Costilla County Resource Guide

Find all the information for you might need for Costilla County, Co!

What Can I Build?

One- or two-story homes can be built on these lots. A one-story home must be at least 600 square feet, while a two-story home must be 800 square feet, minimum.
**Accessory structures, such as garages, guesthouses, barns, stables, and greenhouses, are not considered in the minimum square feet**

After purchasing land, you do not have to build on it. Your lot will be held indefinitely.
All water, construction, and septic projects must have a permit.
For detailed information on needed permits, refer to the Costilla County Planning and Zoning Department Residential Development Policy and Procedure.

** Per the Dodd-Frank Act you cannot build on the property until the property is paid for in full if you decide to purchase using owner financing.

Can I Camp Here?

Yes, Short-term camping, up to 14 days every 3 months is allowed by county ordinance. Otherwise, a long-term camping permit is required from the county Planning and Zoning Department. Property owners must follow the Costilla County Land Use Code available on the county website.

What About RV Living?

Long-term RV living requires a Long-Term RV Camping permit, which is valid for 60 days. This permit can be renewed three times. In order to qualify for this permit, you must:

  • Hook your RV to a septic and water system
  • Have either a permitted well or cistern installed
  • Have no violations of County Code or State Statute or Regulation
  • Adhere to the covenants of your property
  • Provide proof that you own the property
  • Get your RV inspected

Long-Term RV living must be less than 180 days per person/RV/parcel in a 12-month period, and can’t be lived in, permanently.

RV occupancy permits are available while building your home. They are valid for 90 days and can be renewed for up to 18 months.

Please contact the Costilla County Planning & Zoning offices for additional details at (719) 937-7668.



Options for water include:

  • Drilling a well
  • Installing a water tank/cistern and getting water delivered

Contact a local licensed well drilling contractor for additional information on drill wells in this area.

Resource for Free Water

As you travel to Alamosa, CO, you can stop at mile markers 241-242, on the North side of Highway 160, to collect drinking water.
Water is also available on the Southeast border in San Luis.
Make sure to bring a trailer and holding tank so you can fill your cistern.


In many areas, electrical lines are several miles away, and while some parcels on main roads have electricity, most do not. Costs related to Electrical Power installation would be your responsibility as the buyer/owner. Some Counties require new power lines to be underground. You will want to contact your contractor to verify pricing.

Although some affordable alternatives are a generator, or a wind/solar-powered system. Some residents have 1-4 solar panels, while others use a battery pack that is backed up by a gasoline generator. The State of Colorado, and Federal government, may provide assistance to install a solar-powered system for your electricity.

To run freezers and refrigerators, many residents use propane-fueled appliances. These appliances are cost-effective and durable.

Heating Homes and Cabins

There is no municipal natural gas service. Propane heat and wood stoves are the most common heating methods. If there is electricity at your lot, you could use an electric heater. Solar panels are used for powering lighting and appliances, not for heating. Passive solar homes facing south use large windows and thick adobe walls as a solar battery to absorb heat during the day and release it at night.


There is no municipal water or sewer system. A septic system permitted for less than 2,000 gallons per day is assessed by the county. For flows that equal or exceed this amount, you should follow the design review facility approval process. For a standard  septic tank, the amount you need is based on your number of bedrooms. A septic tank that is at least 1,250 gallons, and a leach field system, is required for your cabin or home.

This link will provide information on Colorado’s Waste Water Treatment Systems.


Many residents use propane for heating, cooking, and baking. Tanks can be delivered by local vendors.

**For a more cost-effective means of heating, some residents use a wood stove as their main heating fuel. Several times a year, “Wood Fest” is held. Residents are given access to private forests where they can cut down dead trees for firewood. For each pickup load, they are charged $10.

Telephone and Internet Services

Blanca Telephone provides both telephone and internet service to the Sangre de Cristo Ranches area. Telephone access includes landlines at lower elevations. The cellular service covers a wide area and usually maintains a good signal.

For high-speed internet through Jade Communications, contact Blanca Telephone.

