By Ron Snell.
When we’re showing properties to people who want to buy real estate in Costa Rica, sooner or later an inevitable question comes up: “Are there earthquakes here?”
The short answer is, “Yes.” But there’s a much longer answer because the real question is, “Do I need to worry about earthquakes in Costa Rica?” And the short answer to that is “No.”
Costa Rica, and therefore every property in Costa Rica, is on the “Ring of Fire.” Take a second to Google “Ring of Fire map” and you will see images of a map with a bright red line that runs right down the western side of the western hemisphere, including Costa Rica.
There are a few good things to point out here:
First, that’s part of what makes Costa Rica topography so amazing. It’s why I’m writing this in a home near Dominical that’s 1,100 feet above sea level but I can see and hear the surf. A long time ago some massive plates under the sea starting pushing toward each other just like if you and a friend put your hands on a rug from opposite ends and pushed toward each other. Do it slowly and you can watch a mountain range push up between you. Put some luxury homes on one side of that mountain range and you have… voilá… the Southern Pacific Coast of Costa Rica!
Every once in a while those plates still get a little uncomfortable and need to move a bit.
When they do, we feel a gentle shake that simply reminds us we are on active earth that supports our beautiful forests and animals and homes. We feel those shakes every few weeks, usually so slight that we aren’t sure if it’s something we did or something the earth did. Once in a while they are a little more powerful and we can hear a little clinking of wine glasses or see a bit of jiggle, but that’s not common.
Second, our soils don’t liquefy in an earthquake. When you buy land, you will be required to get a soil test done before you can get a building permit. In our area, I’ve never heard of a building project being rejected because of a bad soil sample unless it’s due to uncompacted fill or accumulated rubbish in the soil).
In other parts of the world, soils are the opposite of that magic mud you made as a kid.
Remember how you suspended cornstarch in water? When it was just resting or moving slowly, it was like a liquid. When you slapped it, it was hard. Those nasty soils in other parts of the world, on the other hand, are solid when they are stationary, but turn liquid when they are shaken, causing a lot of damage. Ours aren’t like that, so earthquakes don’t affect their
Third, Costa Rica is picky about construction, and especially foundations. When I was a real
estate broker in Texas, it was unusual to show a house that didn’t have at least a little cracking because of movement in the foundation.
Here in Costa Rica, I can show you 50 homes in a row with no structural cracking (we might notice some hairline surface cracking of the exterior plaster, but it’s cosmetic rather than structural).
Before you can build here, you have to submit your plans to the College of Architects and
Engineers. They go over the plans with sharp eyes to make sure there is enough concrete and reinforcing bars. When they put their stamp on the plans, you can be sure that your home will be well built because your architect or engineer is responsible to visit the project regularly and ensure that it is built according to the plans.
So that’s my longer answer to two questions: Do we have earthquakes here? Yes. Do we worry about them? No.
I’m writing this in February, a very dry month in Costa Rica. It’s “summer” here, which is what
they call December through April because there is so little rain and the temperatures are a bit
For the rest of the year, there is rain. During a typical cycle, rains start in April and are pretty
tame until August. They usually get themselves organized later in the day, rinse off all the dust,
bring the wildlife to life.
From September through November, rains are the main events. The whole world gushes under
a daily deluge. Thunder and lighting provide celestial spectacles. Creeks and rivers rise, springs
spring, trickles turn into waterfalls, and frogs all think they’ve died and jumped to paradise!
According to Karl Kahler, writing in the Tico Times on October 3, 2015, if you total it all up,
“Costa Rica receives enough rain to supply an average of 22,000 gallons to each of its 5.1
million inhabitants every day. That’s a lot of water — enough to supply every person on the
planet with 15 gallons of water a day, year-round.”
So why is water such a big deal? Because the collection and distribution of the water has to be
managed, or it all ends up in the ocean where it doesn’t do you much good when you want to
brush your teeth at night.
