Helpful Information


Electric connection:
Go to the ICE* office in Nosara and submit an application. You will need a copy your cedula* residential or a personeria juridica* of your corporation, copy of your passport and your plano*. If you are transferring the billing name, you need a letter of authorization to transfer from the current billee, along with the above. Nosara is trying to become a “wildlife friendly” area, so please request insulated lines and “boots” on your transformers when you are building. Many animals suffer horrific deaths from electrocution.

Water installation:
Information about and applications for are available at the ASADA* (Water Company) office, 50 north of “Five Corners”. All water users are encouraged to become members of the ASADA* so that YOU may have a say in your water service and encouraged to pay the voluntary “donation” so that the ASADA can stay afloat. Please conserve water.

Telephone/Internet Application:
Phones, both hard line and cellular, are hard to get and now ICE* has made it even harder. Non-residents of the country can not apply without a Costa Rican a corporate cedula*. You must go to the ICE office in Nosara with a copy of your electric bill, a personeria juridica*, or a copy of your residency cedula* to make the application for the phone. 3-G cellular phones work in all areas within the “project”. Billing names for telephones purchased with an existing name are difficult to change. Many new phone lines do come with high-speed internet. ICE now offers “pre-paid” cell chips to use in your US cell and all you need is your passport.

RACSA (slow internet connection):
There is an office in Nicoya to set up your Internet account. You need a copy of your phone bill, your passport and your credit card if you are going to charge the monthly fee. RACSA is on its way out since there are now so many high speed lines available.

We are fortunate to have twice weekly trash collection, Mondays and Thursdays. It is recommended that you instill an “animal proof” trash bin (the cement tubes with a metal lid seem to work better than the mess baskets, but make sure that you can clean them easily) at the end of your driveway (or share one with your neighbors).

It helps the collectors greatly if you separate your trash, aluminum cans (crushed), tin cans (cleaned and crushed), plastics (crushed), glass (caps removed) and food garbage in separate transparent bags. There is recycling, in Nosara. (Our water is safe to drink, so no need to purchase bottled water in plastics.)

A Recycle/Education Center is currently being built on the high road to town which will receive recyclables any time and picks up recyclables every Wednesday. Please use clear plastic bags. There are currently two locations receiving recyclables. Sigeron, next to the NCA office, and Trino, from the intersection of La Casona towards the ICE office. We recommend the use of returnable, deposit glass bottles for beer and soda and your food products can be used as compose or feed the wildlife. Please collapse cardboard boxes. Plastic grocery bags fit nicely into many trash cans and should be reused. There are currently various re-usable grocery bags available. Many stores are now using the biodegradable grocery bags.

Monthly charge for a single family home is $15 (a small price to pay for 8 pickups a month) and it is currently payable at the Mini Super Delicias del Mundo in the back office, or contact Lili Adams . It is easier to pay a year in advance so you don’t have to keep remembering or tying to find the bill.

Call 08000521539.

*cedula or cedula juridica – corporate or personal ID #
*personeria juridica – a notarized declaration of who has power in your corporation
*plano – plat plan
*escritura – deed
*ICE – Instituto Costarricense Eléctrico
*INS – Instituto Nacional de Seguros
*ASADA – Asociación Administradora del Acueducto y Alcantarillado Sanitario de Nosara
*MINAET – Ministro Nacional de Ambiente, Energía y Telecomunicaciones


Building permits:
These are usually gotten by the contractor (make sure they have all permits because you are the one who is liable if the building is in your name), but if you do it yourself, go to the Municipality of Nicoya, taking your letter of constancia from the ASADA* stating that there is water available and your plans, approved by the College of Engineers. You must conform to all required building regulations, sanitary requirements, MINAET* permits for tree cutting, well digging, etc. Please respect your neighbors and the wildlife (don’t cut off the monkeys’ passage through the trees) with our design. If you fill your lot (for which you need another permit) your neighbors and the roads may be affected. Also, there will be damage to the roads caused by the heavy traffic for your construction. We ask that you repair the road.

Tree cutting permits:
A permit to cut trees over 15cm in diameter at a height of 130cm is needed. Again, please do not butcher your lot, work around the trees and the animal right-of-ways. Permits are obtained in the MINAET* office in Nicoya.

