A Brief History of Real Estate in The Zone

“The Zone” is made up of a stretch of coastline starting from Hatillo in the north, and stretching south to Palmar Sur.  Included in that zone are the following towns, noted from north to south:

  • Hatillo
  • Dominical
  • Uvita
  • Ojochal
  • Palmar Sur

The inland portion of The Zone is a leg that runs from Dominical to San Isidro de el General, also known as Perez Zeledon.  In between Dominical and San Isidro is the town of Platanillo.

A word about pricing:
When dealing with ocean view properties in Costa Rica’s southern zone, the usual criteria of looking for a “per square meter” pricing fails us.  This becomes evident quickly as one familiarizes themselves with the market place.
Evaluating an ocean view property in this area is a combination of attributes, or virtues that come together to give the property its value.  Based on observing land buyers over the years, I rank these virtues in roughly the following order:

  1. view
  2. access
  3. size
  4. infrastructure
  5. amount of usable land
  6. proximity to the beach or a river
  7. privacy
  8. air motion

As an example of this, I once had a 10 acre property that had a window view of the ocean.  Of the 10 acres, perhaps 1 ½ were usable, the rest falling away in jungle covered hillsides. Price: $115,000
Across the way from this property, perhaps within 500 meters, I had another property of 2 acres with a sweeping ocean view,

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Relocation – Surviving the Transition Financially

Are you an entrepreneur who wants to relocate in Costa Rica? Many of you have ideas of what you would like to do but you don’t know if it is feasible. Do you buy a well-priced piece of real estate then develop it to your liking? Or, do you buy a turnkey business in one of the small towns of the Southern Pacific Zone (SPZ)? Those are two questions The Guys In The Zone are asked often, and I thought I would shed a little light on the possibilities.

Buy land, build structure, announce grand opening.


Relocators who lean toward the Buy & Build model are the most common brand of investor. Rarely, does the building process go perfectly smooth especially if you are a “first timer” in Costa Rica. Even with a good contractor, we encourage most owners to be on-site often. In fact, the more you can be there to answer questions and provide direction, the better. There’s nothing worse than flying down to check on the status of your building only to discover the size of your custom kitchen and bathroom have been interchanged?! If you follow this advice and move down to oversee the building process, then there are the obvious costs associated with living here (rent, bills, food, gas, etc.). However, this increases your chances to end up with the small (or large) business you always dreamed of. I have attended a few “Grand Openings” in the past few years, and most owners smile with pride, albeit with a touch of fatigue.

Most of our commercial land sellers are open to negotiating price and/or carrying paper (seller financing) as long as there is a significant down payment. Currently, we have excellent “raw land” properties that can accommodate businesses ranging from a small hotel-restaurant and one of the best “large commercial” pieces on the Costanera.

Or, buy a landmark!

surf-shop.jpgUntil just recently there were very few businesses to buy in the SPZ. Over the past five years, the ticos and early bird gringos have successfully

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Yodeling Naked & Firesales

Rod & I sold a piece of property yesterday and I’d like to tell y’all about it. Be ye buyer or seller I think that it will be informative and hopefully helpful.

The couple came to us from a Canadian referral, primarily to view the San Buenas Golf Resort. I’ll call them the Schmerds.

After viewing the course and deciding that it was for them – they’ll likely get a clubhouse condo for investment and income generation. All this plus the fact that they like to golf made that a no brainer. They asked if they could see some general market properties as well.

We started in Uvita with some lovely whales tail view properties. View from lot 6 Bella Vista Uvita Costa RicaBella Vista Lot #6 has occupied “The Best Deal in Uvita” slot for some time, but was recently nudged into second place by a fire sale opportunity that we had just received.

The Schmerds LOVED #6, with its beautiful ocean and jungle views and absolute privacy. A little over 2 acres and end of the road quiet.

From there we went to Bella Vista #5 Bella Vista 5 Whales Tail Viewwhich is a re-sale and was formerly “Ben’s Favorite Uvita Property” but it too has been relegated to the #2 position by another property that I’ll describe here in a minute. 

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Ben’s Predictions

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a crystal ball that you could rely on to foretell what was going to happen? In the present “down” condition of the world’s economy, everyone is guessing what is going to happen. If one were to guess correctly, there is no doubt some opportunity out there. It is interesting to hear Nobel laureates in the media using the now well worn phrase “we’ll see”, ad nauseum.

I am having daily discussions on the current state of the market with regards to Costa Rica real estate. I suppose that my position in the Costa Rica land marketplace makes my opinion of value to some. But really, nobody knows what it is that is going to happen. There are just so many factors at play now. But, having said that, I’m going to stick my neck out and make some concrete predictions about what we’re going to see here in Costa Rica’s southern zone.  But my prediction disclaimer remains in force… we’ll see.

I think that this coming season, which is starting now, we’re going to see some land banking (see below) sales, some of which will likely be higher end, and I think that we’re going to see some determined relocation buyers here. Here’s why.

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US Economy Effect on Real Estate in Costa Rica

Perhaps the most common question I hear in recent months is: “how has the recent economic downturn in the U. S. impacted real estate in Costa Rica?”

As a broker of real estate in Costa Rica, I work with investors from all around the globe as they search for their property in Costa Rica. In working with these people I get to hear what their concerns are and watch how they respond as they learn and experience the Costa Rica real estate marketplace.

One of the San Buenas Golf Resort (SBGR) partners is Duane Halverson, retired COO from the well known dairy company “Land ‘O Lakes” in the United States. Duane and I have struck up a rather unlikely, synergistic relationship that has resulted in some pretty interesting dialogue: Duane being a long time, firmly anchored, North American business executive, entrusted with the financial well being of a large U. S. company (he also sits on the board of numerous other corporations there in the States), and me being a jungle tromping real estate agent in the wilds of Costa Rica.

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The Current Market January ’07

Click here for part 2 of this article. Our main web site www.Dominical.biz has a sort of Dominical-centric perspective to it, and so it is from this vantage that I view things here. Its kinda funny though, this perspective, because really, what the heck is Dominical? It’s a fun question. People travel here like they … Read more