For many years the laws have stated that for residential purposes, it’s not enough to just have
water. It has to be “authorized” water. There are only three sources of authorized water: 1. The
federal government’s AyA* water system, available mostly in cities and towns; 2. A registered
neighborhood or community ASADA** water system, available in many rural communities; 3. A
legally obtained concession allowing you to use a spring, creek, well, or river for your water
The law has been that without one of those three sources of water, you cannot get a building
permit. Unfortunately, this law hasn’t been enforced with any regularity and many building
permits were granted without authorized water. Many people bought land with the
expectation that water wouldn’t be an issue when the time came to build.
Oooops. In the past few years, the first one municipality, then another, then another began to crack
down and enforce the law. They began to demand documentation before issuing a permit.
Imagine the irony: This has left many land owners huddled under big umbrellas by roaring
creeks in gushing rains unable to sell their land or build because they have no authorized water.
There is a lot more that could be said about this. It remains to be seen how it will all get
resolved, because many people are affected: owners, attorneys who specialize in real estate,
municipalities that lose revenue from building permits, architects, contractors, and of course
real estate agents.
In the meantime, be aware of the issue. If you are looking at buying undeveloped land, always
ask, “What about the water situation?” If the answer is that the property has water, ask for
documentation before you make an offer, because having water isn’t the same thing as having
water rights, right?
If the answer is that the water authorization is in the process, be skeptical about promises
regarding the timing. It can take two years to get a concession, and sometimes more to hook up
to an existing system if the property you are looking at wasn’t included as part of the system.
The one answer you should never accept is, “Don’t worry about it; it will all work out.” That was
true for many years, but it is no longer a good answer. No trustworthy agent these days will
encourage you to move forward on the basis of “thoughts and prayers” when it comes to water
In the meantime, consider coming to see Costa Rica during the heavy rainy season,
euphemistically referred to here as “green season” as opposed to “the season when sometimes
you can’t tell if that’s rain or if someone is emptying their pool on your head.”
We who live here love the rains. So do the flora and fauna, and so will you.
*AyA is short for Instituto Costarricense de Acueductos y Alcantarillados, roughly meaning “Costa Rican Institute for water
delivery and sewers.”
**ASADA is short for Asociaciones Administradoras de Los Sistemas de Acueductos y Alcantarillados, roughly translated as
“administrative associations for water delivery and sewers.”
-By Ron Snell.
-By Ron Snell
I just finished showing some clients a few beautiful luxury homes with stellar views of the
Pacific Ocean. Those were Wow! moments, soul filling in the literal sense where you suddenly
realize you haven’t been breathing normally.
Always when looking at that view, the question comes up: “So where does the sun actually
set?” Because the only thing more beautiful than the ocean in all of its moods is a blazing
sunset where you can watch a glowing red ball sizzle right into the water way out there on the
horizon, and you can picture a long, narrow burning path reflected across the water coming
right to your feet, and the clouds flash brilliant colors, and you wear out your Instagram or
Facebook followers with picture after picture of it all.
Back to reality. Astronomical reality. Where, really, on that beautiful horizon, does the sun set?
How much of the year can you actually watch the sun sink into the ocean as it wraps up the
day? Can you believe the property description, your agent, or the homeowner?
Three things complicate the answer:
First, our coastline doesn’t generally run north and south. If you are standing square to the
coastline and looking at the Pacific Ocean, you are tempted to think you are looking west, and
since the sun “sets in the west, well….” Usually, you aren’t. You’re looking southwest, and the
sun will mostly set to your right.
Second, the sunsets travel a lot between December 21, when they are the farthest left (south)
they will go, and June 21, when they are the farthest right (north) they will go. I won’t explain
the astronomy behind this, but you can Google it and spend a fascinating hour refreshing your
memory about things you were supposed to learn in earth science about 50 years ago.
Third, it’s highly unlikely that your agent has ever actually stood on the property both June 21 st
and December 21 st and marked where exactly the sun sets. Instead, it is highly likely that the
agent has heard the owner say, “You can watch the sunsets over the ocean” and has
immediately driven back to the office to include that in the property description.