Wells permits:
Wells can be dug within the project, but are also subject to approval of permits from MINAET*. Information is available at the ASADA* office.


Bill Payments
ALL DUE MONTHLY-all various dates-but generally the first of each month.

Electric: Payable at the hardware store behind the gas station, banks, the drug store or you can pay at the ICE office in Arenales or via internet.

Phone: Payable at the ICE office in Arenales or at most banks or via internet.

Water: Payable at the ASADA* office. Water can also be paid by calling the ASADA* office, 2682-1050, get the amount, make a transfer to Banco Nacional account # 100-01-013-004544-8 (be sure to indicate “water and lot # in ‘concepto’) and FAX receipt to the office and email to

Garbage: Payable at Mini Super Delicias del Mundo in the back office, Monday – Friday, 9:00 am – 2:00 pm or contact

Social Security: Payable via Internet or in Nicoya.

RACSA: Payable with credit card, Internet or bank deposit.

SKYTV: Payable with credit card, Internet or bank deposit.

Insurance: Through Jeannette at INS* in Nicoya or on-line.

Property tax: Bills come out in January of each year and are payable at the Municipal office in Nicoya. Just take your name, or the corporate name, to the Muni office and pay. Bills are not mailed by the municipality nor do your dues cover your municipal taxes.

Luxury Home tax: Ask your attorney or accountant about this.

Banco Popular is located below Café de Paris and accepts VISA for colone cash advances
Banco de Costa Rica is located just before the Subi Baja next to the gas station and accepts Master Card for colone cash advances

Both are open Monday through Saturday. The hours are 9:00-3:00 weekly and 9:00-12:00 on Saturdays. Some of the national banks require that you have a Costa Rican corporation in order to open an account. Copies of all documentation, as well as a copy of an electric bill are needed. Banking in this country is frequently confusing and illogical.


Jeannette Rodriguez works for INS* in Nicoya and is very helpful.

Workmen’s Compensation insurance:
All employees must have workers comp. You need a copy of the cedula* of your employees and a copy of your cedula juridica*. A monthly report needs to be submitted, either via Internet or sent to Nicoya.

House, car and health insurance:
Can all be handled through Jeannette 2686-7013, cell 8387-2376.
Medical insurance – Members of the NCA receive a discounted group rate for medical insurance and applications are available at the NCA office or the office in Nicoya. It is worth the annual membership fee.

Miscellaneous Services

P.O. Box:
Post office boxes are available in Nosara near the airport “terminal”. You need a copy of your passport and the cost is about $10.00 per year. Mail takes about 10 to 14 days to get here from the U.S. and vice versa.

Courier service:
If you need a US address, you can use Areocasillas. Mail is sent from San José on the Alfaro Bus once a week, or more if desired. UPS is now available at the Nosara Office Center in Arenales.

Residency and import information:
Association of Residents of Costa Rica, Ryan Piercy 2257-6646 can help you with your questions about residency, importing cars or containers and advise you of current laws affecting these. Attorney Andres Gonzales, located next to Toyota Rent a Car, has an associate who can help. 2682-1404 or

Veterinarian Services:
Garza Vets, 2656-8293
Dr. Jiménez in Nicoya, 2686-6826
Dr. Dalay Delgadio in Nicoya, 2685-3492
Ernesto Acosta in Santa Cruz, 2680-0616
Frederico Patino in Esperanza, 2682-0735, or in San Jose, 2231-5276.

Many of come to Nosara on a regular basis to neuter strays at a discounted charge. There is a “Doggy Fund” for these strays which welcomes contributions. Call Sarah 2682-0808 or email her at for more information. To take animals back and forth out of the country you need a certificate from a vet, which is not difficult to secure. There is no quarantine period for animals to enter or leave either the US or Costa Rica.

Important Phone Numbers:
Visit our Phone Book:
Blue Pages
White Pages
Yellow Pages

Friends of Nosara

Friends of Nosara is a not-for-profit corporation recognized as a public charity under Section 501(c) (3) of the US Internal Revenue Code. Contributions to Friends of Nosara are deductible as charitable contributions by US taxpayers. Our purpose is to support charitable, educational, cultural, civic and social activities and projects of benefit to the residents of Nosara, Guanacaste, Costa Rica. We will achieve our purpose through our own activities and by joining other organizations and institutions whose purposes are consistent with our own.

