Living in Costa Rica is the dream of many. Living in Marbella, Costa Rica is the dream of a select few.
For this – Playa Marbella, located between Nosara and Tamarindo, on Costa Rica’s North Pacific coast – is that near-perfect blend of rural but convenient, exclusive yet affordable, perfection and paradise.
But first things first: Is Costa Rica even the right country for you? Let’s find out!
Living in Costa Rica Might Be Right for You If…
Costa Rica is a spectacular country: Warm both in climate and spirit, this is a nation built on peace, environmental protections, and the promises of the Great Outdoors. But, before you commit the Rich Coast, let’s cover (in brief) a few serious considerations:
1. You Qualify for Residency (or Don’t Require Residency).
Moving to another country, whether part-time or full-time, is not only a major lifestyle decision but a legal one. So, the very first question we ask potential Marbella neighbors is, will you qualify for residency?
Of course, you may not need it: If you plan to visit only a couple of times per year, for just a few weeks at a time, you may be comfortable with remaining a tourist. (Tourists can stay for a period up to a consecutive 90 days.)
But, when you make a financial investment – for example, purchasing real estate – you may want to legalize your ties to and status in the country. With that in mind, here is a very brief overview of the residency categories most relevant/common among our neighbors living in Marbella, Costa Rica:
- Investor / Inversionista Residency: For residents who invest $100,000-$200,000+ in qualifying projects, including real estate valued at $200,000+. This type of residency is valid for two years and renewable.
- Fixed Income / Rentista Residency: For residents who receive an income of $2,500 per month; this type of residency is valid for two years and renewable.
- Retiree / Pensionado Residency: For residents who a single pension of $1,000+ per month; this type of residency is valid for two years and renewable.
For all three categories – after three years of holding temporary residency, you will be eligible for permanent residency.
Note that, for our younger Marbella neighbors: If you plan to have children in Costa Rica, they will be born Costa Rican citizens and you will be eligible for permanent residency.
2. You Wouldn’t Miss the Winter.
We know – this one seems like such a gimme.
Who wouldn’t want to escape to a tropical paradise with a year-round temperate climate – when you’re living in Marbella, Costa Rica, that means daytime highs of 25ºC to 33ºC (77ºF to 91ºF) by day and 17ºC to 22ºC (63ºF to 72ºF) by night – paired with sun, sand, and the Pacific.
Okay – it’s a gimme. We were just making sure!
3. You’re Laid-Back.
This one isn’t such a gimme. Really.
If you’ve ever heard of the Costa Rica pura vida (“pure life”), then you may think you’re ready for it. But remember, the pura vida on vacation is very different than the pura vida in everyday life. You have to not only be ready for it, but suited to it.
We believe in honesty. And, if you end up as one of our neighbors, we want you to be happy with your decision. So, we’ll tell it straight: While pura vida can be very chill, very freeing (and very good for your stress levels), in everyday life, it can also be an inconvenience: It can equate to missed appointments and workers not showing up on time. It can mean interrupted schedules and cow road crossings that cause traffic jams.
Laid-back is more than a character quality in Costa Rica; it’s a requirement. But it’s also one that can be learned, if you’re willing!
4. You’re Flexible / Adaptable.
In the same vein – If you’re planning on living in Marbella, Costa Rica, you’ll want to embrace flexibility and encourage the more adaptable aspects of your nature.
Of course, this isn’t Costa Rica-specific: If you move anywhere or make any major lifestyle change, you also need to be adaptable.
But we feel comfortable stating that it’s truer here: Here, where you’ll be challenged (in a good way) to learn and communicate in Spanish. Here, where you’ll travel dirt roads on your way to get groceries. Here, where you’ll navigate banks, government offices, and legalities that work differently than they do back home.
These things often require a deep breath and positive attitude – an acknowledgment that life is different than you’re used to, paired with a willingness to adapt.
And now, if you answered YES to the above questions, then Costa Rica might be a great lifestyle fit! Let’s move on:
Living in Marbella, Costa Rica and Vista Bella Might Be Right for You If…
Vista Bella, located near Santa Cruz, is the epitome of living in Marbella, Costa Rica – literally. Perched on a breezy hilltop above the Pacific, home to a gated community with plenty of room to spread out, Vista Bella looks a lot like paradise.