So what are you to do? How do you know how often you’re going to see sunsets over the ocean
instead of behind the trees or an inconvenient mountain? It’s pretty easy, really.
Point a phone app or a compass due west. Because we are about 9 degrees north of the
equator, on December 21 st the sun will set about 23 degrees to the left (south) of west. On June
21 st it will set about 23 degrees to the right (north) of west.
No amount of fast talking by your agent will change that, so trust the science and set your
expectations. Keep in mind that from September to early December it isn’t going to matter a
whole lot anyway, because it is highly likely that there will be heavy overcast or rain that time
of day. So focus on late December through June. That’s when you are most likely to see the
If you are the sort of person who enjoys this stuff, you would like the app I found for my phone:
Sun Surveyor Lite. It’s free and shows you where the sun will set on any day of the year, among
many other things like times for sunrise and sunset.
By the way, if you’re a photographer, whether amateur or less amateur, this little app has some
very practical value because you can set up shots based on where the sun will actually be,
instead of where you wish it were going to be, any time of day.
Check it out.
Owner Financing In Costa Rica:
Owner financing is when the seller of the property finances the property with the
buyer, or entity acquiring it. When going the route of owner financing, you eliminate
bank fees and associated fees that come with buying a property in Costa Rica,
especially if you are a foreigner. If you have a good handle on real estate in Costa
Rica (like we do here at Dominical Real Estate) you will know the ins and outs and
the advantages of owner financing. During slow economic periods, owner financing
is strongly encouraged. Before experiencing the market slump, many Americans
paid cash for their properties. Since the bank charges much higher fees when
financing, many buyers opt for owner financing in Costa Rica because the fees are
Owner financing is a great option for buyers because they have the utmost
advantage in regards to the transaction. When looking at the terms and conditions
of the contract and finance agreement, the terms are more flexible. As the buyer, you
will pay the seller directly. This is a great option for buyers who have more liquidity.
Most owner financing deals are assisted by a promissory note that includes the
terms and interest rates, as well as the penalties of nonpayment.
Owner Financing in Costa Rica enables investors to buy, which might be the only
hope for some people to own real estate in Costa Rica. You are recommended to pay
off your seller within a 5-year timeframe to be fair. Many financers offer a longer
pay period in order to meet the needs of the buyer and he or she may be willing to
extend the period if the buyer has been consistent with their payments
Here at Dominical Real Estate, we offer owner financing on some of our properties
because we want to make your experience as easy and effortless as possible. We
believe in trust and our goal is to help people make the best investment and find the
best possible property here in Costa Rica for you to enjoy! Whether you choose
owner financing or you want to do everything through the bank that is up to you.
The option is out there and the advantages are in your favor.
One thing to note about owner financing is that the room for negotiating on the
property price is very small to obsolete. This is because the seller is agreeing to hold
your mortgage. The down payment all depends on the owner who is providing the
finances to you. Most owners will require a down payment of 50% of the property’s
value. Then the seller is agreeing to finance the remaining 50%. The average interest
rate is around 7% give or take.
If owner financing is not something you would consider, there are a few other
options we can speak with you about. We are here to find you a property in Costa
Rica that meets all your wants and needs. Don’t hesitate to contact us, as we are
always willing to share our knowledge about real estate in Costa Rica!
The Process Of Purchasing Real Estate In Costa Rica
Can a foreigner obtain real estate in Costa Rica? Of course they can, and every foreigner has the same rights as a citizen in Costa Rica, excluding voting rights.
Since foreigners have the same rights as citizens when it comes to buying property; the government has made the process very simple. There are a few key factors you need to know in terms of where a foreigner can purchase real estate, and you will learn all about that in this article.
