Costa Rica’s “Pura Vida” is well known. Celebrities have caught on and spend millions of dollars on beach and jungle retreats. Thing is: There’s more to this wonderful country than the north Pacific-Coast resorts with sticker shock akin to Aspen or New York’s upper east side.
My Costa Rica is nicer…and you can buy for as little as one-tenth what you would pay where the jet-set shop.
Little Costa Rica has it all. Towering cone shaped volcanoes that rise from rich pasture land and stare down on glass flat lakes. Caribbean beaches that are so picture-perfect you want to pinch yourself to see if it’s real.
And a Pacific coast with crashing waves, silent coves and rich green vegetation…nature at her most opulent.
If you think Costa Rica has been discovered—that the opportunity has past—you are wrong…and also right. Let me explain.
Costa Rica’s north Pacific Coast saw a tourism and real estate boom in the 90s and first half of the last decade as accessibility improved with new roads and the Liberia airport. It’s nice up there. I really like the Peninsula Papagayo. But quality condos here start from $850,000.
Costa Rica’s southern zone is nicer.
It’s much greener down there. The hills are steeper, clad with richer jungle and the beaches have better sand and bluer water.
In villages like Ojochal you can eat a gourmet meal from a European chef who came here to visit and never left. You can buy a lot for as little as $40,000. Prices stayed low because this area was difficult to get to. That’s changed with the opening of a new road.
Here it feels authentic and honest. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining about the pampering I get in the Four Seasons up north. It’s a different thing. Also, a costlier thing—with ocean view lots in excess of $1 million in the Four Seasons Resort and the Peninsula Papagayo.
Costa Rica’s area of glowing towering volcanoes and lake that is the floor for rich elevated pastureland is surprisingly close to this $1 million lot. Arenal is less than a two-hour drive away. Her bubbling hot springs have been discovered by tourists and has a thriving expat community. It has great hiking, fishing, sailing, windsurfing and eating out. This is a fun and vibrant place to be.
You can buy a lot here overlooking the lake…with a view toward the towering volcano…for as little as $475 per month.
Finally, drive east from the capital San Jose and you might be surprised…very surprised. You wind your way around mountains and through a mythical cloud forest. There are no sprawling suburbs. It’s one big nature preserve. White foamy water falls from the mountainsides and crashes with a roar.
When you come out of the cloud forest 90 minutes from San Jose…the Caribbean’s blue waters stretch north and south along the horizon. With the elevation, the breezes are fresh and comforting. Farms with views to the ocean and jungle run around 20 – 50 acres in size…and go for $3,000 an acre. Here, you could have a retreat the jet set would envy. They just haven’t caught on…yet.
Editor’s note: This is the Costa Rica you will hear about at the Live and Invest in Costa Rica Conference in August. Ronan will be there, along with all our Costa Rica experts. And you’ll learn more about the types of real estate mentioned in this article, too…including that lot overlooking Lake Arenal for $475 per month. We haven’t officially launched registration for the Costa Rica event yet, but you can get advance information here (including how to be one of the first to sign up).