Costa Rica’s Last Boom Towns Could Make You Rich
Costa Rica is a beautiful country, with long stretches of deserted and undeveloped beaches…dense jungles teeming with exotic wildlife…towering volcanoes, lush green valleys, and hundreds of crystal-clear lakes and rivers…
Not only that, but the country offers a great climate, neighborly atmosphere, a low cost of living, excellent health care, and a stable democracy.
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- Population: 4,695,942
- Capital City: San Jose
- Climate: Tropical and subtropical; dry season (December to April); rainy season (May to November); cooler in highlands
- Time Zone: GMT-6
- Language: Spanish (official), English
- Country Code: 506
- Coastline: 1,290km
Bless her heart, but my wife’s friend “Linda” (name changed to protect the embarrassed) has a knack for often saying the “wrong” thing when speaking Spanish. And during her recent visit to our home in Costa Rica she outdid herself. At breakfast she tried to tell the waiter she needed more coffee because she was tired (Estoy cansada) but repeated Estoy casada (“I’m married”) several times…
The renowned Malaysia International Gourmet Festival in Kuala Lumpur runs the whole month of October. Expect a “Theatre of Cuisines” and a “Gourmet Village.” The wonderfully-named Madajazzcar, Madagascar’s leading jazz festival, takes place from October 3 to 15 with performances around the island.
For over 400 years, the temple city of Angkor Wat in northern Cambodia served as the capital of the vast and powerful Khmer Empire. From the 9th century, successive kings tried to outdo each other with ever grander designs, and you’ll find their legacy spread across 150 square miles. Ornate carvings, decorated palaces and symbolic temples are everywhere, much of it covered in jungle. At times it feels as if you’ve walked onto the set of Indiana Jones.
Columbus called Costa Rica “the Rich Coast”—and it still is, with Caribbean beaches and Pacific shoreline that’ll take your breath away. But this nation has much more to offer, too: a year-round tropical climate, modern cities, rain forests, lush valleys and majestic mountains.
“Stop. Shhh. Listen,” the guide whispers. He brings binoculars up to his eyes in a fluid motion. A sharp intake of breath. “Aaahhh… yes! See that long branch there, with the one brown leaf at the end? Look directly below.”
They come to enjoy fresh fruits and veggies that go straight from the farm to market to your kitchen—for a half to a third of what you’d pay in the U.S. And then there’s the climate—one of the best in the world. It’s cool in the mountains year-round. It warms up along the coast but there are sea breezes to cool things off and shady trees by the beach to enjoy a cold beer under.
“Fish don’t live in ugly places” is Captain Ron Saunders’ motto. And that’s certainly true of his home of seven years, Lake Arenal, in the highlands three hours west of Costa Rica’s capital, San José. The 50-year-old former custom cabinet-maker from Las Vegas is living his dream here. A lifelong ﬁsherman, he turned his passion into a business—charter ﬁshing…
Most people go to a tropical paradise to go on vacation. I chose to live in one. Sure it’s not without its challenges, but living in Costa Rica has taught me how to overcome them with grace and without getting bogged down in stress. This is one of the major reasons I choose to live in Costa Rica—Ticos (as Costa Ricans call themselves) possess the secret to true relaxation.
Katie knew she needed a change, and I was comfortable picking up and exploring the world. The question was where to begin. We started right at home with a seven-month RV tour of the U.S. before traveling in Europe. Finally, with winter looming, we visited tropical Costa Rica. After looking around we settled in Ocotal, a small residential community on the south end of the Gulf of Papagayo.
Moving into a “furnished” rental is always a bit of a risk. You never know if you’re going to get cheap particle board pieces or whatever cast offs your landlord could scrounge up. But when we moved to our new home in Costa Rica, we were totally shocked. Everything from the bed frames to the dining table was solid, high-quality tropical hardwood.
“I ﬁrst came to Costa Rica in 2001. Right after college, some friends and I—and my Dad—drove down in an old school bus and opened a surf camp on the northern Paciﬁc coast,” says Joe. The camp has slowly grown into a pretty large operation, and that meant Joe was ready for a new challenge. The key to making it happen began when he struck up a friendship with fellow expat J.P. Cazedessus…
“We did a lot of research on which country was the best fit for us. We narrowed it down to Costa Rica, Belize, Uruguay, and Ecuador. All seemed to have something we were looking for. In the end, Costa Rica won out, at least for now, because it’s a fairly easy flight back to the U.S., the cost of living is still reasonable, and the locals—called Ticos—are very accepting.”
