Updated on December 5, 2022
12 Best Breweries in Costa Rica
November 4, 2022
By Jennifer LaCharite
Thanks to the explosion of craft breweries in the past decade, Costa Rica is much more than Imperial and Pilsen beer. There are several large and small-scale craft breweries creating everything from popular IPAs to fruit and coffee-infused brews. Microbreweries have become so popular in recent years that there is a unique flavor for every part of the small Central American country.
Where to Find the Best Craft Beer in Costa Rica
Whether you’re a craft beer enthusiast who seeks out the best up-and-coming breweries everywhere you travel or just want to enjoy a cold beer and some good food, there’s a brewery in Costa Rica for you. Here are our favorites.
Playas del Coco, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Established in 2015, Monkey Head Brewing was the first licensed microbrewery in the popular beach town of Playas del Coco. A pioneer of sorts among microbreweries in the area, you can find their unique beers such as Easy IPA and seasonal brews like Dragon Fruit and Hibiscus Kettle Sour all along the North Pacific Coast. You can find their beer on tap at several bars and restaurants including Zi Lounge in Playas del Coco, Paw House Roasters in Playa Hermosa, Cafe Europa in Liberia, Red Door in Tamarindo and El Chivo and The Fish Bar in Nosara.
They are in the process of opening their own taproom near the Liberia airport. For those who can’t wait for the new taproom to open, Monkey Head has a Growler program. Buy a Growler and refill it with any Monkey Head product on tap.
Must-Try Beer: It’s not a beer, but you must try the Cas Cider, which is made using a native guava-like fruit called cas, with tart and sour characteristics.
Liberia, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Available in its distinctive cans with the Chorotega Indian inspired logo from coast to coast, Numu beer is making a name for itself in Latin America, winning gold medals for their House Beers in Mexico, Guatemala, and Ecuador. The name, Numu, means “sun” in the Chorotega language. Numu is a 10-barrel microbrewery in the region of Guanacaste where the Chorotega Indians once roamed.
Not only do they have a brewery that is open to the public in the Solarium near Liberia’s airport, but they have also recently opened Numu Taproom and Bistro in Playas del Coco. The taproom serves flights of their customs beers, along with tapas and “meals to share”. All of the bread served here is made from sourdough using with their own brews. You can find Numu beer well beyond the taproom at several stores in Costa Rica.
Must-Try Beer: Numu’s signature Chorotega IPA is a medium-bodied pale ale with hints of tropical fruits and citrusy aromas.
Huacas, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Brothers of Ale Brewing, or BOA for short, is a fairly new craft microbrewery in the province of Guanacaste. They strive to bring sustainable practices to their operation, partnering with local farmers who use the brewery’s spent grain to feed their animals and wastewater in their on-site gardens.
The brewery and taproom located near the small town of Huacas serve pub-style food as well as their on-tap beers. They have even tried their hand at making a brand new guanabana (soursop) cider, which is currently on tap. A fun place to spend the afternoon, their Clubhouse features weekly entertainment, sports on the big screen TVs, and lawn games such as cornhole and ladder ball. BOA offers tours of their operation on Saturdays and bottled beer and kegs are available to take home.
Must-Try Beer: A hybrid between a fresh lager and crisp green apple cider, the Kiwi Brother is a lager that incorporates an exclusively-grown New Zealand hop.
Liberia, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Located in the Solarium across the highway from the Liberia airport, Papagayo Brewery offers custom tours and tastings. They have a fairly new taproom at Peninsula Papagayo, which is a coastal resort-style community.
Considered an easy-drinking craft beer that is perfect for the beach, Papagayo Brewing offers the Beach Lager, Tropical IPA, and the new Off-Shore Ale. They carry an ever-changing small-batch IPA series with limited releases. Bottled beer is available for purchase.
Must-Try Beer: The uniquely Costa Rican Passion Fruit Ale is a light and golden pale ale made with local maracuya (passion fruit).
Playas del Coco, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Coconutz is a sports bar and microbrewery found in downtown Playas del Coco. Popular with North American tourists and expats, Coconutz broadcasts all of the big American sports games and offers weekly live entertainment in English.
Brewed on-site, they have a diverse collection of lagers, ales, and stouts, and even a non-alcoholic root beer. This brewery started out small, brewing two kegs a day, under the name Angry Goats Brewery. Over time it has developed into what it is today, changing its name to reflect its roots at Coconutz Sports Bar & Eatery, and can now be found on tap at bars across the North Pacific Coast of Costa Rica.
Must-Try Beer: Coconutz’s most popular beer has got to be the Howler IPA, which has a bitter hoppy profile and flavors of orange and grapefruit.
Dominical, Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Located where the jungle meets the beach is Fuego Brewery, which serves typical yet upgraded brew pub cuisine such as the lobster clubhouse. They also roast and package their own coffee on-site.
The beer here is made from natural spring water tapped at its source, and considering it’s located in one of the world’s Blue Zones, the water here is second to none. That quality is the source of their beer, which is made using high-quality ingredients. Sticking to their tropical roots, they feature a pale ale with hints of mango, coffee, and chocolate.
Must-Try Beer: The Kua Kua Expreso Porter is smooth with a slightly acidic finish and highlights both the beer and coffee of the region.
Tamarindo, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
As the popular beach town of Tamarindo’s first microbrewery, Volcano Brewing Company was created to provide customers of Witch’s Rock Surf Camp with a good pale ale. Pair one of three house brews with their restaurant’s “Nachos as Big as Your Ass”.
This beachfront brewery has 45 taps located throughout the resort, including a tasting room. You can find Volcano beer at the surf camp’s restaurant Eat at Joe’s and El Vaquero Restaurant, which is also owned by them.
Must-Try Beer: Their most popular beer is the signature Witch’s Rock Pale Ale, which is a refreshing beer with citrus and floral undertones – perfect to cool off after a surf.