It is important to know that a foreigner cannot own 100% of the property if it is located in a Maritime Zone. Titled property is any piece of land that is beyond 200 meters from high tide. The first 50 meters from the high tide line, is public property that is protected. Within 150 meters adjacent to the high tide line- this is known as the Maritime Zone and the property can be leased from the government.
Real Estate Attorney:
It’s essential to hire a real estate attorney and someone who is bilingual if you don’t speak Spanish. Hiring an attorney with experience will ensure no problems will arise with the property you want to purchase. They will look over everything and make sure the property is in good standing.
A Good Real Estate Agent:
It doesn’t matter if you are buying property in Costa Rica or anywhere in the world; it’s always essential to use a good/reliable real estate agent. Choose a real estate agent who has been in the business for a few years and who is familiar with the area you want to invest in. Make sure they match all your requirements and they postulate outstanding service. It’s always good to stick with one agent and get to know them on a personal level. This will make the buying process that much easier. If you are speaking to several different agents, you will get confused and you won’t have that hands-on experience that one agent is willing to provide you. With Dominical Real Estate, we ensure you have a positive experience from the first time we speak to you- to after you are settled into your property. Our agents go above and beyond to assist you with every possible need. We are only a call, text, or email away from finding you the property of your dreams.
Making An Offer:
You will want your real estate agent to write up an offer and deliver it to the seller instead of making a verbal offer. It is always better to have this information written down on paper. After the offer is accepted, your agent will have your real estate lawyer draft up a formal purchase of sale agreement. When both parties sign the agreement, you will be required to send 10% of the property price into an escrow account that you will need to set up. Once the 10% deposit is deposited into the escrow account- the agreement becomes lawful.
Depending on whether you will be in Costa Rica during this process if for some reason you will not be- you should leave the power with your attorney, or real estate agent. They will be able to obtain the real estate property in the name that you approve of. You will need to have your property registered in your name or a corporation. Remember to always look at all the fees associated with your property. From utilities to condo fees, corporation tax, property tax, etc.
If you have any other questions regarding the process of purchasing real estate in Costa Rica, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me and I would be happy to answer any questions. I want to make this process as easy as possible for you and ensure you have a positive buying or selling experience with Dominical Real Estate! ☺
Why Buying Property In Costa Rica In 2019 Is A Good Investment?
Let’s face it- Costa Ricans are some of the happiest people in the world, with Costa Rica being ranked as one of the happiest countries in the biosphere. Why wouldn’t someone want to buy property in Costa Rica with a classification like that?
Buying property anywhere in the world is typically a safe investment; nonetheless you want to look at places that will exploit your income in the long run. Deciding when to buy real estate and where, are usually the two big questions. When it comes to buying property in a foreign country for the first time, you want to take many factors into consideration and make sure you are aware of the process. Costa Rica is currently a buyers market and has been for a few years. There are many different places on the market, which allows you to be picky and find the perfect place. With the abundance of real estate on the market, come more affordable prices that make investing in real estate more cost efficient for foreigners. It’s always important to take your time and not make any decisions based on impulsiveness. A lot of people come to Costa Rica for the first time and distinguish they will be back for good. Take some time and experience the country a bit, once you see how scenic and tranquil it is, than make your purchase.
Let’s take a look at the different reasons as to why Costa Rica is a good investment for the upcoming year:
- Minimal taxes
- Growing tourism
- Buyers market
- A safe country
- The market is down
- Permanent Residency
- The weather
- The diversity in the country
Costa Rica is known for their minimal land tax. You have to pay 0.25% of the registered property value in your municipality. You have the option to pay this on a quarterly basis or one payment for the year. You will get a small tax break if you pay it all at once. In terms of the growing tourism here in Costa Rica, many people are coming to Costa Rica because of safety reasons and all the places to explore around the country. Costa Rica is an extremely safe country to travel around and to live and many female expats travel the whole country by themselves. In the past 10 years, the tourism industry in Costa Rica has grown at a steady rate of approximately 8% each year. Tourism in the country generates about 13% of employment.
