Feb 212018
 
Buy a property in Costa Rica for a vacation rental

Below is a copy and paste from an e-mail inquiry regarding buying a property for the purpose of investment initially. It needs to be an existing rental property that the buyers intend to move to and live in at a future time. They need for the property to, at the very least, cover its expenses during the time they own it prior to moving to Costa Rica. This is a good example of a rather typical scenario here for a buyer’s criteria.

Thanks for writing. I’ve interspersed my comments below.

Hi Ben, my name is Meltown Bradwinkle (name changed). I found your blog and have really enjoyed the articles I have read so far, thank you!

​Thank you for the encouraging comments.​

The reason for my email is to ask you for your opinion of the purchase of a home in the Dominical to Uvita area, whether or not the right home can show a good enough ROI to carry the debt against it.

Short answer: yes.​

My wife, Melvania, and her family are from Costa Rica. My wife and I currently live in [US State] with our 3 kids, but plan on retiring to Costa Rica in 10-15 years. In the meantime we come down once or twice a year to visit family and vacation in your area. We have visited most parts of the country, but keep coming back to the southern pacific coast, where the jungle/mountains meet the sea! The blog post of yours I just read talks about the “low” season, and I agree completely with the theme of your piece. We were just there this past September and spent a wonderful couple of hours in the middle of the day having lunch, beers, and watching the downpour, beautiful!

Meltown, you sound well suited to your intention. There is a learning curve to investing in Costa Rica. Your comments indicate that you have already traversed a good bit of the curve and have a rational basis for your interest in this area of Costa Rica. 10-15 years allows for a lot of possible movement, up or down, from the conditions that you buy in now. The indicators right now are that we are heading into a time of property values increasing. I know that you’re asking about rental ROI and I’ll get to that in a minute. Initially I’ll address…

Property values:
Having endured the toilet flush of values in 2008 we have seen how dramatically the market can move. We are currently in a time of stasis. There hasn’t been much movement price-wise since the recession, but I would characterize the conditions as follows.

During the recession there was essentially no market for real estate in our area of Costa Rica, and perhaps in the whole country. There were a few anomalous sales that happened, but they stood in stark contrast with the reality of the the sleeping market.

Then, we passed through a time of buyers showing up and us realtors were in a bewildered state of “a buyer???” Our inventory had been languishing for several years and now we had buyers. The sellers were wondering if they would ever be able to sell their Costa Rica property(ies). We passed through the “fire sale” phase where these dejected sellers would take 40 – 60 cents on their dollars to move their property.

The fire sales are now gone. But the asking prices have not gone up. Well, maybe a little now and if so, more so with houses than raw land. Houses in the $300k – $500k range are the bread basket of our market and if they are reasonably designed and have an ocean view, they sell rather quickly. When I say “quickly” I mean by Costa Rican standards.

I just had a couple of clients that came to Costa Rica, bought a small hotel and a riverside residential piece for the future. They put these properties under contract knowing that they had to sell their home in San Francisco prior to closing. The market in SF is such that an immediate sale was expected. When they didn’t get an offer on the first day of the listing going public they panicked. It took 3 days to sell and they were a little disappointed that they only got $100k over asking price.

Costa Rica is not this way. The norm here is that the property will sit on the market for a few months at least, and then there are negotiations of roughly (and this varies) 10%.

As for raw land – lots that have ocean views and services & access in place, there was a glut. This is slowly changing to where we realtors are now having the occasional request that challenges our ability to come up with some options. But overall there are still a good selection of lots available.

The message of all this is that the prices are good for buying but they are firmer than they were as the market establishes it’s equilibrium.

Sorry rambling on a bit. I have equity in assets of my business, and am contemplating using that equity to purchase the “right” home in the area. But it will be borrowed money, so I don’t want to jeopardize my business related assets, hence the need for the property to carry itself. Is this realistic or just a dream? I have researched the property rental business in the area, but it has been impossible for me to come up with good hard numbers, occupancy rates being the most critical, and what is the right price point for a specific property to rent for weekly.

I’m inclined to respond to your inquiry about a financed property’s ability to cover its own costs in the positive – but of course, with caveats.