Nuevo Arenal, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Made with spring water fed from the Tenorio Volcano, Lake Arenal Brewery lies on a 15-acre organic farm where the owners also run a hotel and green energy center. Their operation is powered entirely by solar energy and bio-diesel, earning them the distinction of Costa Rica’s first eco-brewery.
As pioneers in the eco-brewery industry, they also created Costa Rica’s first nitrogen gas infused ale to help give their Black Ash Nitro Stout that creamy flavor.
Must-Try Beer: A nod to the national drink, chiliguaro, the Chili Birra is a classic blonde ale with campana chilis from their organic farm that achieves a slightly spicy flavor.
Monteverde, Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Craft beer made in the heart of the cloud forest in the town of Santa Elena, where the air is fresh and the water is clean and pure. The Monteverde Brewing Company brewpub serves its own brews in flights so you can sample all five of their mainstays. There is also a variety of seasonal beers available, like most microbreweries.
The brewery produces over 2,000 liters of beer per month for themselves and a few other local restaurants and bars. It is made without additives or preservatives. Their beers are inspired by family, like the popular Mi Tata (my dad), and the unique ecosystem of Monteverde, like Red Tapir (Costa Rica’s largest land mammal).
Must-Try Beer: El Rayado is a pale ale with a strong character that is easy to drink and features citrus and floral aromas.
Photo Credit: Jennifer LaCharite
San Ramon, Alajuela, Costa Rica
As unique as their label designs so too are the process for making beer at this nano brewery. Beer at Suiz y Tico is brewed over a wood fire in a 100-year-old copper kettle. In an effort to be as environmentally friendly as possible, no trees are cut down to sustain their burn.
The stunning labels on the bottles of Suiz y Tico beers all feature artwork of the beautiful Costa Rican animal they are named for, from the Pizote Porter to the Iguana Hefeweizen. Even though it is one of the smallest breweries in Costa Rica, it can be found in select stores and restaurants from La Fortuna to San Jose to El Coco.
November 14, 2022: The presence of the President of the Republic, Rodrigo Chaves Robles, at the Playa Hermosa School (in Sardinal de Carrillo, Guanacaste) delighted the student community. There were typical dances, bombas and native food.
The boys and girls also shared with the Minister of the Ministry of Public Education MEP, Anna Katharina Müller Castro.
Located just 25 minutes from the International Airport near the City of Liberia. You can land and be on the beach in under 2 hours. No long drives, great family beach with undertows or riptides. Truly a special place in the heart of Paradise.
The new Waldorf Astoria Guanacaste Hotel from Hilton’s luxury portfolio is under construction in Playa Penca, Costa Rica, and will be inaugurated in 2025.
The hotel will offer 190 rooms and 25 residences. In addition, it will provide wellness experiences and connect guests with the local community.
A holistic wellness center with a state-of-the-art fitness center, a movement studio, outdoor yoga, and thermal and training pools are part of the new resort’s amenities in Costa Rica.
“Hilton has always been committed to serving its guests, for any type of travel, anywhere in the world, and we are thrilled to expand our presence with the first Waldorf Astoria in Costa Rica,” said Chris Nassetta, Hilton president and CEO.
Wildlife corridors were included in the project to protect wildlife in the area. Also, electric cars will be used at the hotel to ensure a reduced environmental impact.
The property will focus on sustainable luxury with an emphasis on its architecture that integrates with the environment, native flora and fauna, and experiences that connect guests to the natural surroundings.
“After several years of work on the design and conceptualization, we are proud to begin construction of the first Waldorf Astoria in the region, positioning the country as one of the best tourist destinations in the world,” said Philippe Garnier, president, and CEO of Garnier & Garnier.
The hotel marks a milestone for Hilton’s Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts brand as it welcomes a coveted new destination to its portfolio of more than 30 exclusive properties worldwide and continues to develop the luxury brand’s iconic resort presence in the Caribbean and Latin America.
Guests can also expect the highest levels of culinary excellence with food and beverage offerings, including a signature restaurant and bar, a specialty store, and an ice cream parlor.
Younger travelers can enjoy a range of family activities at the resort, including a children’s center and teen club. The luxury property will offer approximately 3,000 square meters for groups and events, with indoor and outdoor space, a grassy event area, and a ceremonial wedding pavilion.
Waldorf Astoria Guanacaste will be managed by Hilton and owned by Revolution, Cacique Investors LLC, and Garnier & Garnier, the Costa Rican developer of the project.
Updated on August 5, 2022
COSTA RICA FAQ
Entering Costa Rica
Are Passports Required to Enter Costa Rica?
Yes, passports are required. A 90 day tourist visa is automatically granted upon arrival. Also, there is a $29 exit fee which must be paid prior to departing Costa Rica
What type of vaccination is needed to enter Costa Rica?
Be aware that even if your were only transiting through any one of the following countries, Costa Rican authorities will require a yellow-fever vaccine certification: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leon, Sudan, Bolivia, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Guyana.
Can i enter Costa Rica with a one-way air ticket?
In order to be granted entry into Costa Rica, all visitors are required to hold a valid departure ticket, whether it is by air, sea or land
Do I need a VISA to visit Costa Rica?
Some countries such as the USA, Canada and most European countries allow entrance without a VISA, providing you have a valid Passport.nn Depending on the country, it is determined the number of days available to visit as a touristn In some cases, an immigration official could ask you to demonstrate your economic solvency for your stay in the countryn Although you may have 90 days available on your tourist visa, the immigration official will assess the allowed visiting period on your passportn Visitors to Costa Rica must have a valid passport, as well as proof that they will be departing the country before their visa or entrance stamp expires, generally within the 90 days.
Is a passport needed to enter Costa Rica?
