Buying property in Costa Rica
First of all, as a foreigner you have almost the same rights as nationals when buying property in Costa Rica. The only exception is buying property in the Terrestrial Maritime Zone. The Maritime Zone legislation states that all beaches are public property, so the first 50 meters (164 ft.) above the mean high tide line is public.
With some exceptions, there are no private beaches in Costa Rica. The exceptions refer to landholdings in port areas and old land grants and agreements dating from before 1973. The Maritime Zone legislation further states that the first 150 meters (492 ft.) after the first 50 meters (164 ft.) is called the Maritime Zone. As a foreigner you are required to have a minimum of five years of residency in Costa Rica in order to buy property in Costa Rica of which more than 49% is located in the Maritime Zone.
The first thing you should do before buying property Costa Rica is investigate what it may be used for and if there are any outstanding monetary issues. You can either investigate this yourself or make use of a professional. The following institutions should be contacted:
- Ministry of Agriculture and Cattle (Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganardería, MAG)
- National Institute of Housing and Development (Instituto Nacional de Vivienda y Urbanismo, INVU)
- Ministry of Health (Ministerio de la Salud)
- Ministry of Environment, Energy and Telecommunications (Ministerio de Medio Ambiente, Energía y Telecomunicaciones)
- Ministry of Housing and Human Resources (Ministerio de Vivienda y Asentamientos Humanos, MIVAH)
- Water and Sewage Authority (Instituto Costarricense de Acueductos y Alcantarillados, AyA)
- Ministry of Public Works and Transportation (Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes, MOPT)
- Institute of Farming Development (Instituto de Desarrollo Agrícola, IDA)
- The municipality the property is located at