Costa Rica changes

It is unbelievable how much Costa Rica has changed in the last few years.! New business abounds throughout the country. The road to Guanacaste has saved hours of commuting time for those in the northern part of the country as well as giving some much needed shortcuts to business and shopping. Multiplaza mall is unrecognizable to what it was only 5 years ago.

What’s interesting, the road system hasn’t changed to keep up with the growth of the country. One example would be driving from San Jose airport to one of the more populated and well known cities, Escazu or Santa Ana. There are only 3 ways to get between these places..  May not sound like an issue, however if one of these roads collapse, which happens regularly, 1/2 of the country is in a gridlock.

The road from the airport to central San Jose has collapsed on 3 different occasions in the last 3 years. This is the busiest autopista (Spanish for highway) in the country and when it goes down, you have SERIOUS problems with transportation.

What’s interesting is the number of engineers in the country. There are 100’s graduating from college each year. I wonder what they are using this education to do and what they are engineering? It most certainly is not the roads or improving the biggest problem of the country.

I ponder……


Lost Internet?

Lost Internet? This is the question that often opens up conversation if you have anything to do with the internet or need internet service in Costa Rica on a daily basis. This is not a weekly or once a month occurrence like in the States but a daily question in Costa Rica. The wind blows, we lose internet. The power surges, we lose internet. ICE has a bad hair day, we lose internet. Many different reasons but all the same results, poor internet connectivity for long periods of time. Internet does not go down for minutes at a time but for hours. When it goes down, it REALLY goes down!

I am sure that some of the larger corporations have better results than those of us relying on ICE for a connection. Those with their own server surely have better service than those of us waiting on ICE to turn on the juice and boost up the power.

Meanwhile we keep asking, “Lost Internet?”


You CANNOT work in Costa Rica!

You cannot work in Costa Rica unless you have a work permit or the proper type of residency that allows you to do so. You cannot work while living in the country with a Tourist Visa, Rentista Status or Pensionado status. You are actually forbidden to do so by the Costa Rican government. You cannot take the job that a Costa Rican can do. This is the law!!!

Work permits are difficult to impossible to get unless a company is willing to sponsor you. The only companies that do this are large, financially established, well-known by the Costa Rican government. The only people that are approved for permits with these companies are executives for the most part.

If you are living in Costa Rica legally, you can start your own business but you CANNOT work it this business.

There is only one type of visa that allows you to work and live in Costa Rica and that is Permanent Resident Investor Status which gives you all of the rights that a Costa Rican citizen has. This comes with one exception and that is becoming politically involved. You are not permitted to vote in any Costa Rica election but you can work.

You cannot move to Costa Rica and start working. Well you can but if you do, you can get into some serious trouble and will be deported loosing anything that you have bought or business you have established while living in the country.

This has happened to too many Expats to list. Foreigners, usually from North America, come down and buy property or a business and begin working without getting the right paperwork taken care of ie., residency visa. They are caught by immigration, usually because they have upset a Costa Rican in some way. The Costa Rican turns them into immigration and they are kicked out of the country and not allowed to return for 10 years.

You do not want this to happen to you.

If you would like more information on how you can get the right type of residency, please email us.

I want you to know that you can’t just fly in and start working, You CANNOT work in Costa Rica!!!!


Costa Rican Telephone Numbers Will Have 1 More Digit in March

According to the ICE (Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad) one more digit will be added on March 20 to all phone numbers (both commercial, residential plus mobile phones) to leave space for future expansion.

The new numbers will look like this:

  • Residential and Commercial: add numnber 2 at the beginning
    • Now: xxx-xxxx
    • After March 20: 2xxx-xxxx
  • Mobile Phones
    • Now: 3xx-xxxx or 8xx-xxxx
    • After March 20: 83xx-xxxx or 88xx-xxxx

The change will be done at 00 hours and there will be no disruption of services. However keep in mind:

  • To update all marketing, paper, signs, contact cards.
  • To update your contact information on the Internet / web sites
  • To update the phone numbers in you cellphone / palm, etc


Live & Work Legally in Costa Rica

Obtain your Costa Rican Permanent Resident Investor Status through our Government approved reforestation project.


