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Expat Advice: Financial Issues in San Juan, Costa Rica


What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

San Juan

Did you switch to a new expat-focused bank when you moved abroad? What types of special services do they offer?

I have a real estate and military background. Of all the places I have done business and lived in around the world; Costa Rica is the most devious, unfriendly, gouging, and expensive place I have visited. Tried to do business there. The lawyer stole my money and another over charged me by 4 times normal fees. Ticos generally dislike "Gringos" and try to rip off visitors in every way. Deeds Titles and the law are all stacked against you and if the thieves and robbers don't get you the lawyers and courts will. Consider yourself warned.

What advice would you offer others about banking abroad?

Stay away from Costa Rica.Gringos are considered fair game. Your account is not safe.

What sort of challenges or frustrations have you encountered as an investor?

Deeds and titles are not good. Lawyers are crooks.

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Comments about this Report

Feb 1, 2012 09:01

You obviously had a bad experience. As an expert on Costa Rica I am willing to help you. Who was the attorney you claim ripped you off? Are you sure you were in Costa Rica and not Puerto Rico? You report on doing business in San Juan, Costa Rica's capital is San Jose. Costa Ricans are noted as being some of the friendliest people on the planet. The number one source of income in the entire country is tourism. Costa Rica is the envy of Latin America due to the prosperity that has resulted from this influx of tourists. I run tours into Costa Rica and can show you 100's of evaluations by guests who will tell you the opposite of your opinion. Costa Ricans are very friendly, outgoing and typically easy to do business with. According to a recent survey in the Economist Magazine's Intelligence Unit, http://www.EIU.com, Costa Rica climbed nearly 5 places last year while the US fell 7 spots. Costa Rica is now poised to pass the US this year, being currently in 20th position while the US is 19th. The survey ranks things like political electoral process, civil liberties, the functioning of government, transparancy in the economy, etc. Another ranking by Transparency International ranks Costa Rica the least corrupt in all of Central America. You can see the results of that report at http://cpi.transparency.org/cpi2011/ by pasting that address in your browser. Deeds and title in Costa Rica are all held in a national registry and are entirely safe. You are generalizing about a number of topics that you obviously know very little about. For you to say Costa Rica is the most expensive place you have ever been indicated to me that you have never been anywhere. From the perspective of property tax, insurance costs, healthcare and cost of living, Costa Rica is one of the cheaper places on the planet. Again if you would like help with the folks you claim gouged you, please contact me directly at Steve@PacificLots.com

Nov 9, 2013 14:19

Hello! I hope to partially retire in Costa Rica within 2-3 years. I want to know whom to contact to provide fundraising services to hospice organizations. We have such non-profits at home, which are ver helpful to the families of the terminally ill or those with life threatening illnesses. I have used these services myself and hence became a volunteer for a local organization. Can you shed insight as to where to begin to offer these services or even establish them? I am not looking to work and take away from the local community, but more to help develop their volunteer and fundraising efforts. Thank you!

Mar 14, 2015 13:12

I do not know about his experience. I have heard from others trying to do business here comes w/ lots of challenges. I am retired. I have lived here in CR for two months. But I do know I can open my own bank account w/o a lawyer. I am working w/ one lawyer to get residency via ARCR. very fair and up front so far. San Jose in particular is VERY expensive to live in. I read multiple blogs about it being cheaper. Well, yes and no . If you want to live like a tico in small concrete apts/houses, w/ no hot water, and live on gallo pinto, fruit and the like, one can live for less. But if you want an apt w/ hot water, like to eat out, etc, you are going to pay as much as you would in the US or close to it. Any dinner out at an ethnic restaruant in nice area will cost you $28 per person w/ a drink or two.

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