But is it the right paradise for you? We truly believe in transparency and full honesty: If Vista Bella isn’t right for you, we don’t want you to make the mistake of buying here. So, here’s what you should keep in mind:
1. You Love the Ocean.
Seeing the ocean, hearing the ocean, smelling the ocean, swimming in the ocean, surfing the ocean…
Because at Vista Bella (Spanish for “Beautiful View”), Pacific Ocean views lap at your front yard. Know that this is a rarity in Costa Rica: Ocean-view property is scarce. Know, also, that our private homesites offer panoramic ocean views, ocean breezes, and a perfect balance of beach and jungle lifestyle.
2. You Crave Space.
Recent world events have emphasized a few universal truths – among them, the simple luxury of room to spread out.
When you browse Costa Rican real estate, you quickly realize that there are two primary community types: affordable communities with postage-stamp lot sizes, or expensive communities offering larger lots. At Vista Bella, we believe that living in Marbella, Costa Rica should afford both: a gated community with acreage (about 2.5 acres, on average), available at a fair price ($75,000-$150,000).
Sound tempting? Browse our available properties.
3. You Have Time for a Second Home.
Whether you’re retired, work from home, or have the flexibility of great vacation time, owning a home in Costa Rica is not for the time-deprived.
Above all, you’re going to want to be here. When you’re not, you’ll crave your next return – your next opportunity to step out onto your ocean-view terrace, or walk down the beach, or dine at your favorite restaurant.
But, what’s more, Costa Rica requires hands-on homeownership: You’ll need some flexibility in your schedule to visit at least a few times a year, to check in on your home or homesite, to approve the construction, to handle any issues that arise. Absentee ownership is a dealbreaker.
4. Rural Doesn’t Scare You.
Don’t get us wrong – rural America and rural Costa Rica are two different things. In Costa Rica, rural doesn’t equate to a 2-hour drive to the nearest large grocery store, but it can mean dirt roads and fewer utilities.
At Vista Bella, for example, it means you’ll have a slice of Costa Rica all your own – happily removed from the tourist crowds of Nosara and Tamarindo, but close enough to enjoy world-renowned restaurants.
Yes, you’ll drive a dirt road to get here, but once you’re here, living in Marbella, Costa Rica, you’ll have all the important stuff – electricity, certified water (AYA), and public roads – and a lot of the amenities, too: high-speed fiber-optic Internet, a staffed gatehouse, swimming pool, and parks. And, of course, those stunning (and scarce) Pacific Ocean views.
We consider it infrastructure without over-infrastructure.
5. You Aren’t Afraid to Actually Live in Costa Rica.
Costa Rica often seems divided between two residential choices: Costa Rican communities, where Spanish is an absolute must, and Gringo-fied areas (with a price tag to match).
We created Vista Bella with balance in mind: Here, you’re surrounded by a community of like-minded neighbors from around the world. (You’ll hear more than Spanish and English in the streets!)
But we’re also rooted in our greater community: Living in Marbella, Costa Rica is the everyday Costa Rican lifestyle – shopping at the feria (farmer’s market), a quick lunch at the soda (local “diner”), and greeting shop owners by name. We know we’re biased, but we consider Vista Bella the perfect blend of authentic lifestyle and close-knit community.
6. You Value the Environment.
We know how hard it can be to balance your lifestyle goals with your conscience. At Vista Bella, we strive to do just that: We have built a low-impact community that both values and protects our surroundings (there’s 24/7 onsite security), while offering elevated amenities, including modern design, a clubhouse pool, an HOA, and more.
7. You Are Investment-Minded.
Living in Marbella, Costa Rica is not for everyone. But, if you’ve worked your way through our list and feel comfortable, Vista Bella may be a good fit for your lifestyle and goals.
One such goal: solid, long-term investment. Vista Bella is located in up-and-coming Marbella: Close enough to Santa Cruz, Nosara, and Tamarindo to have access to good amenities, and yet far enough to not yet be priced out of the market. But, as our community continues to grow – and as already-scare ocean-view property grows ever-rarer – Vista Bella is positioned not just for living, but for investment.
If you’re ready to dip your toes into the Vista Bella waters, please get in touch! My name is Jim, founder of Vista Bella (and your future neighbor?), and I’d be happy to discuss Costa Rica, Playa Marbella, and our community more in-depth.