Costa Rica, a Mature Democracy

March 15, 2014

 2014 Projected To Be A Good Year For Costa Rica Real Estate Investment, The Costa Rica Newsby: Federico Fernández, Real Estate Consultant

Recently, several foreigners—both resident and non-resident—have asked me as Costa Rican about the presidential election process that took place last February and, due to the required second round voting, is still going on. Regardless of the results or political tendencies present or dominant, I hope the following summary will answer your questions.

Presidential and legislative branch elections are due every four years in Costa Rica. That is why 2014 is an election year. Elections have been done this way uninterrupted since the current Constitution was created in 1949. Currently, presidents, vice presidents and 57 representatives to the ¨Asamblea Legislativa¨ (Congress) are elected. Election day is always the first Sunday of February. Everything is organized and supervised by the ¨Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones,¨ which is equivalent to the Federal Election Commission in the United States. This entity makes sure everything is done transparently, supervises propaganda, organizes official debates, attends any claims presented by political parties and citizens, and is later responsible for delivering the results. 80,000 citizens worked Sunday, February 2nd, to provide assistance in the activity.

Out of a population of 4,301,712, there are 3,078,321 registered voters for 2014. Voting centers all over the country assure access to each of them, even in the most remote locations such as Indian reservations and Isla del Coco (Cocos Island), located 332 miles away from the mainland. On this island, 28 park rangers are enrolled as voters. There are also voting centers in prisons and senior citizen homes. This year was the first time that Costa Rican citizens abroad could exercise their right to vote. More than 12,000 Costa Ricans were enrolled in consulates all over the world. International observers from 50 countries were impressed by how well done this was.

The final result was that none of the candidates for the first two political parties—the officialist PLN (Partido Liberación Nacional) and the social democrat PAC (Partido Acción Ciudadana)—attained 40% of the votes. Hence, a second round election is to be held in April. Later, Johnny Araya, candidate for PLN announced his withdrawal from the active participation in the second round election. So, it is self-evident that Luis Guillermo Solís, candidate for the PAC, shall become the next president on Sunday April 6th, becoming the first president from this party.

This solid democracy is just one of the key advantages to living and investing in Costa Rica.

2 Responses to “Costa Rica, a Mature Democracy”

  1. Dean Says:

    I do not believe law in Costa Rica democracy and justice is tumbling in this country. as an investor me among 145 people purchased half way finish apartment in a develop are in costa Rica at playa del Coco in 2007.
    the developer called themself Mapachi, sold all apartment to individual people with half money down. on top of that they sold. the whole same unfinished project to a lender for over 2,000.000.00. we fighting for our rights for over 6 years to get either our money back or getting some justice. is not happening and Mapachi is laughing to our face and living free with no penalty what so ever and the law there does not helping the foreign investor at all. therefore who ever want to invest in Costa Rica. just be carful. and don’t forget you are investing in third word country.

    • Dear Dean, I’m sorry to hear that. During the boom times between 2004 and 2008 there had been some projects crashing and left people in the same situation. I hope you are able to get satisfaction. Patience pays of sometimes.
      Between these years we have had many developments coming up offering pre-sales. In order to stay with our slogan “fine selections by the beach” we arranged a questionnaire with a total of 88 questions which we asked the developer before we decided to support them with our marketing and sales efforts. About 50% of them we did not approve and it helped us and our clients to go for the best and legitimate developers. Mapache was not active in the Tamarindo area but we checked on their project in Canas/Bagages and did not approve them and what they offered there. Well, this does not help you now, but I saw just this week an information sent to us by BLP Abogados where the government is working since 2012 on a new law to avoid such situations. It looks like that they will implement very strict obligations for Real Estate Developers regarding sales and pre-sales. Developers will have to register themselves soon to be able to sale real estate. I have this in form of an email and can forward the complete info. Just send me an Email to
      I just hope that they do not make it to difficult for the developers. We have to make it easy for the good guys who do great and sustainable projects.

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