantic picnic.

A Spa Retreat

A delightful spa retreat is never far away in Costa Rica. Located on the country’s Pacific coast, the Los Sueños Resort features two spas, which offer couple’s retreats, complete with couple’s massages and as many amenities as you would like. Don’t feel like leaving your cozy condo? Not a problem; you can ask your HRG concierge to send a couple of therapists your way for a nice afternoon couple’s massage.

A Day on the Beach

From a picnic, to an evening bonfire, to a leisurely, private stroll across the sand at sunset, you have many options for enjoying some time together on the beach.

A Fishing Trip

At first blush, a fishing trip may not seem like a romantic idea. However, chartering a boat and heading out to relax and enjoy each other’s company on the open water may just be the perfect choice for the two of you.

A Sumptuous Dinner

Whether you want to enjoy a four-course meal in a 5-star restaurant, or have your own private catered dinner in your luxury condo or villa, you’ll find a way to have the perfect romantic meal.

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Senior Retirement Costa Rica

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Forget Florida! Flock to Costa Rica to Shine in Your Golden Years…

Today’s seniors are enjoying a long life after retirement. If you are a senior contemplating how best to spend your post-retirement years, a life in Costa Rica could truly be one of your best options.

While it is known for its nightlife and its exciting, adventurous vibe, Costa Rica isn’t only for the young. This is a great place for elderly retirees for many reasons, including the following:

Warm Climate

Costa Rica offers warm, pleasant weather year round. In many parts of the country temperatures hover in the high 70s to mid-80s with little change from season to season – a far cry from the long, harsh winters many American and Canadian seniors face each year.  Older retirees will never have to worry about slipping on icy steps or driveways or enduring unexpected Arctic blasts in March.  They can enjoy golfing, swimming, boating, and hosting barbecues any time of year.

Great Health Care

Costa Rica has an excellent health care system – one whose treatment of seniors ranked 11th out of 91 countries in a study by HelpAge International. By contrast, the United States ranked 24th in the same study. Not only does Costa Rica offer highly-trained physicians and up-to-date hospitals, health care is affordable for everyone, retirees and the elderly included.

Safety

Costa Rica is one of the safest, if not the safest country in Central America. Of course, it is wise to exercise common sense and keep your money and belongings secure, but poverty and crime are very low, and anyone can feel secure traveling to almost any part of the country.

Cost of Living

Even a modest pension by American standards can ensure retirees a high quality of life in Costa Rica. While cars, electronics and imported items can be costly, day-to-day expenses like restaurants, groceries and utilities are very affordable. Hiring a cook, maid, gardener or nurse will cost a mere fraction of what it would in the United States or Canada, so you can be assured of obtaining any help you might need. In addition, home prices are low – a luxury home near the beach costs far less in Costa Rica than a similar home in North America or Europe.

Treatment of Seniors

Costa Rica scored high in the HelpAge International study’s enabling environment category, which measures how well seniors are able to integrate into society. Costa Ricans refer to older people as “golden citizens.” As a culture, they respect and care greatly for older people, and offer many perks for seniors in the form of discounts, special amenities and treatment and care.

 

 

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Spot This! The Costa Rica Capuchin Monkey

Costa Rica Capuchin Monkey

Check out the Capuchin Monkey of Costa Rica…

 

Costa Rica is home to some of the world’s most exotic and colorful wildlife. But there is perhaps nothing that captivates the hearts of visitors more than the cute and cuddly capuchin monkey. This adorable critter isn’t shy, and isn’t hard to spot in Costa Rica. It’s also quite mischievous, and its antics often delight passing spectators.

Capuchin monkeys can be found in Costa Rica’s Caribbean wetland forests, and in the deciduous dry forests of the Pacific. They live in altitudes of up to 4500 feet, and spend their days browsing the forest for delicacies. Capuchins are omnivorous – they prefer ripe, juicy fruits, which are abundant in Costa Rica, but they will also eat shoots, grubs, insects, and occasionally, eggs and small vertebrates like lizards, squirrels and small birds.

Capuchins are a relatively small-sized monkey, with black bodies, white faces and shoulders, and a distinctive black patch, or “cap” on their heads. Their faces are very expressive, and they are very playful, which makes them endlessly entertaining to watch.