Yes, passports are required. A 90 day tourist visa is automatically granted upon arrival. Also, there is a $29 exit fee which must be paid prior to departing Costa Rica.
What are the necessary documents to bring pets into Costa Rica?
All cats and dogs entering Costa Rica must have a health certificate from a veterinarian and endorsed by a veterinarian service. A physical exam must be conducted two weeks prior to the date of the trip. The required vaccines are: distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus. Rabies will also be required for all animals over 4 months old.
What are the country´s international airports?
Costa Rica has two (2) international airports: Juan Santamaría Airport in Alajuela, Daniel Oduber International Airport in Liberia. If I decided to extend my stay, can i get a visa for this while in Costa Rica?
Visitors from countries that enter with a 30-day visa can go to the Immigration and Foreign Department for an extension of their visa for up to 90 days. The following criteria will need to be met:nn you have a valid passportn demonstrate economic solvency, andn have a departure ticket or fare.nnThe amount of time allowed to stay in the country will depend on the immigration official.nFor more information (available only in Spanish) you can download the following: Department of Migration – Costa Rica
Where can I watch turtles during nesting season?
You can visit the Tortuguero National Park in the Caribbean and the Ostional Wildlife Refuge in the Pacific.
What is the difference between a Rainforest and a Cloud Forest?
The main difference is that in a rainforest the precipitation is higher. The flora and fauna differ from one type of forest to another as well.
What should I bring to the rainforest?
You will need insect repellent, rain poncho, and comfortable shoes.
Are the national parks accessible to persons who are physically disabled?
The following parks provide accessibility: Poas Volcano National Park, Manuel Antonio National Park, and Carara National Park
Tell me about the Resplendent Quetzal.
To see something like this captured on film begs the question “How are such beautiful colorings even possible?”
In fact, the magnificent colors of the Resplendent Quetzal do have an origin… The elusive song-bird has a history steeped in pre-Columbian mythology. Legend has it that on the day the conquistador Pedro de Alvarado fought against Tecún Umán, there was a quetzal flying overhead. On the first strike Tecún Umán, on foot, managed to disable Pedro de Alvarado’s horse. Alvarado was then given another horse and on the second strike ran through Tecún Umán’s chest with a spear. The quetzal flew down and landed on Tecún Umán, dipping its chest in the warrior prince’s blood. It is there that the bird acquired its distinctive red chest feathers.
Food and Water
Is the water safe to drink?
The water is purified throughout the country, so you will have no concerns wherever you go to eat with regard to water, ice or produce. The tap water and ice is safe to use in all the houses or condos. However, if you are concerned for any reason, bottled water is readily available.
Are groceries readily available?
Yes, there are a number of small corner stores in the immediate area that carry a wide selection of food, meat, fresh produce, wine, liquor and beer. There is also a very large big-box type grocery store called “Super Mercado” that is approximately a ten minute drive.
What is in the traditional Costa Rican dish called “Casado”?
A Casado (Spanish for “married man”) is a Costa Rican meal using rice, black beans, plantains, salad, a tortilla. An optional protein may also be added – such as chicken or beef.
How do we purchase gasoline in Costa Rica?
Gasoline is sold by the liter and can be purchased with Costa Rican Colones, American Dollars, or credit cards. Nearly all the gas stations are full-service. It is a good idea to make sure the pump is zero’d prior to filling.
What is the sales tax in Costa Rica?
There is a 13% sales tax on the price of goods. Restaurants also have an additional 10% service tax.
Can I use my mobile phone in Costa Rica?
If you want to use a mobile phone in Costa Rica, you must have an UNLOCKED cellular phone and purchase a prepaid SIM card. You can also visit the different telephone companies throughout the country which offer different options for prepaid cards, including internet access.
What kind of electricity does Costa Rica have?
The electricity system is exactly the same as it is in the USA and Canada. Outlets are typical to North America and provide a current of 110 – 115 volts.
Is Costa Rica safe?
Costa Rica has a very low level of violent crime. However like all tourists areas, care should always be taken with your valuables. Use commons sense, such as not leaving valuables visible in a vehicle even if it is locked. Also, if you have car trouble or a flat, it is best not accept help from strangers. To be extra safe, it is recommended that if you do get out of your vehicle for any reason, even if you are repairing a flat, lock your doors
What is the Exchange Rate in Costa Rica?
The national currency is the Costa Rican colón. It is traded against the US Dollar and the rates vary from day to day but usually hover around 550 colónes for each USD. So for a rough ‘in your head’ estimate, converting colónes to USD is a simple matter of dividing by a thousand and doubling the result. For example, a 5,000 colónes bill = roughly $10 USD.
For those who want to be more accurate, just take the value of the bill, in this case $5,000 C, and divide it by the daily exchange rate, which is in this example is 550. Therefore the result will be 5000 / 550 = $9.09 USD.
Do I need a plug adapter for my blow dryer?
Costa Rica´s outlets are 110 volts, with a standard duplex outlet, just like the USA and Canada!
I heard about an Exit Tax, what is it?
The exit tax, via air is US $29.00 and US $7.00 by land payable in US dollars, colones or credit card at the Banco Crédito Agrícola de Cartago, Banco Lafise, or the Banco de Costa Rica. Some airlines already include this fee in the airline ticket; therefore, we recommend you consult your airline.
What is the area code for Costa Rica?
To call into Costa Rica from outside the country, dial “011-506” then the local 8 digit number. To call the USA or Canada from Costa Rica, dial “001”, then the area code + the local 7 digit number. For assistance on other international calling see this handy link: how-to-call-abroad
Is smoking allowed in Costa Rica?
All rental properties are smoke-free. However, smoking is allowed outside. No smoking in bars or restaurants including outdoor facilities.
What are the natural boundaries of Costa Rica?