Cell Companies

1. Verizon Wireless
2.  T-Mobile Wireless
3.  AT&T Wireless
4.  Sprint Wireless
5.  Virgin Mobile
6.  Straight Talk

Internet Service Providers

1. TaosNet dial-up, DSL and Wireless Broadband Internet service, more. Taos. Access points in Costilla and Amalia require line of sight within 13 miles  TaosNet Coverage Map
2. Jade Communications LLC  Canopy wireless broadband coverage map
3. HughesNet Satellite Internet Service
4. Viaero cell phone and wireless broadband services, partners with AT&T and T-Mobile, installing new towers at La Veta Pass and elsewhere in San Luis Valley. Viaero Wireless Coverage Map 
5. CenturyLink fiber-optic wired network, for voice, Internet, broadband TV

Public Internet Access Location

  1. Costilla County Public Library, 418 Gasper St, San Luis, (719) 672-3309
  2. Blanca-Fort Garland Library, Community Center, 17591 E. Highway 160, Blanca, (719) 379-3945 (Libraries in San Luis and Blanca offer high-speed Internet access for patrons and visitors)
  3. Southern Peaks Public Library, 423 4th St, Alamosa
  4. La Veta Public Library, 310 S Main St, La Veta, CO,     Free Wi-Fi HotSpot access
  5. Spanish Peaks Library, 323 Main St, Walsenburg, CO,     Free Wi-Fi HotSpot access
  6. Taos Ski Valley, north of Taos, NM,     Free Wi-Fi HotSpot access
  7. Taos Municipal Airport, west of Taos, NM,     Free Wi-Fi HotSpot access
  8. Taos Plaza Wireless Internet Gateway, Taos, NM,     Free Wi-Fi HotSpot access


Cell phone coverage and signal strength vary by location, elevation, terrain, and service provider.  There are cell phone towers in the area.  Some carriers with good coverage in the city do not have good coverage in rural areas. Many people get smartphone internet access from their cell phone service. Smartphones can often create a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot that can be used to connect a computer to the internet. An important new development is the SpaceX Starlink project, which is deploying thousands of satellites for high-speed global internet service using a small antenna. Service is expected to begin in late 2020 to Canada and the northern states and will expand worldwide in 2021 or later.

What About The HOA?


There is an optional HOA when buying in the Sangre de Cristo Ranches. Joining the Sangre de Cristo Ranch Owners Association (SCRO) is “optional” for residents and landowners. When joining the community, dues are required in the form of a small fee every year ($25 a year at the time of writing this).

Benefits of membership include:

  • Voting privileges
  • Access to the Piñon Semi-Annual Newsletter
  • Admission to community-sponsored events
  • Eligibility to assist or become a Board Executive member
  • Frequent updates on changes in the community
  • Annual dinners
  • Participation in Dumpster Days

As a member you will support your land, and community, by providing protection, beautification, and assistance with programs such as Meals on Wheels, Crime Stoppers, County Initiatives, and many other future activities.

Can I Live Here Off-Grid?

Yes, please discuss this living arrangement with your contractor.

Others who live off-grid enjoy self-sustainability, reduced costs, and an extremely secluded living environment.

Hunting, Fishing, Hiking, Camping, Wildlife Viewing, Bird Watching, Rattlesnakes

(Always check and obey state laws, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) regulations and safety precautions before hunting, fishing, camping, hiking or using state wildlife areas, state trust lands or BLM land.  A hunting or fishing license or habitat stamp is usually required.  Do not trespass on private property without owner permission.  Beware of rattlesnakes.)

1.  Colorado State Wildlife Areas Brochure, recreation lands brochure, directions, rules and restrictions
2.  Colorado State Fishing Brochure, rules and restrictions
3.  Sanchez Reservoir State Wildlife Area, (map) San Luis, on Ventero Creek, flows into Culebra Creek (Rio Culebra) 
Boating, boat ramp, no water skiing, no hunting, camping prohibited in boat ramp parking area. Public access is currently restricted to fishing.  Fishing for brown trout, catfish, carp, yellow perch, northern pike, walleye.
6.  Colorado Statewide Fishing Condition Reports Sanchez Reservoir is listed under the Southwest Region fishing reports, along with nearby Smith Reservoir, Mountain Home Reservoir, San Luis Lake and the Rio Grande River.
7.  Colorado hunting licenses and information
8.  Colorado big game hunting regulations brochure
9.  SLV elk migration/hunting map 
10.  Colorado fishing licenses and information
11.  Mountain Home Reservoir State Wildlife Area (map) Fort Garland, fishing, boat ramp, rest rooms, wildlife viewing, camping, no water skiing
14.  Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Monte Vista office (719) 587-6900
15.  Lathrop State Park, west of Walsenburg, fishing, boating, swimming, camping, winter camping, hiking, biking, golf, bird watching, hunting
16.  Colorado Operation Game ThiefPoacher Reporting Hotline, stop criminals, protect wildlife, earn a reward, remain anonymous (877) COLO-OGT  [email protected]
17.  Colorado Snakes, Reptiles, Amphibians Brochure, information and identification from Colorado Division of Wildlife, includes rattlesnake information
20.  Rio Grande River Special Recreation Management Area (SRMA), (Rio Grande Natural Area) BLM, 33 miles long, 1/4 of a mile along both banks of the Rio Grande River from Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge to the New Mexico border.  In planning stage, see management plan for details.