Thursday, January 29, 2009

Two great websites that make you think!

Whilst browsing the internet, I came across two very nice websites that I really liked and I hope you like them too:

The first is the Breathing Earth Website : this is a real time simulation of the world's CO2 emissions and birth and death rates. Whilst it is only a simulation, it did make me think.

1 ha of trees removes approximately 3.5 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere per annum and you can measure your own Carbon Count Number here. CO2 is one of the main contributers to Global Warming and reducing its emmission will help to stem the damage caused by global warming.

The other nice and totally unrelated website which I came across was Wonderclub listing the "Wonders of the World" , with the wonders of the world listed under:

The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

The Seven Wonders of the Medeival Mind

The Seven Natural Wonders of the World

The Seven Underwater Wonders of the World

The Seven Wonders of the Modern World

The Seven Forgotton Natural Wonders of the World

The Seven Forgotten Modern Wonders of the World

The Seven Forgotten Medeival Wonders of the Mind

The Forgotten Wonders of the World

This site brought home to me the number of places I need to travel to and see and how did we forget about all those other wonders?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Where can I check out the land registry in Costa Rica?

Do you need to check out the ownership of land in Costa Rica. Well the good news is that the land registry has an online resource where you can have a look your self.

Of course for a complete check of land ownership / title you may like to check with your Notary / Legal Advisor.

The land registry can be seen at

Wait for the introductory flash page to dissapear and then to check the land registry:
  • Click on "Catastro Nacional" (National Registry) on the upper navigation bar.
  • Click on "Consultas" (Search) in the left-hand navigation bar.
  • If you know the name of the plot of land or Finca: click on "Consulta Por Nombre", enter the Name and copy the squiggly letters (a security check) and click on Consultar (Search) and proceed from there.

  • If you know the identity document of the owner of the the plot of land or Finca: click on "Consulta Por Cedula", enter the relevant certificate number and copy the squiggly letters (a security check) and click on Consultar (Search) and proceed from there.

  • If you know the registration numbers of the land or Finca: click on "Consulta Por Numero de Plano", enter the Name and copy the squiggly letters (a security check) and click on Consultar (Search) and proceed from there.

  • If you know the property or concession number: clcik on "Consulta por Número de Finca o Concesión", enter the Name and copy the squiggly letters (a security check) and click on Consultar (Search) and proceed from there.

Be aware that many people choose to hold their property in Costa Rican SA's (companies) and you may need to check out ownership of the shares of the relevant company to ensure that the individual owns the copmpany which owns the land.

Of course for a complete check of land ownership / title you may like to check with your Notary / Legal Advisor.

In Costa Rica, foreigners actually have the same right to own property as Costa Rican citizens.

While many countries have strict restrictions when it comes to the foreign ownership of real estate, Costa Rica does not. In Costa Rica, citizens and the foreigners have identical legal rights, and these rights are contained in the Costa Rican constitution.

The most important document is the registration on the land registry (not any land deeds) which is the "final word" on who the owner of the land is.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Need a source of legal information for Costa Rica?

I came across the website of Costa Rica Investments (run by the law firm of Meléndez and Bonilla) and it is an excellent website for general information with pages on:

It is a small website but ahs some excellent general information on all the areas mentioned and you can see the home page at

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Has there been a better time to invest in land and teak?

Well in a nutshell no! - in our opinion (although we might be slightly biased) there has never been a better time to invest.
Why - I hear you ask....

Well, as many of us are now discovering to our cost, those intangible assets like stocks, bonds, contracts for difference, options are not as secure as we thought them to be!

Even the banks and bankers in whom we placed our trust are not as trustworthy as we imagined them to be.

Warren Buffett said that "when the tide goes out we find out who has been swimming with no shorts" and it turns out that many of our banking and financial institutions were skinny dipping!
Here in Ireland financial scandal seems to come on financial scandal. Anglo Irish Bank, the states third largest bank, has just been Nationalised. It's share price collapsed as a direct result of investor loss of confidence when it was revealed that Sean Fitzpatrick, the banks previously respected CEO and Chairman, had deceived the banks auditors, the financial regulator, the banks board and the banks shareholders for 7 years, by "bed and breakfasting" a personal loan of €130million with another financial institution whenever the bank was being inspected or audited.

The result significant losses for the banks shareholders which can never be recouped.

An extraordinary tale of deceipt!

The upshot of the current financial crises is that many of the assets in which we had placed our financial hopes and dreams have been devalued to a fraction of their previous value with little or no hope of recovery.

The advantages of a development land and teak investment are:

  1. These are tangible real assets.

  2. Teak does not know about the global credit crunch or banking crises - it continues to grow regardless.

  3. Although teak prices have fallen back from the highs they reached in mid 2008, our teak will not be ready for harvest for another 6-10 years and the growth in world population will ensure that demand for teak continues to rise.

  4. Supply of teak continues to fall as world opinion continues to move (quite rightly) against logging our natural jungles.

  5. As for land - well they just ain't making any more of it.

  6. Costa Rica's aims to be carbon neutral by 2021 will reduce development land in Costa Rica, pushing up the price of existing development land.

