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Building an Information Database on Costa Rica

Estimated Reading Time: 6 Minutes

Once you are committed to moving to Costa Rica, you build a databaseHow much help can you get from a database that you should build before moving to Costa Rica?

Once you are committed to moving to Costa Rica, there is a huge amount of information to read and absorb. So, my advice again: be detailed, be methodical (even if it’s hard for you to do).

I can’t emphasize strongly enough how important and helpful it proved to be to have built a database of Costa Rican resources, research, and contacts.

Your vacation visit(s) will give you a snapshot of Costa Rica. Just remember you’re seeing the country in its most-perfect light, as a tourist. It’s different than actually living in Costa Rica day after day and dealing with the mundane issues of daily life and the bureaucracy. Your research will help to fill in the blanks and demystify Costa Rica.

Build Contacts

Therefore, it’s very important to build contacts, read (discriminatingly) and record and file the details you collect from your visit and online and build an information database with that.

Put forth an effort to make acquaintances and develop contacts located in Costa Rica that you might need to call on later. I’ll wager that virtually every ex-pat here, made similar efforts in their preparations to immigrate here to get connected to other Make a database on people involved in your move to Costa Ricaex-pats and even English-speaking Ticos and Ticas. Or they now wish that they had done a better job of it.

It’s my take that folks here expect to be queried and are generally happy to provide you with assistance similar to the kind they received on their preparations to move here. It’s sort of the Costa Rican ex-pat’s version of “paying it forward.” The other bonus, we made contacts that turned into acquaintances that are evolving into great friendships.

Information on the Web

There are several websites that will help you get a start on planning your big move to Costa Rica. Most sites spend time giving you general facts and tips geared to vacationing in Costa Rica, though some are filled with excellent information about moving and living here. I’ll repeat: rules and policies change here frequently along with a warning that Costa Rican web content may not keep up with the revisions. So, check the site to see when it was last updated.

I’m not going to endorse all of the resources I’ve viewed. My advice is to do an Internet search and you’ll have several resources from which to choose. Follow hyperlinks on the sites you find and your list of resources will grow. However, there are three resources that I found helpful to varying degrees.


First, there is the ARCR, Association of Residents of Costa Rica. They cater to a North American membership. Their The Costa Rica Tourism Bureau ICT gives out lots of good infooffices are in San Jose and offer an annual membership for $100/year for non-residents (add your spouse for an additional $10).

They have an okay website but publish a very useful printed magazine, “El Residente. You can read this magazine online every other month with great articles on topical issues, immigration, opinions, and things happening in Costa Rica.

They respond via email to member questions; offer immigration services, insurance (including discounted private medical insurance), and other services; hold monthly lunch meetings; and also offer other discounts on rental cars, restaurants, hotels, and local Costa Rican goods and services.

International Living

Next, is “International Living,” an online resource. Request their general overview of the history and general outline of Costa Rica. If you subscribe to their Daily Postcard, just remember they are a for-profit operation. Their business is to promote foreign destinations with seminar tours and resource materials and create ex-pats.

In my opinion, they have a tendency to emphasize only a country’s best features. The info they provide is accurate as far as it goes. If you are discerning and use discretion, they do provide very useful information.

Ivo’s Blog

Finally, Ivo’s blog offers an up-to-date “warts and all” look at everyday Costa Rican life. The blogs prepare you for a Costa Rican lifestyle better than anything short of living here. I found Ivo’s real-life experiences, observations, and insights gained over an adult lifetime here to be invaluable for your database. You don’t have to buy property from Ivo or one of his agents (although, I know he wouldn’t mind) to appreciate the contribution his fact-filled blog topics can make in your decision or preparation to live here.


Without any endorsement, here are a few other web-based sites to start your database:

  • The Real Costa Rica,
  • Explore Costa Rica,
  • Costa Rica for Life,
  • “,”
  • Living in Costa Rica,
  • (an online Costa Rican English language newspaper),
  • the U.S. Embassy-Costa Rica,
  • the Costa Rican Embassy—the U.S.A.
  • and even Craigslist Costa Rica (don’t laugh—Craigslist is a great spot to see the real fabric of ex-pat life—you’ll see from what’s for sale and what people are looking to find, what is hard to find, and what is easy to find used).

Each of the sites will give you a different perspective and each may have something not covered by another.

Note: some with blogs or chat rooms are centers for the disgruntled and dissatisfied. Take what is said with a grain of salt. Remember, happy folks, are less likely to go online and rave about how great something is than those who go on to rant about some injustice or a complaint.

The Author

The author of this blog, Ticonuevo, is a US expat who moved to Costa Rica and used the services of GoDutch Realty to purchase a property here. Ticonuevo describes his own experiences of taking the step of moving to Costa Rica and starting a new life in his blogs.

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I DO want to remind our readers that we appreciate any referrals you can send us. Also, please remember the GoDutch Realty agents when you talk about your home in Costa Rica; we appreciate it.

We Love your Referrals at GoDutch Realty

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Ivo Henfling

If you are looking to buy a home in Costa Rica or invest in a condo anywhere in the central Valley, or looking for any property for sale in Escazu, you need to call me. I have been selling real estate in Escazu for over 20 years and can show you hundreds of happy buyers of real estate in Escazu and other areas. To me, a deal is not a good deal unless both buyer and seller are happy.

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