This is a personal preference. Costa Rica has over twenty recognized micro-climates. Each one has a different temperature range, from hot days and nights (beach areas), to warm days and cooler nights (mountains), and in between. In addition, there are multiple cultural options, from the highly developed and sophisticated ambiance of San José, to the tourist-centered life in some areas of the coasts, to the laid back tempo of the small towns, to the primitive life of an isolated home in the jungle. The smart person will move around the country periodically and sample all of the possibilities before making a final decision about where is most suitable for them.
Should I rent or buy? – Rent first! Many people come to Costa Rica and make the mistake of immediately buying a home or property before they know the country and if they fit in here. Spend at least one rainy season here and get to know the climate and country before making a decision. Some experts say that as many as half of the people moving to Costa Rica leave within three years, possibly for health, financial, family, or other personal reasons. Others simply find that Costa Rica is not for them.
Choose your ultimate location wisely. Determine if the area you think you like offers the lifestyle that you are looking for. Ask yourself, is it important to have access to healthcare, North American style shopping malls, cultural events, or to be near other expats who speak your language? And, before you purchase land or a home in the middle of nowhere, think about things like the fact that Costa Rica has a long rainy season; will you be happy having to drive miles on a muddy, rutted road to get to and from your home just to get groceries half of the year? Do you really want to wake up at dawn every morning to the screeching of monkeys?
Consider, if worse comes to worse, how hard will it be to re-sell your investment – you have to find a buyer who likes the area and location as much as you do. It can be very difficult to sell a “unique” or isolated property. There are those who didn’t think this through and have become trapped in Costa Rica by an asset they can’t liquidate.
Before you rent, ask the landlord if you can pay your rent with a US or Canadian check. Foreign checks will take a while, up to weeks, to clear.
Possibly -There are two types of “corporations” commonly used by expats in Costa Rica; Sociedades Anónimas (SA) and Sociedades de Responsabilidad Limitada (SRL). Many expats form one of these types of corporation, usually a SA (a SRL is more often used for businesses), for protecting their assets (homes, vehicles, etc.)
The reason most expats form a corporation is to legally isolate their asset(s) from claims which could arise from a legal action brought against them. In short, a home cannot be claimed as an asset for collecting damages resulting from a vehicle accident (assuming the vehicle and the home are in separate corporations).
Incorporating a Costa Rica corporation is easily accomplished, but must be done through an attorney.
Those who wish to form a corporation to protect their assets should be aware that there are annual taxes on corporations which must be paid to the government or fines can result. There are also legal requirements for maintaining the corporate records which must be followed.
Those persons wishing to form a corporation should consult with an experienced attorney who can advise them on the type of corporation which will best suit their situation and objectives.
ARCR has English-speaking attorneys who can advise and assist MEMBERS in completing all the steps needed to form a corporation.