North: Nicaragua South: Panaman East: Caribbean Sea West: Pacific OceannnCosta Rica is divided into seven (7) provinces: Alajuela, Heredia, Cartago, San José, Puntarenas, Limón and Guanacaste.
What is the number I should call in case of an emergency?
Call 9-1-1 for immediate assistance. For tourist assistance, you can dial: 800-turismo..
What is the local currency of Costa Rica?
The Colon is the currency of Costa Rica, although American Dollars and credit cards are certainly welcome. It is advisable to purchase goods in the local currency, as some shop owners may not provide the best exchange rates.
Visa card is generally more accepted than Mastercard. There are two ATMs available in Flamingo at Banco de Costa Rica and at the Banco Nacional.
What is the official bird of Costa Rica?
The Clay Colored Robin
How do we purchase gasoline in Costa Rica?
Gasoline is sold by the liter and can be purchased with Costa Rican Colones, American Dollars, or credit cards. Nearly all the gas stations are full-service. It is a good idea to make sure the pump is zero’d prior to filling.
Do I need to rent a car?
We recommend renting a 4×4. Some of the roads can be rather challenging, especially if you want to explore. There are private guides available for hire in the area if you prefer not to rent a car. Taxi’s are also available from the airport to Flamingo/Potrero area. Renting a car requires a little forethought here in Costa Rica. There are customs here that you are probably not used to so to better prepare you we have created the information page renting-a-car-in-costa-rica.
Is an International Driver’s License needed?
Anyone over the age of 18 holding a valid driver’s license from their country is permitted to drive for a period of three (3) months. However, you must be at least 21 years of age to rent an automobile.
Are there domestic airlines?
You can contact SANSA at www.flysansa.com (506)2290-4100, or Nature Air at www.natureair.net (506)2299-6000. Both offer frequent service to the different tourist destinations within the country.
If I rent a car, can I drive it to Nicaragua or Panama?
Rental cars are not allowed to leave the country.
Is there train service in Costa Rica?
There is no train service to destinations outside the Central Valley, the only existing service, is between Cartago-San José and San José-Heredia during the peak hours from 6:00 am to 8:00 am, and 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Service itineraries can be found at: https://www.incofer.go.cr/
Getting Married in Costa Rica
Can I get married in Costa Rica? What are the necessary documents?
It is possible to marry in Costa Rica! The required documents are: a valid passport or valid travel documents and a sworn statement (affidavit) signed in the presence of a Costa Rican lawyer. If divorced, you will need the official documents of such divorce from your country or wherever the divorce was granted.
What if I don’t speak Spanish?
Although Spanish is the native tongue here in Costa Rica, English is widely spoken throughout Guanacaste. The people here are very friendly and will gladly teach you a little Spanish while you are here
Are their English language newspapers?
The main English-language newspaper is The Tico Times: www.ticotimes.net
Moving to Costa Rica
How do I apply for legal residency?
There are several ways to legalize your residency within Costa Rica temporary resident retired governmental international missionn and others…For more information contact the Costa Rican Consulate, the Residents Association at www.arcr.net or you can visit the Department of Migration at www.migracion.go.cr
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO WORK WITH AN EXPERIENCED REAL ESTATE AGENT AND LONG-STANDING REAL ESTATE COMPANY IN COSTA RICA?
This is an excellent article written by the Broker for Tres Amigos – Michael Simons. Mike is a good friend and a terrific realtor. He has worked in this area for over 20 years is a great person to work with.
Most Buyers and Sellers in the coastal regions of Costa Rica are not native to the area so it seems like common sense that you would seek out advice from a seasoned and professional Agent that works in a well-established agency to guide you through the purchase or sale process of a property in a foreign county. I think we would all agree with that statement so far.
Suffice it to say that most Real Estate Agents and Real Estate Companies will claim they are the wisest and most knowledgeable. There are definitely quality individuals and companies operating in the Papagayo area and beyond. During a hot real estate market, the number of agents working increases and the number of unexperienced agents goes up as well. It is not too hard to put together a good website and present yourself in a good light and sound like you are knowledgeable to the unknowing client. Especially since the laws and customs for buying and selling real estate in Costa Rica are probably much different from what you are accustomed to that could cause you to not notice that you are working with an experienced person right away.
There are some basic things that you should require from your realtor in order to feel comfortable with who you are working with. Don’t feel shy to ask who you are potentially going to trust with one of the most important transactions of your life to provide this information. Your realtor should be at the minimum:
-A legal permanent resident of Costa Rica with full rights to live and work in the country.
-A member of either Costa Rica Realtor Boards – CRGAR or CCCBR. We go into great detail about the need to work with a licensed real estate agent in another blog post here
-Registered with the financial regulatory agency SUGEF.
If the answer to any of these questions is no then you should strongly consider to cut ties with that person and find another agent to help you. You may have been referred to your realtor by a friend or through a local person that you trust as you might anywhere else. And they probably had a good experience with that agent or they would not have referred them to you. That does not mean that your transaction is the same and might be totally different requiring the keen eye of a true expert to guide you through any potential pitfall. There are certainly well-meaning people trying to make a living as a real estate agent in paradise (who wouldn’t!) and they might not intend to put you in harm’s way but their inexperience could cost you time or money or both. In the end it is a big investment decision you are making that deserves the advice of an experienced local expert.
Beyond these basic things that your realtor should posses there are many other factors that you should take into account when choosing who to trust with a complex foreign transaction.
Your agent should have been through at least one full cycle in the local real estate market or have been a realtor in another area and has gone through both a good and bad real estate cycle. Anyone can sell real estate in a hot market but the best realtors are the ones who flourish in a down market and have been through several of these cycles. They are the realtors who know the value of being a trusted adviser to their clients and creating a mutually beneficial relationship that will last decades and hopefully generations. A seasoned realtor not only brings to the table the experience of navigating successfully both in good and bad markets, but is also looking toward the future when you will need to sell that beautiful home, condo or lot when the time comes for a change in your life.
