Let Costa Rica get your spirits up, Instead of Covid bringing you down

Let Costa Rica get your spirits up.

Let Costa Rica get your spirits up instead of covid bringing you down. Yes, the election is over, and the cold weather is in across a couple hemispheres. Yet here we are enjoying what Costa Rica has to offer.  Ask anyone their top reasons for coming to Costa Rica and the first 3 or 4 things they tell you will be familiar. Warm weather, Lots of Beaches, Friendly people, Great ecosystems, Surfing, and that list goes on. That and the restrictions in North America should be enough to get you on a connecting flight to our great area for at least 90 days.

I am including a link further down to my web page with dozens of Covid test facilities to accommodate you on your return trip whenever that may be.

But there are some even better reasons to get to Costa Rica 

It seems we have people from all over the world here soaking up the sun on those very beaches. Spending days together with friends new and old having adventures near and far. But there are some even better reasons to get to Costa Rica. Some of the ways Costa Rica get your spirits up.

Over the years that I traveled here and now living here for 7 years, bits and pieces make up memories and experiences that shape each day. With the COVID-19 pandemic upon us, its easy to find families in need and great people going out of their way every day to help. From food drives to personal phone calls, great volunteers and friends are here in paradise being all they can be. It is awesome to see and you can be sure seeing that dedication is forming new memories daily. With that said they need your help. I know I have asked before. And trust me, I will ask again, until this pandemic is over. Please give I will attach more information and links below.

But this newsletter is dedicated to a good friend and his family back in Canada.

You will not find it in a travel brochure.  

But there are other memories that come in such different ways. A few years ago, I was visiting family and friends in Canada. We were invited to the home of a personal friend for BBQ and some great conversation. I had met my friend years earlier through work and later met his wife. During dinner she shared memories of a time she spent in Costa Rica as a young woman on an exchange program. She enjoyed it so much, that she stayed a few months longer after the exchange ended. She talked about Costa Rica and the host family with vigor and a sparkle in her eyes. The Spanish she had learned quickly came back, and the evening turned out to be an incredibly special treat. Sadly, she became terribly ill and was taken from us before she was able to return. I am so glad she shared that memory. You will not find it in a travel brochure. I guess that is one to those special moments, that cannot be reduced to words.

Costa Rica has been named as the number one.

Again, Costa Rica has been named as the number one place to retire. Like we didn’t know. Here is a link to a great article on just that topic. Let Costa Rica get your spirits up

Costa Rica is named as the Best Accessible Destination 2021

So how do we get here? And what about returning? Many people decided to stay though the pandemic. Landed residents or not, Costa Rica has been very gracious in extending everyone’s travel visa. Letting those lucky enough to be in paradise stay a little longer. Even though Costa Rica does not require testing for entry, For those of you wanting to travel back and forth, your now required to have a test prior to boarding a plane to many countries. I am attaching a link to page listing all of the testing facilities to accommodate you here in Costa Rica including our local Clinic here in Playas del Coco.

Click this link for;  Costa Rica Covid Testing Facilities 

Here is some information to donate to the local food drives as the great volunteers work thru the Covid pandemic; 

  1. NO AMOUNT IS TOO SMALL. You can PAYPAL or ZELLE to michael@tanktopsflipflops.com
  2. “Patas y Manos” (Paws and Hands)   https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s xclick&hosted_button_id=Z8DDX5FBJWNWW&source=url

Some of the Great Properties Available

Click on the property for the listing and click below for the video

Pacifico Lot 13 Spec Home  $895,000. Playas del Coco

Mar Vista Private Estate $1,395,000, Playa Hermosa

Casa de Atardecer, $695,000.  Playa Hermosa

Ladera del Mar Ranchitos Ridge Lot 4, $219,000.  Playas Del Coco

Condominium Jade Beach B17, $92,000  Playas del Coco

Condominium Flamenco Rosa C3, $141,000.  Playas del Coco

Pacifico Lifestyle 509, $144,000.  Playas Del Coco

Prados del Rio 18, $134,900.  Comunidad 

Wrong News About Costa Rica & Tourists

Most of  the news and articles about Costa Rica are very factual and based on lawyers, realtors research, tourists and of course Real Estate.