With the crash that happened in the real estate market in 2008, the market is still recovering. With that being said, prices of real estate are down, which makes this the perfect buying opportunity for anyone who wants to own a property or income property in Costa Rica. With the tourism rate growing at a fast 8% each year, the market will eventually stabilize and real estate will rise. The government is working to cultivate new areas of the country and continue with new highway development. A new international airport is suppose to develop in Orotina in 2025, which will compete with the hub of Central America in Panama.
Between the beautiful weather year around and the diversified landscapes spread out across the country, what better reason to invest in Costa Rica? There are beach properties close to the turtles and fishing ports, and there are properties in the rainforest, which are surrounded by monkeys and sloths. You have the choice to pick where you want to invest in Costa Rica. Also, after an investor invests over $200,000 they are granted temporary residency. Then they would wait three years and could opt for permanent residency or citizenship.
For any real estate questions pertaining to properties in Costa Rica, don’t hesitate to reach out to me, as I would be happy to assist you through out this journey! ☺
Guide to Importing a Car and Other Household Items into Costa Rica – Written by Jason Mueller
It’s understandable why anyone would want to move to Costa Rica. The country has a majestic landscape, exciting outdoor activities, low cost of living, favorable foreigner/expatriate policies and ample working opportunities. Costa Rica is however known for high import duties. Living in Costa Rica as a foreigner is easy. Moving is the main hurdle especially if you want to move with your car and personal belongings such as household items. To move seamlessly, there are several things you must know/understand.
Laws and regulations
Costa Rica’s Customs Law has several articles relating to the importation of used goods/items. Duty varies depending on several factors i.e. when and how you import the goods. Here’s an important criteria to consider.
Your household items are exempt from duty if; you are an adult who is importing the goods for personal use (not for sale). The items must also be used (at least 6 months old) and the importer must enter Costa Rica within three months (90 days) prior to custom clearance. If your shipment meets the above criteria, your household items will be exempt of duty. If you have new items, duty is based on CIF (Cost, Insurance, and Freight) as well as the value of those items. It is worth noting it is cheaper to ship more items.
Shipping a vehicle
Shipping a vehicle to Costa Rica is costly (costs more than shipping household items). Total costs vary depending on factors such as the; tax, size of the car, age of the car, how the car is shipped (i.e., in a container). It’s worth noting that taxation is charged against the original price, not the age or condition. The average retail value of the car is considered. The import value of a car can be established in the Ministry of Treasury Valuation Database: http://www.hacienda.go.cr/autohacienda/AutoValor.aspx .
Total cost of importing a car to Costa Rica is highest for older car models. Cars manufactured in 1999 or earlier pay approximately 80%. Cars manufactured in 2000 to 2004 pay approximately 65% while those manufactured earlier i.e. 2004 and earlier pay approximately 55%.
International moving companies such as A-1 Auto Transport Inc. can assist with moving household goods and vehicles to Costa Rica. For more information visit https://www.a1autotransport.com/moving-to-costa-rica/ .
After considering the cost of shipping your car and household items to Costa Rica, you may become reluctant. However, most foreign residents, as well as Costa Ricans, prefer imported goods from countries like the U.S. because they are of better quality. If you value quality, you may want to go ahead and import. If you don’t mind living without luxuries, you can consider living in furnished apartments or consider what you need locally. Remember, what you need to import solely depends on your own preferences and budget. However, don’t ship what you can get cheaply or easily in Costa Rica. You should also make an effort to declutter before shipping. Also, avoid bulky items to avoid excessive shipping and taxation costs. It may also be smart to talk to foreign residents in advance just to get firsthand insights.
You should also consider shipping from the nearest port. If you live in the U.S. for instance, you should ship your car and household items from Miami, the U.S. port that is nearest to Costa Rica to enjoy lower shipping costs.
Tax waivers on household items
Foreign residents in Costa Rica are allowed to import merchandise worth $500 tax-free after every 6-months. This waiver is in addition to regular traveler’s luggage. You can take advantage of this waiver to import the items you need overtime. However, you must not exceed the $500 limit to avoid additional charges and customs restrictions.
