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Maritime Zone


Maritime zone regulations in Costa Rica


Jurex Law we have extensive experience in the legislation that protects the maritime zones of Costa Rica, and the permits for granting the concession of those areas for housing, tourism, agriculture, recreation, industrial or mining purposes.

Our strategic alliance with Consultores Turísticos Asociados, a leader company on the development of tourism projects and condominiums in maritime zones, allows us to provide our clients an efficient and personalized service.

What is a maritime-terrestrial zone?


ccording to the Ley sobre la Zona Marítimo-Terrestre (Diario Oficial La Gaceta, 1977) a maritime zone is:

“The range of 200 meters wide along the entire length of the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the Republic, whatever its nature, measured horizontally from the line of the high tide and the land and rocks that the sea leaves uncovered during the low tide”.

The 200 meters of the Maritime zone are divided as follows:

  • Public zone: 50 meters wide strip from the ordinary high tide, and the areas that are exposed during the low tide (islets, cliffs, natural formations, mangroves and estuaries).
  • Restricted zone: strip on the remaining 150 meters

¿For how long the public land concessions are granted?


rticle 48 of the Law defines that public land concessions may be given for not less than 5 years, no more than 20 years.

The respective municipality will request to the Dirección General de Tributación an appraisal of the land to determine the value of the use right. This is established in articles 49 and 50 of the Reglamento a la Ley sobre la Zona Marítimo-Terrestre:

“The annual fees payable by the licensees of the maritime zone will be regulated according to the following table, applied to the respective appraisals”:

  • Agricultural use: 2%
  • Residential use: 3%
  • Hotelier, tourist or recreational use: 4%
  • Commercial industrial, mining or extractive use: 5%

Activities prohibited in the maritime zone:


rticle 12 of the Ley sobre la Zona Marítimo-Terrestre, also known as Law 6043, establishes the activities that cannot be performed in areas property of the Costa Rican State, without the proper legal authorization (concession):

  1. Exploit the existing flora and fauna
  2. Delimit with fences, rails or any other form
  3. The construction of buildings or facilities
  4. Cut trees
  5. Remove products or any other type of development, activity or occupation

mining or extractive use: 5%

What happens if the restrictions are not folowed in the maritime zone:


rticle 13 of the law makes it very clear:

The authorities of the corresponding jurisdiction and the respective municipalities will proceed with the eviction of the offenders and the destruction or demolition of the constructions, renovations or installations. The owner of the building or facility will be charged with the cost of the demolition; all these, as well as other criminal sanctions (jail).

Who cannot receive a land in concession?

  • Foreigners who have not resided in Costa Rica for at least 5 years
  • Corporations with bearer shares
  • Corporations or entities domiciled abroad
  • Entities constituted in the country by foreigners
  • Entities whose shares, quotas or capital are owned by foreigners in more than 50%

If you have any questions regarding the concession of properties in Costa Rica and its legal procedures, don´t hesitate to contact us today.

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