“I traded all that in for the Pura Vida Lifestyle”

I traded all that in for the Pura Vida Lifestyle”. How many times have each of us read that statement? With me I traded one paradise for another. Having lived in Muskoka, Canada and selling Real Estate there, I came to Costa Rica for some new adventures. Traveling through most of Costa Rica, those adventures started on week one.

Where do I go?

The beaches of the Pacific Ocean are still my favorite

Born into a trucking family, driving was in my blood, and touring around Costa Rica remains one of my hobbies. Where do I go? That is probably an area that I differ from most people. For me submersing in a variety of Costa Rican cultures, has been both interesting and rewarding. Having taken some time to operate a business in San Jose, to doing what I knew I would do (Real Estate) from my first week in Costa Rica, it has been the people and places that give me the best memories.

You will not find that in a travel brochure.

Spending days and nights in Ticos homes is always a treat. There is always a pot of rice and some beans ready for family and friends. I remember the night I was asked to stand up and take a bow 3 times, just for spending the day in the sugar cane town of Pitahaya. Watching the Oxcart parade in San Jose, buying dynamite, then spending the day digging gold in Las Juntas. Spending the afternoon with a group of Ticos at their friend’s waterfall near Turrialba. The night I stayed at a coffee plantation. What a great family they were. Volunteering to teach English in Coco. Then of course, there’s fishing, walking the beach, monkeys, mud baths, catching a world class ocean view, or everything in between. I could fill this magazine. Oh, and that first week? Traveling through the mountains south of Cartago, I stopped for a coffee. A young couple had just leased the restaurant. A coffee to go turned into an hour of communicating without knowing each other’s language. One of the best hours of my life. A Tico young couple determined to make their new venture a success. WOW! Reminded me of me. You will not find that in a travel brochure.

Costa Rica Ferry

Who Am I?

Theo Veenstra, born in Brampton Ontario, Canada to Dutch immigrants. My first vacation in Costa Rica was February 2008. During one adventure driving a car from Canada to Costa Rica in 2012, I decided to also become an immigrant making Costa Rica home. 2014 was the time to live here full time, later becoming a Costa Rican / Canadian dual citizen.

Real Estate?

Happy Client on her first full day in Costa Rica

How do I look at Real Estate? What is the goal? Strictly investment and business, then the returns need to make sense of course. That said, I was lucky enough to start selling Real Estate in cottage country of Muskoka. That included both full time retires and seasonal families. Having also worked with an older demographic, one thing stood out more than everything else. “LIFE”. Whether buying or selling people wanted help with a piece of their life. I have never forgotten how important that is, And I base myself around helping people accomplish just that.

How? Why?

How? It is quite simple. Everything starts with being in the best environment available. I picked Playas del Coco and the Papagayo area, then joined the best group of realtors I could find. That is the Tres Amigos group. Why? Nothing is more important than surrounding each deal with great professionals. Together they have incredible knowledge, great contacts, operate an exceptional data base. And are most willing to share their knowledge. Along with this area being 20 minutes from Liberia International Airport including its direct flights, accessible medical care, options for schools, shopping, restaurants, and entertainment lets me hand my friends and clients a gift basket in a foreign country. Check the testimonials on my website, www.letsbuycostarica.com and it will hit you. Tres Amigos Realty Group and Papagayo are the right place for me.

What is most important??

People come to paradise for many reasons. Sun, surf, ecosystems, beaches, fishing, birds, adventure, escape from the cold, or to relax. There are a 1000 equally good reasons. Each one valid. A couple things are true, each of us shares something in common, and it can be hard to explain our experiences in Costa Rica to others. For me, what is most important is probably also what keeps me here. I learn so much about this culture and in turn about myself, like riding a bike for the first time. Lastly that stuff they call snow. It looks good from here. Feel free to contact me anytime and start living the Pura Vida Lifestyle.


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 

Costa Rica Updated. Entry Requirements, Real Estate, & Helping the Needy. Nov 21, 2020

Costa Rica Updated, Travel, Real Estate, & Helping the Needy as of November 21, 2020 is a 3 part news letter that includes some great news. Hi everyone, I hope you are all well and will have the time to digest this newsletter over the next couple days. Please share with you family and friends. As you know growing this base is a big part of my business. As such I appreciate each new connection made in the hopes of helping them realize the dream of spending time in paradise.

The 3 parts are to this Costa Rica Updated newsletter are: Helping the needy, Updated entry requirements, and a Real Estate update for 2020.

Helping the needy here in and around the Papagayo beaches. Costa Rica Updated

Michael Simons helping the needy

As you know the Covid pandemic took a huge hit on the tourism industry and back in February-March put our beaches out of business. The ripple effect has been huge, and its people like our own Michael Simons, broker/owner of Tres Amigos Realty Group, that have stepped up to win the day. That said they can’t do it alone. They really do need your help via donations either personally, together with family or at work. To that end some great people have come together to raffle holiday packages here in Costa Rica. Here is just one such offer.

Here is your chance to win a trip for 4 to COSTA RICA and you can help FEED PEOPLE at the same time. For just $100 you get a raffle ticket. There are only 100. All the money goes to buy food for the amazing people of Costa Rica who have been struggling for 8 months with the tourism shut down. Even though we are open for business only a small percentage of people will get their jobs back, so we will need to continue to do this for a while. PLEASE open your wallets and your hearts and donate. The winner gets 4 airline tickets to Costa Rica and a week’s stay in a luxurious PACIFICO 3 bedroom condo. You can ZELLE or PAYPAL to michael@tanktopsflipflops.com and MAKE SURE to put CARDELLA CHALLENGE #5 in the description to get you into this draw.

