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Tony and Laurel

We are so proud to have two of our top agents recognized as in this months Top Agent Magazine. Tony is a real asset to Coldwell Banker Tamarindo, we will continue to support him and his hard work. Well done Tony!

Although they both came to careers in real estate on different paths, Tony and Laurel DiMaggio are now one of the most successful teams in the business. In fact it’s the differences between the pair that has created their synergy.


Tony had spent most of his life in the real estate business and was a licensed California real estate broker before moving to Tamarindo, Costa Rica almost 17 years ago. Once he got settled, he picked up the career again and it quickly became his full time passion.


In 2003, Laurel joined Tony. Although her background had been in the dental field, as Tony points out, it actually served as a wonderful foundation for real estate. “She literally would hold people’s hands through stressful situations and real estate requires the same client care and patience. We complement each other with our varied skill sets and that makes our partnership.”


The way they work together has been especially advantageous in the challenging resort market in which they do business. As Tony points out, “We often work with visitors who have just a few days to see and understand our market, so you have to be on top of your game in order to be effective with that time constraint. On the flip-side, we work remotely with many of our clients and that can take months, sometimes longer, of emailing back and forth before their possible arrival. That’s where Laurel’s patience can be invaluable. By the time the client arrives she’s already established a strong relationship with them, more like a friendship!


We love showing properties together and have fun playing off of one another. Laurel’s focus is on the set up. My strength is on the addressing client’s questions, detailing the buying process in Costa Rica and when they find the right property, contract negotiations. When you work with us, you get two people working very hard for you, offering a full range of service.”


Laurel also credits their success with a commitment to high ethical standards. One of the things I admired right away with Tony was the way in which operated himself professionally. Clients sense that and I think that’s also why other agents like working with us. We’ve earned their trust which has great personal and business value in our lives and we don’t take that for granted.”


Tony and Laurel take a personal approach to sales. According to Tony “When we are thinking right, it’s about helping people. I don’t even like the term ‘sales’ because I don’t really think you sell real estate. You show it and the more you know your clients the easier it becomes to find the right properties and the rest takes care of itself, if you have the other complementary skills. Most of our business at this point is fortunately driven by client referrals. For that we are grateful, what we do is made much easier when our valued clients and friends pave the way.”


Tony and Laurel are actively involved in their community, supporting numerous charitable events, in particular ones that help out the local schools. Laurel is a member and Tony has served two terms as a board member of the Costa Rica Global Association of REALTORS (CRGAR), an organization that is dedicated to establishing ethical standards and educational training for real estate professionals in Costa Rica.


Tony and Laurel couldn’t be more thrilled with their business and look forward to helping many more people find not only their dream home, but discover the incredible lifestyle that Costa Rica offers. “For Tony and I there’s nothing better than actually feeling the joy of our clients when they realize they’ve achieved their dream. Seeing how you’ve impacted someone’s life in a positive way is what keeps us motivated.”




To learn more about Tony and Laurel Di Maggio call 011-506-8815-1200, email tony@cbtamarindo.com or visit www.Coldwellbankertamarindo.com


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Gringos love living in Tamarindo. Don’t believe us? Just take a stroll down the main street of Tamarindo and you will see countless gringos soaking up life in beautiful Costa Rica. Here are a few reasons Tamarindo draws in the expats:

1. Pura Vida

Tamarindo living is the pure life living. Days in Tamarindo are filled with leisurely strolls, beach bum afternoons, and simple living. Your workout is a surf session or evening dancing. Your wardrobe is a bathing suit and T-shirt. Plus, gringos find early on that it is easy to get connected in a community of like-minded expats.

2. Work/Life Balance

That Pura Vida culture is a stark contrast from the hustle of the U.S., Canada, and much of Europe. While many expats in Tamarindo are retirees, there are also quite a few digital nomads or business owners in the area. Tamarindo welcomes you into their culture where your value is not solely connected to how late you work each night.

3. Convenience

Living in Tamarindo allows gringos to immerse themselves into a new culture, without leaving most of their most loved conveniences behind. With great schools, a large grocery store with almost any food item you could want, and plenty of medical professionals, all your needs are covered in town. Tamarindo’s close proximity to Liberia airport is helpful too.

4. Weather

Tamarindo has warm weather every single day.

Tamarindo never snows.

Need we say more?

5. Outdoor Activities

Tamarindo is a surfer’s dream spot. With that lovely weather, you can hit the waves any time you want. And thanks to the many tourists coming to the Tamarindo area for vacation, expats also have countless opportunities to try outdoor excursions from zip-lining and ATV rides to hiking and biking.