Costa Rica is a second home market and acts very differently than a commodity market of any city in North America. It is essential that you not only purchase something you love but also have your realtor guiding you to purchase a property that will be readily sellable in the future. A good realtor will tell you not to buy something because they know it will be difficult to sell it going forward. This applies to all real estate markets but much more so in a second home market like Costa Rica.
As you may have found out there is no formal MLS in Costa Rica. For both Buyers and Sellers, it becomes absolutely essential to work with an experienced agent that works at a strong agency. As a Buyer, you will save yourself an endless amount of time by searching for a good realtor first, instead of surfing the thousands of websites that have Costa Rica property listings. A good realtor should know everything that has been bought and sold in their local market and will be able to guide you in the right direction based on the criteria you have chosen for your property search. A seasoned professional will also have an extensive network of contacts with other realtors, property developers and sellers. This is no different from any other real estate market but it makes a huge difference in a market that has no MLS. You would be surprised to know that a good majority of agents that appear to be solid professionals on paper do not have a good grasp of the inventory in their local market.
A common misconception in Costa Rica is that Realtors will only show a Buyer their exclusive listings. If you are working with a good realtor, they will show you all the listings that fit your criteria and will be good fit for you to enjoy and have a good exit strategy to sell when your situation changes. An experienced realtor will have contacts with all the realtors in the area as well as property developers and individuals who are selling on their own. The most important point here is that a long-standing realtor will have knowledge of and know how to get access to any property for sale in the area so you won’t miss out on anything that might go undiscovered by a less seasoned agent. They will also be able to steer you away from a property that looks good on the internet but has a hidden issue or future resale problem. Again, no different from other markets, just more important to have a good adviser by your side when there is no MLS.
If you look at a map of Costa Rica for example, it looks like the distance between Playas del Coco and Tamarindo is minimal and stands to reason that a realtor could cover both territories. This is unfortunately not the case. A good realtor will have well established and long-standing relationships with professional realtors in other key areas of Costa Rica. Depending on the realtor they may accompany you to areas outside of their local area of expertise as a Buyer’s agent and rely on their trusted colleagues to assist them in choosing the correct properties for you. It may be tempting to use multiple realtors – one for each area – but in our experience it is more important that you have only 1 trusted advisor to help you navigate your experience and when possible, have your trusted realtor come with you. If it is not possible then your realtor will be able to refer you to a trusted colleague in the area you are interested in.
Not only is it important to have a trusted professional working on your behalf, but it is equally important that the company they work for is well established in the area and has been around a long time. A company should have at least 10 years of being in business and preferably more. Your agent will be able to draw on the experience of their colleagues and use the vast database of knowledge when looking for properties on your behalf or navigating a potential issue that might affect the value of the property in question. The fact that your agent works for a long-standing real estate office in the local area will also assure you that the professionals that you will be working with (Attorneys, Property Managers, etc.) will also be the top professionals in their field.
You should work with a real estate company that only sells real estate. You will find that many real estate companies are a one stop shop for everything – Real Estate Sales, Vacation Rentals, Property Management, Tours, etc. This may seem like a good synergy but the opposite is often true. It is hard enough to be good at one thing and serve your clients to the best of your ability. Look for a company that focuses on only sales and you will find these are the companies that are consistently the top producers and have the most satisfied clients.
For a real estate company to have lasted a long time in their market they have made significant investments in their infrastructure of their businesses and have long time employees that are experienced in the real estate field. The wealth of knowledge that comes from being in the same business for many years with the same employees and long-time agents creates an incredible wealth of knowledge and wisdom in the marketplace that can be leveraged by all the agents that work in the office. You will also find that a successful agency will have agents that have worked at the same agency for a long time because the Broker/Owner is constantly investing in their business and their people.
It goes without saying that a successful agent and company will be invested in their community and involved giving both their time and resources to help out those in need. A mark of a good agent is the one out there doing good in the community without looking for a reward.
In Costa Rica, we always say the easy part is finding you a property you love and getting a fair offer accepted by all parties. Where a good realtor becomes invaluable is after the contract is signed. There are a myriad of things that you will need help navigating to get to a successful closing. Your realtor will introduce you to a good attorney, help you set up the escrow account, introduce you to a seasoned home inspector, will arrange for a topographical review if needed and will guide you from step A to Z all along the way. This is the most essential time to have an advocate on your side guiding you through all the steps to get your property closed. If something comes up during due diligence your realtor will be able to explain to you clearly what issues have come up and if they are something to be concerned with or not. The piece of mind that you receive when working with a professional is priceless and can make a potentially stressful situation go smoothly and leave more time for you to think about enjoying your time in your new property!
And don’t forget that your realtor will guide you through how to get a phone line, who to use as an interior decorator, maid, pool service, what is the best internet, where to buy a car – all the little things you take for granted because you know how to do them at home.
And of course, as most often happens you will gain a good friend in the process. A trusted ally that has gone through everything that you are going through before and can give you advice along the way.
Whether you are selling your property to upsize, downsize or your time in Costa Rica has come to an end you will also need to assistance of a quality professional realtor.
For many years in Costa Rica the custom was for Sellers to sell their properties For Sale by Owner. This was a hodgepodge method that really began to fail when a serious number of foreigners began to purchase properties in the coastal areas, predominately along the Pacific coastline. With the lack of a professional intermediary acting as an advocate for the Seller the system was ripe for problems caused by unsuspecting Sellers and Buyers. Depending on the area of the country, the expat realtors, mostly operating along the coastlines, along with the professional Costa Rican realtors, mostly in the Central Valley surrounding San Jose, began to form professional organizations. In the Papagayo region, after the real estate crisis of 2008-9 there were a handful of realtors that weathered the storm and were still in business. As a group we began to purposely work together to increase the professionalism of the realtors working in the area.
