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192 Moving to Costa Rica: Long term rentals, cars, residency & more

192 Moving to Costa Rica: Long term rentals, cars, residency & more
192 Moving to Costa Rica: Long term rentals, cars, residency & more

Podcast Transcription

[Richard Bexon] Good morning, Anna. How are you doing?

[Ana Brenes Taylor] Good morning, Richard. Thank you for having me. I'm doing wonderful.

[Richard Bexon] Again, it's always a little weird to have someone that I work with come on the podcast, but I think it's just important to get information out there and, you know, especially as you're in the relocation world, a lot of people are, you know, with the craziness happening in the world, a lot of people are looking to Costa Rica because it's kind of a mecca of just, you know, relaxation and political calmness. So, but the question I always like to ask is just, you know, markets had a good comeback in 2023. Real estate in North America is either kind of flatlined or declined. I mean, how is your 2024 looking and what do you think the rest of the year is going to look like?

[Ana Brenes Taylor] Well, I'm actually seeing a lot of movements. There's a lot of momentum in the area of Playa del Coco, Playa Hermosa. Just amazing, I think, opportunities coming up there with the Waldorf Astoria being built and the Ritz, you know, it's just, there's a new, because Coco has been moving slowly, I think, for the last few years and now all of a sudden it's just really starting to pick up. So it's exciting. There are still very good deals in the area. And so we've been looking at properties with clients in that area. I think, again, the South Pacific, you know, coastal area, Dominical, Ubita, Huchal is very exciting as well. It's just continues to have a lot of momentum. You know, the marina in Golfito is coming. So now I think what I've been seeing lately is also that the area after, you know, a little bit south from Huchal is really picking up. Like the Rios, San Buenas, you know, it's just a lot of great deals and people are like looking a little bit, you know, further down the line and seeing all the amazing opportunities coming to that area. So very exciting. I think the market is also allowing, you know, for even, you know, either the prices are dropping a little bit or there's just an opportunity to negotiate a little more, you know?

[Richard Bexon] Yeah.

[Ana Brenes Taylor] So it's an exciting time and a good time to go and look at properties.

[Richard Bexon] I agree. I agree. I mean, we're going to focus our talk here on relocating just because I think a lot of people are looking to do that. But I mean, what are the common misconceptions, you know, that people have about relocating to Costa Rica?

[Ana Brenes Taylor] Well, I think that, you know, if you start if you if you visit the Facebook groups, you know, talking about relocation, you know, it can be a little scary. So I think that, first of all, yes, you need some guidance. You know, that's kind of why we exist. Right. It's good to be able to have someone that can give you the context. But I think that it's not as as difficult as people think. I think it is that because we have been getting so many people in the last five years, especially I think that the areas have really, you know, the banks, the schools, just the activities, the pickleball, the paddle fields. I mean, it's just there's a lot of great things happening to try to accommodate now the new families that are living in the coastal areas and also in the mountain areas. So I think that it's not as difficult and as challenging as people think it is. So, yeah, I just want to throw that out there.

[Richard Bexon] Easy for us to say, of course. But yeah, yeah. No, I mean, again, when you've got a guide, it's usually a little bit easier if you're trying to do it yourself. I think it can get can be a little. Yeah. I mean, what are the main areas? I mean, you mentioned some there, but I mean, what are the main areas that people are looking to relocate, not by real estate, but like looking to live?

[Ana Brenes Taylor] Yeah. Well, I think I have to say first, northern Pacific coastal area. I think that everything that is all the areas around surrounding Tamarindo are very interesting for families and also the younger retirees, because there's just everything. You know, you find hospitals and clinics and schools, a variety of schools. You you have an amazing amount of restaurants and bars and just a lot of fun activities that you get to do. Classes of Spanish and I mean, surfing, you name it. Right. And I think that being close to an area that has such offering is is very beneficial. But at the same time, you don't necessarily need to be inside of Tamarindo. I think inside in the middle of Tamarindo, it's a party town. So, of course, there's a lot going on with the surrounding areas. So for me, Playa Grande is huge. I think even Villarreal, which is just 10 minutes, a 10 minute drive to Tamarindo is is really picking up. And I personally love the area, the area of Potrero and Flamingo and Brasilito. I think that this area continues to be to do so well because it's so close to many different little beaches. You're still close enough to Tamarindo. Very exciting. I think there's a lot, you know, a lot of great, exciting projects coming to the area as well.

