Costa Rica

Central America

Costa Rica is rising up the list of the world’s top travel destinations thanks to its outstanding natural beauty and reputation for eco-tourism. Meanwhile, a stable economy and a growing real estate market are attracting foreign investors.

Costa Rica is the longest-standing democracy in Latin America and a success story in terms of development. Its economy has been performing steadily for over a quarter of a century, and the country has made significant strides in its standard of living, having experienced a 60% rise in GDP per capita over the past two decades.

Known for its natural beauty and diverse wildlife, Costa Rica is also celebrated for its stable democracy, progressive social policies, and emphasis on education and healthcare; the Happy Planet Index ranked Costa Rica 1st in terms of happiness across 156 countries.

A “Natural Destination”

Costa Rica is renowned for its magnificent tropical climate and beautiful natural landscapes. It has something to suit every traveller, from unspoiled beaches and secluded waterfalls to dense rainforests and towering mountain ranges.

This small Central American country has over 25 National Parks and over 20 protected areas, making it the perfect place for nature lovers and outdoor adventurers. Whether you want to explore the cloud forests of Monteverde or take a dip in one of the many hot springs located around Arenal Volcano, you won’t find a better destination than Costa Rica.

It has earned itself a reputation as an eco-paradise because it places a strong emphasis on sustainability. The country is almost entirely powered by renewable sources and is dedicated to protecting 30% of its forests and marine resources.

A Thriving Tourism Industry

A growing tourism industry makes Costa Rica an attractive country for property investors. At the esteemed World Travel Awards 2022, the nation garnered accolades including Best Eco-Tourism Destination, Best Sustainable Tourism Destination, and Best Adventure Tourism Destination, highlighting its allure and environmental commitment.

Just shy of 2.5 million tourists arrived in Costa Rica by air in 2023—a record high. Forecasts predict a continued upward trend, with anticipated visitor numbers reaching 3.8 million by 2027. This surge in tourism is projected to yield approximately $4.9 billion in revenue, highlighting the country’s growing appeal as a premier travel destination.

The Cultural Capital, San José

With an incredibly diverse population, San José is one of Latin America’s most cosmopolitan cities. The Costa Rican capital is known for its vibrant culture, world-class cuisine and warm hospitality, making it popular with both tourists and homebuyers.

Juan Santamaría International Airport is located 20km west of downtown, making it easy to travel to and from the capital. The airport offers many international connections and recorded 4.5 million passengers in 2022.

Our experts say

“Latin America is experiencing a surge in visitor numbers, fuelled by the growing popularity of nature experiences, wellness retreats, and ecotourism.

Costa Rica is a favoured destination due to its tropical climate and unique landscapes and wildlife, with Forbes naming Costa Rica as one of the Top 10 Latin American Destinations For 2023. With this, demand for short-stay, luxury accommodation is surging, opening up exciting opportunities for investors.

At the same time, major cities like San José are receiving growing interest from tourists and homebuyers. The capital boasts exciting cultural venues, world-class cuisine, and easy access to the surrounding nature, making it a great place to live, visit and invest.”

— Matt Lavin, Director

How to get there

By road

Costa Rica shares borders with Nicaragua and Panama. The journey from Nicaragua takes around 6 hours and you can get a bus for just £24, whilst Panama is a 12-hour drive away and bus tickets cost around £40–65.

It is possible to take a road trip from the U.S. border in Texas to Costa Rica, though this will take around 9-10 days.

By train

Rail is a popular way to travel around Costa Rica, with national commuter trains connecting San Jose and Heredia. The rail network is operated by Instituto Costarricense de Ferrocarriles, with main stations in San José, Cartago, Belén, Heredia and Curridabat.

By air

Juan Santamaria Airport, located 20km west of San José, is the country’s largest airport with direct connections to North and Central America, Europe, South America and the Caribbean. The Liberia Guanacaste Airport is also a popular destination for travellers, offering daily connections on United, Delta and America Airlines.

By boat

Bordering both the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean, Costa Rica is a destination on many Caribbean and South American cruises operated by major cruise lines. Its main ports include Puerto Limón in the east and Puntarenas in the west.

Weather

Costa Rica has a tropical climate with 12 hours of sunshine a day all year round and an average temperature of 30 degrees Celsius. The Pacific coast is slightly warmer than the Caribbean coast and has a defined dry season which runs from December to April.

Spring/Summer

The dry summer season (verano) runs from December to April. With rainfall at its lowest, this is the best time to visit Costa Rica. April is also the hottest month of the year, with temperatures exceeding 35 degrees Celsius.

Autumn/Winter

May to November is considered the rainy winter season, known as “invierno”. October is the coolest month, although not by much as there isn’t much temperature variation throughout the year.

Why invest

A strong economy, stable market and attractive incentives for foreign investors make this tropical paradise one of the best places to invest in Latin America, with the country seeing record-breaking FDI in 2023.

New Developments

Costa Rica is constantly evolving to meet the needs of its residents and its large number of international visitors. In recent years, the country has made significant improvements to its infrastructure, including expanding its international airports and building new highways. It has also seen an increase in luxury hotels and resorts and more options for adventure and eco-tourism.

Connectivity

Costa Rica’s position in Central America makes the country easily accessible from a wide range of destinations including other Latin American countries, the U.S., and Europe.

The large majority (90%) of international visitors travel to Costa Rica by air. Juan Santamaría (San Jose) International Airport registered over 12 million passengers in 2023.

Property Market

The country’s real estate industry has seen rapid growth in recent years. In 2022, Costa Rica registered an impressive $156 million in real estate transactions, compared to $104,000 in 2021 and about $90,000 in 2019.

House prices grew by around 15% in 2022, yet real estate remains very affordable compared to the U.S. and other neighbouring countries.

In Costa Rica, an apartment in the city centre costs around ₡1 million ($1,900) per/sqm on average, and outside of the city costs around ₡710,000 ($1,300) per/sqm according to Numbeo. In the United States, however, house prices are almost double that. A city-centre property in the U.S. will set you back $4,600 per/sqm whilst apartments outside of the city cost around $3,100 per/sqm on average.

Rising prosperity fuels demand for rentals, particularly in cities like San José. Investors enjoy attractive rental yields ranging from 5.3% to 8%.