It is very expensive to import large items by air. For items such as refrigerators, washing machines, etc. that exceed 500 pounds, consider shipping such items in a large container. You can choose a large or small container (40-foot or 20-foot). It costs approximately $1,500 including tax to ship items to Costa Rica using a 20-foot container. Large 40-foot containers cost approximately $2,000.
You need a customs agent to get all your household items and belongings (such as your car) out of customs seamlessly. You can find a reputable customs agent by conducting a simple search online or asking for referrals.
Documents required to clear a shipment through customs include; a copy of your passport (the main page) plus the page containing last entry. This is required for your shipment to be treated as personal effects given customs must clear personal items within 90 days of a person’s arrival. You also need a packing inventory showing the value of the declared items. If the items are imported via air, you need an original airway bill. Freight forwarders send airway bills with shipments. Airline agents usually give you this document after you pay Terminal handling fees.
The above information summarizes the process of importing a car and other household items into Costa Rica. Since it is a lengthy and tedious process, most people prefer paying custom brokers/agents to handle everything on their behalf. It may cost more; however, you will save valuable time and effort.
Best of luck and pura vida!
A Canadian expat, Jason Muller is currently living in Costa Rica and operating a small business. Jason enjoys travelling to many exotic locations and enjoyed meeting new people and telling related stories. Life is short, live your dream
Written by Jason Mueller
Costa Rica is the ideal country for anyone to relocate to that is conscious about their footprint on mother earth. Costa Rica is the perfect place for anyone looking to retire and they can even do it on a budget when saving money living a greener lifestyle. This pristine piece of paradise is very popular for tourism coming to see the abundance of wildlife and beauty within. The countries residents and government are very conscious about keeping Costa Rica as beautiful as it was before tourism became the number one income earner for the country. You must learn how to become more sustainable before you step foot in this country in order to pay your full respect.
This is a peaceful country where you will rarely find a negative confrontation. In fact, Costa Rica renounced their army in in 1949 making it one of 15 countries with no army. The prior military budget was put towards culture, health and education. The most popular words that come from every one’s mouth is “pura vida” This translates to pure life and seems to be a way of life for laid back locales.
Costa Rica is rich in bio-diversity from coast to coast. The country is incredibly small with only 19,730 square miles. That equals .03% of the surface of the globe. However, the country is proud to say that it is home to 5% of the total biodiversity in the world.
Over 25% of the countries land is protected by national parks and conservation areas. The government even pays landowners to conserve their own private land, this is referred to as “selling the air, yes you can even make extra money while doing your part to save the planet in Costa Rica.
Roughly 50% of Costa Rica is forested and 7.5% of that is classified as primary forest. Primary forest is the most bio-diverse forest known or unknown to man whichever way you look at it. Primary forest means that there are no clear indications of human activities and the ecological processes are left undisturbed.
When you turn on the lights or use any sort of electricity in Costa Rica you can feel a little better about your decision knowing that the country runs nearly 100% on renewable energy. In 2016 the country ran for more than two months straight on 100% renewable energy. They accomplished this task twice. That means the country ran for 150 days on 100% renewable energy. One of the biggest goals for the country is to be completely running on renewable energy in the near future.
Costa Rica is giving huge incentives for those looking to go green and import an EV. Import custom duty taxes of 52.29% on new vehicles and 79% for vehicles 6 years or older make vehicles super expensive in Costa Rica and fully electric vehicles under $30,000 are 100% exempt from customs taxes. Also, there is a 10-year exemption for EV parts.
The country does capitalize on the natural ecology for tourism that is for sure. There is an abundance of eco-tours to choose from. The most popular eco-tours are the nature tours such as monkey tours, tree top tours, crocodile tours, and turtle tours. Many of the beaches are protected areas for turtles to nestle, only certain guided tours are allowed to explore these beaches. It is highly recommended that a guide accompanies you into the wild because there is so much that you would miss if you were all alone.