Current Projects:

David Kitson Memorial Library – Working with local schools and town associations to provide
access to all to the world of books. Construction of the new library building is complete, behind the
EBAIS building in town.

FUCAN (Foundation for the Cap citation of Nosara) – Working with the National Institute of Apprenticeship (INA) to provide technical training (vocational training) to all Nosaranians.

Ostional Refuge Protection – Working with MINAET to protect the Ostional Turtle Refuge, which abuts the
beaches of Nosara and the NCA Parklands.

Local schools – Working with the parent-teacher associations of the elementary and high schools to improve the facilities.

Escuelita de Nosara aka Escuelita de Verano – provides a vacation day camp for the children of Nosara whose public school holiday runs through the month of January. The Escuelita’s mission is to inspire creativity and invoke passion for higher learning and development through the implementation of a diverse arts program. Through the demonstration of alternative ways of thinking, acting, living and believing it is hoped that bridges will be formed allowing and ultimately improving the future of the community. The program started with 7 children and has grown to over 150 this year.

Refugio de Los Animales de Nosara – Working with injured, orphaned or displaced wildlife, mostly Howler monkeys of the area, to rehabilitate and return them to their native habitat as quickly as possible.

Sibu Sanctuary – Working as a step-down release center and sanctuary for wildlife that have been orphaned, injured, or displaced, whether by natural causes or by human encroachment.

Nosara Animal Welfare Association aka Nosara Animal Care – provides no cost health care for homeless animals and for animals living with low income families who cannot afford the high costs of veterinary medicine. Their belief is that every animal equally deserves quality care from skilled and gentle veterinarians. They also have an adoption program to help find homes for rehabilitated street animals and for unwanted litters of puppies and kittens.

Red Cross – Working with the local Red Cross, which receives very little government funding, to provide better emergency services to Nosara residences.

Asociaciones Desarrollo de Nosara y Esperanza – Working with the town associations to secure land and a community center.

Del Mar Academy Scholarship Fund – Providing scholarship to local qualified students to attend the private bi-lingual school.

The Surfing Nosara Foundation – concentrates on completing one project at a time that will benefit the children of Nosara. They are currently focused on helping the area’s public

How You Can Help – You can contribute to our projects by making a contribution to Friends of Nosara.
Please include a written designation of the project you wish to support (a notation in the memo section of your check, for example, would be sufficient).

Michael V. Olson, Treasurere-mail:
2 Louisiana Avenue #1G
Bronxville, NY 10708

Your Employees

Minimum Wage:
Costa Rica has a minimum wage scale revised and published every six months by the Ministerio de Trabajo. Nearly every conceivable occupation is covered on the list. If you are an employer, do not think you can pay less than what is the current minimum wage for that position. You will get caught and the fines and penalties are nasty. Remember also that one additional month is paid each December and that extra month is paid at the minimum wage or current wage if higher. It is NOT used to average out to the minimum wage. See Aguinaldo below.

An Employees benefits amount to approximately 55% of their hourly monthly wage.

Social Security (Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social CCSS or simply Caja):
33.5% Of the employee’s regular (monthly) wage. The employer must pay 25% of the total salary amount, and an additional 9%, which is deducted from the employee. This covers the employee for medical care, hospitalization, other medical costs and 3% of this amount is a contribution to a savings and pension fund (Fondos de Capitalización & Pensiones)

The Social Security office is in Nicoya. To submit the paperwork for your employee’s benefits you will need a copy of your passport or cédula juridica (if you are employing as a corporation); and your employee’s full name and cedula number. Afterwards, Caja personnel will deliver the monthly payment invoice and your employee’s medical and disability insurance coverage slips (for the following month) during the first half of the month. The payment is commonly due on the 20th of the month and can be paid at the Caja office or via the Internet.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance (Riesgos de Trabajo):
Personal injury insurance similar to workers’ compensation must be carried to cover all employees. This policy must be purchased from the INS, the Costa Rican government owned insurance institute. It is approximately 2% – 3% of wages depending on the type of work.

You may purchase this insurance at the Seguros Peninsula office in Nicoya. You need a copy of the cédulas of your employees and a copy of your passport or company cédula. A monthly report needs to be either submitted via Internet or sent to Nicoya.

Christmas Bonus (Aguinaldo):
Employers are required to pay all employees 1/12 of their annual salary (an extra month’s wages) in December.

