Costa Rica Bargains Found on a Real Estate Road Trip

If you followed the scouting trip to Costa Rica I made with my wife Suzan earlier this year, you’ll know that this is the best time to buy. Here are some of the highlights:

Thanks to unreliable coffee and tobacco prices, many former farmers in Costa Rica’s Puriscal district are selling their land for retirement funds. The result is former farmland at bargain prices…

We saw 40-acre farms starting at about $100,000. One of the most beautiful beaches along Costa Rica’s northern Pacific coast is Playa Carillo, just around the headland from the more famous Playa Samara. Just a five-minute drive from Playa Carrillo, in a community called Nidos Village, we found a one-bedroom house on a 4,000-square-foot lot for $94,000. That’s land and house. Lots alone started at about $30,000. See a video of Nidos Village here.

And right between Playa Samara and Playa Carrillo, a condo project has brand-new, very modern one-, two-, and three-bedroom condos just a five-minute walk from the beach starting at $125,000.

One destination that stood out on this trip was Lake Arenal. To get here, we drove from the Gold Coast up to Liberia and down the Pan American Highway to Canas, where we turned north into the mountains toward this remarkable 33-square-mile lake anchored on its east end by the perfect cone of an active volcano, Volcán Arenal.

It was our first time approaching the lake from the Liberia side, which took us to the south side of the lake instead of the usual north shore approach from San José. It was a valuable experience. The drive to the lake from Liberia is easier and faster than the drive from San José.

The expat community around Lake Arenal, while small, is extremely close-knit. Given its natural beauty, the friendliness of both locals and expats, and the wide variety of affordable property around the lake, Suzan and I are amazed at how peaceful and uncrowded the lake has remained.

Mile after mile of clear, smooth water and green, wooded shoreline in every direction.

I know of lakes in the U.S that are nowhere near the equal in scenery and water quality. And yet they’re completely overrun with boats and jet skis every day of the week when the weather is good.

Lake Arenal nearly always has good weather, and on any given day you can go out on the lake and be the only craft on the water.

But a place as astounding and affordable as Lake Arenal can’t stay a secret for long. Until now, the winding, three-hour drive through the mountains up from San José has kept things quiet. But as we discovered, the drive in from Liberia in the other direction is easier, shorter and just as scenic. We expect things to change.

Editor’s note: Everything you need to know about Costa Rica will be revealed at the Ultimate Event 2012. Full details here.

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