Costa Rica is a free and independent republic and its people have enjoyed a peaceful, democratic way of life since 1889. The military as a division of the Costa Rican government was abolished in 1948 and is now prohibited by the Costa Rican Constitution.
The current leadership consists of three branches of government including the President, elected by popular vote for a period of four-years and exercising executive powers; the Congress, a single chambered legislature, whose members are also elected by popular vote for a four-year term; and the Supreme Court, acting as the judicial body of the nation.
The Constitution guarantees and protects its peoples right to life, freedom and basic civil liberties. The death sentence was abolished in 1882, which has provided an ideal environment for several prestigious international human rights organization who have established their headquarters here in Costa Rica.
The country enjoys a quiet co-existence with its neighbors aided in part by president Dr. Oscar Arias, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, for his negotiating efforts throughout Central America.
Perpetual Neutrality was proclaimed in Costa Rica in 1983.
The national currency of Costa Rica is the Colon. U.S. dollars can be easily exchanged throughout the country at any bank, national or private, and also at most hotels and money exchange companies. In addition, nearly all hotels plus some restaurants and shops will accept U.S. dollars as payment. Canadian dollars may be exchanged at branches of Banco Nacional and other monetary currencies should be converted in San José at either Banco Central de Costa Rica or at a currency exchange house. Be certain to check daily exchange rates at local banks, currency houses or in the local newspaper as it changes continually.
The banking system in Costa Rica is very modern and offers all local and international services. This includes issuing credit and debit cards, loans and both personalized and computerized banking. Automatic Teller Machines (ATM’s) are available throughout the country and will accept PLUS cards as well as local ATM cards. Visa credit card advances are easily obtained at most local banks.
Out-of-country income is not taxed in Costa Rica, and if you are employed in this country, income tax is minimal. Basic property taxes are six-tenths of one percent of the property stated value, which is nominal by North American standards.
The cost of living is probably one of the most important issues concerning prospective full-time residents. Although the cost of living here is less than that of the United States, the difference is not dramatic. Housekeeping and gardening help is very affordable, as are other conveniences, which are often considered a luxury. On average, a monthly income between $1,500 to $2,500 with established accommodations will provide for quite a comfortable lifestyle.
Costa Rica weather boasts about as many microclimates as could be found in any country in the world. Like it cool? Try high up in the mountains above the Central Valley of Costa Rica. Hot and dry on the beach? Try the Guanacaste Gold Coast. Want to live in the rain forest? Like remote? Check out the Osa Peninsula. Whatever your preference, Costa Rica has something for everyone.
Some areas such as Grecia and Atenas, forty-five minutes from San José, are famous for their comfortable climate. In fact, the whole of Costa Rica boasts spring-like climate at least ten months out of the year. Temperatures in the Central Valley and the mountains average 68º degrees Fahrenheit (20º degrees Celsius) and in the lower coastal areas, about 79º degrees Fahrenheit ( 26º degrees Celsius). In the northern province of Guanacaste they say half the year is like living in Hawaii and the other, like living in Palm Springs, California.
The expression “Pura Vida,” literally translated as “Pure Life,” describes the Costa Rican way of life. Ticos, as the locals commonly call themselves, are their country’s greatest asset and are renowned for their friendliness. They are warm hearted, gracious, educated, entrepreneurial and ready to accept you into their country, their lives, and their homes. In addition, foreigners are usually pleasantly surprised to discover how many of their neighbors are also from foreign soil.
The official language of Costa Rica is Spanish, but a great many Costa Ricans speak English. Additionally, as Costa Rica continues to attract visitors from the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia, other languages such as French, German, Italian, Chinese and Dutch are becoming more and more prevalent.
- Political stability.
- Peace and democracy.
- No army.
- Fiscal incentives and local exemptions.
- Regional incentives.
- Low cost of living in Costa Rica and highly qualified labor force.
- Streamlined real estate investment procedures.
- Costa Rica realtors offering real estate investment opportunities
- Simple and streamlined import and export procedures.
- Official participation in important international exhibitions and commercial missions to main international markets.
- Excellent electricity, water, telecommunications, insurance, banking and health services.
- Infrastructure suited to export and tourism needs.
- Excellent Costa Rica weather and geographic location.
- Protected national parks and reserves with great variety of flora and fauna.
- Special immigration status for investors, executives, technicians and their families.
- International prestige and recognition of Costa Rican products. Open support to private development initiatives that promote employment, technology transfer, national income, social and economic development and the preservation of the environment.
This is just a small collection of the positive attributes of living in Costa Rica.