About Rentals:
Rentals in this area are strong. The area is growing in its prestige as a global vacation destination of choice. There are not a lot of hotels here and just the nature of tourism here leans towards the “destination” accommodation instead of the “bed” accommodation. By this I mean that visitors to the area seem to prefer having a multi-bedroom home, complete with kitchen and amenities that make the rental where they are staying a part of the stay. A pool is important. They may spend a day or days just hanging around the home.

Vacation rentals offer some enticing numbers. You’ve probably done a search on VRBO for the Dominical area. The homes here get a good penny for a weeks stay.

I think that long term rentals are the sleeper rental opportunity here. Most buyers are romanced by the high vacation rental numbers but fail to calculate the end-of-the-year numbers.

Comparison of short and long term renting:
Short term: your per-week price is considerably higher. Your maintenance and marketing costs are also higher, as is the hassle-factor. Your occupancy is lower.

Let’s say that you get $2,000 per week for your vacation rental home. To calculate a monthly on the same property, you’d end up somewhere close to the weekly. Let’s say $2,400 per month. Now calculate the costs associated with having the occupants change every week or 10 days – laundry, cleaning, re-stocking, administrative etc…

Occupancy rates vary depending on the property and the owners ability to market the property. I use the following and won’t argue with anyone that comes along with different numbers. This is just my take.

First year short term, shoot for 35%. The next couple of years your objective is 50%. Some reach 60% and higher with an exceptional property and exceptional marketing and probably years of history.

​Long term, you’re looking at 100% occupancy and the costs are very reduced when compared to the short term.

Take the above scenario as a loose guide only. Look at what your money costs you, your level of investment, and what you need in order to have the property cover itself.

There are times of the year when there aren’t enough beds in the area to accommodate the demand, and there are times of the year when there unoccupied beds.

Any input and guidance would be greatly appreciated!

Meltown Bradwinkle

Thanks for reaching out to me. I appreciate the confidence and I hope this helps.

I may post an edited version of this e-mail to my blog as I think that you address concerns that many others have as well.

Please keep me in the loop as I’d love to know what you decide to do and how it turns out. And of course, if I can be of assistance with your real estate concerns, I’m available.

The above e-mail was written in January of 2016. Many of the statements regarding current property values have proven to be accurate and what I like to call a rational market prevails. Also, my estimates on occupancy percentages remain as stated.

Mar 102017
 

We are in high season here in the southern pacific zone. The months of November through April are typically when there are more tourists here than during the rainy months.

There is another type of “high season” happening right now as well. This has more to do with world conditions. I know, those from the States are going to think that Mr. Trump is pushing many to look elsewhere. And I suspect that this is true to some extent. I think that Mr. Trump has been good for my Costa Rica real estate business. I think Mrs. Clinton would have been as well. Such is the world that we live in.

However, our property buyers here are not just from the States. We’ve got buyers from Canada, despite their currently weak currency. These people are buying property and essentially paying 30% – 40% more due to the exchange rate on their currency. One has got to wonder – why?

France, Germany, Great Britain – all are providing us here with buyers. Again: why? There are economic, political and security issues happening in various areas of the world. I suppose that greater analytical minds would come up with the cause and effect links in trying to answer the question. But I find that there is one common thread when I talk with these people.

The Reason:
Stress
is pushing, and the promise of less stress, is pulling people to consider a life in Costa Rica. Simpler living is highly attractive. Costa Rica offers this and it (simple living) seems to be the antidote to whatever may be happening in one’s home country.

Uvita, Dominical, Ojochal and the surrounding areas that make up Costa Rica’s southern pacific zone are all seeing an influx of buyers. But there is more. There are some big-money players who are making some moves here that are notable. There are condominium complexes being constructed, and sold at a good clip. There are town homes, urbanization projects and upgrades to some of the antiquated infrastructure in some of these areas.

There is some talk of giving Uvita a facelift. This is much needed. With both Dominical and Ojochal, you turn off the coastal highway and drive into the town. In Uvita, the highway passes right through the town. Up till now its growth has happened with hardly any attention to the aesthetic and it is essentially a strip-mall, Costa Rican style.