If the applicant chooses to obtain their Permanent Resident Investor status through this type of project they receive the following benefits:

  1. Application can be made directly to the Immigration department here in Costa Rica or application can be presented to the Costa Rican consul or embassy closest to applicants home.
  2. Application is pre-approved. No additional review or approval required from MINAE (El Ministerio del Ambiente y Energia).
  3. Applicant receives all the rights that a natural born Costa Rican has except can not get politically involved.
  4. If the applicant(s) chooses to work they are not restricted to working in the field of their investment.
  5. Applicant is required to be in Costa Rica only 1 day a year. This 1 day facilitates the renewing of the individuals status.
  6. The time the investor spends in Costa Rica with his legal status is applied towards the time requirement’s in order to obtain a Costa Rican passport. (if desired).


A. Investor receives 1 hectare (2.47 acres) of land registered in his or her name.

B. Investor receives full ownership of the valuable teak trees planted on his or her land.
(1,100 trees at time of planting)

C. Investor receives management contract ensuring the trees and property are maintained to or exceeding standards as outlined by the Costa Rican Forestry engineers.

D. Investor receives full value of the teak timber when harvested.

E. Investor receives right to participate in additional future cycles of replanting / harvesting.

Costs incurred in the processing of the application with Immigration are not borne by the applicant. Legal fees, local documentation and official stamps are included in the investment amount.


Work From Home in Costa Rica

Work from homeLiving in Costa Rica can be challenging for the one that stays at home. While the spouse that goes to work has plenty of contact with other people and challenges at work, the spouse that is left at home often has nothing to do. I have addressed this before when talking about culture shock but felt that it was time to address a solution to this problem.

You can’t legally work in Costa Rica under your spouse’s visa so what are you to do? Many people have found that working online seems like a good idea but not many people know how to get started in that area. There are so many scams that try to suck you in telling you that you will make$1,000 a week with no experience whatsoever and so on.

I remember when I was searching for something to do when we first arrived in Costa Rica, I was inundated with emails from hundreds of get rich quick schemes to the point that I had so much junk coming into my email box that I had to close the account.

I have done a lot of investigating and talked to many companies over the last 6 years and finally think that I have found one that can work for everyone looking for a work from home opportunity. It doesn’t require a lot of time, of course the more time you put into it, the more money you can make.

You can be paid directly into your US bank account which is good for Costa Rica laws and not being allowed to work under the laws of Costa Rica.

This is only a starting point though; you have to have a niche for something or an idea of a business to create on your own.

When I decided to open an office in the United States for the pet transportation end of my business is when I was introduced to the concept of Site Builders. It is an incredible system and can help you produce income while you are at home.

For more information from the source, go to this site or link on our work from home button to learn more about this incredible opportunity. Then go to our pet relocation site to see what we have done with it with SBI.

Keep in mind that I know NOTHIING about building a website and mine doesn’t look half bad thanks to SBI. The business that I have been able to generate from this site is incredible. We are still building so check back for more changes and updates often.

Another great idea for someone living in Costa Rica is to have a system for sending out cards to friends and family in the US. I know how expensive it can be going through one of the mail forwarders so we didn’t send cards to family and friends for birthdays or holidays for a couple of years until I linked into this system.

You can pick a card out of 1000’s and it is sent out for you for a fraction of the price of what it would cost you to send a card from Costa Rica. Cards are as cheap as .31 cents a piece and you are charged .41 cents postage so you can send a NICE professional card for .72 cents. And if you decide on the right package, you can actually generate income as well as saving money on sending out cards. For more information on this visit our site

Of course if you have any questions on either one of the work at home ideas I have mentioned above, you can email me direct at



For quite some time now, there has been a heated debate on whether or not to vote yes for the CAFTA/TLC or free trade agreement with the US.  Lines were drawn and the country has been divided far too long.  Costa Rica was coming to a deadline and had to make a decision one way or the other.

When Oscar Arias was voted in as president, we all thought that he would approve CAFTA and get the ball moving on the changes that were to take place but when he saw how divided the country was and how much opposition he had, I think he chickened out.  Instead agreeing to the CAFTA agreement with the U.S., he decided to put it to a vote for the whole country to hopefully come together in agreement, thus taking the monkey off his back.

Yesterday, the first referendum in the history of Costa Rica took place and the country voted on whether or not to accept the CAFTA, known here as the TLC.  Voters came out in record numbers. 60% of the electorate turned out Sunday to ratify the free trade agreement with the U.S. by 48,198 votes.  It came down to the wire with 51.58% voting si/yes and 48.42% voting no.

At last the controversy is over and it has passed.  Everyone has an opinion on this but I think it is a good thing and that many new jobs will come to Costa Rican’s because of it.

