Nov 222015
 
Toucan in guarumo. Uvita Costa Rica

At this writing, we are in the later stages of the rainy season here in the zone. Its a bit of a paradox why the rainy season here is called the “low” season. For those of us that live here, it is one of the nicest times of the year. There are flowers out like crazy, the climate is only perfect AND, there aren’t that many people here.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the busy season when there are lots of people here. Its just different. After what can seem to be a lengthy rainy season, one is ready for the sun to come out and stay out. Also, after the rather quiet months of the rainy season its kind of nice to get back into that almost festive feel of seeing so many people coming here and enjoying the sites and adventures that this part of Costa Rica offers.

Toucan in guarumo. Uvita Costa Rica

As I was preparing this article to post, I had this visitor. Ahhh, such are mornings in Costa Rica (and evenings… and afternoons).

So, where we’re at right now is a rainy season coming to an end – lastima! (too bad!) I love the rains.

We’re heading into months of uninterrupted sun and LOTs of people. The rainy season is extremely nice here. So is the non-rainy season – I guess this is what we call “life” here in the zone.

Diana - coordinator of the Uvita farmers market.

Diana is the coordinator of the Uvita Farmers Market. Front and center, you can’t miss her. She also (among other things) makes the best carrot cake in the known universe (catering too).

My morning:
This morning I did my usual visit to the Uvita Farmers Market. This is the big cultural event of the week in Uvita Costa Rica. Recommended to anyone considering having a stake here in the Dominical, Uvita or Ojochal areas.

It’s nearly impossible to run in, grab what you need, and leave. My good friend Rod came in for a glass of fresh squoze orange juice.

I think it took him more than an hour to get back to the squeezer’s table and get himself a cup. Such is the Uvita Farmer’s market.

Uvita Costa Rica's farmers market orange juicer.

Fresh squeezed orange juice. Alway there, always sweet.

One of my current observations regarding The Zone is the ingenuity and creativeness of the expats to make a living here. I have mentioned how young families have firmly made up a new segment of the demographics of The Zone. The private, bi-lingual schools here are bursting at the seams.

Not just the young families, but also most who are looking to move here have the question “how do I make a buck in Costa Rica?” as a prominent pregunta (question) in their considering the move.

This morning when I entered, I saw my good friends Tom & Anke Nagel at the immediate left as I walked in. They have s sustainable farm between Uvita & Ojochal, up in the hills a bit. They have lots of cacao plants growing there. They groom the plants organically and harvest the cacao seeds. They are now making screaming delicious chocolate bars called simply “Tom’s”. They sold out as I stood there, despite it being “low” season.

Then I turn to my right and there is Tori at her table. Tori works part time as Rod’s personal assistant. I think that Rod would prefer that she be called “the one who makes my life work”, or something like that. But in any case, Tori and her fiancee have begun the first micro-brewery in the area and even organize what has established itself as a very successful beer fest here in the area. She sells kombucha at the market.

Moving back further into the market I spoke with Maria who provides all manner of organic delights: dried plantains, seasoned with chile, salt or lemon. Also she sells an amazing yogurt tahini as a dip. Spicy and variously flavored chile sauces, organic cacao beans, sesame seeds, all manner of nuts etc…

Gaby's table at the Uvita farmers market.

Gaby is a wealth of healthy living knowledge. I make it a point to stop by and say hi – and perhaps gain a further tidbit of valuable information. Great earth-friendly products as well.

Going yet further back I like to visit Gaby’s table. She is where I buy my Himalayan salt, as well as bio-friendly laundry detergent and so on. She has helped me get started with growing my own moringa (do a search on Google for “moringa”, it’ll blow your mind. The solution to the world’s malnutrition?) & chaya trees (again – the solution the world hunger?). I always learn something from Gaby that helps me to take steps towards my personal objective of not being quite so dependent on what’s on the shelves at the grocery store.

Ran into a friend I hadn’t seen for months. We sat at the restaurant there in the market and discussed exactly this topic of how to make money here as an expat. He’s looking at focusing on long term rentals which we both see as a strong and very needy niche that needs to be filled here.

Brian Nice - proprietor of the Uvita farmers market.

Brian is the local philanthropist who provides the space for the farmer’s market, as well as the instigator of the privately funded Playa Hermosa lifeguards.

I stopped at Brian Nice’s table to pay my monthly contribution for the Playa Hermosa life guards. This program is saving lives and is funded strictly by voluntary donations and (I think) Brian’s pocket. I know, you’re thinking: “isn’t that what the government should be doing?” How ’bout let’s not go there. This is how it gets done here.

Rod & I decided to go get a bite at the Bamboo Taco trailer thingy that Sean Gallagher came up with. He drags his trailer’d grill behind his 1970 something diesel Toyota Land Cruiser and parks outside of the Uvita Veterinary Clinic right alongside the coastal highway starting on Thursday through Saturday. The tacos there are to die for and they are now serving pizzas and ribs, the latter of which was the reason that Rod went there today. I had the fish tacos. Awesome!

