Moving On

The below article was written on March 7, 2019 and not posted until November 30, 2019 I hear from people who tell me that they have read my entire blog. I find this difficult to believe. When I started blogging (I think this was around 2003), it was recommended that blog articles be around 1,000 … Read more

Understanding Real Estate in Costa Rica’s Southern Pacific Zone Part 1

Costa Rica History in knife metaphor

I’d say that about 1/10th of my time spent with people looking to buy property in Costa Rica’s Southern Pacific zone is spent in the actual buying/selling of property. The other 9/10ths is a mix of conversations regarding what’s involved with living here, as well as discussing the business of real estate in Costa Rica. … Read more

Big Interest in Moving to Costa Rica

Earth coming apart

Traveling around the US, the interest in Costa Rica that I encounter is universal. While talking with visitors to Costa Rica, we frequently hear: “everybody is talking about Costa Rica. It’s a real buzz-word in (wherever they are from”. This they say to a guy while there in Costa Rica – to a guy that lives in Costa Rica – while they are discussing the possibility of moving to Costa Rica. Hmmmm, are these statements truly unbiased and objective? My recent travels around parts of the States answers these questions.

A Positive Experience With a Costa Rica Government Agency

Costa Rica governmental education program on hydroponics.

For many of us here in Costa Rica’s southern pacific zone, we marvel at the hub-bub made in Costa Rica information books and websites about the high level of education in Costa Rica. We simply don’t see it.

A course I just took at the good graces of the governmental education agency INA stands in stark contrast with that observation.

The course was being offered free, totally government sponsored, but you had to be a resident. I had to provide a copy of my residency cedula, as well as fill out a form with all my information in it, all of which intrigued me that this course was something authentic. I jumped through the various hoops thinking that I would probably pull out at some point.

Long story short, I didn’t – I did the course – and I’m a better Guy because of it.

A Costa Rica Evening

Ben's talk How to Live in Costa Rica at Avid Reader

I have just returned to Costa Rica from my regular visit to Davis California. This trip was predicated by the fact that my mother had been diagnosed with cancer. The preparations for the trip were rushed. My mother’s surgery to remove the cancer from her throat was scheduled on Monday, so the Monday prior, my sister Audrey made the arrangements and I spent the week getting things in order to fly.

Ben's talk How to Live in Costa Rica at Avid Reader
Here is the setting. I have retouched the photo to insert my head onto the guy who was actually in the pic. We didn’t take any pics at my event. 🙁 But, it gives the setting 🙂

My mother had specifically requested that I come before her surgery.  She didn’t say, but we suspected that she was scared. Also, since her surgery was to be in her throat, she would likely not be able to talk for some time after the surgery.

We had a couple hours on Sunday and then the surgery was on Monday.

When the doctor went in to do the incision, he was a bit taken aback. There really wasn’t much cancer to speak of. So he just did a biopsy. The next day, Mom was up walking around, talking and eating.

All of which resulted in the point of this article, which is to tell you about my evening giving a talk at a bookstore, The Avid Reader in Davis. But first I should probably finish the lengthy lead-in part.

My mother had been diagnosed with

Read more

The Luxury of Living in the Third World

An article by Jack Ewing

Ben’s note: Jack Ewing & I have known each other for years and have worked together off and on with various projects. I regard him as one of the preeminent authorities on the history and ecology of the area. Jack is the owner of Hacienda Baru eco-tourism lodge and canopy zip-line tours. From his position as a cattle rancher in the ’70’s to reforestation mentor and eco-tourism expert now, his experiences here in Costa Rica span and catalog some of the astounding changes that have occurred in this “second” world country.

Jack is also one of the most notable authors for The Zone. His book “Monkeys Are Made of Chocolate” is recommended reading for anyone with an interest in Costa Rica and especially the southern zone. Standard reading in most vacation rentals and hotels in the area.

I am delighted to have Jack come on as a contributing author to the Guys in the Zone blog. In this first installment you’ll notice that there isn’t anything about real estate, but it has a lot to do with life here. We are on a rapidly “progressive” tangent here in Costa Rica and this account really helps to show some of the contrasts in amenities over the years, some so dramatic they could be deemed revolutionary. I especially appreciate how Jack’s account begs the question: “how do we really define “progress”?


Back in the late 1980s we still didn’t have telephones in the coastal communities, and we were just starting to do some bird watching and ecological tours at Hacienda Baru. The lodge didn’t exist yet. For booking the tours we shared an office with a travel agency in San Isidro and communicated with them by radio. One day I was at the phone company in San Isidro, which was also the electrical utility, seeing about getting an extra phone installed in the office. The whole process should have taken about ten minutes, but we kept having power outages.

Read more

The “Toucan Test”

Crocodile north of Jaco Costa Rica

I have a thing I do on a personal level that I call my “Toucan Test”. It is my personal test for determining whether I’m becoming jaded to Costa Rica’s uniquely raw and wild beauty. It goes like this: when I see a toucan, do I take note of it? In other words, do I react with a “ho hum, just another toucan” – or do I still marvel at this extra-ordinary bird that defies design logic here with appreciation?

Crocodile north of Jaco Costa Rica
This is just one of the guys hanging out and keeping cool, just north of Jaco.

Earthquakes are a

Read more

Interested in Costa Rica real estate as an investment. They primarily live somewhere else, but they own property in Costa Rica for the asset appreciation potential as well as possible rental income. Some just buy and hold (land-bank). For developed properties, the investor has a vacation home to visit as desired.

Migrators spend a regular amount of time in Costa Rica during each year.

Re-locators are those that are looking to move to Costa Rica from wherever they are. They will live full-time in Costa Rica.