It will bring an end to the monopolies that run the country with electricity, insurance and internet just to name a few.  Competition is good for the economy and I believe that if we have options to who we choose for internet, just to name one, we will get much better service and pricing.  The opposition says that competition is bad and that Costa Rica should stay the same forever.  But change is good and I truly believe that Costa Rica will benefit from the decision that they have made.


Spanish classes in Costa Rica

In the better schools of Costa Rica, children are offered one hour a day of spanish instruction. They begin at the beginning for children that know no Spanish at all to intermediate classes where children speak a little Spanish. After one to 2 years your children can be bilingual and after 4-5 years they will be totally bilingual. This is one of the great advantages to living in Costa Rica.

All 3 of our children are completely bilingual and often times we use them to translate the more complicated things and they do it without even thinking about it. Our daughter speaks with a perfect Spanish accent and her spanish is as good as or better than her english.

If you are considering moving to Costa Rica to give your children a chance to learn a second language, I highly recommend it. They learn proper Spanish and this sets them up for great jobs in their future. My daughter can translate most anything given to her after only 5 years of Spanish and my boys aren’t far behind.

For more information on which schools offer SSL (Spanish as a second language) contact Guardian Angels and we can point you in the right direction.

If you are looking for Spanish classes for adults there are literally hundreds of schools to choose from. Some are definately better than others and again, we can recommend the best for your needs.


Maid in Costa Rica

If you are planning to have a maid in Costa Rica or employees of any sort, you need to know the following applies to you.

Although all measures possible to try to characterize the relationship as out of the reach of local labor law are taken, the type of activities that will be performed certainly pose a high risk of being considered by a local Labor Court, if a dispute arises, as constituting a regular labor relationship between the parties.
If that happens, it is important to have a clear picture of the obligations that will materialize for the employer, which mainly consist in penalties for the lack of registration of the employees before the local Social Security Administration, as well as the payment of all labor related compensations to which regular employees are entitled under Costa Rican labor law, namely: vacations, Christmas bonus (also called thirteenth month), right of notice of termination and severance pay.
Below are the details for each of the above:
With regards to vacations, besides holidays and Sundays, the employee is entitled to two weeks of paid vacation for each fifty weeks worked or, in cases of contracts that terminate before such 50 weeks, a day for each month worked. Vacations can be divided, but only in two segments.
Upon termination of the employment contract, unused vacation time should be paid using as a base the average of salaries earned during the last six months.
Christmas Bonus
Employees must be paid a bonus of one month’s salary after a year of work (“aguinaldo”), or an amount proportionate to the time worked, if it less than a year.
Right of notice of termination
After three months of employment, an employee has the right to receive notice in the event of termination of employment without just cause by the employer (if notice is not given, he must be paid one month’s salary, or a fraction if he has been employed for less than one year).
Severance payment
If the worker is fired without justification after at least three months of service, the employer has to pay a severance payment whose amount increases in accordance with the time served and could be up to twenty two days per year worked, with a maximum calculated on the basis of eight years, all according to a specific calculation table indicated by the Labor Code.


Banks in Costa Rica

Banks in Costa Rica include both private and public banks, with each alternative offering its benefits and drawbacks. The four public banks can be slower, with longer lines-especially durning the lunch hour, at the end of the day, and on pay day-but are making efforts to increase efficiency and tend to offer better access with many branches and ATM’s throughout the country.

On the other hand, the 12 private banks, some of which are affliated with international banks, can be faster but also tend to have higher fees but not by much and for the convenience it is generally worth the difference.

When choosing a bank, factors to consider include where you plan to live and how much you plan to travel ( those who will spend most of their time in San Jose will obviously have the widest array of banking options); whether you need to access your account or use your debit or credit card abroad: whether you speak Spanish (if you don’t, a private bank, particularly and international bank, is probably your best bet) and what other options you require, such as Internet banking, which is increasingly avalable and extensive. Requirements to open accounts vary from bank to bank and may include documents from electricity bills to personal references from other bank clients.

Another decision to make is whether to open a dolor or colon account. With devaluation continuing at the steep rate of 0.13 colon per day, dollars are a more stable option for long term accounts. Interest is higher on colon accounts to make up for the devaluation of the colon.

Passport originals are generally required for an bank transaction. Be sure to call ahead for bank hours-don’t assume they will be open from 9-5, as some close earlier and open later. Also, plan ahead for the many Costa Rican holidays, when banks shut down completely.