living in costa rica Archives - HRG Costa Rica Vacations


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Costa Rica Residency

How to Get Residency in Costa Rica


Highway Sign - ExpatriateIf you have decided to live in Costa Rica, congratulations; residency is fairly easy to obtain.

There are a wealth of wonderful adventures that await you here in paradise. There are also a few things you must know about what it will take to become a resident of this country.

Costa Rica welcomes visitors, and affords many rights and privileges to foreigners who seek to live in the country. However, it is not without its rules and regulations. Foreigners must gain residency if they plan to stay in Costa Rica for longer than three months

There are four types of residency in Costa Rica, and each has its own requirements.


This option is for those on a fixed pension. To qualify for a Pensionado residency, potential residents must show that they receive a minimum monthly lifetime pension of $1000.00 from a government agency. Benefits are extended to spouses.


This residency option is for those who don’t receive a formal pension, but have the means and the desire to live in Costa Rica long term. They must prove they can receive a steady monthly, unearned income of at least US $2,500.00 for 24 months. Typically, the method of proof is by means of a notarized letter from a financial institution which states that the applicant has on deposit at least $60,000, which is the equivalent of the required $2500 per month for two years. These funds can be in the form of a certificate of deposit or some other long term account that the Rentista is able to withdraw from.


This is an investor’s residency. Potential applicants must have a minimum investment of $200,000 on a local asset, such as a stock, a property, or a business. Residents are allowed to earn income from their investment, and they can claim spouses and children under 18 as dependents.


The “Vinculo” program is for those who are married to a Costa Rican citizen, or related by birth. Children, parents, and unmarried siblings under the age of 18 qualify, but extended family such as grandparents, aunts, uncles or cousins do not.

In all forms of residency, residents must live in Costa Rica at least 1 day out of the year. Residency status for Pensionados, Rentistas, and Inversinistas are temporary for three years, after which you can apply for permanent residency. Vinculos are given permanent residence immediately if obtaining residency status by means of a birth relation, but spouses are given temporary residence for 3 years, after which they may file for permanent status.

Once you have established that you fit into one of the above categories, you need to procure a series of documents in order to apply for residency.

  • You must provide a birth certificate, police records, and a marriage license, if applicable. All documentation must have been issued within 6 months of the date of application.
  • All foreign citizens must authenticate their documents either through their Secretary of State or the Costa Rican Consulate and file their intention to move to Costa Rica with the consulate the corresponds to their state.
  • Applicants can file for residency either at the consulate in their country of origin (except Vinculos, who must file in Costa Rica) and the Costa Rican police department must fingerprint them. Fingerprints taken in the country of origin are not acceptable and applications submitted without fingerprints will be automatically denied.

While the wait time varies, in general, you can expect the application process can take anywhere from three to 12 months. You are allowed to stay in the country during that time.

All foreign documents must go through legal channels, and all proceedings must be transcribed into Spanish. It is a good idea to hire a qualified attorney to walk you through the application process and ensure that all documentation is handled correctly.



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Costa Rica Culture

Living in Costa Rica and NOT Lost in Translation

multicolored teamworkLife is different in Costa Rica, and if you plan to live here, you are bound to experience some culture shock. Here are some things to keep in mind about Costa Rican customs and etiquette that will make the transition easier.

Expect a warm welcome

Costa Ricans are a truly warm and friendly people, and you can expect help and hospitality everywhere you go. If you find yourself invited to someone’s home – which you almost certainly will – bring wine or flowers for the host, expect a fuss to be made over you, and try to at least sample whatever you are offered — whether or not you are hungry – to show appreciation for the invite.

Close friends may greet each other with a kiss

Whether it is an air kiss or a light smooch on each cheek, it’s common for people to greet those they know well with a kiss. This applies to women greeting women and men and women greeting each other — men who know each other well typically simply shake hands and touch each other lightly on the shoulder.

Costa Ricans are family oriented

Family is the most important thing to Costa Ricans. Inquiring about the health and well-being of people’s family members will put you in good standing.

The country runs on Costa Rican time.

As in many Latin countries, time in Costa Rica is a more fluid concept than it is in the United States. It is common to show up to social gatherings and other functions late – sometimes by half an hour or more.