6. Language

Costa Rica is in so many ways a bilingual country. More often than not, you can find somebody who speaks, at the very least, broken English. But in Tamarindo there is no doubt about it – you can enter as a Spanish newbie and be entirely fine. Menus are in English. Signs are in English. Nearly every establishment has English-speaking employees. If you haven’t mastered Spanish yet, Tamarindo makes a comfortable transition.

7. Sunset

Tamarindo Beach has one of the most spectacular evening activities in the world–and it just so happens to be entirely free (minus the cost of a happy hour Imperial or mojito). Each evening’s sunset puts on its own unique show of vibrant colors and peaceful waves. Walking out to the water most nights of the week is a must for expats.


Posted in Costa Rica, Costa Rica Culture, Flamingo, Langosta, Playa Grande, Playa Negra, Playa Potrero, Tamarindo, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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taj 002 hires


Your Costa Rican vacation home should be your Pura Vida haven. If you spend too much time worrying about its security when you are away, it will start to become more and more of a stressor in your life.


Here are a few tips to consider that will help you keep your vacation home in Costa Rica secure each time you leave:

1. Hire A Property Manager

The best way to put your mind at ease when you leave your Costa Rican vacation home is to hire a property manager or a property management company. Not only will you have somebody to inspect and upkeep your place when you are away, you will also have help when you are in town – from maintenance to maid service.


If you are interested in finding a great property management company, contact Mercedes at Blue Moon Costa Rica: mercedes@bluemoonproperty.com

2. Offer A Short Term Rental

Whether or not you have hired a property manager, you should consider renting your Costa Rican vacation home when you are away. You win for two reasons:


  • You get to benefit from extra profit
  • You will have a presence in your home for security


Those who may be tempted to break in will be deterred when they see people living there.

3. Befriend A Trustworthy Neighbor

While the last thing you want to do is tell a less-than- trustworthy neighbor that you will be out of town, giving a heads-up to a great neighbor adds an extra set of watchful eyes on your property while you are away. Give them your number or email address to contact you or your property manager if they see anything suspicious.

4. Install Lights With Timers

The goal to keeping your Costa Rican home secure while you are away is to keep potential criminals believing that you never left. Put timers on your outdoor lights, so they pop on around dusk. A brightly lit area is also a deterrent in and of itself. Then add a timer to one or two indoor lights, so it looks like somebody is inside.


Also consider adding a timer to another electronic that might make potential thieves think somebody is home. Perhaps the timer will turn on the TV or the radio each evening.

5. Keep Desirable Items Out Of View

There is no need to flaunt any high-value items. What thieves don’t know you have – they don’t know they want. Either hide valuables or take them with you when you leave. In a country like Costa Rica where vehicles are so expensive, you may want to consider parking your car in a garage.

6. Avoid Signaling Your Leave

No matter what you do – do not make it a big show that you are leaving. There is no need to talk extensively about your time away in large public places where people could overhear. And never mention you will be leaving ahead of time on social media sites.


Before you leave, avoid putting up new large pad locks or any other equipment that suggests you will be gone for a while. And once you are gone, have somebody sweep near your front door, water any flowers, and check on the general upkeep so it does not look like you have been gone long.

If you are interested in buying a vacation home, please contact Richard Lacey at Richard@cbtamarindo.com.

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Many people may think that the expat life in Costa Rica is only for retirees. But with the rise in internet-based remote business, more and more young families are moving in – and bringing the kids along for the ride.


If you want to give your children the fabulous experience of living in a different culture and learning a new language, but still want them to receive high-quality education – know there are 4 wonderful private schools in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica ready to offer the whole experience.

These are the top Guanacaste private schools preferred by Gringos in Tamarindo.


Costa Rica International Academy (CRIA)

Location: Brasilito (25+ minutes north of Tamarindo)


First up is the Costa Rica International Academy (CRIA). As a bilingual school (English and Spanish), all of the teachers are certified in the United States, Canada, or Costa Rica. There is also duel accreditation – by both the U.S. and the Costa Rican Ministry of Education.


The rigorous academics are combined with culture-based learning approaches. Subjects such as art, P.E./sports, local studies, and gardening, are taught in Spanish. And excursions to locations such as the Caribbean coast and various volcanoes are included in the studies.


Students also learn popular local water sports including: snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, and – of course – surfing.

La Paz Community School

Location: Playa Flamingo (30+ minutes north of Tamarindo)


The next private school for children in Tamarindo is La Paz Community School.


This is also a duel language program offering instruction from preschool through high school. As an International Baccalaureate authorized school, you can feel confident that your child will have full preparation for college.


