expat living Archives - HRG Costa Rica Vacations


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Expat Living in Los Sueños Resort Costa Rica


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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Where to Vacation When You Already Live in Paradise


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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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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Expat Living: Communities in Costa Rica for Expatriates

View Vista Bahia 2B

Many ex pats choose Costa Rica because of its exotic landscape, wildlife and affordable lifestyle. This developing Central American democracy is a peaceful and progressive nation. Opinion varies on where, exactly, one ought to live in Costa Rica. The answer of course depends on why you want to retire there and what you like. If, when you think Costa Rica, you think white sand beaches, natural beauty, convenience and culture, Puntarenas province on the central Pacific coast may be just the place.


Herradura and La Playa Herradura, where Los Sueños Resort & Marina are situated,  are on the Gulf of Nicoya, slightly protected from the open Pacific Ocean by the Nicoya peninsula and just north of Jacó, one of the larger cities on the Pacific coast. Once a sleepy get-away for Ticos, Herradura retains its charm and provides the modern conveniences that stave off rustication. San José is a little over an hour away by car. You can expect the cost of living to be $1,000 – $2,000 a month, depending on your requirements.

Well known for its black sand, palm-lined beaches, Herradura attracts fewer tourists than Jacó. A day on the beach could become an interesting way of life, as there are many quiet and beautiful beaches to visit. Carara and Manuel Antonio national parks are nearby and other activities include canopy tours, whether on zip lines or more sedate trams, golf, sport fishing the arts, dining and nightlife.

Los Sueños Resort and Marina is a top-rated master-planned resort community. Priced for the discerning buyer, there is a variety of residential properties available in more than half-a-dozen enclaves to tempt every taste. The resort includes an 18-hole championship golf course, sports fishing, a 600-acre rainforest reserve and a host of other amenities. Los Suenos also hosts the annual Triple Crown sport fishing tournament—a premier event for competitive deep-sea anglers.

If you aspire to the quiet life, consider Dominical— along the coast a bit further south. Until the last few years when the government upgraded the highway south, it was difficult to reach this sleepy surfer’s paradise. While better access has meant more growth, Dominical is still largely unspoiled. Dramatic cliffs, secluded coves and a lush landscape offer spectacular scenery. With the number of diverse bird species, if you are a twitcher, you’ll never want to leave.

Just to the south, at Uvita, is Marino Ballenas National Park, a land and sea reserve that is home to the largest reef on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast. Boat tours travel to Isla Ballena, where snorkelers and scuba divers can get a first-hand look at the marine life and underwater landscape.

If beach life is not your thing, consider moving to San Ramon. AARP has named it one of the top places to retire in the world. If you fancy the Caribbean coast, Cahuita’s simple, inexpensive lifestyle and Afro-Caribbean culture could be the place for you. Likewise, Arenal, with its volcano, hot springs and cloud forests in the North Highlands, also gets high marks from ex pat communities.

Any of these communities can make a great jumping off point for your dream life in retirement.

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