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Rent furnished or unfurnished when moving to Costa Rica?

To rent furnished or unfurnished when moving to Costa Rica?Moving to Costa Rica and you don’t know if you should rent furnished or unfurnished? I know that is quite a difficult decision. But don’t go crazy over it, that’s why we are here: to assist you.

The very first question you need to ask yourself is if you will move to Costa Rica permanently or not. Is the move your final decision or are you just going to give it a shot and see how you will do?

Burning your ships behind you will oblige you to take more drastic decisions. While keeping your home and other belongings and renting a home in Costa Rica for a short term, is a whole other way of attacking the topic.

There is of course the big question: what to take with you to Costa Rica and what not? You probably have a lifetime of stuff and you don’t want to bring it all with you to Costa Rica. I never forget that guy in his 20’s many years ago. I rented him an unfurnished house in Escazu and he only brought a hammock and his toothbrush. He lived there for quite a few years.

To rent furnished or unfurnished when moving to Costa Rica?

Many years ago, Dale Carnegie taught me to make a list of advantages and disadvantages when having difficulties in taking a decision. So let’s do exactly that, you’d be surprised how clear it will be for you to take a decision to rent furnished or unfurnished when moving to Costa Rica.

Different lease options

It is important you realize the difference between a short term rental and a long term rental. Let’s go through that difference first.

A.      Short term rental.

The short term rental is often called a vacation rental. The term of the lease agreement can be a week and anything less than one year. This covers all snowbirds that get away from winter at home, for a short period. Those who come to Costa Rica for a couple of months, to see if living in Costa Rica is a good choice, will also have to look for a short term rental.

Short term rentals or vacation rentals are always furnished and equipped. The rent price is always much higher than a long term rent price. That is necessary because the landlord needs to cover the unrented weeks or months.

You will find some short rentals have power, water, internet and cable TV services included in the price and others have not.

B.      Long term rental

The long term rental is for those who have decided to stay at least one year. With long term rentals, you have the option to rent furnished or unfurnished. Sometimes you will find long term rentals with the appliances included.

When you sign a long term rental agreement, you usually agree at staying a minimum of 1 year, renewable at the same rent price for another 2 more years. If you leave before the first year, you will lose your security deposit. Read your lease agreement well before you sign it.

Now, let’s separate the reasons of your move. Will you be just a tourist or are you planning to be a permanent resident?

A permanent move

You have sold you property in your home country. Moving to Costa Rica and to rent furnished or unfurnished is the next question. Feel free to add any advantages or disadvantages that occur to you.

To rent furnished or unfurnished when moving to Costa Rica?

With furniture


1.       You’re starting in a new environment with everything you’ve had all your life. So you’ll feel at home right away.

2.       There is no need to waste any time holding a garage sale. So you don’t have to give anything away that still has great value (to you).

3.       You don’t need to spend months shopping in Costa Rica. You can start enjoying retirement right away.

4.       Those winter clothing you’re bringing with you will still serve when visiting friends and family. AND you’ll never have to be cold in Costa Rica, ever!


1.       Moving furniture to another country is not cheap.

2.       It will be necessary to spend a lot of time and effort quoting moving companies. There is the choice of packing yourself or having your moving company do it for you. Time & effort against cost.

3.       Your shipping container might not have arrived in time when you are ready to rent a home.

4.       The container with your household might get stuck in Costa Rican customs for quite some time.

5.       It is possible that some of your belongings arrive broken or not at all.

Without furniture


1.       New country, new life. Starting a new life and buying new furniture that adapts better to a tropical lifestyle is fun.

2.       Hassle free move. Just pack a suitcase of summer clothing and jump on a plane.

3.       No hassle with customs.

4.       Much more and better options to rent a house.


1.       Good quality furniture in Costa Rica is not cheap at all. You might have to shop around quite a bit to find what you’re looking for.

2.       It will be necessary to rent a furnished home. That means living in furniture that doesn’t make you feel at home.

3.       It will be necessary to have a higher budget to rent, as to rent furnished is more expensive than to rent unfurnished.

A perpetual vacation / snowbirds / the undecided

As you can see, those that are on a perpetual vacation, the snowbirds and the undecided all fall under the same group of people. That is because they only need to rent for a short time or they cannot decide if they will stay permanently or not.

To rent furnished or unfurnished when moving to Costa Rica?

A decision

So, with all the above said, what is the best decision? As you see, the fact that you will move permanently or not has a lot of influence on this decision to rent furnished or unfurnished. There is something to be said for each option.

Some just prefer to burn their ships behind them and move their furniture to a new home in Costa Rica. Others prefer to rent furnished for the short term and others for the long term, trying a different location until finding the right one.

Once you are ready to rent furnished or unfurnished, please read this article first, so you understand how we function at GoDutch Realty.

Contact us now for our recommendations, for the different locations that we serve.

Feel free to leave your comments on this blog.

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I DO want to remind our readers that we appreciate any referrals you can send us. 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




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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