Real Estate & Investments
Purchasing your own private piece of tropical heaven can be your best investment or your worst nightmare. It all depends on who you trust and what precautions you take. Costa Rican con-artists are plentiful in this high-stakes arena, so make sure that you are dealing with only the most reputable real estate and investment firms.
Be aware that 200 meters inland from the high tide line along all of Costa Rica's shores is public and legally cannot be owned. There are, however, ways of "buying" the beach property so that you can build on it, but this can take a lot haggling with the local land authority and perhaps even some under-the-table dealings. No matter where the property is you choose to buy, it is essential that you start by following a couple rules of thumb. First and foremost, seek legal advise from a venerable lawyer that you trust. And secondly, always place a transaction deposit in an escrow account, and never in the possession of the selling party.
The Tico Times is a good resource for investment opportunities, as well as The American Chamber of Commerce of Costa Rica (www.amcham.co.cr). The latter publishes a helpful book called Guide to Investing and Doing Business in Costa Rica.
For more information on purchasing property in Costa Rica, see our insightful and extensive Real Estate section.