San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Fisher Couple Considers Move to C.R.

Tico Times subscribers Joe Buettner and his wife Ayn, from Virginia, ask via email if we can help them with some information for their first visit to Costa Rica. They are planning to do some fishing and perhaps make a move to Costa Rica.

Both scientists in Richmond, the Buettners love to fish, and they charter their 30-foot Phoenix in Virginia waters. They plan to visit Costa Rica for the first time in late April. Since I get quite a few queries of this nature, I will share my response with other Tico Times readers, but I no longer try to keep up with residency and business regulation in Costa Rica and advise anyone planning a move to seek professional assistance (legal, not psychiatric).

Joe writes: “I understand if we invest about $50,000 or more in a tourist industry we can qualify for residency and therefore work. So, here is the big question: Is there enough room for another sportfishing captain in Costa Rica? We are willing to invest in an existing company and become a (limited) partner. I would gladly learn the local tricks to raising fish. We can even bring our own boat. Or we can sell it here and move, then pick up runs on others’ boats or buy one locally for ourselves.

“Or, we can try to start one from scratch. Do you know of anyone with a sportfishing business who would be willing to have a partner? What types of licenses are required by the government? If we decide to try to start one from scratch, do you know of someone to help us with all the paperwork? “I enjoy reading your columns in The Tico Times and Costa Rica Outdoors magazine.

My wife and I are coming to Costa Rica for our first visit at the end of April and we have a bunch of questions for you, if you would be so kind as to point us in the right direction…” Joe and Ayn, having made a similar move more than 20 years ago, I have an idea of what you are going through. But it was the best move of my life. I moved to Costa Rica in 1983, taking early retirement after working 25 years on the leading daily newspapers in Los Angeles. My last trip back to the United States was in 1984 to work outdoor show booths for a fishing operator here. My son Rick came down soon after, and he operates his own boat, a 30-foot Gamefisher, on the Pacific coast.

There are too many variables for me to give you any fast answers to your questions, but you and your family are welcome to stop by my home in Santa Ana, a town southwest of San José, about 15 minutes’ drive from Juan Santamaría International Airport, and I will give you all the help I can.My telephone number is 282-6743, but first dial 011-506 if calling from the United States. If you wish, I can refer you to my attorney, who can guide you through the process of becoming a resident and establishing a business. I will also put you in touch with skippers and fishing operators on the Pacific coast.

If other readers out there wish to contact Joe and Ayn prior to their visit, their e-mail address is


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