Turns out one of the best places to find small-town America… is in Costa Rica. I’m talking about Atenas, a village of 5,000 in the Central Valley region in the interior of the country. Expats that have made their home here—mostly retirees—say the warm and friendly locals and a very welcoming expat community remind them of where they grew up.
Costa Rica makes sense today because—beyond the conveniences—it offers you broad choice in locale and lifestyle. It’s safe. The healthcare is top tier. Yet you still find excellent values—a week’s worth of fresh produce for less than $30…rent on a home with a mountain view, $500…a couple’s health insurance, $600 a year. If you’re ready to dip your toe overseas, Costa Rica remains one of the easiest, most rewarding places to do it. As proof, we bring you stories of expats there…
My recent trip to Costa Rica was an amazing experience. And to think it only happened because I needed expensive dental work, and that traveling to Costa Rica for it actually paid for most of my vacation. Let me explain… In recent years, dental costs have risen faster than inﬂation. And since only 55% of U.S. residents have dental insurance, that means half of us are paying cash out-of-pocket…
Parades, dancing, and the election of a Sara Ñusta (Queen of Maize) mark the Fiesta del Yamor in Imbabura, Ecuador, the ﬁrst week of September. Join in and offer thanks to the sun god for a bountiful harvest. Street traders take over the French city of Lille for the Grande Braderie on September 1 and 2.
Tradition is important in Costa Rica. Along with the modern infrastructure, convenience to big-city shopping and top-quality medical care at a fraction of U.S. prices, you can truly appreciate a simpler—better-quality—life.
You won’t see many of the brightly-decorated ox carts, known as carretas, transporting crops to market these days, but the markets are still going strong…bustling ferias where you’ll pick up delicious fresh produce for much less than the cost back home.
Their vacations in tropical places left Denice and Robert Key wishing for more out of life and thinking, “What if…?” The couple had traveled throughout the Caribbean and Mexico when they were younger, and they could never quite escape the itch to retire early and move to a warm, exotic destination—something completely different from their Colorado home.
When we moved to Costa Rica’s Central Valley, one of the things my ﬁve-year-old son said he would miss most about the States was going out for Saturday breakfast. In particular, the whipped-cream and strawberry-smothered Belgian wafﬂes he always ordered. (Okay, I like them, too.) But our weekly tradition lives on. Just 50 minutes on a modern highway from our home in Grecia is The Wafﬂe Place, in the San-José suburb of Escazú.
“Fish don’t live in ugly places” is Captain Ron Saunders’ motto. And that’s certainly true of his home of seven years, Lake Arenal, in the highlands three hours west of Costa Rica’s capital, San José. The 50-year-old former custom cabinet-maker from Las Vegas is living his dream here. A lifelong ﬁsherman, he turned his passion into a business—charter ﬁshing—that allows him to do what he loves each and every day.
Costa Rica is well known for its beautiful beaches, lush, wildlife-ﬁlled jungles, and ideal climate, not to mention low cost of living, bargain real estate, and low-cost medical care. “There was only one problem with Costa Rica,” says California native Joe Walsh. “No pale ale.”
Placencia in southern Belize boasts 16 miles of natural soft sand beach, a lagoon fringed with mangroves, and access to the Belize Barrier Reef and hundreds of tiny islands. Twenty dive sites…little marinas…a technicolor reef that’s a giant private aquarium…This place is a water-lover’s dream.
One member of our little group has the opportunity to lock down a 1.47-acre lot for only $42,000 in the best-in-class project on Costa Rica’s Caribbean Coast. The lot listed for $78,000. Now the owner is in a bind back home. He needs to sell fast. The developer has agreed to help facilitate him. That’s why I’m sending you this Flash Alert today.
I’m in Tamarindo, Costa Rica learning how to surf. I’ve hired a local, Ricardo, who we met on the beach a few days ago. Two hours on the water—just $20. It’s a great deal compared to the many surf schools in town. My five-year-old son is on the water, too. And he’s already an expert, riding wave after wave all the way to the shore. I’m wiping out more than anything…but having a great time.
There’s a special place on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast where bright, thick, green jungle canopy rolls down to a stretch of sandy beaches and rocky points. It’s truly stunning. While prices in places you’ll see in glossy magazines soared…prices here stayed low. It was difficult to get to. But a new smoothly paved coastal highway has changed that. And it’s nicer here.