This time I want to address a couple things that seem to recur from time to time. And the amount of News, how about“Fake Stuff “. We could call it “bullshit” like it some of it is. But really it boils down to people not being professional.

We have all read about the recent wave deaths related to tainted alcohol that was sold in Costa Rica. And that tourists died consuming this. Let me be perfectly clear on what has happened. As it turns out from my time living in San Jose and owning a bar/restaurant, I happen to have a little background into liquor purchasing and sales.

Wrong News!

Firstly, not one tourist died from any of the bootleg alcohol that was being sold. As a matter of fact, you would be hard pressed to find anyone other then crack heads and street people who would even know where to buy the bootleg booze. Sadly, they did find it and paid a very big price for their efforts.

Secondly, The bootleg booze in question is made to mimic the cheapest type of alcohol available in the country. Most stores, bars and restaurants would never even contemplate carrying the genuine products the bootleg mimics because they are such low-end that customers won’t buy them.

Tourists Should Try This

Thirdly, Costa Ricans (Ticos) drink the same types of liquor as everyone else. The only addition to that is Cacique Guaro which is a sugar cane liquor that is clear and rather pure. It could be said that it’s Costa Rica’s answer to say vodka and can be drank straight but is usually mixed with juice, served on ice. But for the most part Cacique Guaro or Guaro as it is known by its local name is used in Costa Rica’s most famous drink “ChiliGuaro”. If you’ve never had a Chiliguaro, you’re really missing out. Family traditions on just how to get the right mix vary, so be sure try more than one.

Fourth, Jumping on the band wagon to report a story without doing any type of research is just shameful. It’s doesn’t matter what country it’s in, or what product, place or person it’s about. Whenever someone writes in a newspaper, broadcasts live on TV or puts a story on social media “Think”. It can, will and should have a huge effect on people. Get your facts correct, keep things positive, remember to help educate, and support your fellow man or women. Don’t you just get tired of everyone bashing each other? I know I do.


 Lastly, I’m pretty sure Costa Rica is mainland and not an island. I don’t remember taking any long fairy rides when I drove down here from Canada. I do remember how much fun I had, the people I stopped to see along the way and of course the great adventure it was. But then, fun & adventure are just a part of life in Costa Rica.

To answer your questions about Costa Rica, check out my website at www.letsbuycostarica.com , send an email to thveenstra@gmail.com , or call me Theo Veenstra, Remax Ocean Village, toll free at 877-205-5507 and get some real information on buying property and life here around the northern beaches of Costa Rica. I look forward to helping you find your peace in Paradise.

Until then, Pura Vida.

Capital Gains Tax on Real Estate in Costa Rica

Capital gains now here in Costa Rica, Not new for most of us

For years, people have enjoyed a Capital Gains Free Real Estate market in Costa Rica.  Law 9635, called the “Fortalecimiento de las Finanzas Públicas” or just the “Plan Fiscal,” the fiscal plan in English, became law Dec. 4, 2018. Many parts of the legislation were on hold until today, July 1, 2019. One of those parts was the imposition of a capital gains tax on the sale of assets.

Last Thursday the tax department published its final revision to the regulations of the law. Here is an outline of the essential facts concerning capital gains:

The new capital gains tax is 15 percent of the profit of a transaction. For assets acquired before today, people have the option to pay 2.25 percent of the total sale price of the property.  All assets obtained after today are subject to the 15 percent tax. Legitimate homeowners can exempt the home they live in it as a permanent residence. More about the specifics of that exemption further down.

The calculations can be a bit confusing, so here is an example;
John and Jane Expat bought a property with a house on it 20 years ago for $50,000, and they can prove they put roughly $25,000 in improvements into both the land and the home. It is their second household for vacations and not their primary residence.

If the couple sells it today for $100,000 making a profit of $25,000, John and Jane have a capital gains tax choice. They can pay 15 percent on the profit of $25,000 for a tax of $3,750, or they can elect to pay 2.25 percent on the total sale price ($100,000) for a tax of $2,250 for a savings of $1,500.

