When most people consider moving to a tropical country, they have one thing on their mind: the beach. But while Costa Rica is a tropical country and has some beautiful beaches, not everyone wants to live a sand-filled life in shorts and flip-flops. Luckily, there’s a solution…the Central Valley.
The valley stretches from roughly San Ramon to Cartago, and includes the capital city San Jose. The main draws to the area are the beautiful views and near-perfect climate. A full three-quarters of the population of Costa Rica lives in the Central Valley.
One of the most popular towns in this region for expats is Grecia. A town of about 18,000 residents, Grecia is large enough to support resources such as multiple banks, restaurants, and shopping options, yet it is small enough that you are likely to run into friends while in town.
Expats often like to settle is in the mountains above the town center. There are five mountain ridges that radiate from downtown up the slope of Poas Volcano, like the fingers on a hand. The ridges provide varying options for elevation, climate, and neighborhood. Downtown Grecia sits at an elevation of 3,000 feet and each of the ridges eventually reach elevations of around 5,000 feet.
Up on the ridges, million-dollar views are a dime a dozen, and the weather hits the spring-like sweet spot with daily temperature ranges of 60 F to 80 F. Most homes do not have a heater or air-conditioner; they are just not needed. Other than having a rainy season and a dry season, the weather is consistent throughout the year.
The ridges are home to many coffee farms and homes can range from very simple structures, called Tico-style after the Costa Rican’s name for themselves, to estate-sized properties. The simple homes might not have all of the conveniences, like hot water in the kitchen, but many can be bought for under $70,000. The nicer homes can range anywhere from just over $100,000 to $600,000, with a couple in the million-dollar range.
The house that my wife and I rent is a good example of a quality home for a low price. The two-story chalet was sold to our landlords for $125,000 and has three small bedrooms and two full baths. Wood floors and ceilings give the home a rustic and warm feeling.
The house sits on a 500-meter (5,000-square-foot) lot that provides enough space for a small garden, yard, and a cement patio that overlooks the breadth of the Central Valley.
There is nothing more enjoyable for us than sitting on the patio with a glass of wine, watching the sunset.
At the other end of the price spectrum is a home on the market in a private community half a mile from any streets, creating a quiet and serene refuge from the noise that can plague other locations. The property is on 1.25 acres and includes a main residence and a casita. The casita is perfect for visiting friends, with one bedroom and a full bathroom, and it is separate from the house. The home is listed for $349,000.
Built for parties, the 400-square-foot covered terrace is an entertainer’s dream. Daytime boasts views of mountains and nighttime provides the twinkling of city lights from San Jose and the airport.
The ridges in the hills above Grecia are a great example of what type of living can be had in the Central Valley: a perfect blend of great views, fabulous weather, and a wide range of available homes. Add to that a friendly local population, a good expat community, close proximity to the airport, San Jose, and beaches, and you have a winning combination.
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