Properties in Costa Rica Blog


Costa Rica’s Vast Hydropower Network

Costa Rica’s Vast Hydropower Network

August 17, 2016

Properties in Costa Rica

Thanks to Costa Rica’s vast network of hydroelectric dams, it is one of the first nation’s to go carbon neutral. In 2015, the country ran 99% on renewables with the largest source of energy coming from hydropower followed by geothermal and solar power. Costa Rica’s large river system makes it possible for the country to largely depend on hydroelectricity as its major power source. The vast network of rivers has been harnessed to generate electricity through the dams across the country. The country is a world leader when it comes to implementing alternative energy. Sustainability has been a major priority of the government that has paid off making it a global model nation for other countries to follow.

Costa Rica’s hydropower revolution dates back to 1948 when the country eliminated its military budget and decided to instead invest the money into healthcare, education and environmental protection. It marked the beginning of the country’s long pursuit of achieving carbon neutrality. In 1963, Rio Macho, the first hydropower dam, began operating. In the 1970s several more dams launched and since them its been an expanding massive infrastructure investment that can now generate approximately 75% of the country’s power. The abundance of rainfall makes this possible.

The latest dam project, the Reventazon dam is expected to produce 305.5 megawatts of power. The dam went online in March and will be able to generate electricity for approximately 525,000 homes. A bigger hydroelectric dam has been proposed near Buenos Aires in Costa Rica’s Southern Zone which would generate an estimate 652 MW. Costa Rica has begun a few initiatives to guard the country’s vast river network from over damming to protect the habitat and wildlife from the negative impacts of dams. Recently, a 25-year moratorium was signed to protect the Pacuare and Savegre Rivers from damming. These two rivers are vital parts of Costa Rica’s tourism industry, which makes up a significant part of the economy. Aware of some of the negative impacts of over damming, the government is now committed to achieving a balance.

Meanwhile, Costa Rica continues to march forward with additional plans to move the entire country off any reliance on fossil fuels. Plans include a massive electric train being built and replacing gasoline powered cars with electric ones. There are also plans underway to develop additional alternative energy sources such as geothermal. Costa Rica’s volcanoes makes the country a perfect candidate for a massive geothermal initiative in addition to hydropower. Costa Rica is a model nation when it comes to moving to fossil fuel independence. It’s a trend that’s quickly spreading around the world as other countries strive to reach carbon neutral status.




Booming Costa Rica Commercial Real Estate Market

Booming Costa Rica Commercial Real Estate Market

August 12, 2016

Properties in Costa Rica

Costa Rica commercial real estate continues to perform well in 2016. Non-residential buildings grew at an annual rate of 18%. The widespread expansion and new construction of commercial buildings in beach communities and San Jose is driving much of the growth of the commercial real estate market. Costa Rica’s economy is also performing well. While most of the world is experiencing a dramatic slowdown or economic turmoil, Costa Rica’s economy is expected to grow 4.2% in 2016. This positive forecast is tied to record high demand. Throughout San Jose, new buildings are going up to meet the demand. Vacancy rates are low and rents are rising. Costa Rica’s economic that make Costa Rica very attractive to North American and European expats.

The real estate market is also being driven by the increasing number of foreign companies with offices in Costa Rica. Five foreign owned companies are expanding their operations in Costa Rica this year. A total of 39 foreign investment projects in service industries and manufacturing technology already created an estimate 12,000 new jobs in 2016. An additional 2,000 jobs are expected to be created by the end of the year. Sykes, Amazon, Pfizer and Manpower are among the corporations expanding their operations. The commercial real estate market continues to benefit from this economic expansion through foreign investment, which not only creates demand for more office space but also restaurants and local businesses.

Beyond a strong commercial sector in San Jose due to the recent job growth and corporate expansion, the beach towns are also thriving as increasing numbers of expats purchase property in these towns. Guanacaste, Papagayo, Arenal, Puntarenas, Manuel Antonio, Dominical on the Pacific Coast, and Puerto Viejo, Punta Uva, Cocles and Manzanillo in the Caribbean side are the most popular towns. These local towns are big gathering places for the surrounding residents and tourists who can come together to enjoy music, dine or shop as needed. As the population expands, the commercial market demand continues to grow with it. Costa Rica is also one of the few Latin American countries experiencing rising immigration levels. The increase in the number of people living in Costa Rica with disposable income is a big factor driving the Costa Rica commercial real estate boom.

All this said, Costa Rica is an excellent investment choice at this time. The commercial real estate market is strong. There are 30 retail shopping centers scheduled to be built this year. With rental values rising, commercial property owners are well positioned to take advantage of the market. At this point, the market does not show signs of a slowdown making it a good investment opportunity.