This is a pity since Uvita could really have been (or be made to be) one of the most beautiful towns on the planet. So if these well funded entities see the beautifying of the town as in their best interests, great! Although it’s hard to imagine what can be done, short of tearing the whole thing down and starting over again.

The Envision Festival is going on currently. This has become one of the largest events of the year. Kudos to the organizers. I’ve heard that 7,000 people attended last year, but that about half that number are here now.

Uvita Costa Rica's Crunchy Envision Festival

2017 Envision Festival Uvita Costa Rica

Some of the Ticos complain a bit about Envision, claiming that the drugs, nudity and general licentiousness is disrespectful to their culture. I suspect that there is some truth to these allegations, but for me, I’ve never met an Envisioner I didn’t like and the festival provides a time of some fascinating people watching.

I’ve not  personally ever attended. I can hear the music from my home well, the bass notes anyway, and I routinely provide rides to those thumbing to the grocery store and back. There is also the complaint of them being a bit odoriferous, but I can’t speak to this having lost my olfactory sense some years back. So I get along fine with them in my car and always enjoy their upbeat spirit.

So between the time of year and world conditions, sales are good here in the Zone’s real estate market.

About Property Prices:
During the recession, there was not much of a market here. It hit hard and us realtors languished waiting for the anomalous inquiry that might result in a sale. I actually got into brokering hard money loans during this time in an effort to not only make a little commission, but to also help some land owners to not lose their properties.

Prices plummeted during the recession. This was an interesting time. The pre-recession time was a “boom”. The biggest challenge for a buyer then was being able to find an available real estate agent. I felt like I should put a Baskin Robbins “take a number” device at the door. Some of these buyers were our good-old bread and butter retirees, looking to retire to Costa Rica. However, there were lots of folks who refinanced their homes and then found themselves cash-rich and wondering what to do with it. The causes of the recession helped to fuel some of that heady boom and resulted in pushing prices up to a rather silly level.

So the fall of pricing some 40% – 50% during the recession could appropriately be called a correction.

Much of our land here is still at recession pricing. There hasn’t been a big upward push on prices since then. The demand for houses is strong and so we’re starting to see some upward movement there – all very rational though. This is no heady boom. Its simply that the inventory which was glutted post-recession, is finally starting to get mopped up. This was inconceivable in the years following the recession due to the glut.

I still get asked sometimes why it seems that everything is for sale. I find this interesting since I have to really work to find properties for some of the criteria lists I build for my clients.

Yes, I suppose everything is, in fact, for sale, at some price. However, finding what you want, finding that screaming ocean view with good access and amenities nearby, and all this in your budget, can sometimes be a bit daunting.

And then there is that wonderful amenity “simplicity”. I wonder if this could be put at the top of the list. Right up there with “ocean view”. I’m thinking that this one amenity is the primary mover of the current strong market we’re seeing here in The Zone.

May 262016
 
Whales Tail view property Uvita

Updated on January 19, 2018. This particular article can be used as a guide for available under $100,000 ocean view properties in the market. I’ll make every effort to keep it up to date but you might want to check with me for availability.

One of the things you can count on when you are a real estate agent in Costa Rica. The question: “how is the market there?” Perhaps not a daily occurrence, but almost. I was asked this today. One of the consistent qualities of “the market” here is that there are always those that are looking for the under $100k ocean view lots. If you find yourself in this category, this article is for you.

Under $100k Ocean View Lot Uvita Costa Rica

Ocean view from a $92k lot in Uvita – BV 5 SOLD

 

First off, who are you? Obviously, the budget minded buyer, perhaps limited in available expendable cash. But that ocean view is a gotta have! There are also those that already have a property here in Costa Rica and they simply want an income generating property, or an additional property for visiting friends or family. And they too, really want to offer an ocean view to the mix. Don’t want to be sticking the mother in law down in a hole somewhere with no air motion and (gasp!) no ocean view. Then there are the spec home builders. They are looking to reduce their initial investment to maximize profits. I suspect that there are some others that I’m not noting here, but I think that you get the point. This group of buyers applies to many who are interested in property here in Costa Rica.