[Richard Bexon] What about areas like Samara?

[Ana Brenes Taylor] Yeah. Yeah. I mean, Samara and Carrillo, I think it will have a boom in the next five years. It's just a low, Samara is a low key town, but it's beautiful. People are great, amazing restaurants, great schools. And so, yeah, this this area is coming up. I especially love the area of I think Nosara is developing beautifully, especially Playa Garza. Remember that there's an area in Playa Garza that is about to be developed. And it's an area where, you know, you don't have to pay two million dollars for a property. I think that there are many new opportunities coming up that will, you know, allow other budgets to also accommodate in the area. Amazing investment opportunity, of course, because this is a very sought after area. Yeah, but I think South Pacific, Richard, very exciting.

[Richard Bexon] I mean, I think it's just very different. You know, that Southern Pacific is more jungle. It's a little I know the word is hippie is the right word, but it's just a little bit more with people that are in a little bit more touch with nature, you know, self-aware, very yoga-y, but not, you know, I mean, you've got that in kind of the Nosara area and you've even got it in Grande. It's just a little bit more conservative, those areas, whereas I think the Southern zone is a very liberal area, I would use if I'm even able to use those words. But and once you go there, you know, very quickly, I mean, you know, in talking to someone, I can tell within two seconds, you know, where probably the best area in Costa Rica is for them.

[Ana Brenes Taylor] Right. Well, for me, I think Dominical is surf and yoga and wellness kind of hippie-ish. But then as you start going south, I think Cubita is a little bit less. It has that, but it's a little bit more business and like beautiful homes and like really, you know, it sort of evolved into into less hippie, you know, but still has, you know, that keeps that great environment. But then Ochoa, I think as you go south, I think it's, you know, more family oriented, you know, it's less hippie. So the more south you get from Dominical, I think it's been toning down a little bit, continues to keep that character of yoga, wellness, surfing. But in a more, I think Ochoa is more residential. A lot of people live there. And so there's a beautiful community. And I think it's classy, you know, great restaurants. And I don't know, it's just I love it. [Richard Bexon] Awesome. Should people buy or should they rent when looking to relocate to Costa Rica, in your opinion?

[Ana Brenes Taylor] I think it depends if you've never been here before or you don't know Costa Rica that well. I think it's and you're not sure of the area, then I think it's good to rent first.

[Richard Bexon] Yeah.

[Ana Brenes Taylor] You know, we have some clients now that have been traveling around the country because they did come to the South Pacific coastal area first and they fell in love. But they we we suggested to them, let's just if you have the time and you your work allows you to work, you know, like a digital nomad, then maybe spend some time. So they've been spending time all over Costa Rica in the last three months. And they got back to the Southern Pacific and said, yeah, this is it. This is where we want to be. But I'm still showing them areas within the South Pacific that they haven't really seen. You know, they fell in love with these very specific Platanillo area. And so now I'm like I'm showing them other areas and they're like shocked. Wow. We've been driving around everywhere, but we didn't get to see this. Yeah. So I think it's a it's a it's a beautiful process. But for people who have been here and know the areas that they like, then it's it's it's easier to say, OK, maybe maybe I'm ready to buy land or ready to buy. You know, if I bump into a great opportunity, then, you know, I'm ready to buy because now they know they understand what the reality of Costa Rica is. They have spent enough time here. So it very much depends on the family. But yes.

[Richard Bexon] OK, how do people manage health care in Costa Rica? And I mean, that's a big thing, especially, you know, depending on the age. But like, how do they manage that?