Bob Lux sold his business at 62 and retired. But he soon found that Social Security and the small pension he drew from a job in his younger days wasn’t cutting it in the U.S. His wife Stacy went back to work full-time, he was working three days a week, and they could barely make ends meet. “I found I could move down to Costa Rica with my Social Security and pension and live very comfortably…
Real Estate Trend Alert is dedicated to giving you the best investment opportunities in the world before most people are even aware of them…and below you will find information on just one of the many opportunities you’ll hear about from me as a RETA member. In this report I’ll tell you all about this great deal in Costa Rica.
This week, 14 of your fellow members gathered at the Pacific Lots project in Costa Rica’s Southern Zone. They had two price lists: one for all the inventory at the project; the other, a list of special pricing for our little group on 14 handpicked lots.
The morning’s fresh ceviche is sharp and fragrant with coriander. Fifty minutes up the highway we passed a North American style service station. My contact convinced me to resist my strong coffee urges and hold off for fast food Costa Rica style. So, I ended up sitting under a palm tree, sand between my toes, eating $1.50 ceviche from a local vendor. There’s not much action on the beach.
Any weekend from August 4 to September 16, head to the Parc Floral near the Château de Vincennes in Paris for the Festival Classique au Vert (Classical Festival on the Green). This year, performers will set the words of famous poets and authors to classical music. Bring a picnic and blanket: It’s a gorgeous park.
It was the most spectacular view I have ever seen. One entire wall of the room opened onto a direct view of the Arenal volcano, framed by the lushest vegetation imaginable. I gasped in delight when I saw the hot tub on the terrace, and I’d never seen anything like my shower: a rock wall with plants in the crevices and water pouring out from a basin at the top. And this was just my hotel room!
If money were no object, what would your dream retirement look like? This fall, we’ll show you where you can easily make that dream your reality…for $800 or less a month. Your own cottage on a quiet beach…an apartment in a city vibrant with concerts and cafés…a mountain villa where the air is crisp…
I’m in Playa Samara, on Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula. I’m enjoying a beer by the pool with Bill Root, the owner of the small beachfront Fenix Hotel, as he tells me the history of the town. He says it’s much more “crowded” since he and his wife, Phyllis, arrived here 14 years ago. But all I see is a laid-back beach town. His perspective is a bit different, I guess, as a long-time resident.
Of all the reasons expats and tourists are attracted to Costa Rica, the weather is definitely one of the main ones. The entire country enjoys a warm climate year-round, as you would expect from a tropical destination. But even in this small country, about the size of Vermont and New Hampshire put together, there are a great variety of climates in Costa Rica.
When my family and I were looking at rentals before our move to Costa Rica, we really had only one solid requirement: Our home had to be within quick driving distance of the hospital in San Jose where my wife was going have our baby. But we didn’t want to be in San Jose—it’s awfully crowded and you should see rush hour.
In Costa Rica, you’ll find plenty of expat hangouts throughout the country. It’s usually a restaurant, café, or bar, often owned by an expat, that acts as a gathering place and meeting spot for clubs and groups. Saturday morning coffee and breakfast might be the big time… or Friday night dinner, it really depends on the place.
I’d never traveled with a celebrity before. When we arrived at the airport in Costa Rica, it was a madhouse. People kept coming up to take pictures with my companion. Customs officials rushed us through the line after a cursory check of our documents. Baggage handlers competed to grab our luggage.
On the Cover This Month… Chile’s Lake District is a wonderland of sparkling freshwater lakes, snow-capped volcanoes, and green forests, often with the towering Andes as a backdrop. With all this natural, unspoiled beauty, it can feel like the last perfect place on earth. And today, more and more expats are choosing to live here. […]
When driving the road that rings Lake Arenal, Costa Rica’s biggest lake, keep your eyes on the road. Driving 101, right? But it’s hard not to get distracted.
Blue morpho butterﬂies ﬂit across the road, troops of raccoon-like coatis scamper on the shoulder, howler monkeys lounge in the high branches, and bright tropical birds wing it from tree to tree.
Every month we take a look at some of the properties available around the world. This time out, we’re highlighting properties that not only provide you with a roof over your head, but an income to boot. Escape to Ecuador’s Yunguilla Valley and surround yourself with blossoming fruit trees and fresh ﬁsh on your own tropical property.