Big Whales Tail view in Uvita Costa Rica

Shabam View – $85k ocean view. High-dollar view for low-dollar – SOLD

As mentioned in the title, in the current market here in Costa Rica’s southern pacific zone, the under $100k ocean view property is going the way of the dodo. I’ve checked my own inventory as well as made a search of some of the other agencies in The Zone to see what they’ve got. They’re getting scarce. I provide a list of links at the end of this article of some of these under $100k’ers.

This is the second countdown on this type of properties that I’ve experienced in my career. I think that it was in 2006. We did a countdown and I remember the day when the last of the breed got snapped up. From that point onward we simply had to say to such buyers: “I’m sorry but ocean view properties start at $125k”. Then gradually up to “$145k”. Then, the crash. Then, the recovery. Then the glut on the market of desperate sellers who have finally cycled to the “conciliation” state of the acceptance cycle and had the mindset of: “whatever it takes. Sell that thing!”

That was the period that the word “fire-sale” characterizes very well. There were lots of fire-sales. These sellers had ocean view properties on the market for years. That’s right, plural – “years”. “Do not let that prospect walk away from the table” was the common message from the buyer to his agent.

That was clearly a buyer’s market. It is now gradually shifting over to a seller’s market. There are still some good options out there, but we are in that period of time prior to when this type and price of property is simply no longer available

Currently Available Sold since starting the list
  • Bruce’s Baby
  • BV 6
  • Shabam View
  • Whale of a View
  • BV 5
  • Rod’s Dominicalito
Jul 242012
 
A metaphor for life in Costa Rica

Living here in Costa Rica’s southern pacific zone, or “Costa Ballena” as it is called, has some interesting quirks. Quirks that, when considered as a list can make one wonder why this place is frequently referred to as “paradise” and achieving the “dream”. Here are some examples of what I mean:

  • You live on a “public road”, but you pay for your road care with your cooperative neighbors
  • The U. S. Government has worked it so that expat citizens must disclose their Costa Rica bank accounts to the Treasury Department on their tax returns. I hear mixed numbers about this, but I understand that there are only about 2 countries in the world that require annual tax filing from their expat citizens, the US being one of them.
  • Ditto for disclosing your Costa Rica corporations
  • Emergency medical care can take a while to get to you, like when you are lying on the side of the road, waiting for an ambulance
  • You hear prowlers outside of your gorgeous ocean view home – the police have no gas for their vehicle, so you call your neighbors
  • You bring a book with you to the bank so you can pass the time waiting for the next available teller
  • Un-cared for domestic animals
  • Rip tides
  • Sun
A metaphor for life in Costa Rica

A little rough on the outside, but sweet and healthy on the inside.

OK, so I got carried away there with my list of inconveniences that accompany living in Costa Rica. Maybe I’ll do one of those “You know you live in Costa Rica when…” lists.
I suspect that life in Costa Rica is much like life elsewhere and that all of us members of the human species like to gripe about various aspects of life, wherever we are.  The above list is, for the most part, meant to be informative to those that don’t live here. This list could easily have been extrapolated from conversations overheard at the neighborhood soda (Costa Rican restaurant).

However, I contend that…

the lack of such services here in The Zone, may have something to do with Continue reading »

Jun 242012
 
aerial+view+building+Costa+Rica

Yes, we moved… from our office in Uvita to a new, larger space in Ballena, just a quick drive down the Costanera Highway. Ballena and Uvita are both home to the Marino Ballena National Park, an area that is vibrant with wildlife, as well as, electric green and blue hues.

Ballena is only 7 kilometers south of Uvita, at kilometer marker 169. Our new office is in the same building with the used clothing and furniture boutique Adorable and the Roadhouse 169, the hottest new restaurant and bar along the Costa Ballena. If you want to find us on a Google Earth map enter: 9° 7’23.84″N by 83°42’4.88″W.

aerial+view+building+Costa+Rica

Courtesy of JP Cudahy, Aerial Photog

Why did we move?