[Ana Brenes Taylor] Well, you know, the Costa Rica social security system has, you know, state hospitals that are absolutely amazing. And and the the you know, the system has small. So they have clinics, let's say, in the bigger towns in a community. And then they have little advice, which is a mini clinic that is divided into, you know, every neighborhood, let's say. So the communities are divided that way. So, yeah, most most Costa Ricans and some of the expats just use the service, you know, for any any need that they might have medical need. Most of the Ticos, what we what we do, let's say Ticos that are middle class and up. What we do is we we usually go to a private doctor, which is actually affordable in this country. It is it is something that is you're able to pay for, you know, maybe between 50 and 80 dollars for an appointment at a private doctor. And for little things, if we have a big surgery, if we have, you know, chronic illness or let's say cancer treatment, then, yes, you would go to a hospital, you know, to a state hospital and get covered. So basically, every every one of us that is employed, we get you know, we get the right to be, you know, insured by by the health system in Costa Rica. The employer pays a percentage of the employee pays another percentage.

[Richard Bexon] Yeah, that's kind of how it works. You only have access to CAHAR if you're a resident here in Costa Rica. If you're not a resident, what are the options available to you?

[Ana Brenes Taylor] Well, there are many international, you know, insurance companies operating in the country.

[Richard Bexon] Yeah. So it's very pan-American. Yeah.

[Ana Brenes Taylor] Right. So you can just buy a private a private insurance that will cover, you know, the some percentage of the cost. And yeah, it's it's private hospitals. It works really well. And I also think that, you know, once you decide to start your residency process, if you decide to do so, yes, you do have to join, you know, the Costa Rican medical system. And it is based on your income, your income. Yes.

[Richard Bexon] Well, a lot of the time they don't know the income. So you can just say it's a thousand bucks if you want to. Right.

[Ana Brenes Taylor] Right. Yeah. It doesn't have to be that high. I used to think, Richard, and I just kind of been going through this with my clients. It was going to be like a thousand dollars a month just because, you know, it was hard to figure out what the amount of the income was. And then I realized that, you know, you don't what you have to do is just make sure that the money that you move in an account here is not that high. And that's what they're going to base their calculations on. So now I'm getting, you know, great price, like 200, 300 dollar a month health insurance for clients.

[Richard Bexon] Do people need to get residency living in Costa Rica right now? I know the answer to that, but.

[Ana Brenes Taylor] They don't. You don't have to. You can just, you know, come in with a tourist visa and then exit either every three months or six months. Now, you know, you you go through immigration and they might they might give you 90 days or 180 days, depending on the person that you get. But so you can just exit. And it used to be 70, 72 hours. Now you can just exit and come back right back in. That'll extend your visa.

[Richard Bexon] Because, again, the driver's license only has 90 days validity. But don't you need you need to be out for 72 hours for your driver's license or not?

[Ana Brenes Taylor] No.

Richard Bexon] OK.

[Ana Brenes Taylor] Don't need to anymore.

[Richard Bexon] You just go to Panama. Come back.

[Ana Brenes Taylor] Yeah. Like some people just go to Nicaragua, have lunch and come back in. That's kind of how they do it. But I also think that if you're a digital nomad, you know, you get a temporary it's like a temporary residency, let's say. And yeah, it's it's I think it has a validity of one year and then you just renew it. Yeah, it's very easy.

[Richard Bexon] A lot of people moving here are looking to, you know, I mean, they've not retired. You know, they still need to work. And, you know, the current company they can't work for in Costa Rica. Well, not legally. Some people actually VPN in it, VPN in. But what are some of the jobs that are available to people when looking to move here?

[Ana Brenes Taylor] Well, I you know, I for me, if I was an expat, I would just develop a new a new company, a new service. I think that there are so many opportunities to just open up, you know, a store, a medical, I mean, a medical spa, you know, a gym. They just opened up a beautiful ocean view gym in Oaxaca. And like the whole community is so excited about it. Right. It's just it's it's it's having the vision because there's so many opportunities. So many services that are still needed, that are open, that, you know, it's just kind of jumping in and being brave. Once you know the community, of course, and having some help and guidance helps as well.

[Richard Bexon] Definitely.

[Ana Brenes Taylor] I think the food industry is a great opportunity always.