Vacations (Vacaciones)
The law requires one day of paid vacation for every month of employment. A two-week vacation is due after fifty weeks of work. The employer can choose the time the vacations are taken and can require that half be taken at two different times. Vacations cannot include weekends or paid holidays, they must be regular working days.

Paid Holidays (Dias Feriados):
January 1 – New Year’s day
Thursday & Friday proceeding Easter
April 11 – Juan Santamaria Day (moved to following Monday if it falls on a mid-week weekday)
May 1 – Labor Day
July 25 – Guanacaste Day (moved to following Monday if it falls on a mid-week weekday)
August 15 – Mother’s Day
September 15 – Independence Day
December 25 – Christmas Day

Other holidays for which pay is not required for hourly employees are August 2 (Virgen of Los Angeles Day) and October 12 (Culture Day – moved to following Monday if it falls on a mid-week weekday).
Salaried employees are paid for these days whether they work on them or not.

If an employee works on a holiday or Sunday they are paid double.

Termination (Cesantia):
There is an automatic hiring trial period of three months during which an employee can be released without the payment of notice and termination pay. After three months full separation settlement applies. The trial period for domestic help is one month.

If an employee is dismissed (fired) without cause aguinaldo, vacation pay, notice and termination pay must be paid to them.

Preaviso (Advance Notice) The law requires 30 days advance notice to be given of impending termination. If no advance notice is given 30 days pay is due to the employee. If the required number of days of advance notice is given regular pay continues for 30 days, but the employee has the right of one paid day per week to look for another job.

Cesantia is severance pay. Maximum cesantia is 8 months.

When an employee quits or is fired with cause, preaviso and cesantia do not need to be paid; however aguinaldo and vacation pay must still be paid.

Income Tax:
In addition to the above if any employee is paid over 445,000 colones per month.

Conversion Chart

1 mile = 1.61 kilometers
1 meter = 3.28 feet
1 yard = 0.914 meters
1 square meter (m2) = 10.76 sq. ft.
1 manzana = 0.698896 hectares (7,000 m2)
1 acre = 43,560 m2
1 hectare = 10,000 m2
1 hectare = 107,600 sq.ft

1 kilometer = 0.6214 miles
1 foot = 0.304 meters
1 meter = 1.09 yards
1 sq. ft. = 0.093 m2
1 manzana = 1.73 acres
1 acre = 0.405 hectares
1 hectare = 2.47 acres
1 inch = 2.54 centimeters


Abogado: Attorney

ADADA: Asociación Administradora del Acueducto Rural y Alcantarillado Sanitario de Nosara, the local water company in the “project”.

Acueducto: AyA, Instituto Costarricense de Acueductos y Alcantarillado

Aguinaldo: Certain required payments to employees. Such as the annual Christmas bonus (extra month’s pay) or termination pay.

Arribada: The name for the annual mass nesting of turtles (up to 100,000 per night).

Caja: Literally “box”. Often refers Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (Costa Rican Social Security System).

Cédula: The Costa Rican equivalent of a SSAN or EIN, used for a majority of interactions at financial and social institutions.

Cédula Jurídica:
A corporate cédula, roughly equivalent to a U.S. Employer Identification number; identifies corporations for tax purposes.

Cédula Residencial: A residency cédula, roughly equivalent to a U.S. “Green Card” for legal residents.

Cesantía: Severance pay given to a worker, when terminated “without cause”.

EBAIS: The local (medical) Clinic.

Escritura: Property deed.

Factura: An invoice or, when marked “cancelado”, a receipt for goods or services.

Finca: A farm.

Hectare: Unit of land measurement equaling 10000 square meters or 2.47 acres.

ICE: Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad. Company with the monopoly to provide electricity and telephone service.

INS: Instituto Nacional de Seguros. National Insurance Company.

MINAE: Costa Rican Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía whose responsibility is to maintain the environment.

Personería Jurídica: A notarized document attesting to the existence of a corporation and who is authorized to act for it. Many institutions require one that is less than three or four months old. Obtain from your Abogado (attorney).

Plano: Official lot / plat map.

Preaviso: Payment to a worker given in lieu of notice that they will be fired, when terminated ‘without cause’

RACSA: Radiográfica Costarricense S.A. Company with the monopoly to provide internet service.