The landscape of Costa Rica real estate continues to evolve.  As wonderful as a prime location with big windows sounds, 99.9% of buyers do not window shop and buy.  In fact, plunking down $100,000 for an ocean view lot while on vacation (a phenomenon that was a frequent occurrence as recently as five years ago) is more rare than a Resplendent Quetzal at the beach.  The three primary ways potential buyers contact us are–

  1. Google “Costa Rica real estate” or “Dominical (or Uvita) houses for sale”, or some version thereof, and find this blog or our listing website.
  2. They view one of our property videos or Talk Shows on our You Tube channel.
  3. Visit Dominical.biz while planning their vacation Dominical and areas south like Uvita.

If you need to sell your property here on the Costa Ballena, please contact us by phone at 011-506-2786-5407 or email us at info@guysinthezone.com.  If you want a little more information on the best way to list your property, including our new Modified Exclusive program, please watch this video.

For those sellers who are already taking advantage of this service, do not worry.  We are in constant contact with the other agents in the area.  They are aware of your Modified Exclusive Listing. In fact, I am showing three of these exclusive properties today!

KM 169

If you follow the kilometer markers south out of Uvita, you will quickly arrive at km 169.  The building (pictured above) is just before the turn for the Crystal Ballena Resort; on the right (or beach) side of the highway.  So… come on down, grab a beer from the bar, and let’s talk real estate.

google+map+new+office

See you soon!

May 222012
 
alt="off-the-grid-house-in-costa-rica"

My business partner Ben likes to call them the “End of the World-ers”. People who have reason to believe there will be major global changes in the near future. They are interested in buying land and living off the grid in Costa Rica. By off the grid I’m referring to not being connected to the government-run electrical system. They are looking at Costa Rica as a relocation option, because of favorable factors like- weather, low taxes, friendly culture, good health care, etc. Recent “End of the World” clients include– a couple from France interested in le Costa Rica, a large family from California tired of the rat race, an eco-hotel group from Switzerland… clearly, living off the grid in Costa Rica is on the global radar.

solar powered cabin in costa rica

Off the grid… in the jungle.

If you’re anything like the aforementioned relocators wanting to buy land here, you’re in luck!  There are many big fincas (Spanish for farms) in this renewable energy Eden.  We use the term farm, but only a very small subset are actual working farms with barns, cows, and roosters.  Drive 15 minutes into the mountains above Uvita or Ojochal and you can find stunning property with flowing water; some even have ocean views!  The best news is you can grow many different types of food in the mountains of Costa Rica.

Most big fincas range from a short walk to town (and close to electricity lines) to 25-minute 4wd dirt road drive to town and no electricity for kilometers.  The beauty, privacy and value of farms way up in the mountains are exemplary, but what to do about power?

Solar

Installing a solar power system is smart, especially in the southern Pacific zone of Costa Rica.  This region sits at around nine degrees North of the Equator which offers 12 hours of Sun/day, and there is relatively little variation throughout the year. Solar panel energy production is calculated at half that number (6 hours) in rainy season and/or at higher elevations that often have more clouds cover.

Reportedly, Costa Rica has agreed to lift the tariff on imported solar panels and accessories, so the price to install a solar system shouldn’t be as cost prohibitive, moving forward.  Solar systems with batteries for storage are completely self-sufficient.  In addition to solar panels and an inverter, this type of system requires batteries to store the energy created for use at a later time.

If you’re going to be off the grid, experts recommend an alternative energy source to compliment the primary system.  This is especially true during months with heavy rainfall/cloud cover (September-November).  Gas-powered generators are nice to have, but for truly sustainable off-grid power, you’ll want to consider hydro or wind turbine options.

Wind and Hydro

If you think about it, wind… is actually a form of solar energy. The earth’s atmosphere is heated unevenly by the sun and this phenomena (modified by different terrain—bodies of water, vegetative cover, etc.) creates wind.   We see a version of this here in the southern Pacific zone of Costa Rica.

Every day around 10am, an ocean breeze blows on-shore.  This breeze lasts for five or six hours and tops out at around between 8-10 knots.  Most (affordable) wind turbines need more than 10 knots (11.5 km) to generate substantial kilowatts/hour number.

