Making an Overseas Dream a Reality in Costa Rica’s Jungle

While loving life in Boise, Idaho with friends and family close by, Scott and Nicky Freymond noticed a sense of restlessness a couple years back during the long, harsh winters. They started to research options for a sunnier second home that would ultimately give them the best of both worlds.

“We were trying to decide among a few different places including Belize, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua,” says Nicky. “We wanted to buy property and had something very specific in mind— something we could turn into a small-scale B&B, with living quarters for us, some land to work with, and close to a beach.”

Costa Rica climbed to the top of the contender list. “It seemed like the lifestyle agreed the most with ours,” Nicky explains. Specifically, Playa Avellanas in the Tamarindo area. “We chose it because that’s where we found our house online. We knew the house was ‘the one’ before we even saw it in person.”

Nicky and Scott were in search of something a bit off the beaten path, and something they could make their own—and those desires paid off. The property sits on three-quarters of an acre, in the forest at Playa Avellanas. “It had been on the market for a few years, and dropped in price to $200,000 by the time we could act on it. We offered $180,000 and they accepted,” says Nicky.

“By the time we bought the property, the jungle had taken it back. We could negotiate on the price because we estimated it needed at least $20,000 of work to get it up and running. Luckily I speak Spanish—I don’t think we would have taken on a project like this, if I hadn’t.

“While there were challenges along the way, it was well worth it. It gave us the opportunity to pour our hearts into the house and surrounding land, and that has made it feel much more like it truly belongs to us in a deeper sense.”

She adds, “Regardless of any experience you have with real estate in the States, everything is different in Costa Rica from the electrical and plumbing to paperwork, and taxes. My advice would be to take the time to find helpful people you can count on who have experience in this market.”

Affectionately named Casa Kaiki, the property is comprised of several structures including one with two rooms, two bathrooms, and a kitchen, and another with three rooms, three bathrooms, and a kitchen. There is also a separate outdoor toilet, outdoor showers, a greenhouse, and a full outdoor gym Scott and Nicky built for CrossFit-style workouts.

“Our typical day consists of waking up around 5 a.m., to make breakfast for our guests,” says Nicky. “After that, we make breakfast for ourselves and relax for a bit while we discuss what we need to get done for the day. Some days we do this on the beach, other days on our terrace. The next few hours we spend watering, planting, digging, etc. We love all the opportunity for outdoor projects the property has provided—it’s truly a passion for us,” says Nicky. “Having mature fruit trees and the chance to grow our own food on our property was another part of our dream that has now become reality.”

“One thing that we felt made Costa Rica so unique for us is the significance of the environment and tradition,” Nicky adds. “This plays a large role in our lives anywhere we live, but it was so powerful to be surrounded by likeminded people.

“As for Avellanas there is no town, per se, but the community is tight-knit. Whenever we spend time at local spots like Mauna Loa Restaurant or out front of Lola’s on the beach we’re surrounded by neighbors we had an instant connection with, and we are reminded of what makes Avellanas so magical.”

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