Aside from all the regular studies, La Paz places an emphasis on “Peace Practices” – focusing on learning peace among self, family, community, and the world. Mornings even start with a “morning meeting” that includes a time of silent meditation.


An aspect of environmental protection is included in the curriculum. Students learn from their environment not only by culture and language studies, but also by taking excursions to Costa Rican highlights – like volcano studies at Rincon de la Vieja.

Guanacaste Waldorf School

Location: 20 minutes southeast of Tamarindo


Many parents may already be familiar with the Waldorf schools and their style of imaginative and artistic learning. A bilingual Waldorf campus just happens to be in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica.


This Guanacaste private school is only for preschool and elementary/primary school students. For early education, “The child learns from thoughtful prepared activities and daily celebration of life.” In grade school education, “academics are introduced in an artistic, experiential and thoughtful way that meets the development of each child.”


Location: 15+ minutes northeast of Tamarindo


Our final bilingual Guanacaste private school is Educarte by St. Joseph. Along with a desire for high academic standards, Educarte combines the arts and care for the environment into their studies.


Through visual arts, music, and dance, Educarte offers their programs with a strong art and expression focus. They encourage students to create the own learning experiences this way.


Not only does the school itself try to minimize its own footprint through recycling and “clean campaigns,” they also actively try to have an impact on their community through lectures and programs on ecology and ethics to increase awareness among young students.


Posted in Costa Rica, Flamingo, Langosta, Playa Grande, Playa Negra, Playa Potrero, Tamarindo, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Most of the time when people think about buying real estate in Costa Rice, they think of one thing: tropical paradise homes. Whether these investors want a vacation spot to enjoy or a rental property to profit from (or a mix of both), residential real estate is a hot ticket item in Costa Rica.


But don’t completely forget about another way to invest in Costa Rican real estate. Commercial properties have great benefits too. Here are 5 reasons to consider investing in commercial Costa Rica real estate.

1. You Do Not Have To Be A Resident

If you are hoping to get into real estate investment outside of your home country, Costa Rica is a fabulous option for many reasons. But one of the top reasons to choose this Central American country is the fact you do not have to be a resident to buy property.


Other than beachfront property (which has some different rules), your experience buying commercial real estate as a foreigner is the same as a local.

2. Tourism Will Be Your Friend

Locals will not be the only people supporting the profit of your commercial property; the tourist and expat population will help it thrive.


Whether you are buying the commercial property to lease it out, or you hope to run your own business on it, you can benefit from a busy, bustling country with strong infrastructure and plenty of tourists with money to spend.

3. Leases May Be Longer

The downside to the tourist nature is many home rentals are often short-term. Most people want a few days, a couple weeks, or a month (if you are lucky) during high seasons. While this can be a fast cash flow, it is:


  • More work throughout the year to secure tenants
  • Not a stable income you can count on


You can have longer lease terms with businesses at your commercial property. It’s less of a headache and consistent income. Win/win.

4. Benefit From Objective Pricing

If you are purchasing commercial land that has already been developed, you can have access to the current financials. This helps take some of the guesswork out of profit forecasting.


Residential properties often do not come with such detailed reporting of loss/gain. This is not always a terrible thing if you simply want to move in, but it can be a negative if you want to rent for profit.


However, you cannot always trust the previous owner with 100% guarantee. That is why point #5 is so vitally important.

5. You Have Access To Great Team Members

Whenever you buy an investment property in another country (or when you buy commercial investment property anywhere), having a trustworthy team is imperative.


Your lawyer, real estate agent, and accountant can turn this into a great or terrible experience.


This is why buying property in another country can be a daunting experience. Fortunately, Costa Rica is home to many phenomenal English-speaking professionals who can take you step by step through the commercial property buying process.


Start off that team with a real estate agent who knows the area and knows how to get you your ideal commercial property. Contact Richard at Richard@cbtamarindo.com today.


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You never know what life is going to bring next. Even those of us with the top job security or those in the safest countries in the world could have life turn around in the blink of an eye.
That is why you should always have a ‘Plan B’ – a place to escape everything from catastrophic situations to a hectic season of life.
Why not make a home in Costa Rica that ‘Plan B’? After all, the comfort of knowing you always have another home no matter what happens allows you to enjoy that “Pura Vida” life worry-free.
Here is how to make your home in Costa Rica your backup plan:

1. Emergency Shelter

If any emergency pops up in your home country and you need a safe refuge for a time, your Costa Rican home can be your place of escape.
Since it is incredibly easy for foreigners to buy property and live in Costa Rica, you could stay comfortably during the time you need to be away.
Costa Rica is a safe country without a military. You do not have to worry about attacks and uprisings. You do not have to worry about uncontrollable violent crime. This is the land of “Pura Vida” after all!
Becoming a resident is not a complicated process, or simply staying for an extended visit is easy as well.
The reassurance of knowing you have a beautiful, safe, comfortable country and home to escape to can bring you and your family confidence no matter what happens at home.

