San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Plans Under Way to Create National Land Registry

National Registry Director Dagoberto Sibaja and his office are advancing on a project that no one in Costa Rica has ever taken on before – creating a comprehensive land registry of the country’s entire territory.

This “very ambitious and very important” project involves using aerial photographs taken in 2004 by the U.S. Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to create a detailed map of the country and then send topographers out to measure every property in Costa Rica to make sure it matches National Registry records.

“Nothing like this has ever existed in Costa Rica. The benefits are multiple, and the most fundamental one for (the National Registry) is legal security,” Sibaja said, explaining that a national land registry would make it impossible for land to be bought and sold fraudulently and prevent other inconsistencies. Additionally, the completed land registry would be available to all government institutions and municipalities to use in planning for public services and taxation.

A $92 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (BID) is financing the next phase of the project, which involves sending topographers to most of the Caribbean province of Limón; Heredia, north of San José; Cartago, east of San José; and the northwestern Guanacaste province.

The surveying of these areas is expected to start at the end of July. Sibaja did not have an estimate of when the entire project will be finished.

The National Registry does not have funds secured for the next phase – surveying of the rest of the country – and it is considering asking for another loan from an international agency, Sibaja said.


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