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With a total surface of approximately 51000 square kilometers, Costa Rica is the second smallest central American nation after El Salvador.

At its narrowest point, in the south, only 119 kilometers (1,6 kilometers equals 1 mile), about 74 miles, separate the Caribbean from the pacific. Costa Rica can boast that over 25% of its territory is comprised of protected national parks, nature shelters, forest reserves, and biological reserves making Costa Rica the country with the largest percentage area of its national territory protected in the world. Truly a legacy for all mankind!

Costa Rica was named last year as the number 1 Eco-tourism destination in the world and was considered by Interpol as the second safest tourism in the world!

Major hotel chains have built and are building hotels and beach resorts here including such luminaries as Hilton, Marriott, Barcelo, holiday inn, Radisson, intercontinental, Melia and best western.

Major beachfront and beachside developments, marinas and golf courses are under construction or finished in the central pacific and northern pacific coasts of Costa Rica.

The country takes advantage of an almost perfect tropical climate.

Costa Rica has two seasons: the dry season or summer, November to April and the green season, May to November.

Costa Rica offers a real paradise for the nature lover, the fishing enthusiast and the water sports fanatic as well as the retiree. Its coast lines, river and lakes offer ideal conditions for sport fishing, rafting, diving and surfing.

General Information
Foreigners don't have to live in Costa Rica to own a property here. All Costa Rica citizens and foreigners have equal rights under the law in matters of land and property ownership; in case the the owner bought the land as part of a government program; the land can be traded or sold to foreigners only after the original owner has held it for certain period of time.

Registration of a property
Once you decide to buy a property, you need to make sure the sale is property registered at the Registro de la Propiedad, which keeps track of all the little registrations; in order to proof that you are the new legal owner. It is wise either, to hire a lawyer to verify that there are no lies against the property or the property owner's.

Taxes in Costa Rica vary from 0.5% to 1.5% of the declared value of the property.

The closing costs of a sale includes:
• A transfer land tax
• A stamp tax
• Legal fees

The cost run about 5% or 6% of the sale price (divided evenly between buyer and seller). Transfer land tax and stamp tax assessments are based on the declared value; legal fees are based on the selling price of the property.

Transactions may be conducted in U.S dollars.

Beach Front Property
According to the Costa Rica law, the beaches belongs to everybody and everybody has a right to use them. The first 50 meters (164 ft) above the mean high tide line are public land. No one can claim a beach as private owned or restrict access to it; exceptions being landholding in port areas, old land grants or by some agreements made prior to 1973. Along 80% to 85% of coastline, the 150 meters (492 ft) after the 50 first meters (164 ft) are called the Maritime Zone and are controlled by the government. A foreigner must establish five years of residency to own more than 49% of a lease in this zone. Foreigners can evade the law by assigning the lease to a corporation that is wholly foreign owned or by assigning 51% of the ownership of the land (on paper) to a Costa Rican citizen. Take a careful look at the zoning laws before you start development in any of these areas. If your development dream is located on the 15% or 20% of the coast land not in a Maritime Zone, then you may develop the property without filing a regulating plan. However, developments geared to the tourist industry must be approved by ICT (Tourist Board), anything else requires building permits.

Previously dependant on agriculture (coffee, bananas and sugar were the main exports) for almost a century, Costa Rica has now made tourism, the number one industry in the country and has set its eyes on becoming the technology capital of Latin America (silicon valley south). The current installation in Costa Rica of Intel’s microchip production plants and agreements with Microsoft for software development and software implementation throughout the school system signal a new industry developing which is ideal for the highly educated and technologically savvy students being produced by Costa Rica’s universities and technical schools.

Costa Rica’s medical care is among the best anywhere and many north Americans come here for dental services, plastic surgery and even heart surgery as the quality is comparable to north American health care but the prices are one half or less!

Costa Rica has close to 35000 (about 1% of the total population) north American citizens who have moved here in recent years and now call Costa Rica home, attracted by a quality of life among the highest in the western hemisphere.

These residents know what travelers are only now beginning to discover; that Costa Rica has been one of the worlds’ best kept travel secrets, as well as being a great place to live.

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