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Investing in Santa Teresa 101

Buying Real Estate in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

Tucked away in the Puntarenas Province in Costa Rica lies the small town of Santa Teresa. Considered to be one of the most beautiful places in the world, Santa Teresa is outlined with beautiful beaches, sprawling lands, and gorgeous real estate properties.

If you are looking to retire, live, or invest in Costa Rica the town of Santa Teresa is a great place to consider. You are not just investing in Santa Teresa’s economy but in one of nature’s most precious gems. When purchasing property here, there are several things that you should do:

Come and Visit Us!

Although the pictures of Santa Teresa and Mal Pais may entice you, nothing is better than experiencing it in person. You will enjoy the breathtaking views, friendly citizens, and miles of gorgeous real estate. Walk around our beaches and feel the sand beneath your feet. Immerse yourself in the town’s rich culture. Taste the savory flavors of our local cuisine. Rub elbows with some of the rich and famous that have invested in Santa Teresa. Take a minute and explore one of the many pastimes in the area, such as:





You can also visit the neighboring town of Mal Pais. There you can zip-line through the treetops of the jungle or listen to the sounds of the nature reserve.

Discover the Market

When you come and visit us, take a minute and research the local market. Santa Teresa’s booming economy will offer you flexibility and opportunity. Living or having a business here will surely allow you the ability to see success and exponential growth. Santa Teresa has many things worth investing in such as:



Rental property

Prime estate investment

Ask the Right Questions

Once you have decided that you want to invest in Santa Teresa, there are several questions that you need to ask yourself:

Can I (we) afford it? This should be the first question that you consider. Be sure that moving, investing, or selling property in Santa Teresa is going to be financially beneficial for you. Weigh all of the pros and cons. If the cons outweigh the pros reevaluate your financial status before you make a move on a piece of property.

What type of market am (are) I (we) looking at? When purchasing any piece of property it is always a good idea to get a feel for the market. Is the area mostly retirees, young professionals, families, or tourists? This is important if you are investing in commercial property. Santa Teresa has a lot to offer everyone and you will surely find an area that truly fits your needs.

What kind of property do I (we) want? What type of property you want is important to know before you write that check. Are you looking for a vacation home? An actual home? A commercial property to rent or own? Knowing what type of property you desire will help you be more decisive towards which area of town will be the most beneficial.

What are the zoning laws? Knowing the zoning laws will help you navigate which area of town would be suitable for what you want to do. Trying to venture out without some knowledge of the different zones could be a risk, both legally and financially.

Should I (we) get a real estate agent? Short answer, yes. Keep reading further and you will understand why.

Zoning and Properties in Santa Teresa

There are several different types of properties throughout the Santa Teresa and Mal Pais area. They are restricted to different zoning regulations which is why it is important to know the goal for your property and rely that to your real estate agent. Here is a look at the type of properties or zoning areas you can choose from:

Agricultural Zoning

Agricultural zoning, also called “residential” is mainly used for properties that do not have public road access, or do not provide a close enough public road access. For most of these types of properties, you could build a 15 percent footprint of the total size of the property. This is a plus because it offers you flexibility to build, but also, comfort and privacy from the general public.

Although there is not much farmland in the area, zoning laws still apply. These are in place to help maintain a low construction impact within a short period of time. Most properties are under restricted zoning laws, even if you are building your own home. By law, most properties in this zoning are required to meet 5000 square meters in order to be properly titled. When it comes to agricultural zone, be sure to discuss with your agent all of your options.

Concession Zoning

Concession zoning is when land is granted by a lease directly through the government and local municipality. In Costa Rica, this is applicable to all beachfront properties. This is one of the most wanted types of property in Santa Teresa, however, zoning laws are stricter than other types of property. With concession zoning, there are numerous things that you need to know, such as:

Is the property you are interested already granted concession?

When does the concession expire?

What is the zoning within the zoning?

It is important that you have an experienced real estate agent who specializes with concession zoning.

Commercial Zoning

If you are looking to own a business in the area then you would search for commercial properties. For the most part, commercial zoning will allow you to build a 75 percent footprint of the total size of the lot. You also have to consider the business licenses that may or may not be available to you based on the property location, public road frontage, parking area and others.

Residential Property

Decide to make a home here? Residential property in Santa Teresa is popular, especially if it is within a short distance to the beach. Your dream home could be built in agricultural, commercial, or concession zone allowing you to build a private residence. As a rule of thumb know that technically you can build a home on a commercial property; however, make sure that your business is not based in a concession property that is not zoned for businesses, or based in a residential or agricultural zoning.

Titled Property

With the exception of concession property, all properties that are legally purchased fall within this category. This is especially true for agricultural and commercial zoning properties. Titled property records are available in the public registry for you to make sure it is legit and under your name or corporation.

Finding a Real Estate Agent

Once you have made the decision that you would like to invest, the first step is to hire a real estate agent. Your agent should be someone who is well versed in the area and seasoned at what they do. Some of the reasons to hire a local agent are:

We will help guide you to understanding zoning restrictions.

We will help you navigate the different areas of town that match what you are looking for.

We act as a liaison between you and potential sellers or buyers.

We will help you prevent future legal battles or discrepancies.

When it comes to your real estate agent, it is important that you can trust them to have your best interest in mind. Don’t settle for someone that will cost you time and money and waste your time.

At RE/MAX Pura Vida, we make your investment in Santa Teresa our top priority. We will work diligently to get you into the property you desire. In the meantime, welcome to beautiful Santa Teresa, Costa Rica. Enjoy your stay!

Disclaimer: Every and each one of the properties should be taken on an individual basis to perform a personalized due diligence. The information on this Website should not be taken as legal or accounting professional advice. Should always consult your lawyer and accountant for any investment opportunity.