One of the biggest issues was that not all Sellers were interested in signing exclusive listings. We, as a group, got together and decided that we should strongly suggest all Sellers to list their property with a local realtor no matter who it was. Slowly but surely all Sellers began to understand that listing their property with one realtor meant they would get that realtor to do professional marketing of their property, take professional photos and video and market it across multiple website and other media outlets. There was still print media in those days and the internet was still in its infancy, especially in Costa Rica.
Since Costa Rica does not have an MLS, it is extremely important for a Seller to contract a professional realtor that works with a powerful real estate company because the only way for them to get their property marketed is if one realtor has the incentive to spend marketing dollars to do a professional marketing package and promote it across the internet on multiple websites, social media and the like. Also, since Buyers cannot go to one single source for all properties for sale in Costa Rica, they are reliant on their realtor to find them their dream property. A good professional agent will have an extensive database of all the local realtors so that when he gets and new listing everyone on their database is made aware of that new property immediately. At the same time, when an agent has a Buyer they are going to contact thier database of realtor colleagues and ask them what properties they have listed. If you, the Seller, do not have your property listed with a good realtor then your chances of selling will be much lower than if you have it listed for sale by owner.
If you want to ensure a successful sale of your property you should work with a realtor that has an extremely strong online presence. They should have their own sophisticated personal website and their agency they work for should have websites that consistently rank at the top in SEO for the area. Your realtor should have a good social media footprint to market your property and have their own YouTube Channel at a minimum to advertise your property.
Many people think that it is essential to work with an international real estate brand. Back in the old days, before Costa Rica was on the map as a destination to purchase second homes, it was more important to be associated with a well-known international brand. In all honesty it gave Buyers and Sellers more comfort to be doing business with a brand they knew from back home but produced surprisingly few qualified leads. Now everyone has Costa Rica on their wish list to buy a second home or condo. The amount of money that has to be paid to the home office for use of their brand far outweighs the small number of clients that come in the door just because of the brand name. In the end, the money that is saved not having to pay to the home office can be much better spent on marketing to attract Buyers and Sellers and to give back to the local community.
As in all real estate markets an experienced realtor knows the market and will advise you of local market trends, will help you price your home correctly the first time and give you tips to stage your property for maximum impact. A good realtor should produce for you an outstanding marketing package that will attract buyers. Once you receive an offer a seasoned realtor will be worth their weight in gold when it comes to negotiating the offer to deliver the best price under the best terms for you the Seller.
It is almost more important to have a good realtor that works at a good and long-standing agency when it comes to navigating the due diligence process and getting the deal to successfully close. There have been innumerable sales that would not have closed if it were not for the realtor who knew what were the sticking points to get the sale done and because they had the experience and know how, were able to steer the sale through to closing.
So please do yourself a favor and do a small amount of due diligence and find yourself a professional and experienced Agent that works for an Agency with a long history and good track record. So you can spend more time enjoying all that Costa Rica has to offer. Pura Vida.
All of our agents fit these requirements and then some. We have the most experienced group of agents in the entire country and boast over 125 years of combined experience in the Papagayo Real Estate Market. Of course I want to toot our horn but also we are very selective in who we bring aboard as new agents to make sure our clients will receive the best possible care and service.
Pura Vida, Michael Simons Tres Amigos Realty Group
Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Arenal Volcano and surrounding area !
It is well known that once you retire, living outside of the U.S. can be one of the best ways of reducing your cost of living without sacrificing your quality of life and for this reason Costa Rica has often been listed as one of the top destinations for retirees.
The trend continues again this year as Travel and Leisure magazine has listed Costa Rica as one of the eight cheapest destinations in the world for U.S. retirees.
To see how Costa Rica compares with the other countries on the list, here is their complete list of the top 8 retirement destinations listed by the magazine:
- Costa Rica
It’s no secret that Costa Rica has conquered the hearts of many foreigners. The beaches, volcanoes, rainforests, and other beautiful natural landscapes, along with great weather and the pura vida lifestyle, are some reasons many people choose to settle down in the country.
The magazine points out some of Costa Rica’s residency programs, especially focused on retirees.
“Residency programs include the Pensionado visa, which requires a monthly income of at least $1,000 to be transferred to a Costa Rican bank for expenses,” mentions the article.
In addition, “the Rentista Program, for those without a monthly pension, requires a minimum of $60,000 or a monthly income of at least $2,500 from a guaranteed source for at least two years.”
One aspect that the publication highlights about Costa Rica is the access to health care, whether public or private.
“Excellent health care is available… The national medical program, with no co-pays or exclusions, is available to residents along with the option of private health care with out-of-pocket costs that can be self-insured or paid through a private insurance policy,” they mention.
Although San José, the capital city, isn’t the first choice for most, Travel + Leisure explains that for those who love the city, the “cost of living is 55% lower than in New York, and rents are 82% lower.”
Housing options are also available in nearby zones, and many foreigners choose to live near mountainous areas.
Cost generally depends on lifestyles, individual needs, location within the country, and other personal expenses.
Thanks to Sarah Jordan of the Ticotimes
August 2, 2022
Playa Hermosa, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Best known for its sprawling Cordillera de Guanacaste mountain range volcanoes and paradise beaches, Guanacaste has made its presence known in Costa Rica and across the globe. However, it is a province of duality. The luxury resorts, beach vacations, and booming development alongside the culture of the Guanacastecos.
Guanacaste is a province of cattle ranching, traditional dances, and music, customary foods with corn as a staple seen represented through their corn rice, drinks, and tortillas. Here are 10 interesting facts to know about the northwestern province of Guanacaste.