It’s also common for people to be vague about when they will show up, or when they will accomplish a task. Things just move more slowly in Costa Rica — lateness typically isn’t considered rude, and people are used to “tomorrow” meaning “at some unspecified point in the future.” This can be hard for punctual Americans to get used to, but it would serve you well to have patience, accept their concept of time and plan around it.

People are very courteous

Costa Ricans are taught from a young age to be polite and courteous, and they rarely raise their voices in anger in public. It’s important to be friendly and remember your manners, as this is expected behavior, and never, ever put your feet on the furniture.

Costa Ricans can, at times, be so polite that they will not directly say what they mean. They may also say “maybe” or “thank you” to avoid telling you “no” directly.

Costa Rica has a “macho” culture

While the country has come a long way in terms of gender equality, women still have well-defined roles, and are expected to be traditionally feminine. Women can still sometimes expect whistles and cat calls as they walk down the street, however, serious harassment is rare. While it’s acceptable for women to dine in restaurants alone, it is better to visit bars and clubs with friends or an escort.

People are more formal

While they may have a more laid-back, open and friendly lifestyle than Americans, Costa Ricans tend to be less casual than Americans. In the city men typically wear dress pants and leather dress shoes and women dress nicely and wear full makeup – even to run simple errands. If you want to avoid standing out, it is a good idea to dress up a little when you are headed into town.



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Living and Working in Costa Rica

Living and Working in Costa Rica Allows for the Best of both Worlds: Luxurious Paradise Meets Business Central in just 80 Minutes!

Who can ask for a better place for living and working than Costa Rica? Costa Rica isn’t a large country and the 80 minute commute from your villa or condo in Los Sueños Resort and Marina to your office in San Jose is a beautiful drive. Hardy Real Estate Group makes it easy to find the perfect home in luxurious Los Sueños that will make the commute to San Jose, for business or work in the Central Valley, totally worth your time.

San Jose offers a lot of techy jobs including analyst, engineering, and information technology positions as well as consulting, design, sales and administrative positions. Some of the top companies located in San Jose, Costa Rica are IBM, Proctor and Gamble, Emerson, and Deloitte.

HRG real estate is available to help you find the home of your dreams in gorgeous Los Sueños Resort. They offer homes for sale for those who want the privacy of their own tropical kingdom with luxurious amenities with a viable work commute.

For example, all this and more is rolled into one sweet package at Vista Tres Bahias 19. This property sits atop a hill offering gorgeous panoramic views of Los Sueños Resort and Marina and the Pacific Ocean. From the columned terrace with intricate tile flooring there is a view reminiscent of the Mediterranean with the added bonus of mountains lining the bay in the distance. Spanish architecture rules in this region of Costa Rica. The gorgeous adobe houses turn from pink in the morning sun to peach in the evening. The traditional Spanish tile roofing completes the artistic beauty of the exterior of Vista Tres Bahias 19.

The intricate tiling is repeated inside this 6,000 square foot, three bedroom, three and a half bath home. Many of the rooms have a whimsical paddle ceiling fans that lend that small airy touch to a house that already possesses an open air theme. The great room is lined with windows overlooking the ocean with one end opening onto another tiled terrace on the second story affording a beautiful view of two mountain ridges across the bay that separate for a view of the open sea. The kitchen sports Costa Rican hardwood cupboards and the master bedroom features a double sink.

The tiled floors keep this home cool although it is located in a tropical jungle. Views of this amazing jungle are seen from the back yard. If you often grow weary of your city job environment and love listening to unique nature sounds you have come to the right place. Vista Tres Bahias 19 is adjacent to that wonderful jungle rainforest and while living here you will hear the lively sounds of nesting Macaws and howler monkeys.

There are many perks to owning a house within the Los Sueños resort. One such perk is the championship golf course access. You will become an avid golfer after moving here if you are not one already. This 18 hole course was designed by Ted Robinson and was landscaped specifically to include banana trees and monkeys among an abundance of other local wildlife. TaylorMade rental equipment and professional coaching is available if you are a “green” golfer.

If you decide that sailing or fishing is more your style than golf, you also have access to internationally renowned fishing waters. Anglers from around the world sport fish here because of the abundance of variety and large size of the fish in the Costa Rican waters. Living here in Los Sueños at Vista Tres Bahias 19 will be a tropical dream come true.

This home sells for a bargain deal of $990,000. You could spend that much on a piece of raw land here in Los Sueños, but this home is still available. Take advantage of it now and live in tropical paradise while still able to commute to your job.