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Retiring in Costa Rica? Your Top 5 Real Estate Questions Answered

If you’re thinking about retiring in Costa Rica, then the business of buying Costa Rica real estate is likely a major topic of concern as you work through the planning stages. You may have questions about where you should buy, how much you can afford, and how some of the most popular areas compare price-wise.

And if you’ve already started searching for properties or trying to learn about the Costa Rica real estate market, then you’ve probably seen how difficult it is to find reliable information. There just isn’t a whole lot of real estate data out there to help potential expats retiring in Costa Rica.

costa rica investment

Marc Ambros

That problem frustrated us too, since we have our sights set on several potential developments in Costa Rica. In fact, 10 of the 57 slots in our recent list of the top places to live and invest in the tropics are occupied by Costa Rica destinations.

So, since we think retiring in Costa Rica is such an incredible proposition, we decided to make it a little (OK, a LOT) easier to get the information you need to make an informed decision about Costa Rica real estate.

Our comprehensive Costa Rica Real Estate Report is an in-depth guide for evaluating and understanding the local market. It answers most of the questions you probably have about what to expect when buying a home in Costa Rica, including…

costa rica investment

David White

What Can I Expect to Pay for a House in Costa Rica? A Condo? Land?

Once we had data on thousands of property listings in Costa Rica, we grouped them by property type to see how those prices fell based on the kind of dwelling they offered (or didn’t, in the case of vacant lots). Here you can see the median listing price for each type of property.

property type

By median, we mean that each of these prices shown in the graph is the one in the middle of the entire range. So, if you like the idea of retiring in Costa Rica and living on your very own farm, just know that there are hundreds of ranches listed below $450,000 and hundreds listed for more. In many cases way more.

What’s the Cheapest Option for Retiring in Costa Rica at the Beach?

This is a question we get asked a lot. And it’s no surprise. Costa Rica’s beautiful beaches are one of the biggest perks of retiring in Costa Rica. Here are the median home prices for some of the areas that are most popular with expats and retirees.

costa rica homes for sale coastal communities

Again, since these are median prices, think of them in more general than absolute terms. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have to shell out $750k to live in Playa Flamingo. But it does mean that you might expect to pay twice as much there as in, say, Matapalo or Playa Hermosa.

What Size Home Can I Afford to Buy in Costa Rica?

It’s one thing to compare prices between different destinations in Costa Rica, but that still doesn’t tell you exactly what you’re getting for your money. Does that $249,500 in Puerto Viejo buy you a 1 bedroom shack or a 3 bedroom family home?

We’ve drilled down into the price per bedroom for a number of cities in our full Costa Rica Real Estate Report, but here’s an example of the average breakdown for Dominical, Costa Rica.


There are a number of other factors that contribute to home prices, such as location and condition, but that’s a good example of how to estimate what you’ll spend based on the size of the home you desire.

How Much Does Land Cost in Costa Rica?

If your idea of retiring in Costa Rica involves some very distinct specifications and you won’t settle for anything less, then buying a lot to build your dream home is a great alternative to purchasing an outdated home that doesn’t check all your boxes.

You can see here that it’s entirely possible to score a parcel of land in one of Costa Rica’s most desirable beach communities for well under $100k per acre.

The availability of affordable land, combined with material and labor costs that are lower than ever, makes the possibility of building your own tropical paradise a very real option. You can likely even do so for less than the cost of buying an existing home.

Where Do I Start My Search for Costa Rica Real Estate?

You may have your mind made up on retiring in Costa Rica, but there are still plenty of decisions to make before your dream can become a reality. Check out our Top 57 Places to Live and Invest in the Tropics eBook for more information about some of the top cities in Costa Rica.

Once you’ve homed in on a particular city or region, check out some of the current listings on our Costa Rica real estate page. You can also download our entire Costa Rica Real Estate Report to aid you in your search and help you objectively evaluate the properties you’re considering.

What are you waiting for? Start your search today!

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