  7. The US Baby Boomers start to retire in 5 years and many will seek their piece of paradise in Costa Rica.

  8. Interest rates are at historic lows and your bank savings are actually losing money when compared to inflation.

  9. Good stock picks seem impossible in the current climate.

  10. And I repeat - these are tangible real assets!

The bottom line - there has never ben a better time to invest in development land and teak in our opinion (although as I mentioned we might be slightly biaised!)

Have you seen our new website, it has lots of downloads and we hope it is easier to navigate and will become an important source of information for teak, development land and Costa Rica - have a look: and we would love to get your feedback on how we might improve it further, just e mail us at

Friday, January 16, 2009

Planning to move to Costa Rica from the USA or Canada?

Obtaining Your Visa or Residency in Costa Rica

Citizens of the U.S. and Canada do not require a visa to enter Costa Rica. An immigration validation will be stamped into the passport upon entry, and this provides proof of legal status in the country. Your passport should be in good condition; Costa Rican authorities may deny entry if the passport is damaged.

Residency applications are processed by the Costa Rican Department of Immigration
( Direccion General de Migracion y Extranjeria), which is governed by the Ministry of Public Security and Police ( Ministerio de Gobernacion, Policia y Seguridad Publica).

All applications for residency must be filed in your country of origin, through your local consul, or directly with the Department of Immigration in San Jose.

The only current exceptions are 1) Rentista and Pensionado (retirement) Residency, and 2) Immediate Relative Residency Petitions.

The Department of Immigration states that it “favors applicants that can demonstrate that they will provide a financial benefit and contribute to create employment for Costa Rica citizens either in the form of direct investment or indirect investment.”
“Direct” investment refers to direct investors and entrepreneurs, while “indirect” investment refers to Pensionado and Rentista visas.

Enterprise Visa (Empresario)

This is a temporary residence visa, available to individuals who can demonstrate to the Department of Immigration that the business enterprise they will establish in Costa Rica will create employment for Costa Rican citizens and contribute to the local economy


After living in Costa Rica as a permanent resident for seven years, you can apply for citizenship.

If you have been married to a Costa Rican citizen for at least two years and lived in the country for a minimum of two years, you are also eligible to apply to become a citizen.

You will need to prove that you have the ongoing financial means to live in Costa Rica.

The naturalization process can take over a year. Contact a reputable attorney if you wish to apply for citizenship. Dual citizenship is allowed in Costa Rica.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Costa Rica's IT and Communications Industry Continues to Grow despite Global Downturn

Costa Rica's IT and Communications chamber (Camtic)has announced that the information it has gathered so far for 2008 indicates that Costa Rica's ICT market as a whole has grown in spite of the global economic crisis.

Camtic organization president Alexander Mora said the value of Costa Rica's IT enabled services grew 50% last year, while software development increased 12%. On the other side of the coin, Camtic is expecting the value of the electronic component market to either fall or remain flat.

Mora said Camtic will wait until all data from 2008 is gathered before releasing its formal growth projections for this year. Still, he expects the ICT industry to grow in the vicinity of 10%.

Companies are setting up ICT operations in Costa Rica due to its economic, social and political stability, he said, adding that political instability in neighboring countries such as Nicaragua and Honduras and recent terrorist attacks in India are driving ICT investments from those countries to Costa Rica.

Growth is also expected to be spurred by several new investment projects planned for this year, including a new investigation center developed by Hewlett-Packard

Click here to read the full story on Manufacturing Business Technology

Monday, January 12, 2009

New Website Launched

We have launched our brand new website today.

There are lots of informational and other downloads in our media and download area and hopefully these will be a very useful resource not only for our clients but also as a general information resource.

Thank youto Andrea Marie Portugal of Amplify Consulting who designed the website and created the content.

Our thanks to e-tailor and particulararly to Aengus Barton who built the new website.

If you have any feedback on our new website or suggestions as to how we could further improve it please give us a call (+353 1 272 4184), drop us an e mail, alternatley use our contact page or use our live chat facility

Further US investment in Costa Rica

The Costa Rican Development and Investment Board (CINDE) predicts that the US recession may lead to further investment by technology firms in Costa Rica in an effort to reduce their production costs.

During 2008 some of the companies which increased their investment in Costa Rica included: Intel, Baxter, Sykes, Western Union, Hologic, and Procter & Gamble which invested more than US$30 million in new offices, plants and production facilities in Costa Rica in 2008.

Click here to read the full story on Inside Costa Rica

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Synthetic Trees

We know that carbon dioxide is one of the main contributers to global warming and that trees effeciently remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Dr. Klaus Lackner from Columbia University first announced an idea to build "synthetic trees" back in 2003. His original idea emenated from his Daughter's high school project and his proposal was to build synthetic trees which would remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

At the time many scientists believed that the proposal was not practical and thought Dr Lackner's design wouold not hold together on the scale he proposed. They felt that you would expend more energy in capturing the CO2 - in keeping the slats coated in absorbent and disposing of it - than you would save.

Still working on the idea Dr. Lackner has now progressed his idea to large scale air capture technology and has successfully demonstrated a prototype which he expects to be commercialised in 2 to 4 years.
In the meanwhile trees are the best we've got for removing carbon from the atmosphere with 1 ha of trees removing approximately 3 tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere yearly.