Each time I visit Costa Rica’s stunning lake country of Arenal, I wonder how this place has remained so long under the radar. It’s simply beautiful. Green pastureland rolls down to a shoreline lapped by the blue waters of a pristine lake. A towering volcano reaches 5,300 feet into the sky.
The climate here is perfect for a healthy outdoors lifestyle. Temperatures are in the high 70s almost all year round. You can go hiking, horseback-riding, bird-watching, swimming, fishing or boating whenever you want to…and then bask in hot, nutrient-rich springs—the perfect way to unwind after a day’s activities.
It’s easy to get to. The three-hour drive from San Jose will take you on a modern four-lane highway through the valleys and suburbs that extend out from the capital. From there you’ll wind around the hillsides on a well-surfaced, two-lane road amid scenery that reminded me of a cross between Ireland and the Swiss Alps. Liberia’s international airport on the Pacific coast is even closer.
If you were expecting prices similar to those a couple of hours away on the Costa Rican coast, think again. Here, you could pay one sixth or less what you’d pay on the Pacific—and a fraction of what you would pay in any accessible lake locale that comes close to this type of natural beauty.
Like the lot I told you about on Thursday in an established gated community. One member of Real Estate Trend Alert can lock down this half-acre lot with special member pricing and terms for just $19,800. You can buy with $3,960 down and spread the balance over five years.
Do a quick comparison to other waterside retreats, and the value becomes obvious. At Lake Panajachel, Guatemala, you’d be hard-pressed to find a lot on the water for less than $50,000. At Lake Chapala, near Ajijic, Mexico you’re looking at $100,000 or more. Go Stateside to Lake Tahoe and you’ll have to pull half a million out of our pocket for a residential lot.
As for getting more space to spread out in these locales without a mega budget—forget it. Yet, close to the established community where you can buy this lot and along the main shore road, one member of Real Estate Trend Alert could buy 6.8 acres of lake-view land for the price of a cookie-cutter condo back home. I’m talking Grade-AAA Arenal lake-view land.
One member of Real Estate Trend Alert could lock down these 6.8 acres of stunning lake views and gurgling steams (remember it also comes with two cottages) for under $140,0000…maybe even as little as $135,000. You can move in straight away and rent the second cottage. Maybe consider the remainder of the land as a development opportunity.
The real estate values at Lake Arenal are a steal. That’s now, mind you. But as soon as the world catches on, these values will be a thing of the past.
You are buying at ground-floor prices…but there’s already an established network of expats who have brought influences from home (including cuisine) with them. There is a Swiss mini-village, complete with church and chalets, perched on the hillside overlooking the lake. You find European influences in the bakeries and restaurants in the area.
In fact, for as little as $17,500 you could buy a plot of land along the road that would be perfect for a little commercial enterprise.
Or stretch your budget and you could lock down close to 20 acres near Arenal town and along the main lake-shore road. You have plenty of road frontage, two streams and some lake views. Perfect for your own little project, commercial enterprise or just private retreat. My guess is that it would be easy to get 15 lots on this land without a major infrastructure investment.
The owner was looking for $200,000. I know he will take less for a quick sale. I think quite a bit less…maybe even as much as a quarter less…if you play it the right way. (Next week I will be sending members of Real Estate Trend Alert my full report on this opportunity including the best way to play the negotiations.)
Maybe all this space or a commercial enterprise isn’t the thing for you.
Don’t worry. Walking distance from Arenal town, you could pick up a renovated and tastefully decorated two-bedroom, two-bathroom home for less than $90,000. This is the type of home you could rent out when you aren’t using it.
Early next week I will send members of Real Estate Trend Alert my full reports on each of the opportunities you have heard about this week—including special member-only prices and terms. Sign-up here to join Real Estate Trend Alert and to receive my full reports.
Editor’s Note: Ronan McMahon is a director of Pathfinder (International Living’s preferred real estate advertiser).