Capuchins are diurnal, which means they are most active during the day. This makes them easy to spot as you hike Costa Rica’s forests. The monkeys travel in groups of up to 15, which are headed by a single male, and they can often be seen in trees, swinging from branch to branch using their hands, feet and prehensile tails. Females bear young every 1 to 2 years – one of the biggest treats for visitors to Costa Rica is to see a baby capuchin peeking out from its mama’s fur.

In the regions of Costa Rica where they are found, capuchin monkeys can be seen everywhere, often running together in large groups. One of the best places in the country to spot these cuties is Manuel Antonio National Park. The park is inhabited by large populations of capuchins, and is so highly frequented by humans that the capuchins have become quite used to interacting with (and being fed by) people. They are not shy, can easily be seen, and will even “pose” for pictures.

If you would like to see these monkeys in a more natural setting, head to the Junquillal Bay National Wildlife Refuge, or the Tamarindo Wildlife Refuge. The monkeys may be harder to spot and less friendly, but you’ll have a better glimpse into their natural habitat and their natural behavior.

 

 

 

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Expat Living: How to Open a Business in Costa Rica

Costa Rica Business Concept

If you’re buying real estate in Costa Rica and preparing to move here, but need or want to continue to generate income, you may want to consider starting a new business. Costa Rica is a great place to start a new company. The laws are favorable for expatriates, and who wouldn’t want to live and work in a tropical paradise?

Whether you’re looking to start a spa, yoga studio, or maybe even an information technology agency of some sort, you’ll have every opportunity for success in Costa Rica. However, there are many things to know before you set up shop. Here is an overview of the most essential information.

To set up a business in Costa Rica, you first need to determine whether you will have a sole proprietorship or a corporate entity. What you choose will depend largely on the type of business you have, however, creating a corporate entity through an SA, or “Socio Anonima,” is usually the way to go, as a corporation is only liable to the capital contribution of the shareholders, and your personal income and assets are not at risk. Many business owners put their cars, real estate holdings, and other assets in the name of an SA to protect them.

Creating a corporation is a complex endeavor, and really does require the help of a knowledgeable attorney. Fortunately, there are many attorneys in Costa Rica who are highly qualified and well-versed in Costa Rica law, and can guide you through the process. The cost of the paperwork for creating a new corporation can range from $800 to $1000 or more, depending on your lawyer and type of business.

Keep in mind that Costa Rica imposes a yearly business tax on corporations. You must pay this tax annually in January for the year in advance, regardless of whether your company is actively generating income or not. The tax for active corporations is around $400 and the tax for inactive corporations is around $200, depending on the exchange rate.

To establish your business, you will need to obtain an operations license, called a “Patente Comercial,” which refers to the nature and details of your business, and a zoning request certification, called a “Certificado de Uso de Suelo,” which gives you local authority to run your business in a specific location.

Other patents, licenses and permits may be required depending on the type of business you own. Restaurants or services oriented businesses such as spas or salons, for example, would require a certificate from the Ministerio de salud (minister of health). Ask your lawyer to research and advise you on what you need for your particular industry.

You will need to open a Costa Rica bank account. This is a very different endeavor than it is in the United States – it is a very complex process that requires abundant paperwork. Be prepared to exercise some patience. There are numerous private and public banks in Costa Rica. International banks like HSBC and Citibank are well represented in Costa Rica. They have more amenities for expats and shorter lines, but local banks have more available ATM machines and offer state-insured deposits.

Expats can easily manage a business online, as the country has high-quality Internet service options. American Data Networks is among the best, both for its higher speed and better service.

Corporations can expect taxes on income and assets, as well as an annual capital tax, called the Education and Culture Tax. If you are a US citizen, and you file a timely US income tax return, you can receive a foreign earned exemption, which matches your income tax dollar for dollar for a set amount.

Costa Rican taxes and laws can be tricky, and taking care of all of the paperwork yourself can be a real challenge. Hire an accountant who is savvy about Costa Rican business and tax law; doing so will save you from making some potentially costly mistakes. Be sure to ask questions; Costa Ricans are not generally forthcoming with information unless asked for it directly.

 

 

 

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