This is a loosely categorized list of questions we've received at Cocorí. It has grown a lot so we've broken it down into several pages. We recommend browsing the complete list because many questions couldn't be strictly defined as belonging to only one category. If your question isn't answered here, ask now. If you have suggestions for improving this list please address your comments to

[Living in Costa Rica]
[Doing Business in Costa Rica]
[Traveling Around the Country]


Living in Costa Rica

What are the advantages of living in Costa Rica as opposed to other Central American countries?
One big reason is Costa Rica's long-standing and stable democracy. This peaceful nation does not even have a standing army. The economy is the most stable in the region and the standard of living is good. Everyone is free to own property and pursue an education and good job. Higher education is readily available in State and private institutions. The country's preoccupation with environmental concerns is well-documented. The country has some of the most beautiful natural areas in the world. For more you might like to look at Costa Rica in a CocoNut Shell.
We are very interested in buying property in your country. Could you recommend an English speaking realtor?
We highly recommend PRIME Real Estate & Investments in San José. Visit their Web site at Prime Costa Rica or email them at
What restrictions apply to buying property in Costa Rica as a foreigner?
Restrictions are close to nonexistent specific to being a foreigner. See our article Own a Piece of the Beach for some helpful insight into becoming a property owner in Costa Rica.
I'm planning to retire to Costa Rica. Which coast is better?
Personal preferences aside, most people choose the Pacific--specifically the north Pacific coast. Guanacaste (the province that encompasses this area) is drier and more hospitable to human habitation. Not surprising, this is where the greatest majority of construction activity is.

The Atlantic is much wetter (around 240 inches of rainfall per year) but also more lush. It is also much less densely populated. The south Caribbean coast offers a lot of potential for those who fancy being far away from the rat race, and the average rainfall is comparable to the Guanacaste area.

I am considering moving to Costa Rica and would like to correspond with people living there. How do I find names and addresses?
You should take advantage of Cocori's NetPals list at This pen pal-like list makes it easy for people interested in discussing Costa Rica to get together.
Any suggestions on how to find companies that are hiring in Costa Rica?
Try the American/Costa Rican Chamber of Commerce at
I'm planning to move to Costa Rica. Is it possible to bring along anything from my home like an expensive camera? Would a person be able to hold on to it or would he lose it quickly by way of theft? I read the Tico Times for about a year and saw plenty of horror stories. A bulletin board on the Internet revealed the other day that tourists had their suitcases pilfered coming and going to Costa Rica.
For anyone interested in moving here the first thing we recommend they do is to visit for a month or two (longer if it can be arranged). Reading about the country in TT and/or on the Internet just doesn't give one the BIG (or necessarily correct) picture. We highly recommend that you bring a camera to this beautiful, photogenic country. Theft of expensive items is rampant world wide; it isn't a phenomenon of Costa Rica. Thefts here, as in the rest of the world, most often occur to those not paying attention. Visit the Cocori Library for more information on living in Costa Rica.
I am interested in the process of taking up residence in Costa Rica. I understand that a guaranteed income is necessary.
To qualify for either the pensionado or rentista residency status, one must have a guaranteed income (see Living Legally in Costa Rica in the Cocori Library). To qualify for residency under the inversionista rules, a feasibility plan must be approved by both the Costa Rica Tourist Board (ICT) and the Center for the Promotion of Exterior Commerce (PROCOMER). If an investment is to be made in certain "key" segments--tourism, special agricultural products, etc.--it need not be more than US$50,000. For general investment the figure is US$200,000. Visit the Cocori Library for more about Starting a Business in Costa Rica.
I am considering retirement in Costa Rica. I am divorced and have a seven year old daughter. My monthly income if I retire in the next year will be US$2,200 to $2,500 per month. Excellent schooling is a priority for my daughter. Will we be able to live comfortably and provide proper schooling on this income?
Yes, you could live very comfortably here for that amount, especially if that is unencumbered income, i.e. not rent, car payment, etc. Schooling for your daughter would be no problem--there are several excellent bilingual schools providing quality education in and around the Central Valley.
I'm planning to buy a house and become a rentista in Costa Rica. Can I open a bank account in Costa Rica without living there? I'd like to go there for a visit before my move, open an account and start making monthly deposits while I get ready to move.
The banks here will accept new accounts from just about anyone. You do not have to live here to have an account. And with Costa Rica's new banking laws, you can now open an interest bearing checking account in dollars in one of the many private banks. Your idea to come for a visit before moving is an excellent one, also.
When we move to Costa Rica how much will we have to pay in taxes on our household goods?
Import duties vary with the age of the imported goods and their condition. Used computers, appliances and TVs, etc. usually enter for around 15% of their declared value.
I have heard that one can obtain the rentista or pensionado status by depositing a sum of money in a Costa Rican bank. Is this true? If so, how much needs to be deposited?
Yes, you can deposit US$60,000 for a period of five years with BICSA (Banco Internacional de Costa Rica, S.A.).
We want to bring our pets with us when we move to Costa Rica. What restrictions are there?
Bringing domestic pets into the country is quite easy. Your pet must have all its immunological tasks up to date and you must have approval from the Zoonosis section of the Costa Rica health department (mainly registration procedures). All vet documents must be approved by the Costa Rican embassy or consulate closest to you, and they must be presented to immigration, along with the animals, upon arrival in Costa Rica.
I'm looking for information on obtaining a work permit in Costa Rica.
Briefly, only certain people are eligible for work permits (see the article in the Cocori Library Working Your Way Through Paradise), but if you own or are a stockholder in a company, you may work in that company in any capacity.
My parents are investigating the possibility of retiring in Costa Rica. Are there sources of information that you would recommend reading before traveling there for a get acquainted visit?
Visit the Cocori Library if you haven't already done so. You'll find a lot of information about living and retiring in Costa Rica. As for the paper medium . . .
    For reading before a "get acquainted" visit, we recommend:
  • "The New Key to Costa Rica" by Beatrice Blake and Anne Becher. Ulysses Press, 3286 Adeline Street, Suite 1, Berkeley, CA 94703. It is updated annually. A very good guide book. You can also visit their Web site at Order the book on the site and get a 25% discount.
    For retirement reading, these are a few of the available titles:
  • "Choose Costa Rica--A Guide to Retirement and Investment" by John Howells. Gateway Books, Dept. C, 2023 Clemens Road, Oakland, CA 94602
  • "The Golden Door to Retirement and Living in Costa Rica" by Christopher Howard. Costa Rica Books, P.O. Box 1512, Thousand Oaks, CA 91358. 1-800-888-4741
  • "The Official Guide to Living and Investing in Costa Rica" published by Bob Johnston. Lawrence International S.A., SJO 643, P.O. Box 025216, Miami, FL 33102-5216. (Although the title says "Official Guide" it is not a government publication.)
  • There is also the Tico Times guide "Exploring Costa Rica." It is an annual publication with a lot of useful information on traveling around the country and the services you'll find here. The Tico Times is on the Web at