If you’ve had your eye on owning a parcel of Costa Rican paradise, you’re certainly Costa Rica House not alone. The country with the greatest biodiversity in the world has become a haven for investors, retirees and those looking for a colorful change of scenery. There are a myriad of reasons, beyond sultry climate and beautiful beaches, that make owning your tropical getaway attractive. Low cost of living. Low crime. Medical and dental care comparable to the best in the world. Stable business climate and a government that looks favorably on foreign investment, international markets, labor quality and cost. To put it simply, Costa Rica is a hot market and a wise investment. When compared to countries like the U.S., the price of land and homes is about 20-25% lower. The Costa Rican Tourism Board reports that one in three second time visitors to Costa Rica want to buy real estate, which shows what a great lasting impression the country makes upon vacationers. In this peaceful country tucked between the Pacific and Caribbean coasts, the selection of real estate is as diverse as the lush topography. From mountain and coastal properties, forests and ranches, city apartments and country cabins, beachfront condominiums, planned communities and even European-style castles – there’s something for everyone. If it’s investment property you seek, you’re in for some good news. You won’t see dramatic swings in home prices that happen in the U.S. Value either goes up, or stays the same. In the past two years, values have increased a staggering 20%, and have averaged about 10% a year for the past five years. Even when the market is down, which hasn’t been the case for several years, property value doesn’t drop. The market merely loses steam.
Buying on the Beach
By far the hottest commodities are beachfront property. Costa Rica has a seemingly endless array of secluded coves and pristine beaches. Not to mention every activity under the sun including deep sea fishing, diving, surfing, horseback riding, and canopy tours, just to name a few. If you purchase beachfront property, expect to pay more for it. But you can also expect high year-round demand in your rental from the over 1 million vacationers that visit Costa Rica each year. Features that factor into price variance include ocean views, access to roads, and supply and demand. While looking over Costa Rica real estate listings, familiarize yourself with the provinces and regions in the country and what they have to offer. The Northern Region is known for the Arenal volcano, the Monteverde Cloud Forest and the popular surf spots Tamarindo and Nosaro. The center for cultural activities, theater and art is San Jose, the largest city located in The Central Region. Along the dramatic coastline in the South Pacific region, which includes Corcovado, Drake’s Bay and Cano Island, you’ll find one of the richest biological areas in all of Costa Rica. The Six Regions of Costa Rica basically describe the area of the country in terms of location, weather, and activity. For instance, the Central Region is in the mountainous central highlands where the weather is cooler and you will find most of the population living in greater San Jose. Any region with “Pacific” or “Caribbean” attached to it will be closer to or at the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, and therefore will be warmer and, of course, have the beautiful beaches and surf for which Costa Rica is well known.
Think About Your Own Hobbies and Interests
It helps to give some serious thought to your own hobbies and interests when you’re determining where to buy, since you’ll likely be spending a lot more time in Costa Rica. For example, if deep-sea fishing or whitewater rafting sounds appealing, you’ll be drawn to hot spots like Puerto Viejo, Manzanillo or Limon in the Caribbean region. If you’re partial to soft sea breezes that accompany an unspoiled beach setting, set your sights on a parcel along the Osa Peninsula in The Southern Pacific Region and you’ll be in store for some of the most dramatic scenery in the country. If surfing interests you, the popular North Pacific spots of Guanacaste and Nicoya will sound appealing. The main beach development areas that are worth considering for retirement and or vacations homes can be found in the Guanacaste areas of Flamingo, Junquillal, and Tamarindo. Don’t overlook some of the popular Central Pacific areas of Southern Nicoya, Peninsula, Puntarenas, Jaco, Quepos, or Manuel Antonion, which offer a great well-rounded Costa Rica experience and are closest to the Central Valley and San Jose.Buying property, without first visiting the site the area, is not advised. You’ll want to make sure it has the infrastructure in place such as cable or satellite television, high speed internet, public power grids, public water, trash service, telephone, schools, shopping centers, and grocery stores. For example, living deep in the rainforest on the Osa Peninsula means your neighbors are wildlife but your conveniences may be limited. To check for cable, there are only two cable companies in Costa Rica, Amnet and Cable Tica. Both sites are currently in Spanish, but English sites are in the works. Just because cable is available doesn’t mean Internet is automatic. You’ll want to ask the cable company specifically about high speed Internet. On the other hand, over 80% of the country has phone service, and dial up is available anywhere in Costa Rica as long as you have a phone line. You’ll just need the patience to deal with a slow connection. Your Realtor will be a great help in assisting you in checking for other services like water, trash service and shopping centers. You may also choose to consider climate as a qualifying factor for deciding where in Costa Rica to live. Costa Rica is a natural paradise that boasts seven different climate zones. From San Jose’s mild climate, the Guanacaste dry pampas, San Vito’s rugged mountainous terrain and Zancudo’s tropical fall rains and remoteness, to Osa’s primitive rugged peninsula and the tropical rainforests on the Caribbean coast. Each area has its own habitat and also its own personality, so seek the one that best fits your lifestyle. Buying Land versus Buying on a Planned Development There are many up and coming planned developments that promise ocean-side luxury along with a host of amenities. Ask yourself what you want long-term for your vacation home or rental property. Do you want maximum privacy, peace and tranquility during your stay in Costa Rica? Or don’t you mind a bustling community of vacationers? Do you want to have to worry about landscaping and yard upkeep, or would you rather have a low-maintenance arrangement that leaves more time for beach hopping? It really goes back to how you’re going to use your property, and what you want out of it. If you do buy land, there are a couple of things to consider