- Named After a Tree
Guanacaste transpires its name from quahnacaztlan, the native word for the Guanacaste tree. Also known as the Enterolobium cyclocarpum or perhaps a few that are easier to pronounce are the monkey ear tree, elephant ear tree, and caro caro tree.
Regardless of which name you choose to call it, it doesn’t change the special characteristics of the tree. The Guanacaste tree is of importance providing tremendous shade from the sun and heat for both animals and humans. Guanacaste is recognized for its cattle farming and the national tree plays a significant role as a food source for the cattle with its seeds and leaves.
The Guanacaste Tree was designated as the national tree of Costa Rica on August 31, 1959.
- Destination of the Sea Turtle Arriba
Guanacaste’s Ostional is distinguished as one of the few places in the world where the natural phenomenon of the sea turtle arriba occurs.
Tens of thousands of sea turtles make their way up the dark sands of Ostional to nest upon the beach. This extraordinary event is called an arribada and is known as “arrival” in Spanish. And that is exactly what it is, a grand spectacular arrival.
They begin by the hundreds, and thousands of sea turtles then continue to arrive over the following days. One of the biggest recordings of arribadas was 500,000 sea turtles in Ostional.
After dragging their bodies up onto the shore, the sea turtles use their flippers to dig themselves a nest laying upwards of 100 ping-pong-shaped eggs each. They then do their best covering and packing the sand, returning into the waters leaving the eggs to be in defense of themselves.
For this Ostional Wildlife Refuge was created in 1984 to protect the olive ridley sea turtle nesting sites as the location is one of incredible importance worldwide.
- Home to One of Costa Rica’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Three UNESCO World Heritage Sites have been declared in Costa Rica and one of them lies within the province of Guanacaste, Area de Conservation Guanacaste
Comprised of both land and sea it makes up 147,000 hectares. Most notably it protects the endangered dry tropical forests of Santa Rosa, Rincon de la Vieja, National Park, and Junquillal Bay Wildlife Refuge. Its also is made up of cloud forests, lowland rainforests, mangroves, wetlands, oak forests, savannahs, beaches, and estuaries. Many of Costa Rica’s diverse and vulnerable ecosystems can be found within.
Almost two thirds of all of the different species that call Costa Rica home are residing in Area de Conservation Guanacaste. From the endangered Central American tapir, jaguars, ocelots, white-faced monkeys, howler monkeys, spider monkeys, deer, 13,000 species of bats, and 20,000 species of beetles.
- Guanacaste Wasn’t Always Part of Costa Rica
A province that represents so much of what we hold in our hearts to be Costa Rica wasn’t always part of the country. With the hostility of Nicaragua and Guatemala far north, the residents of Nicoya chose to officially become part of their neighbor country of Costa Rica.
It was on July 25, 1824, when the province annexed to Costa Rica becoming an official holiday in the country. The annexation of Guanacaste is celebrated every year in honor of this historic decision. Throughout the country, you will find folk dances and music, dressed in red white, and blue, and even a few parades.
It was a choice made by the people to become part of Costa Rica through their own will and decision. And for this you will hear “de la patria por nuestra voluntad”
- There is a Car Free Beach Town
When arriving in Las Catalinas you might be a bit confused and wonder if you have somehow ended up in the Mediterranean. Las Catalinas design does take inspiration from the Mediterranean with its cobblestone-like streets, fountains, and plazas.
Oceanfront on Guanacaste’s Pacific Las Catalinas is a walkable beach town, meaning car-free focused on outdoor living. The 21-acre beach town features colorful and unique homes, exclusive villas, exquisite restaurants, gourmet grocery stores, and of course shopping.
- A Blue Zone is Recognized
Blue zones refer to places in the world where people live longer than average lives and parts of Guanacaste’s Nicoya Peninsula have been recognized as one of them.
Many of the Nicoyan people often live to surpass 100 years of age, many in which don’t need to rely on medication. It is said that their healthy way of living is responsible for the centenarians living such a long-life expectancy.
Eating healthy off the land of natural fruits and vegetables, meals that provide the needed nutrients through rice, beans, and corn, meat isn’t the primary food source at every meal. Getting outside, walking, being surrounded by nature, and family focus are only a few factors that have helped to increase life longevity.
- Known as the Gold Coast
Guanacaste’s Pacific Coast has been coined Costa Rica’s Riviera for its coastline of beautiful beaches and white sandy shores. Most infamously known as the Gold Coast, it plays a large role in the country’s tourism industry.
This sunny side of Costa Rica is a destination of all-inclusive resorts, luxury villas, high-end condos, and boutique hotels. Scuba diving, snorkeling, and world-famous surfing it is a wealth of water activities.
The Gold Coast is famed for its over 400 miles of paradise coastline with clear blue waters. Fine white sands of Playa Flamingo, the sparkling beach of Playa Conchal, and Tamarindo sunsets, there are a plethora of secluded secret beaches. The turquoise waters of Guanacaste’s beaches have made Guanacaste stand out on the map.
- Home to One of Costa Rica’s Two International Airports
Costa Rica has two international airports and one of them is in the northwestern part of the country in Guanacaste. Liberia International Airport (also known as Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport) is just outside of Liberia.
The primary international airport of Juan Santamaria International Airport is located in the central valley for access to the other half of the country. Prior to the second airport, you would have to drive 4 to 5 hours to reach Guanacaste.
Named after former president Daniel Oduber Quirós, it was built in 1975 with hopes that it would help increase tourism in the Gulf of Papagayo. It now serves as a gateway to accessing the Gold Coast getting you to Playas del Coco in half an hour and just over an hour to the popular Tamarindo.
- Cowboy Country
The land of Guanacaste can be associated with farms, cattle, and horse ranching. The sabanero (cowboy) is a symbol of Guanacaste across its cattle country with its roots in ranch life.
