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First Realty CRE

Chris Evans co-founded First Realty CRE over 15 years ago, which was the first real estate franchise to operate in Costa Rica, bringing a new level of professionalism and service to the Costa Rica real estate market. Chris has been a licensed real estate broker for over 10 years.

Moving and Relocating to Costa Rica

Costa Rica is one of the world’s top relocation destinations, attracting people of all ages from around the world. In fact, more Americans per capita live in Costa Rica than in any other country outside the United States.

In today’s global village it is becoming more and more common for people to relocate overseas. Many companies have sites in more than one country and regularly transfer employees from site to site. Some people move for a year or two and others move for a much longer period for time, some even permanently.

Moving abroad brings with it excitement as well as anticipation. In order to reduce the anticipation to a manageable level and enjoy the excitement, be sure to plan well in advance and do your homework about Costa Rica as thoroughly as possible. You local library, bookstore and of course the internet will have lots of useful information on what to expect. Even if you have visited the country in the past, living in another country brings with it a whole new set of issues you will need to get your arms around.

For example:

* Do they speak English in Costa Rica and if not, are your language skills good enough?

* What is the local food like and would you and your family enjoy the food?

* What is the educational system like and where will your kids go to school?


Moving to Costa Rica will bring many surprises as each country offers its own unique culture, geography, laws and style of living.

Also remember that even if you speak Spanish you may still need to enhance your business language skills in order to be comfortable in the work environment.

There are many excellent language courses, books, CD’s and tapes you can take advantage of to increase your skill level in any language. Your local bookstore will be able to help with the books, CD’s and tapes and your local college may be able to help with an evening course in Spanish.


Many banks have branches worldwide and some partner with banks in other countries so you may not need to move your accounts to a new bank. In the event your bank does not do business in your new country, ask your current bank for recommendations of banks and financial institutions in the destination country. If your company is relocating you they will be able to help with names and information on banks.

Today credit cards are generally global however it is advisable to cut up your current ones and get new ones when you settle in your new home. You will have to pay for the difference in currency rate (if any) if you keep the old cards so do keep this in mind.


If it is at all possible, it is advisable to let kids finish their current school year out before relocating. Many countries have different terms when it comes to education. For example, in some countries high schools is called secondary school and elementary school is termed middle school. After you get over this first hurdle you will need to understand what grade your child will be in when you move. This may seem like a simple enough request, however, most countries have different education and ability requirements for being in specific grades. Check with your local school as they may have recommendations and be sure to talk with the new school principal as he will be familiar with your situation and will understand your child’s needs. This can be a very traumatic experience for some children so be sure to be supportive and talk to them about all aspects of the move. Try to keep some continuity in their lives by finding out if the hobbies and recreation activities they enjoy can be easily accessed in the new location. Most cities and towns have their own websites and this is a good place to start your search. Plan to evaluate potential schools on pre-move trip.

Use the following pointers to help select the appropriate school to meet your needs:

* Has the school obtained good accreditation rates?

* Does the school promote the use of new technology?

* How many students are there per class?

* Does the school have a good record in student University placements?

* Is there a wide range of courses covered?

*Is there a wide variety of recreation and sports offerings?

Costa Rica has several international Schools. Some of them as International Christian School (ICS) and Country Day School (CDS) have branches in Guanacaste.


You will need to do research on Costa Rica to find out if specific travel or work visas are required to live and work in the country.

The local consulate of Costa Rica is the first point of contact to seek out when you know you will be moving to this country. Call or plan a trip to the embassy to find out what is needed.

In order to obtain a visa you may be required to provide a letter of recommendation. Your employer or bank managers are generally the people the consulate will need the letter from.

Most countries do have very different requirements if you are planning to travel to that country to vacation as opposed to live and work there.


Check if your passport is up to date. You do not want to arrive at the airport on your departure date and find your passport has expired. Passports are issue by the Department of State however they are generally processed through the Post Office or local county council. Applications can also be picked up at the American Automobile Association.

Driving License

You may also need to have an international driving permit or you may be required to apply for a driving license in the destination country. This really depends on the country to which you are relocating. An international driving license can be obtained at your local DMV however this is really only a certificate of license. It is currently available in nine languages.

In some countries your US driving license will be honored and in others you will be required to obtain a local license. It is very likely that you will be required to do a complete test including, driving test , written test and eye examination. Do investigate as early as possible on arrival at your destination country. You will be given a grace period in which you will need to obtain a local license where either your old license or your international permit will be honored however this time period varies form country to country.


Your health is of utmost importance to you so be sure to check with your doctor and find out if you or your family will need any necessary vaccinations or immunizations for the destination country. The Federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention will be able to provide this information also.

It is also recommended that you check and find out if your health insurance is covered in your new country or if you will need to move to a new provider. In Costa Rica the national health insurance is provided by INS, many international insurances will be recognized by hospitals. It is recommendable to buy a health insurance locally.

If you are taking any medication, check to see if it is sold by the same name in your new country.

Bring a supply of any medication you are taking and this will give you plenty of time to locate a doctor and obtain a new prescription.

Costa Rica offers a great hospital and clinic networks. In most clinics doctors and nurses do speak basic English. Make sure to ask where the nearest hospital or clinic is in case of an emergency.


Costa Rican residency grants foreign nationals the legal right to live in Costa Rica. If you plan to permanently relocate to Costa Rica, you should become a legal resident.

This is only some basic information on moving and relocating to Costa Rica. We have helped many families in the past. If you need any further information don’t hesitate in contacting us, we will be more than glad to help you.