Especially if you’re buying a piece of land for construction, you’ll also need to do some due diligence on utilities: Their availability, their quality, and their cost. In most cases, documentation provided by the seller is sufficient. However, in the event it is not available, you or your attorney must do this locally as well, though not at the Municipality.

Electricity: Depends on the canton. You will need to stop by the local headquarters of either the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (Costa Rican Electricity Institute, ICE) or whatever local company or co-op provides power on behalf of ICE in that area. Be sure to bring the proper documentation for the property (number of the finca, copy of the cadastre registration, etc.). You’ll be looking to confirm that the property has a power hook-up available, and if not, how much it would cost to install one.

Telephone: This will be with ICE, which, in addition to electricity, holds a monopoly on landline service. Only check this if you’re building in remote area. In most of the rest of the country, you would set this up while building or after moving in.

Internet: There are three places you can check for Internet availability: The local ICE office; Radiografía Costarricense S.A. (RACSA), a wholly-owed ICE subsidiary of ICE that provides different kinds of Internet service depending on the part of the country; and your local cable provider (either Cabletica or Amnet), which distributes high-speed RACSA connections. Basically you’ll be checking to see if Internet service is available, and if so what kind. Connection speeds are always a quite a bit slower than what the Costa Rican ISPs say they’re selling, so if your work depends on Internet access, be cautions.

Water: Again, where you go will depend on where your property is located. Acuaductos y Alcanterillados (Water and Sewer, AyA) runs much of the country’s water supply, but in rural areas, local organizations called ASADAS take over. You’ll want to check with whoever’s in charge to see if the property you’re looking at has water access. If it doesn’t, you would need to drill a well, which requires a concession from the Ministerio de Energia, Ambiente, y Telecomunicaciones (Ministry of Energy, Environment, and Telecommunications, MINAET).