2. Have Another Option

Having a ‘Plan B’ is not always as serious as dangerous weather or terrorist uprisings in your home country. Sometimes, a ‘Plan B’ is just another option on the table.
Let’s take retirement, for example. Sometimes retirement is planned out down to the very last detail, but sometimes unexpected things happen.
If you already have a vacation home in Costa Rica, you always have a place to retire to. You can live simply and inexpensively in Costa Rica while still enjoying a luxurious retirement lifestyle in gorgeous weather and a laid back community.
If you are interested in purchasing a vacation home in Costa Rica that can turn into your backup plan – you are going to want a real estate agent who knows the area well and can guide you in the right direction. Contact Richard at Richard@cbtamarindo.com.

Posted in Costa Rica, Langosta, Playa Grande, Playa Negra, Playa Potrero, Tamarindo, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Have you ever wondered how Tamarindo, Costa Rica, became such a beloved surf spot? Of course, it is a fabulous location with ideal swells, so who could blame tourists and expats for flocking in? But Costa Rica is filled with idyllic areas like these.

How did Tamarindo, out of so many other areas in this Central American country, become the “it” spot…. the hot tourist location it is today?
The big screen!
In 1964 the surfing world made its Hollywood debut with the cult classic: Bruce Brown’s Endless Summer, a documentary following the lives of two surfers traveling the world “in search of the perfect wave.”
One of the surfing stars: Robert August, an American from California.
August, along with Mike Hynson, visited Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, and Hawaii. This movie took surfing, the surfer’s lifestyle, and surf-driven tourism to a whole new level.
30 years later, Endless Summer II came out and officially made Tamarindo the surfing mecca it is today.
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Bruce Brown and Robert August teamed up to film a portion in Tamarindo, following two new young surfers as they traveled the world searching for that perfect wave. They focused on two local spots:
- Witch’s Rock

- Ollie’s Point




Here is a five-minute clip of the Costa Rican segment of Endless Summer II: VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVI6J3Gc1-Q
During filming, August built a home in Tamarindo and became a regular part of the surfing community.
Without a doubt, with Endless Summer II and Robert August’s move to Tamarindo, this small Costa Rican beach town became known as “the spot” to go for surfing tourists.
Of course there are countless other amazing things to do in Tamarindo – from relaxing on the gorgeous beaches and sipping a cold beer to eating at the large variety of restaurants or exploring the adventure activities.
That is why Tamarindo is well loved by families and retirees – not only young surfers. But Tamarindo will always be that surfer’s haven… ready for your own endless summer.
Image Source: http://witchsrocksurfcamp.com/legend-robert-august/.

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So you want to buy a home in the beautiful Costa Rica? We happen to think that is a great idea!


But before you go house hunting – and especially before you put in any offers –you should meet with a local realtor.


In the long run, buying a home in Costa Rica without a realtor will cost you time and money. There is no need for that in the land of Pura Vida. Time is better spent lying in a hammock, sipping a cold beer, and watching the sunset.


Here are four reasons you should absolutely enlist the help of a realtor before buying a home in Costa Rica.

1. Realtors Know The Area

This is not your country… at least, not yet! You will never be as familiar with the lay of the land as an experienced realtor.


Even if you have vacationed to Costa Rica for 20 years in a row, you still won’t understand all tiny details about home value, future plans and zoning, or neighborhood culture.


Your realtor can take a list of everything you’ve been hoping for – and lead you to the property of your dreams. With the perfect house. On the perfect lot. In the perfect neighborhood. Within the perfect town.

2. Realtors Understand The Legalities

Just like every other country, Costa Rica has its own rules about buying real estate. Local realtors have done this time and time again. They know the ins and outs of the system.


Allow them to guide you through the process of owning a property in a foreign country. This way you can rest assured that not only everything will be legal, everything will also be set up without too much research or trial-and- error on your part.

3. Realtors Can Block Your From Scams

Whenever you are out of your element, your chances of accidentally falling for a scam shoot up. You may be a pro and buying property in your home country, but that does not mean you know what to expect about buying property in Costa Rica.


If an inexperienced gringo shows up with a bunch of money to buy a house and limited knowledge on the real estate practices of the country, that gringo could potentially be a prime target.


