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Precautions for buying Costa Rica Beach Front Property

Precautions for buying beach front proeprty

The Maritime Zone of Costa Rica has certain restrictions that you should know about when you want to purchase Costa Rica beach front property

When buying Costa Rica beach front property, you should ask our affiliate beach real estate agents. Second, you should use any of the closing attorneys our affiliate real estate agents recommend.

But the following blog is hopefully useful so before you purchase Costa Rica beach front property in the Costa Rica Maritime Zone, you will be more knowledgeable than you were before, which will help you in your due diligence.

Costa Rica beach front property in the Maritime Zone of Costa Rica has certain restrictions that you should know about and we also want to tell you about the precautions you should take before purchasing land in the Maritime Zone.

A canon

Although local governments will collect a land use tax known as a canon from occupants of land located in the maritime zone it does not mean that a concession has been granted.

As such, the payment of a canon is simply recognition of the right to possession. This in turn, doesn’t give you any rights to build on that land.

Nicoya Peninsula beach front property
Can you build a pool on beach front property?

No granting of concessions

Concessions for maritime zone beach property in Costa Rica cannot be granted to:

  • Foreigners who have not been residents for at least five years
  • Companies with bearer shares
  • Foreign companies based abroad
  • A company set up in Costa Rica exclusively for foreigners.
  • A company with more than fifty percent foreign capital (ZM Art. 47)

Concessions can be forfeited

Concessions on maritime zone beach property in Costa Rica can be forfeited for the following reasons:

  • Failure to apply for an extension of a concession in a timely manner
  • The forfeiture of rights by the interested parties
  • The death or legal absence of the concession holder with no heir
  • Not abiding by the established obligations of Article 51
  • Cancellation of the concession (ZM Art. 52)
Guanacaste beach front property
Playa conchal beach front

Cancelation of a concession

The ICT (Costa Rica Bureau for Tourism) can cancel a concession on maritime zone Costa Rica beach front property for

  • Non payment of the yearly canon or royalty
  • Breach of contract (e.g. use of the land for purposes other than those expressly stated by ICT)
  • Violation of the ordinances of the law that grants the concession
  • Impediment of the use of the public right of way
  • Other causes that this law establishes (ZM Art. 53)

All in all, an investment in Costa Rica beach front property regulated by the Maritime Zoning Law requires extra caution and thorough investigation. The reality is that ambiguities exist within the written law, so that as regulations are created and amended, rights to property may also change.

There are no guarantees and there is no foolproof way around the law. Even if you get a concession, there are no guarantees that the concessions will be renewed or that the price of the concession or the yearly canon will be within reason.

Accept the risks

The fact remains that you are not purchasing beach front real estate, you are leasing it and you must be willing to accept that risk. Also, see information about squatters in Costa Rica, because in certain cases a foreigner has made it through the concession process only to lose all or a portion of the property later to squatters.

Due diligence

Make sure your closing attorney does your due diligence and examines the Municipality Records, verifies the seller’s ownership status, and also verifies general tax and leasing records. Keep in mind that if you are opening a business on the beach, it may be worthwhile for you to have a concession and make sure the local government will allow you to have the business within the maritime zoning.

Looking to purchase Costa Rica beach front property like a beach home or beach front commercial real estate? We advise you to purchase titled land outside of the Maritime Zone or contact our affiliate real estate agent in the area you are looking to buy.


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I DO want to remind our readers that we appreciate any referrals you can send us. I know you all meet people on the plane, in the supermarket, at yoga, at the gym, at the beach or in a restaurant. Please remember for all your real estate referrals, we appreciate it

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Ivo Henfling

Ivo Henfling started the American European Real Estate Network Costa Rica in 1996 and has grown it into the largest Costa Rica MLS with thousands of up to date property listings for sale and for rent. Ivo has written hundreds of articles about real estate and living in Costa Rica for The Tico Times and other online informational sites.

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