There are 9 volcanoes in Costa Rica and all of them are a sight to see. The most popular and spectacular ones are Poas, Irazu, and Arenal. Turrialba has recently been active in 2016 and the beginning of 2017 canceling some flights in and out of the San Jose International Airport.
Manuel Antonio National Park is the most visited park in the country and is only 45 KM from Dominical. There are 184 species of birds in the park and 109 species of mammals. Monkeys are the main attraction and you are certain to spot one when visiting the park. The trails within the park are in great condition offering an easy path for elders to enjoy the scenery. The white sand beaches within the park are the perfect place to relax for the day.
One of the best ways to really appreciate the land is to join a tour that teaches you all about the agriculture in Costa Rica. There is an organic pineapple tour and organic coffee tours. Saint Michaels Organic Farm offers free education for sustainable farming, they also welcome volunteers looking for a free place to stay, look for them on WWOOF.
Adventure meets eco-tour with the affluence of zip line canopy tours in the country. Many people don’t know it but zip lining was first invented in Costa Rica. Biologists first used this method in Costa Rica to access previous unreachable and unexplored rainforests.
A Canadian expat, Jason Muller is currently living in Costa Rica and operating a small business. Jason enjoys travelling to many exotic locations and enjoyed meeting new people and telling related stories. Life is short, live your dream
Chirripo National Park
Costa Rica has many beautiful parks that are popular destinations for travelers and residents alike. Chirripo National Park is one destination that you won’t want to miss, as it is home to the highest mountain in the country. This park had its name established in 1975, and it falls over three different provinces: Cartago, Limon, and San Jose.
One of the most notable features of Chirripo National Park is Cerro Chirripo, which is the tallest mountain in the country. It rises to over 12,530 feet, or 3,820 meters. In addition to the peak, there are many notable valleys and walking paths where you can enjoy a short or a long hike.
One of the most popular hikes runs along 10.3 miles (16.5 kilometers) on a trail that starts in San Gerardo de Rivas. From here you’ll end up at the park ranger’s refuge in Los Crestones. Many will stop here and return to the start, but for more adventurous spirits, they’ll want to hike up to the peak of the mountain. This adds an additional 3.1 mile (5 kilometer) walk to the summit. From here, if the weather is clear, you can view the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea to the east.
During walks and hikes you’ll get to take in interesting plant and wild life. For example, the park is home to several fascinating and colorful varieties of mushrooms, but look, don’t touch!
Visitors to the park can experience a variety of different ecosystems. There are five counted in the park: lowland tropical wet forest, premontane tropical wet forest, lower montane wet forest, montane wet forest, and subalpine wet forest. These forests can change to wet desert during the hottest parts of the year.
You’ll experience two different types of climates in the park. One happens during the dry season which is from December to April. The wet season starts after that and lasts from May to November. Like many forests in other countries, Costa Rican forests are highly susceptible to fires in the dry season. Fortunately, caution has been exercised, and the last major fire was in 1992, which decimated nearly 8 square miles of vegetation, and forced the closure of the park for many months.
You’ll be surprised to learn that Costa Rica does suffer from sub-zero temperatures, particularly in Chirripo National Park. In the past the park has recorded low temperatures of -15°F (-9°C). Many visitors will want to pack a jacket, as the park can be one of the coldest spots in Costa Rica.
Visitors who’ve had their fill of hiking can stop in for a visit to the Las Nubes Centre for Neotropical Conservation and Research. You can find this building on the southwest corner of Chirripo National Park. This Centre is managed by the York University of Toronto, Canada.
If you’re searching for more of a rain forest type of park than a beach park, Chirripo National Park is sure to offer plenty of opportunities to get outdoors into fresh, cool air, where you can experience the natural habitat of some of Costa Rica’s valued plant and animal species. As home to Costa Rica’s highest mountain, it is also an excellent destination for hikers.