Your Costa Rican realtor knows exactly what to look for. They know how much property should cost. They know the history of homes and condominium complexes. They know who has a trustworthy reputation, and who to stay away from.


Make sure you choose a local realtor who has spent time in the country and knows the area well. Choose a realtor who prides himself or herself on connecting expats to their luxurious haven in Costa Rica. Contact Richard at Richard@cbtamarindo.com.


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Image Source: https://wanderwithjo.com/costa-rica-road-trip-itinerary/

The best advice we can offer is to leave your frame of driving reference behind and be willing to accept what you get, maybe even learn to enjoy it!  Local driving customs may annoy and frustrate you but that is a choice we make. The flip side is to view local driving as a charming Costa Rica experience with a much  lower probability of being pulled over by the man!


Rolling violations are very rare.  Most violations are generated from random stops or radar with the MOPT (Ministry of Public Works and Transport) officers standing by, donned in white starched shirts with inappropriate smiles on their faces!


Maybe I shouldn’t be sharing this but one time we were headed to Liberia and I got nailed by a guy with a radar gun.  My 80+ year old mom and wife were in the car and by the time I realized that he wanted me to pull over I was past him. I’ll let your imagination finish the story… Not my finest move but certainly memorable!


Anyway, back to you.  When you come please realize that we are visitors here, if a Costa Rican wants to pull over on a two lane highway to talk to a friend we just need to understand and drive accordingly.  No sense getting bothered by it but the important lesson is to keep your eyes on the road at all times because most of us are not programed for these new driving events.


Patience is the key, we have many truck and agricultural vehicles traveling at slow speed and it’s natural to want to pass but be careful, trees create shaded areas and it is sometimes very difficult to truly see what’s coming.


A family of three on a motor scooter is a common sight.  This is pretty scary to witness but when you grow up getting around like this, it’s what you do!  Please watch out for two wheelers of all sorts!


Image Source: https://mytanfeet.com/about-cr/tips-for-driving-in-costa-rica/

Going off road is a thrill, especially during the rainy season.  If you are coming between June and December, renting a four wheel drive vehicle is the way to go.  It is so much fun crossing rivers and exploring.  The best way to discover Costa Rica is to get lost, turn around and try again, there is something beautiful awaiting you around every bend.


Mainly do not expect that your way of driving should be the standard of excellence. This is Costa Rica, excellent driving is defined by not hurting anyone yourself included and your rental car too!


Pura Vida!


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View from road 2, good


Buying a fixer upper hoping to make money on it always takes a good amount of knowledge, some decent investigative skills, and a top-notch team of professionals to advise you.


But buying that fixer upper in another country like Costa Rica? You really need to locate and rely on the top real estate agent in that area.

The golden rule for making money on a Costa Rican fixer upper: Partner Up With A Good Realtor.

Why? Well, if you want to buy a fixer upper and work on it as a fun project that will eventually become your family’s tropical vacation oasis – that is one thing.


If you intend to make money by reselling your fixer upper in Costa Rica (or making it a hot ticket rental), you will have to know all of the ins and outs of these three factors:

1. Location

You are going to have countless questions about location. And since this isn’t your home country, you probably will not be so sure about the answers:


What areas sell well? What areas interest expats? What areas do tourists visit? What areas are underpriced now, but will pick up steam in a few years? What areas are already the premier neighborhoods that just may happen to have one fixer upper?

Realtors can answer these questions and will also be able to let you in on things like:
- The reputation of this particular seller/real estate company before you buy

- If there is ever water shortage in the community during dry season

- Structural problems (or connect you with a good inspector)

- How much you updated property should sell for in the area

2. Permits/Rules/Regulations

Your local real estate agent understands the law of the land. They can explain how to buy legally as a non-citizen, and how to sell legally as a non-citizen.


This is wildly important. You do not want to get caught up in paperwork and fees and miscommunications when saving money and time is the way to make money on a fixer upper.

3. Local Contractors/Vendors

Your real estate agent can either recommend or connect you with somebody who can recommend reliable and reputable local contractors and venders.


Relying on local labor and local goods is a great way to cut costs and make money on your fixer upper…ONLY if you find honest and fair options. Don’t rely on the person you met at the bar.


They can also guide you in the direction of knowing how much those costs will be in reality. You can budget for how much you think they will be all day. But it is important to figure in realistic costs.

 Car park view (2)

And what better place is there to monitor your investment project than in lovely Costa Rica?!

If finding a fixer upper in Costa Rica is on your to-do list, reach out to Richard at Richard@cbtamarindo.com.

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