Out into the open fields herding cattle and horses, working the land, sabaneros are generational and it is born in their blood. They know how to work hard and are ready to play hard after a long day. The traditions of the sabanero shine brightly through music and dance and continue to be honored.
- Vino de Coyol
It wouldn’t be complete without mentioning one of Guanacaste’s traditional drinks, vino de coyol. Although vino is in its name don’t be fooled it is not a wine. Instead of grapes, it comes from the extracted sap of the coyol palm.
During the summer the cuts are done, leaves removed, and then laid out on a partial incline. Cuts are carved to help the sap move along and start flowing. Those familiar with the traditional process have grown to know exactly when is the perfect time for everything to work out just right. Using spoons made from the Jicaro tree it is then put into the bottles for natural fermentation. The lunar cycle plays a big role in its production.
Some say it’s a great way to help you sleep but a little too much can have the same effects as alcohol depending on how long it has been fermented. But don’t search for it in the supermercado’s. Along the highway stands is where you can often find yourself some, sold in various styles of recycled bottles – think pop bottles and fruit juice bottles!
The dichotomy of the province of Guanacaste is what brings such an allure. It is an escape into a paradise of coastlines, nature, and wildlife many of the treasures that Costa Rica is admired for. Alongside are the traditions of the Guanacastecos that are held strong and proudly honored by Costa Rica. Guanacaste represents much of what is at the heart of the country.
Posted on July 12, 2022
Earlier this week, the long-awaited Digital Nomad bill was signed into law by President Chavez, with moderations to make it easier for remote workers to apply. While the initial bill was signed into law in August 2021 by then-President Carlos Alvarado, it needed some fine-tuning for implementation, and months passed while various ministries disagreed about how to proceed.
Now, the new Chaves administration seems to have resolved the issues of excessive regulations regarding the bill by scrapping many of them. These regulations were being heavily criticized that they would hinder the process instead of encouraging remote workers to apply. With the new bill moderations, remote workers will be able to get their applications completed online and according to the Department of Immigration, have approval within two weeks.
To be eligible for the Digital Nomad Visa, remote workers must have a monthly income of $3,000 (or $4,000 for families). If approved, they can stay in Costa Rica for up to a year and extend for one more if they wish to do so. The Visa exempts them from paying income tax or duties on any work-related equipment (like laptops) they need to perform their job.
It is expected that the finalized, full bill will be published in La Gazeta within the next few days and then will be open to receive applications from remote workers.
Remote workers and digital nomads play a vital role in fostering entrepreneurship around the world. They will be a boom to Costa Rica’s local economy and we’ll benefit from not only the money spent locally but the spurring innovation and collaboration that remote workers can infuse their surroundings with.
The new Visa will also have a positive impact on Real Estate as remote workers can truly get a feel for what life in Costa Rica is like and have ample time to investigate investment opportunities.
Let’s hope that the application process does open shortly and that we start welcoming remote workers with the new Visa shortly!
Updated on May 30, 2022
This information is a bit dated, but since many of you are still emailing me about renewals of your DIMEX (residency) cards, I thought it timely to post this review.
Due to urgent needs to be outside of Costa Rica during COVID, some of you had/have not been able to renew your DIMEX (residency) cards. Or you just let it slip your mind. Others have been keeping track and are being proactive only to discover you cannot renew your DIMEX (residency) cards.
The renewal system is being upgraded with new software and staff training (and hopefully hardware invented in this century.)
This upgrade is significant and expected to take up until September 30, 2022, to complete. The DGME (Immigration) has granted extensions to most cards under certain circumstances.
These measures were set in place as of January of this year.
Through Resolution No. DJUR-0197-12-2021-JM, the DGME has decided to extend all DIMEX expired from October 1, 2021, to September 30, 2022.
The measure is applicable for the following migratory categories: Residencia Permanente (Permanent Residency),
Residencia Temporal (Temporary Residency), Categorías Especiales (Special Categories) and the subcategory Estancia (Estancia Visa).
1. Renewal appointments: As of January 22, 2022, DIMEX renewal procedures will not be carried out in any Banco de Costa Rica offices, at the VES Windows of the Costa Rican Post Office, or the central or regional offices of Migration.
2. For those who already paid the renewal deposit: Central and regional offices remain available to request a refund, presenting the payment receipt.
3. Clarifications on the relevance of the expiration date: If your DIMEX is for Permanent Residency, you can benefit from the extended validity even if your DIMEX expired before October 1, 2021. Otherwise, if your DIMEX is for a category other than that of Permanent Residency, that is, if it is a DIMEX of Temporary Residency, Special Category, or Estancia, it will be extended only if it expired after October 1, 2021, since if it were already expired on that date, you would no longer be able to carry out the renewal process in the usual way.
4. Fines: If your DIMEX expired before January 10, 2022, please take into account that you will still need to cancel a penalty regarding all pending months. Visit your nearest BCR to handle this issue.
5. Extension of the Term: After September 30, 2022, the DIMEX shall be renewed in the three subsequent months.
Logically, that appointment system should open before September 30 to create the que, so please be attentive to that appointment system opening up. Check with your local BCR from time to time starting in August. I strongly suggest that you put alerts in your cell phone calendars and be ready to proceed by the end of July to make those bookings. There will be a bottleneck of others trying to book for the same thing. But the main thing is to call and book the appointment as soon as those appointments open up. When I get more definitive news of the appointments, I will post it on this site to alert you.
I also remind readers that you are entitled to apply for Permanent Residency after the three initial years of temporary residency. That category requires no further proof of income and allows you to work or draw a wage or an income from a business without a work permit. Permanent residencies are renewable every three years. After a combined total of 10 years of permanent and temporary residency, renewals for Permanent Residency are every five years. After a combination of seven years of Temporary and Permanent residency, you are entitled to apply for Costa Rican Citizenship. That allows you to opt out of CAJA, vote, and obtain a Costa Rica passport.