Planning & Moving Tips

Planning and Moving Tips

Shipper / Importer Contact Information

Nestor Para Gonzalez +1-506-8330-7644 (WhatsApp Also)

Depending on why you're buying here in Costa Rica (Full Time, Seasonal or Vacation rental property), these tips may come in handy before you leave home.  Nothing wrong with buying spur of the moment. I’ve done it successfully, but planning does work best.

First: Join my mailing list and subscribe to my YouTube channel

That may seem self serving, but you will look through a ton of information in your search and may forget where you found these tips along with other information. Yes, it does help me and that’s what it’s all about. Helping each other.

Before you move

  • Email; Be sure your email address is universal (Gmail, Hotmail, MSN, etc.) and your family and friends are up to date.
  • Unlock or buy on unlocked phone. You can get a local SIM card & number here
  • Cancel subscriptions and automatic renewals well in advance
  • Setup Skype, etc. should you want it
  • Set up any bills you must pay on-line
  • Check the exchange rate on your credit card and bank, some offer better rates.
  • Set up your pension for local deposits if needed
  • Renew your bank cards. It’s just easier to have fresh cards with you
  • Find out from your insurance company what services they will cover here in Costa Rica, you may be surprised
  • Gather together any paperwork you will need for residency in Costa Rica, some expats such as Canadians have a few more steps. I’m also a naturalized citizen of Costa Rica, having dual citizenship. See my Residency Page.
  • Renew your drivers’ license. Until you have residency, you cannot get a Costa Rican drivers license (1 -2 years)
  • Load “WhatsApp” on your phone. Everyone in Costa Rica, including all professional use it
  • Set up a forwarding address or address with family or friends. Mail does get delivered to Costa Rica, not all institutions will cover international postage
  • Be sure to change any recovery or security phone numbers and email addresses on accounts like Apple, Microsoft, etc. from your current phone number and email addresses that won’t be following you here.
  • Talk with your accountant about tax reporting and the options available. No one wants to leave paradise in the winter months
  • Again, speak with your account prior to your purchase and whether Costa Rican property should be help in a corporation, personal name or kids’ names. A little advance planning here goes along way.
  • Speak to your estate lawyer about the same things.
  • Think about what you want to do here. You may need your motorcycle helmet and things of that nature
  • Arrange a mover / exporter / importer if you're shipping things. Remember most properties are furnished, but you may want to bring some things. I would suggest using my Costa Rican Importer to handle any moving door to door. I shipped 5 pallets of personal things. We did experience a slight problem with one item and my local importer handled everything. See my Contacts page for details.
  • Get the right papers and shots for your pets. It’s not difficult.
  • You may want to update your vaccinations. That is also very convenient to do here
  • If you're traveling to Costa Rica from certain South American Countries (Columbia, Brazil, Venezuela, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador) you may need a yellow fever shot 10 days prior to entry. It’s good for life. There is some advance paperwork. Contact me about that
  • Thinking about shipping your car? It’s normally easier to buy locally. You may want to ship something special. Again, Let’s talk about that.

Seasonal and Vacation tips

  • Turn your water off at home. Don’t need a burst pipe while your gone
  • Set up someone to check your house when you leave and when you're away. That extra set of eyes may see something you missed when leaving.
  • Take a small cup or shot glass fill it and freeze it. Then put a penny on top and keep it in the freezer. Check it when you return. If penny moved or sank the power was out for an extended time. Check the rest of the food.
  • Put fuel stabilizer in lawnmower, boat, car, etc. You may also want to unhook the battery so it would drain in the months your away
  • Pack a long sleeve shirt and pants, in case you decide on a trip to San Jose or up a mountain.
  • If you're using a connecting flight, Stay away from east coast connections in the wintertime. No one can predict the weather.

Some Fun things to do before you move

  • Say goodbye. Tell people your never leaving paradise!!!!
  • Go get your tools from your neighbors’ garage. He must give them back now.
  • Pack something unique to take with you. It will give you the greatest pleasure. I shipped an old snowmobile. It’s on the beach for people to take pictures
  • Sell your toboggan to a kid for a nickel
  • Burn all your snow shovels in the front yard. The fire department will understand
  • Plan some fun things to do throughout the year in Costa Rica. Many people make getting here the goal. It’s a great goal but living here and doing is the real prize.

Things to plan on when you get here

  • Looking for a property? Plan some time to meet and talk. A good interview in the office or over lunch will go a long way in finding the right property.
  • We will be out looking at property. Many of the properties are rented either full time or vacation rentals. It may not be possible to get in on certain days so again Plan some time. You will have a lot of time to do tours when your living here.
  • We should meet with a good lawyer to arrange closing a deal, about immigration and starting a corporation if needed
  • Renovations and furniture. Most properties are fully furnished and there is some variety of choices especially when shopping condos. If you choose to do some sort of renovation, we will need to meet with a contractor and schedule timing in getting the job completed prior to your arrival.
  • Those that work from home will need capable internet service etc.

Planning Business

Buying or starting a business anywhere takes some planning and extra care. Costa Rica like anywhere else has guidelines to follow. There are many aspects a proprietor needs to learn and understand. I have owned a business in this country and as a Realtor we are also self employed. Please contact me about owning a business. Most aspects are equal to what you would expect anywhere. There are however a couple little differences and I able to guide you through that process.


Feel free to contact me anytime, I am always willing to help. I would caution solely using the internet as a guideline to all your planning. Much of the information is outdated, and/or written by people without through knowledge of Costa Rica. He said, she said, on the beach etc. That’s when things get confusing. As I have stated many times. Costa Rica is a developing country, far more advanced then it’s Central American neighbors. Certain requirements are updated, changed or removed constantly to make Costa Rica a better place for all to enjoy. I can find you a great property and connect you with good professionals to bring everything together. Contact me today and get started on your new lifestyle.

Toll Free USA / Canada 1-877-205-5507

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Pricing terms

The price is based on current exchange rates but is only an approximation. Please contact us for a final price