Your Own Hilltop Hideaway in Costa Rica for Less Than $250,000

Expats love living in Atenas, mostly for three reasons: the mild weather, its great location on the western end of Costa Rica’s Central Valley, and its friendly, small town community. These are the reasons that drew my husband, Rolando, and I here seven years ago.

Its elevation provides moderate temperatures and gives rise to the town’s slogan, “The Best Climate in the World.” You don’t need air-conditioning or heating living here. Rainy season is also much milder in Atenas than many other parts of Costa Rica. Add in lots of sunshine and you get a lush, green landscape.

We love that we can live in a small, rural coffee town yet are only 30 minutes from the San Jose international airport, and larger cities like Alajuela or Escazu. If we drive less than an hour east we’re in the capital city of San Jose, or an hour west we can be walking in the sand along the warm Pacific Ocean.

And with it being a small town you quickly get to meet, and be welcomed by, the friendly locals.

People from all over the world have relocated to Atenas, which means there’s an established network and community for expats to ease in to. Atenas is not the cheapest place to live in Costa Rica, when it comes to buying real estate, but it is more affordable than many suburbs of San Jose or popular coastal resort towns.

Many expats choose to buy homes—or buy a lot and build their own custom home—in gated communities. Houses in gated communities tend to be more expensive, but there are still deals to be found.

For instance, at Lomas del Paraiso you can buy a new 2,368-square-foot luxury home with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, an office, and a pool on 1.76 acres for $298,000. It features views westward across the Rio Grande Valley, toward the Pacific Coast.

Or you can purchase a lovely 2,100-square-foot, three-bedroom, three-bathroom home on a little less than an acre of land in a quiet neighborhood, tucked up in the hills for $245,000. The area is close to hiking, and mountain biking trails, and offers beautiful views over the Central Valley. And it’s only a 15-minute drive to the center of town.

If you’re looking for something cozy, or to use as a vacation rental, you can get a newly renovated 800-square-foot, two-bedroom, one-bathroom home with a pool on a 5,800-square-foot lot in a peaceful, centrally-located neighborhood for $229,000.

Always dreamed of designing and building your own custom home? For $90,000 you can buy a 1.2 acre piece of land in the quiet Atenas neighborhood of Santa Eulalia, with its own private drive.

The fact that international home buyers can purchase titled property in Costa Rica—where property taxes are only about 25% of the registered value—makes this an attractive place for you to live. As another incentive, if you invest in buying a home or piece of land valued at $200,000 or more, you qualify for Costa Rican residence as an investor.

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