[Richard Bexon] I know a lot of restauranteurs that earn good money. So, I mean, there's jobs everywhere here. I mean, if you want to go get a job, you can, as long as you're a resident. You know, if you're not a resident, you know, you can start your own business and work for it as a shareholder. You know, you can't get paid. But, you know, there are per diems that you can get and expenses, et cetera. So there's always ways around stuff. But I mean, a lot of people are looking to kind of move down here with kids. You know, they're scared because, you know, school shootings in the U.S., the political situation. They just don't want to, you know, the world that they're bringing their kids up in is not the world that they grew up in. And I mean, I don't think that that is ever the case here in Costa Rica. You know, we have a very laissez faire government. You know, education, you know, is bilingual or, you know, there are American high schools here. There is a British high school like, you know, there's everything here. But I mean, is it a good country to move to kids in and like how does schooling work?

[Ana Brenes Taylor] Yes, schooling is amazing. We have so many schools come up to sort of accommodate all the families moving down. So I think that right now they're actually looking into growing a little more because, you know, we get getting we keep getting more and more families. But I think you have a lot to choose from. And that's that's what's so cool. Right. And also, most of the schools, I'm not going to say all of them, but most of the schools are very flexible and they accommodate to the reality of a traveling family. You know, people that are here for a few months and then they go back to the U.S. or Canada for a few months. They allow the kids to have sort of like a very personalized program and they can do, you know, digital or remote studies. And sometimes when they're here in the country, then they go to the school. And I think it's just amazing that they have allowed their institution to open up to all these possibilities. And that way the kids, you know, are connected and they are. Yes, they socialize when they're here, but they're also connected to the teachers and the studying program. Yeah, that's great.

[Richard Bexon] And who is Costa Rica not for?

[Ana Brenes Taylor] I think Costa Rica is not for for people who want everything black and white. Costa Rica is a very real, beautiful, sometimes raw country, you know, and you have beautiful, wonderful people that are here. They're very warm. They're very open. But if but, you know, you also have to be come you have to come here and have that attitude and say, OK, I'm going to open up. I'm going to I want to meet people. I want to join communities and I want to be a part of it. That's how you meet people and you develop a community and friendships that, you know, will last you forever. But it's it's also the attitude of of wanting to come and experience the reality and the challenges. And, yeah, sometimes it's going to be too hot, you know, maybe a couple weeks a year. It's like, OK, so then, you know, you just kind of stay in. You choose your day. You accommodate. I think that it's also just being open and being willing to experience. What a you know, what a Central American. Basically, new new world country is, you know, it's just that's what we are. But it has so many beautiful things. If you're only willing to be opening up to it, you know, I agree.

[Richard Bexon] Well, Anna, I've kept you long enough. My last question for you, which I'd love to ask everyone. If you inherited five hundred thousand dollars and had to invest it in a business or real estate in Costa Rica, what would you invest it in and why?

[Ana Brenes Taylor] OK, so I think I gave you a couple of different answers before. Now I am like definitely I would invest those five hundred thousand in a piece of land in Southern Pacific area and build either a duplex or four little apartments and rent.

[Richard Bexon] Sure.

[Ana Brenes Taylor] No, short term.

[Richard Bexon] Yeah. Why?

[Ana Brenes Taylor] Because I think the area is just very dynamic. I think that people just come here to, you know, come experience the area and it's better business. Of course, you can make more money if you have short term rentals. But I also think that I would stay open if I get a really good, you know, renter that has decided to extend their stay, then accommodate and, you know, and open up to those opportunities. But I think it's, you know, when you want a long term rental, you want a really good person staying there. So, yeah. Awesome. That would be my answer.

[Richard Bexon] Good answer. Good answer. I like that one. Anna, well, I really appreciate you coming, taking the time to come on the podcast and answer these questions. If anyone wants to get in contact with Anna, all of our contact details will be in the description down below. But appreciate you taking the time, Anna.

[Ana Brenes Taylor] Thank you, Rich, for the opportunity. [Richard Bexon] No worries. Catch you later. Bye.

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