The water is a rich blue. Flat, save for white ribbons where ocean meets rocky outcrops and sandy beach.
The peninsula and the mainland rise, creating a bowl of shimmering blue base and steep jungle-clad sides. And then, the flat top provides for stunning views. That’s where we are. Below and behind us is the golf course. This is one of the most spectacular settings for a golf course on earth.
We’re right out on a peninsula you see. On several holes you have dramatic ocean views to three sides. Then, sheer drops bring you down to sea level where you play parallel to the beach. This isn’t the only amenity here. The marina directly in front of us today is home to a $200 million yacht. The best sunsets are to be found at the luxury beach club.
As you would expect the condo I’m gazing out from commands a seven-figure price tag. But, pioneers who had vision bought beachfront here for a song long before golf carts started humming or there was a market for $5,000-a-night rentals.
I’m studying this place not so I can regret about a missed opportunity—but to make sure I’m ready for today’s big opportunities. Today there are places where we have the same opportunity those pioneers had 20 years ago.
I’m on the Peninsula Papagayo in North Costa Rica. Remember what happened to real estate values in northern Costa Rica? This was a text book Path of Progress play. When stunning real estate like this becomes more accessible and amenities are added it becomes more valuable.
Northern Costa Rica was tricky to get to. Liberia airport only had the occasional international flight. Drive-wise, it took around five hours to reach from San Jose on a rough, potholed road. Only diehard surfers and backpackers braved the journey. Mainstream tourists stayed away.
Then the road was resurfaced. And in 2002, regular direct flights started from Liberia airport to the U.S. In 2003, they saw 50,000 passenger arrivals. By 2008, that number had soared to 500,000. Resorts (like the Four Seasons where I am staying) and residential developers raised the bar, snapping up the best beach and ocean-view land. In the three years after regular direct flights started, the price of prime land quadrupled.
Today, there is an opportunity to Profit from the Path of Progress in Costa Rica’s Southern Zone. This is a beautiful place where prices stayed low because it was difficult to get to. Now it’s easily accessible by road. The new highway has cut drive time from over eight hours to just over three hours. Plus, I think it’s even nicer than Northern Costa Rica.
President Laura Chinchilla was in the area last October, lending her support to a new airport. The President toured the region and attended several meetings, emphasizing the importance of support for the tourism industry and the airport wherever she went. This is good news.
I expect members of Real Estate Trend Alert will be impressed by the jaw-dropping beauty and the opportunity when they visit on one of the RETA Members-only scouting trips. The one next month is almost full, but we’ll have more this quarter for new members.
Editor’s Note: Ronan McMahon is the Executive Director of Pathfinder (International Living’s preferred real estate advertising partner), which focuses on opportunity for gains in strategic pockets around the world-before most folks have even heard of them. He writes for Pathfinder’s real estate investment service, the Real Estate Trend Alert.