Relocating and Living in Costa Rica


One component of our team here at The Realty Center, is highly qualified staff dedicated strictly to booking first-rate, dynamic, comfortable, affordable, desirable travel.

The travel agents at The Realty Center have remained a part of the Costa Rican travel industry for the past Four years covering Costa Rica from coast to coast and always putting client satisfaction first!

Travel opportunities within Costa Rica and around Central America are endless! Take a trip to see monkeys, iguanas and toucans or to fly through the rainforest soaring through the clouds more than 150 meters high! In less than a day you can take a scenic drive to Nicaragua and shop in a traditional Nicaraguan market or head down south to Bocas del Toro , Panama for a visit to an Indian village or surf with some of the most experienced surfers in the world!

We welcome you to Costa Rica and recommend using a travel service such as ours to assist you with all of your travel needs such as domestic airline reservations, car reservations, hotel reservations, trip packages and activities for the ultimate Costa Rican experience!


How to obtain your license
Car insurance
Where to shop
How to obtain a local bank account
Where to pay bills

Transportation in Costa Rica :

There are a number of modes of transportation with in Costa Rica whether you are on vacation or chose Costa Rica as your home such as domestic airlines, car rentals, buses, private or group shuttles and taxis.

Domestic airlines have been around for over 10 years and run approximately $100 round trip. Public transportation is safe and inexpensive, a bus ride across town or to the suburbs of San Jose costs around $0.50 and a bus ride from coast to coast is under $10.00 . Private or group shuttles are great for travel as they are usually door to door and very efficient and can be booked in advance for around $50 round trip.

If you do chose to call Costa Rica your home you may want to purchase a car or ship or drive your own down and find that obtaining your license isn't as hard as you thought it was!

Cars are a little more expensive here as there are high import taxes and gasoline is reasonable, between $1.75 and $2.00 a gallon. You can find a new car from $10,000 and up. We recommend buying a used car here as their resale value is high. A good place to start looking is in the town of Alujeula near the airport. Driving down could be fun but isn't usually recommended. It is slightly dangerous and can end up costing the same as it would to ship it with a lot more wear and tear!

strong>How to obtain your license

Your license from your country of orgin is valid here until our tourist visa expires. Once it expires, you cannot drive legally in Costa Rica unless you have applied for and received your Costa Rica license. If you don't have a current license or if your license has expired you have to take a driver's test and written exam as in the U.S. To find out about courses and test sites nearest you call the Ministry at 226-4201, 226-4213, 226-7944, 227-5158 or 228-9297 .

In order to apply for you license, you must go the closest MOPT office to you. Please see for more information or call 227-2188 .

The entire process takes around 1-3 hours. Remember to bring your current unexpired drivers license, your passport with a current entry stamp, and a doctors examination certificate (there are many doctors around MOPT offices), and cash. Your new license is valid for three years!

Car insurance

A small amount of compulsory personal liability third party car insurance is provided when tags are purchased/renewed for cars.

Full coverage insurance is available through INS (Instituto Nacional de Seguros)

If ever, you are involved in a traffic accident, be sure to not move your car and to contact the local traffic police (222- 7150, 227-8030) so they can make out a report.

Where to shop

Most main ?pueblos? of Costa Rica offer an outdoor fruit and vegetable market approximately one time per week. It is a great place for fresh fruits and veggies and a great culture experience!

Basic toiletries can be found at any local drug store or supermarket and almost all kinds of pharmecutical drugs can be found very easily.

There are numerous malls in and around the San Jose area that offer a lot of familiar electronics, clothing and accessories. There are stores such as Office Depot, Price Mart (similar to Sams) and also the Apple store and Zara (Multiplaza, Escazu).

How to obtain a local bank account

Foreigners with out residency can obtain a bank account my showing a current electric bill, passport and two letters of recommendation from a current account holder in the bank. The easiest banks to obtain an account with are Banco de Costa Rica and Banco Nacional both located in almost all main "pueblos" read more

Where to pay bills

Most bills can be paid online if you are bank account holder at a local bank. Just sign in to your account and click on ?pagos? there you will see a list of companies such as electric, cell phone, television and water companies. Pay your bills fast an efficiently online.

If you are not an account holder you can pay most of your bills at Banco Nacional or directly to the offices of each service. Be careful, because sometimes your bills such as the electric don't make it to your house before it is due. If they do cut your electric off, they will not turn it back on till following afternoon. It is not fun to go a whole night and day with out lights or fans, trust us!

on our next articale: go to doctor, dentist, post office, internet, Health (hospitals, clinics), Health Insurance,Where to get what (sections of San Jose ),Taxes, Security,Work, Marriage


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Tel:+1.888.365.0904 / +506.2643.2953
Fax: +506.2643.1356

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Costa Rica Hotels

Telephone: +1.888.365.0904 / +506.2643.2953 -- Fax: +506.2643.1356
#13, 50 East to Hotel Amapola, Jaco, Puntarenas - Costa Rica.
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