Hydro power, on the other hand, is viable option if your property has a river on it with a significant drop in elevation.  According to Paul at Osa Water Works, these small-scale hydro systems can produce over 2kw/hour (that’s 48kw/day!).  Paul bases energy consumption at around 30 kw/day as an average.  Obviously, that average will be higher if you have a swimming pool on your sustainable farm, but something tells me that’s probably not high up on your list.

Rio River In Uvita Costa Rica

Rivers = hydroelectric potential in Costa Rica.

What is high up on the list is water.  Fresh water, usually in the form of natural springs and rivers, or a year-round creek at the very least, is a must.  If you are going to buy land and live “off the grid”, you would be smart to buy a property with a river running through it or along one of its borders.  This is one of the few continuous (as in 24 hours per day continuous) renewable power resources on the planet.

There are a couple of details specific to Costa Rica, namely obtaining a concession (i.e., legal right to extract water from a given source).  In the interest of providing legit information, I asked hydro-expert Paul Collar at Osa Water Works about concessions as they relate to hydro-systems,

“Technically, you are not mandated by law to have a concession for any water extraction.  However, you are expected to apply.”

I asked him if the river had to run through the property or simply run along one of the borders.

”You do not have to own the land adjacent to where the water is being extracted to secure a concession, BUT, you must bound the river at some point, preferably continuous to the property where the water is to be extracted.  As part of the concession application, you ARE REQUIRED to make the bounding property owner aware of your intentions and he must either sign off and agree to your request… or alternately you must sign (and have a witness sign) to the effect that the bounding property owner was made aware of your intentions but refused to sign the form in question… however, having an agreement between the parties is infinitely preferable as a hostile relationship poisons the well.

I found Paul’s comments (and pun) insightful, and many others seem to agree given his business activity has remained strong during the downturn.  Although not specific to “off the grid” clients, his final thoughts on Costa Rican governments move to allow small scale, alternative energy systems (solar, wind, hydro) tying into the grid.

“ICE is presently in negotiations with Setena and MINAE to ELIMINATE the requirement of a concession (for grid-tie systems).  At present, the wording is that a concession must be in hand for a completed grid-tie hydro authorization, but since concessions take up to two years and ICE is fully behind their grid-tie initiative, this agreement is expected to smooth the path to hydro permitting for most. 

For an overview of Water in Costa Rica, I wrote a two part article a couple of years ago.  Costa Rica is considered one of the more “green” or environmentally conscious countries in the world.  The government has repeatedly stated its intention to be carbon-neutral by 2021.  That’s only 9 years off, and it’s one of the reasons Costa Rica real estate is on the radar of many people who want to relocate and live a more independent and sustainable lifestyle.

For more information on Costa Rica real estate, browse our listings at: www.propertiesincostarica.com  or contact us on our contact page here.

For more information on alternative energy systems in Costa Rica, contact Paul Collar at Osa Power and Water 011-506-8704-0027 or visit his website:  www.osapower.com .

Apr 282012
 


 

The Guys In The Zone discuss the state of the Costa Rica real estate market in Uvita. What does an abundance of property options–lots, large parcels, houses, and commercial–mean for buyers? Why are so many families and retirees relocating to Costa Rica? Drawing on nearly 15 years of experience, Ben and Rod answer these questions and more.

Apr 162012
 

What’s in a name? In the case of our company, I’ve heard comments about the name “Guys in the Zone” that range from: “not professional” to “that’s cool”. It all came about quite innocently. Spend any time at all in The Zone, and you’ll hear the term “The Zone” somewhere. We are a string of small towns and neighborhoods all along the southern pacific coastline of Costa Rica. From just north of Dominical, let’s say from Portalon south to Palmar Norte.

"alt=ocean-view-of-uvita-costa-rica"

The Zone: Where the mountains meet the Pacific Ocean.

The area around Dominical (named after a type of short banana called a dominico) caters to a large degree to tourism.  Dominical beach is world famous for its consistent break and is a challenge for the best of surfers.  So in Dominical you’ll find lots of surf shops, surf camps, surf schools and surfers from all over the world.  There are a few restaurants and gift shops as well.

