Real Estate in Santa Teresa and Mal Pais Costa Rica
Properties in Mal Pais, Santa Teresa, Playa Hermosa and Manzanillo
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Costa Rica Real Estate Guide


Although technically the constitution allows equal access to credit for both foreigners and Costa Ricans, it is significantly more difficult for foreigners to qualify. Out of country collateral and income is not normally considered by the banks. In some cases you will need a co-signer (fiador). Even then, Costa Rican interest rates are very high so it is probably more economical to bring funds from ... more


What do I do if I am an absentee owner; how do I protect my land from being occupied by third parties?" The answer is simple: have someone responsible check on your property once a month while you are gone. You can also have someone live on the property as your caretaker. If you hire a caretaker, draw up a written agreement and have it notarized by an attorney. Handshake agreements can be full of ... more

Protection of Private Property

You may wonder, "Can the Costa Rican government take my property from me?" Yes, it is possible, but very difficult. One thing to understand is that there are similar conditions we find in the United States and other countries where the government has and can expropriate private property for public interests, i.e. roads, easements, protected areas, etc. The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution ... more

Title Insurance

Stewart Title has set up shop in Costa Rica but it is unclear their true role in selling title insurance. Aside from that, the national registry is open to the public and any attorney can perform a title search. The Costa Rican constitution guarantees your property rights, however, "title insurance" may justify some peace of mind. Stewart Title charges 1.5% of the sale price or a minimum of $700. ... more

Costa Rican Law

In the United States, the legal system is based on Common Law (except for Louisiana) whereas Civil Law is used in Costa Rica. This is an important distinction to make with regard to how judges make decisions and how contracts are written. Civil Law is more restricted with less interpretation by the judges. Precedent is not necessarily a factor and may be considered or viewed only for clarification ... more

Real Estate Agents

In Costa Rica, there is little governmental regulation of the real estate industry. However, a knowledgeable real estate expert will be invaluable in helping you with many aspects of your purchase. In general, a good real estate agent performs a more critical role than stateside agents as the system in Costa Rica is far less sophisticated. There are no formal escrow companies, mortgage companies or ... more

Conversion Table

1 mile = 1.61 kilometers 1 meter = 3.28 feet 1 yard = 0.914 meters 1 square meter (m2) = 10.76 sq. ft. 1 manzana = 0.698896 hectares (7,000 m2) 1 acre = 43,560 m2 1 hectare = 10,000 m2 1 hectare = 107,600 sq.ft   1 kilometer = 0.6214 miles 1 foot = 0.304 meters 1 meter = 1.09 yards 1 sq. ft. = 0.093 m2 1 manzana = 1.73 acres 1 acre = 0.405 hectares 1 hectare = 2.47 acres 1 inch = 2.54 ... more


The author’s intention is to explain many of the important issues before you consider making a real estate purchase in Santa Teresa, Mal Pais or Manzanillo, be it titled land, possession land, or beach land. This information should not be considered a recommendation to purchase land in a particular category. Though this information is well researched, it is not the intention of the author to suggest ... more

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