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Home / Preface
5 - Costa Rica in Brief
6 - Map of Costa Rica
8 - Symbols of Costa Rica
9 - Introduction
12 - Getting a Bird's Eye View
14 - Why Choose Costa Rica?
18 - Costa Rica Has Many Firsts to its Name
22 - A Place That Accepts All Races
30 - The Friendliness of the Costa Ricans
33 - Ticos are Individualistic
35 - Ticos Are Different and Procrastinators
38 - Why Others Have Gone Abroad
42 - Specific Reasons for Leaving Home
45 - Culture Shock
48 - Enjoy Your Retirement by Adjusting
49 - Ways to Adjust to Your New Life
56 - Making Your Stay More Satifying
58 - Cost of Living
67 - Addresses and Directions
69 - Your Car and Driving
71 - How Not to Be Obnoxious to Locals
74 - Adjusting to the Weather and Climate
76 - Choosing the Right Climate for You
77 - City Living versus Country Living
79 - Where to Live in Costa Rica
82 - Living in Your American Style
84 - Top Quality Health Services
87 - Medical Centers in San José
89 - Dying in Costa Rica
91 - Security and Safety in Costa Rica
94 - Personal Experiences of Petty Thievery
98 - Sex and Romance
101 - Going into Business Yourself
105 - Expatriates Production Enterprises
110 - Expatriates Service Businesses
114 - The Business Environment
120 - Helpful Tips for the Newcomer
125 - National Holidays and Festivities
128 - Religion, Churches & Support Groups
131 - The Optimism and Health Link
133 - The 8 Point Formula for Anti-Aging
134 - Obtaining Insurance
136 - Early Colonial History in Brief
139 - English Language & Tico Expressions
144 - Misdemeanors That Are Now Felonies
146 - Closing Words
148 - Bibliography
149 - For More Information and Contacts
151 - Appendix
155 - Index


Probably the biggest factor that affects how much money you'll spend in living in Costa Rica is housing since rental costs can vary greatly from one location to another and depending on the size of the house or apartment. I'll cover the subject of residential real estate further ahead. Some of the information comes from my book Developing and Managing Profitable Rental Real Estate in Costa Rica published a few years ago and I'll treat this subject here with information that could interest you more as a lessee than as a property owner.

At first, you'll probably want to live in an apartment or an Apart hotel until you get the feel of the country. Maybe you'll want to live permanently in one or perhaps you might want a house where you'll have more room and possibly a garden and backyard where you can keep a dog. In either case, it will help you to know some of the rental laws in Costa Rica so you can protect yourself from some not very scrupulous landlords who try to take advantage of a newcomer, especially if the latter is a gringo or another foreigner.

When renting an apartment or house always have a contract drawn-up. In case you don't know Spanish, the landlord or real estate broker will have a draft in English which you can read over for acceptance or negotiation. It must be a true translation of the official contract which must always be in Spanish. In Costa Rica all contracts have a minimum time limit of three years, which can be renovated for other periods of three years each provided that both parties agree.

No landlord can force you to vacate the property during the three years you live in it as long as you pay on time, but you're free to abandon at any time as long as you give advance notice of at least one or two months. Contracts usually stipulate that to get back your guarantee deposit you must give one to two months of advance notice before leaving and that you have occupied the property for at least one year.

Price of the rent can be stipulated in either dollars or the local currency of Colones. If the rent is in Dollars, no annual increase is authorized unless an agreement has been reached by, both landlord and lessee specifying the amount of annual increase. On the other hand, if the rent is in Colones, the law permits a maximum annual increase of 15% over the preceding year. The landlord is free to make any annual increase he wants to as long as it doesn't go over 15%. This increase was established by the government to give the property owner protection against devaluation.

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All texts of How to Retire Happily in Peacefull Costa Rica are copyrighted © by Frank J. Thomas Gallardo and Editorial Texto Costa Rica. We recommend to buy a hard copy of How to Retire Happily in Peacefull Costa Rica.