Many people who bought homes and property in Costa Rica over the years have not kept good records regarding improvements and cannot prove what they have spent to reducing capital gain. This circumstance is an excellent reason to use the one-time, reduced percentage option because it is a no questions asked tax rate.

Those who bought and stayed here to live here can sell their residence and pay no capital gains taxes. The burden of proof is on the taxpayer. Permanent tourists would not qualify nor would people who rent out their residence most of the year and live somewhere else but have permanent legal residency in Costa Rica.

After today, no property transaction will be registered in the national registry if the paperwork does not have a tax form attached proving capital gains taxes were paid. The form is attached to the transfer deed submitted by a notary to transfer the property.


Law 9635, contains many reforms. One notable change is that the fiscal year used in the past of Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, becomes a calendar year Jan 1st to Dec 31st.

Other Aspects:

  • Capital gains can offset capital losses if they both happen in the same month since both need to be declared and paid the month they happen.

    • A refund is possible if capital losses are more than capital gains during the same fiscal year. Refund requests must adhere to some pretty strict rules, so a good accountant should file the forms.

    • Capital losses can offset gains for a period of three fiscal years for credit, not cash. There is fine print to obtain the offset, so professional assistance is a must.

Tax officials have still not made up their minds regarding non-active companies. In the regulations, they fudged and wrote this statement, translated into English and paraphrased by Kevin Chavarria, certified public accountant: “…non-active companies must fulfill their formal obligations. For this, before the start of the next fiscal year, the tax department will divulge to the public by publication in a nationally circulated newspaper what they are required to do.” Chavarria states the next fiscal year officially starts on Jan. 1.

Parts of this article were taken from Am Costa Rica News. This is just an overview of the changes and not the complete picture.

I will have follow-up information in the coming months as I will have the opportunity to speak with Lawyers and Accountants.

For most all of us a 15 percent capital gains tax is nothing new and is still a better deal then many of the areas we are originally from. For those that didn’t expect any tax on their Costa Rican property the 2.5% one-time option is great news. Be sure to use reputable contractors and property managers that provide a receipt. And keep records of your expenses related to your property, just like you do at home.

Contact me Theo Veenstra, Remax Ocean Village & Letsbuycostarica.com for more information on this tax and buying or selling your property in paradise!!!!Make your contact HERE

Insurance time for Costa Rica Cars


Real Estate in Costa Rica is a rewarding experience. Depending on your life style, family needs can include a golf cart, car, truck, boat or motorbike. At this time of year the new insurance rates are ready. Instituto Nacional de Seguros ( INS ) calculates rates somewhat the same way as property taxes are assessed according to the vehicles value. Payment is submitted, recorded and a receipt along with windshield sticker are issued. It’s called paying the Marchamo (Label) and is a requirement by law. Car insurance is available in several levels, starting of course with the required base rate. Payment must be received by Dec 31. or interest can apply. If your car is leased or has a loan, the finance company would require more then the base rate.

For Owners;    

Follow this calculator supplied by INSSimply type in your cars plate number (Placa), fill in the security protocol , then hit Consultar.  Next scroll down to the bottom and you will see the new base rate.   

  https://marchamo.inscr.com/Marchamo/Marchamo/frmConsultaMarchamo.aspx .

Where to Pay; 

All INS offices and the Bank of Costa Rica porcess  In addition,  local banks offer an online payment system. Check with your bank on how to do the procedure by online transfer. Remember at some point you will need to pick up the sticker.

Thinking of buying used;  

Car or golf cart, truck, etc?  Be wise and inquire that the Marchamo is paid up to date. If it hasn’t been paid, there would be a retro active payment plus interest. Through a lawyer there is a possibility to have that retro active charge removed, but again that can take months and there is no guarantee of success. Contact your Lawyer prior to payment of the vehicle, it’s easy to check. And can generally be negotiated in the agreed price. I will be adding a list of Lawyers on my website in the near future. 

Away Owners; Get in touch with your lawyer or property manager by Dec 31st to ensure the Marchamo has been paid.

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Owning and Living in Costa Rica

I am a full time Real Estate Sales Rep, with Remax Ocean Village. Our Remax team, has offices in Playas del Coco, Playa Hermosa and Playa Panama, Costa Rica. We service the Gulf of Papagayo and area.