So, if you’ve read this far and are wondering what the heck a “morning in the life of the zone” article is doing on a Costa Rica Real Estate blog, it for this reason – many people that buy real estate here in The Zone are looking for a change-of-life. This is not just a question of buying a piece of property. In fact, real estate is just a small part of a much bigger picture. What its like to live here factors very strongly in why many people buy property here. Also, seeing the creative ways expats & Ticos make money here addresses one of the principle topics I encounter in my consultations and real estate business in general – that of “how can I make money in Costa Rica”.

If you’d like to talk, let me know. You can use the form below to setup the first one. What the heck – its free.

[contact-form-7 id=”3197″ title=”Contact form Ben”]

 

Feb 122015
 
Towns for the Vegan Lifestyle - Ojochal Uvita or Tinamastes

Preamble: this article is my response to question I received from one of this blog’s readers. Its a bit unusual, but I see it as demonstrating a growing interest in The Zone – wellness – in its many forms. This one is specifically “vegan”, but the principles apply to all aspects of wellness.

Tinamastes is mentioned quite a bit. This is a high-altitude (relative to Costa Rica) area between Dominical and San Isidro.

Towns for the Vegan Lifestyle - Ojochal Uvita or Tinamastes

Which town is best for the vegan lifestyle?

Here is the question:

Hello Ben. I’m ——, from Venezuela. I’m planning to move to Ojochal, where I bought a 1000mts lot for $25k a year ago, very close to Tortuga river, next to ———-‘s house. I went one of these days and figure out there’s no farmers market in ojochal (only a project on the way to Pto Cortes). On the other hand I have the impression that the community in Tinamaste and Uvita are more organised in many fields (organic and local farmers market, vegetarian people… since I’m vegan) and its nearer to a bigger city. So I’m wondering if it’s worth or not selling my lot to buy a similar one in Tinamaste/Uvita. I also think that relations in Tinamaste are more based on solidarity, co-creation instead of Ojochal where people are  wealthier and live kind of an eternal vacation… Pura Vida!

Here is my response that I sent via e-mail. I am seeing the concerns mentioned in this question as growing in frequency here in The Zone, so I feel that there will be a benefit to posting this thread.
Hello ——,
My what an interesting question to receive through my blog.

Short response: yes, I think that your estimation of the differences between the towns of Ojochal, Tinamastes and Uvita are accurate. For overall “wellness”, I see the Tinamastes area as becoming a central point, a mecca if you will. Uvita is more so than Ojochal, but not to the level of Tinamastes.

As for whether this issue warrants the move that you mention of selling Ojochal and buying Tinamastes or Uvita, that is a much more involved and frankly, very personal issue, but I’ll go ahead and venture into it a bit here.
The vegan lifestyle is sufficiently different than the mainstream that I can see how being closer to a community of such minded ones would be appealing. However, I would need a bit more information on your purpose for owning a property in Costa Rica to offer counsel. Are you moving here full time? Just going to be here part of the year and somewhere else for the rest of the year? Is your purchase indicative of your “land” budget?
It sounds to me like you bought one of Pacific Lots properties around Ojochal. Do I have this right? To get a lot you’d want to live on elsewhere in The Zone for $25k is difficult to non-existent. There is a development in Uvita called Villa Del Sol that has 525 meter lots for sale for $42,500. These are walk-to-the-beach and near to the town center. Other than that, one of your big issues may be to find a property that you can afford.
I really enjoyed your description of the Tinamastes community:
“I also think that relations in Tinamaste are more based on solidarity, co-creation…”
I think that is fairly accurate and well put. I’m curious as to how you came to that observation of Tinamastes. Frankly, supposing that your vegan course is central to your lifestyle, Tinamastes would merit a good look-see. This would involve getting to know the community.
The Tuesday farmers market there is bigger and better than the Uvita farmers market (Uvita’s is on Saturday). Both are intensely cultural weekly events and are a fantastic way to get a feel for the community. I live in Uvita and so don’t go to the Tinamastes much due to the drive.
My lifestyle is undeclared. I live essentially “vegan” in my home, and don’t when out and about. I buy my weeks allotment of kale, spinach, turmeric root, carrots etc… every Saturday at the Uvita market. I also supply my larder with Himalayan salt (ALL of the salt served in Costa Rica has fluoride in it and is pure, demineralized sodium chloride. I carry my own so as to avoid these when in sodas & restaurants), also biologically sound soaps and indigenous plants for growing my own produce at home. So, as you can see, there is some of this in Uvita, but there are entire sub-communities of organic & vegan folks in the Tinamastes area.
With the little bit of information that I have of your situation, I would suggest consulting with residents there in Tinamastes, and it would certainly warrant a more extended stay there in that area. Tinamastes is much higher in altitude and is less “beach” centered. Yoga, organic farming, wellness and ceremonies abound in the community.
I can provide you with a couple of connections there that would be good starting points for a more in-depth understanding of the community.
Hope this helps.

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.