There is a rather large-ish flat area around Dominical that is currently undefined.  I suspect that in time it will house various services and shops for the tourism industry: restaurants, hotels, shops, tours etc… But the area really isn’t that large. And, the area is finite.  It has the Baru river on one side, and it has the coastal mountain range running at an angle that pinches the usable flat area down to a configuration of a slice of pizza. There is room for growth there in Dominical, but not much.

The room for growth is in Uvita (meaning- little grape). The coastal mountain range that snugs up against the beach at Dominical, runs parallel to the ocean along the zone between Dominical and Uvita. At Uvita, the coastal mountain range angles inland and then comes back toward the ocean. This results in a triangular rim of mountains creating a bowl-like configuration around the flats that are Uvita. But that’s not all.

Right at about that point, where the ridge runs inland forming a triangle, there is a complimentary triangle of land jutting out into the ocean that is then adorned by Uvita’s famous Whale’s Tail. These two triangles of land, laying as they are, side by side, form a diamond, well – loosely speaking. But the point is (no pun intended) that the area around Uvita is vast in comparison to the flat usable area around Dominical, which leads us to the point (eh…) that Uvita gives all indicators of being the area where commercial, social and cultural happenings will be centered in the future.

This is important to the topic of real estate and investment concerns.  Early recognition of a trend can help to position oneself well for future payoffs.

Current News

Uvita is an interesting study in the melding of several cultures. European, Canadian and United States-ian cultures converge here with the existing Costa Rican culture.  I can’t say the existing “indigenous” culture since even the Ticos (Costa Rican’s) are European transplants, much like North Americans.

The Ticos seem to have an amazing tolerance for noise. Our Guys in the Zone office is located right in the heart of Uvita, on the coastal highway. The coastal highway is the main artery through Costa Rica now, connecting Nicaragua to the north, with Panama to the south. Consequently there are lots of trucks using this highway. Some trucks use the Panamericana Highway (which runs through the middle of the country), but most use the coastal highway through the main center of Uvita.  The trucks themselves are not the problem. What causes the problem is the fact that the drivers like to use their jake breaks as they pass through town, often at a higher than desired speed.

Now, to any civilized member of the human family, this borders on the ridiculous. These guys know that they are passing through an area of business, families going about their day and life in general going on – all of which is interrupted as we wait for them to pass through town with their truck blazing out the most obnoxious of noises.  This is what it sounds like:

GaaaghKaughhKhaaaKggggKKkkgggggggaghaghaha-KneeeeeeegheeeeeeeeeAhhhghaghggggggggg.

There’s even a “No Jake Brakes” sign hanging across the highway in Dominical, but truck drivers either can’t read it or don’t care.

Now, I’ll grant you that some of the more professional minded Ticos, such as the restaurant owners, will roll their eyes in frustration at the racket, but for every one of them that responds this way, there is someone whooping and waving to the truck drivers in greeting.

From where Rod & I sit in our front row office, Uvita could be one of the most beautiful little coastal hamlets in the world.  Everything grows here, especially the truly exotic varieties of flora that the Earth has to offer. Why the town resembles more of a strip mall than an exotic tropical oasis is a bit difficult to understand.  So, we weren’t surprised today when we received the request to post this announcement in our window:

“United We Can Achieve” – The Development Association of Uvita invites you to the Community Center of Uvita Costa Rica.  Important issues on the agenda:

  • Local control of ocean park entrances
  • The Boulevard – control truck speed & beautify the Costanera in Uvita

“The Boulevard” idea for the Coastal Highway is something that has got me a bit excited.  There is enough room to run a center area down the highway that can be planted with Almendra trees, that produce a type of almond. These are the type of trees that make lots of shade and are the main, if not the only, food for Scarlet McCaws.

    One of the strengths of The Zone is there are many people from different parts of the world.  We talk to most of them on a regularly basis, and to an individual, they want to create an active, beautiful life here.  Whatever growth Uvita experiences, moving forward, it’s nice to know that industrialization will be met with a vibrant and educated counter force.  That’s just some of the latest news for Uvita, Costa Rica.  If you want to know about all of the latest gossip and goings on, you have to take the plunge and make Uvita your home.

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.