Costa Rica

Premier Areas of Coverage

  • San José

Country Details

Costa Rica is known worldwide for its land conservation and for the production of bananas, pineapples and coffee.  The country is also a world leader in renewable energy use.  Present day Costa Ricans are largely European rather than mestizo descent.  Spanish is the official language with 97% of the population speaking it.  The official currency of Costa Rica is the Colón (CRC).

Important things to know when renting a property in Costa Rica:

Common Expat Areas - The areas where affordable, desirable rentals are most likely to be located within San Jose are:  San Rafael, Jaboncillo, Bello Horizonte, Guachipelín, Escazú, San Antonio de Belén, Río Oro de Santa Ana, Piedades, Brasil de Mora, Ciudad Colón, Cariari, Los Arcos, San Francisco de Heredia.

  • All landlords require a guarantor.  If the company doesn’t serve as the guarantor, the landlord may request some rent up front.  In case the transferring corporation is unable to guarantee the lease, they may also be asked to provide an employment letter indicating the position, monthly allowance and years the employee has been working at the company.  It is up to the landlord to accept this letter in lieu of a guarantor.
  • Most landlords agree to negotiate the rent in USD.



  • Who pays rental commission? The rental commission is paid by the landlord
  • How much is the rental commission? The rental commission is one month
  • Is an advance rent required? No
  • What is the standard lease term? The standard lease term is one year
  • What is the frequency of payments? Payments are made monthly
  • Is there a security deposit? Yes, one month’s security deposit is required
  • Who holds security deposit? The landlord holds the security deposit
  • The lease written in what language? The lease is written in Spanish
  • The lease is normally prepared by? The lease is normally prepared by the destination services provider; preference is to use the corporate template if one is available to insure that the legal aspect has been approved
  • Is business release clause accepted? Yes, most landlords will accept with a notice period of 30-60 days



Utilities are not included in the rent.  Costs vary based on usage and size of property.  All utilities remain in the landlord´s name.  Tenant is responsible for monthly payment.

Service is usually already connected in a rented property and it is under the landlord´s name.  Obtaining your own telephone service requires having a residency permit.  The Costa Rican Institute of Electricity (ICE – is the only landline telephone company in the country. This company also provides internet services.

Generally, housing complexes and apartment/condo buildings have a contract with a particular cable company covering the area.  The most popular companies are:

Satellite Services
provided by DIRECTV - or SKY –

Cellular Phone
These companies require a residency permit, unless a pre-paid package is purchased.  The most common companies are:

Public schools are not recommended in Costa Rica.  All private schools will require an entry test.  The most common expat schools that follow the American school calendar are:

  1. American International School –
  2. Country Day School –
  3. Blue Valley School –
  4. Lincoln School of Costa Rica –
  5. International Christian School –


Day Care /Pre-school: Day Care Centers and Pre-schools operate either all year round or during the school calendar in which the school operates. Full or part time services are available.

Elementary School: Kindergarten (5-6 Years old), 1st (6-7), 2nd (7-8), 3rd (8-9),
4th (9-10) and 5th grade (10-11); 6th (11-12).

High School: 7th (12-13), 8th (13-14); 9th (14-15), 10th (15-16), 11th (16-17),
12th (17-18)

Registering your Child/ren
To be considered for admissions in most private international schools in Costa Rica, all applicants are required to comply with a five-part application process:

  1. Completion and submission of an application form
  2. Parent and student interview (may be waived in the case of international applications)
  3. Completion and submission of all requested evaluation and recommendation forms as well as transcripts from previous schools covering at least two years
  4. Submission of results of standardized or special testing
  5. Completion of educational placement test

Schools also requests submission of the following:

• Copy of passport and/or birth certificate
• Vaccination record (required by Costa Rican Law)
• Payment of a placement exam fee (for Middle School and High School applicants)

For students arriving from outside Costa Rica, it is required by Costa Rican law that grades from the previous two years and from grade 7 for high school be recognized by the Costa Rican Ministry of Education. Transcripts from other countries must be authenticated by the Costa Rican Consul nearest to the applicant's school, processed by the Ministry of Foreign Relations in Costa Rica, and then presented to the Ministry of Education.

Non-Spanish records need to be officially translated. Some schools will not require translation of these records or may translate them for free; this requirement will be determined based on the school the child/ren will attend.

Driver License
You can drive with your home country driver license for three months upon arrival. After that period, you must validate your driver license and obtain a local one.

Requirements to validate a driver license:

  • Valid Passport with entry visa not exceeding a three month period or residency card
  • Valid foreign driver license and a copy of it
  • Medical certification
  • Approval of the Department of Licenses