It takes approximately $1000 USD to feed 60 families. 100% of your donation goes to feeding affected families. Many of these people just don’t have other options. Officially, unemployment is running around 23% and we know it’s much higher at the beaches. In return for food, people have been collecting garbage, cleaning entire villages and roadways as exchange for your donations. They are good and humble people with their backs to the wall at this time, Please remember them in your prayers and hearts. No gift is to small or to large.

Real Estate 2020, Costa Rica Updated

We have all heard a common saying when it comes to Real Estate. Location, Location, Location. Over this past year, this has shown itself to be true once again. Sales in the area are happening as the pandemic, elections, and protest riots, are making many people rethink their current lifestyle. In researching Costa Rica, most people will also discover the government here, as in all other countries, is under financial pressure, with a fiscal outlook adding up to 3 or 4 difficult years ahead. As always different areas will feel those effects more than others. Thats where “Location” comes in and where the “Good News” starts.  Because this area was designated as a special tourist area by Costa Rica many years ago, we have received many upgrades in infrastructure, including electrical lines, water, fibre optics, and roads. There’s a few more things to do. There always is. After all, Costa Rica is an emerging country. That said, this area is in great shape. Liberia is growing fast, feeding into our base and we remain the best spot in Costa Rica to live. As a result sales in our part of the country are ok. We had some fire sales due to the pandemic, but we’ve sold most of that inventory and more then ever sellers have decided to take their properties off the market, and stay in Costa Rica.              Here is a peak at some 2020 sales in our immediate area. Costa Rica Updated.

Condos $0 – $500,000; 50+ units not including 6 the owners who decided to keep their condos

Homes/Villas $0 – $800,000; 27+ Homes & Villas sold,  4 owners decided to stay

Villas $800,000 plus; 7+ Villas. Plus 3 Villa owners decided to keep their properties

Lots; Oceanview and non-oceanview 18+ Mainly oceanview

These are sold or currently under contract. Most of the local market is sold by our own Tres Amigos Realty Group, and many properties this year were sold using videos, or live walk through media prior to the new owners arrival.

Here is a small selection of current listings. Please see my website for the expanded assortment of available properties.


Play this video here Pacifico C 107

Oceanview Villa, Playa Hermosa, Guanacaste, CR

4 Bedroom 4.5 Bath, Pacifico, Playas del Coco, Costa Rica

Oceanview Condo with Private beach club

Custom built on large lot, Intown Playas del Coco

 Entry Requirements & Links, Costa Rica Updated,

Costa Rica Passport Entry Stamp/Visa

Tourism is starting to return, abate at a slower pace. That said property sales are alive and well, as many people have decided to make Costa Rica home, either full or part time.

Travelers from pretty much every country can enter Costa Rica with minimal requirements. As far as we know that will not change. But always be cautious when booking flights etc., as flight coverages vary depending on your country of origin and government travel advisories. For now here are simplified requirements for entering Costa Rica.

As a Tourist;

Costa Rica requires you to fill out a health pass prior to coming. The pass is available online and is submitted online. A link to the pass “here”

Costa Rica also requires Covid-19 travel insurance. The minimum requirement included in that insurance is $50,000 USD medical, and $2,000 USD housing. There are exemptions for the housing component, provided you supply proof of a rental contract or ownership of a home.

Remember the insurance coverage must match the number of days you will be in the country, and, you must provide written proof of same. (preferably in Spanish)

No Covid test is required

As a Resident.

Fill out the health pass online prior to coming and submit online A link to the pass “here”

You must provide proof that your Caja payments are up to date. If you are not up to date, Costa Rica provides a remedy for that situation. Please follow the link below for more information

You must have a valid Resident/Dimex card. If it is expired, you will enter as a tourist.

No Covid test is required

As a Citizen

Fill out the health Pass online and submit online. Link “Here”

No Covid test is required

Carrying insurance in Costa Rica. A few thoughts.

We tend to search in our home countries for insurance either for travel, life or special insurance such as needed for Covid-19 coverage. In listening to some  doctors and Phil Eitman of All Insurance Costa Rica, I have gained some insight into the idea, “Not all insurance coverage is equal”. To get to the point, not all private hospitals will accept just any insurer for emergency or scheduled procedures. The simple reason is that in the past they would have to fight for payment from the insurance company. As such they may require payment by credit card for services. Then provide you with the paperwork necessary to be reimbursed. That may be suitable for you in an emergency. Of course many people are covered through a policy from home or work to one degree or another. If you plan on living here full time or for extended periods, some advise and a level of coverage from Phil and the team at All Insurance CR is worthwhile. They have been doing this for years and can answer questions correctly instead of someone’s opinion online, including my own. You can contact All Insurance Costa Rica. “here”

For Covid-19 insurance, Here are 3 Costa Rican links

INS,   Sagicor  & All Insurance Costa Rica

Full Costa Rica travel information is available from The Costa Rican Tourism Board. They will answer any questions you may have. Contact them here

Thanks for taking the time to read this newsletter ” Costa Rica Updated, November 21, 2020 and contact me anytime. The best compliment I can receive is a referral to your friends. 

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.