Living the Samara Lifestyle: A typical day in one of Costa Rica’s prettiest beach towns

Living the Samara Lifestyle: A typical day in one of Costa Rica’s prettiest beach towns

July 20, 2016

Properties in Costa Rica

Ask almost any non-Costa Rican who is living in Samara why they’ve stayed, and you can bet that nine times out of ten, the answer will have something to do with the lifestyle. Whether you’re considering buying a vacation property in Samara, Costa Rica, or are thinking of visiting the beach town, you can bet that once you arrive, you’ll find yourself quickly falling in love with the lifestyle, too.

Every year, more North Americans and Europeans find refuge from the noise, appointments and endless responsibilities of home in the laid-back town of Samara. Here, the pace slows to a tempo that provides time and space for appreciating the small things: Conversation with friends, watching a sunset, an impromptu game of soccer on the beach, feeling Pacific waves crash against your body.

What’s an average day like in Samara? It might go something like this:

6:00 am

The calls of howler monkeys in the distance awaken your senses. As your eyes open, you register a glorious sunrise peaking over the tops of the tree covered hills outside out windows, and you hear the songs of a dozen species of birds enter your room with a cool breeze from the sea.

6:30 am

A hot cup of incredible Costa Rican coffee is ready for consumption in the kitchen. You throw on a pair of shorts, and maybe a shirt, plus the nearest pair of sandals and wander out the door, coffee in hand.

6:35 am

Your short stroll down the road leads you to Playa Samara (Samara beach). In five quick minutes, you’ve wished a good morning to no less than four people you recognize as friends or acquaintances, who return the greeting with a smile.

7:15 am

You’ve walked a glorious mile or so along Playa Samara. It’s still a little cool out as the sun rises higher, but the day is heating up. Along the walk, you stopped to chat with a few more friends, watched dogs play in the sand, saw surfers catch the first few waves of the day. You’ve finished your coffee and maybe stopped for a second at Locanda or another cafe right along the beachfront. On your short walk back home, you stop in at the little grocery market to pick up breakfast: a fresh papaya, pineapple and mango, some local cheese and a couple of plantains.

7:30 am

Back at home, you cut up the fresh fruit and grill the cheese and plantains, and sit down for a supremely healthy and delicious breakfast on your patio with the company of your wife or husband and kids. Everyone eats slowly, enjoying every bite and chat about yesterday’s events, about friends, about nature, about whatever. You realize that you’ve never felt closer to your family than this. The kids fight less, no one’s stressed and life in general is rather wonderful.

8:45 am

After a shower, the family hops in the car for a morning kayak and snorkeling tour to explore the beautiful and white sanded beach in Isla Chora, just a few minutes from paddling off Samara. Kids are stocked to find and interact with all kinds of colorful fish in the clear waters of the island or take a slow stroll along the shoreline where the water laps at the sand with your husband or wife, and try to imagine what your friends back home are up to right now.

11:30 am

Excited after the experience you just had, what better than stopping by the Samara Guide office to say hi to the guys who recommended you such an unique experience, get a super refreshing and healthy 100% organic cold pressed juice made out of local fruits/vegetables and reserve your tour for the next day… Maybe half-day fishing tour, surfing lessons or even an exiting canopy tour!

12:00 pm

Lunch time rolls around. Maybe today the family picks up a “casado” from the local soda (restaurant) and eats in the shade beside a handful of other families, both Costa Rican and from abroad.

Or if you are looking for vegetarian and/or vegan options you can check out LuvBurger… Can’t go wrong!

1:15 pm

It’s coming close to the hottest part of the day, which means it’s siesta time. Everyone heads back to the car for the brief drive home and has a nap in the shade or under the comfort of the air conditioner.

3:30 pm

With the family well-rested and refreshed, you all head out the door again for the short journey into town and check out a few of the cute boutique shops along the main street of Samara. The kids find funny hand-crafted toys and your spouse picks out an original T-shirt that looks like it will stay cool during those hot Costa Rican days.

5:00 pm

It’s happy hour! Most of Samara’s bars and restaurants have happy hour specials toward the end of the day to encourage locals and visitors to come out for a drink or two at sunset. Don’t worry, the kids are allowed in and they pick out iced tea, while you and your significant other decide on mojitos or beers.

5:15 pm

The whole family sits at the beach, enjoying the cool drinks, among dozens of others doing the same. You pick a prime location with uninterrupted views for the approaching sunset. Surfers navigate the crashing waves just a few yards away and the locals pass by, waving hello, with bikes, dogs and friends in tow. A vendor stops to offer a fresh, cool coconut – it’s full of refreshing coconut water, packed with electrolytes. The temperature is very comfortable and you snap a few pictures of the kids and the changing colors of the sky, sitting next to the one you love.

6:00 pm

The sun makes its descent beyond the horizon. The sky is illuminated in a stunning palette of hues: reds, pinks, purples, blues, corals and indigoes. You realize you’d never see something like this back home, or wouldn’t have the time to truly enjoy it like you do here. You make a personal resolution to never miss another sunset.

6:05 pm

Dinner time. Maybe the family stops in at one of the beachfront restaurants for some fresh seafood, salads, grilled meat and seasonal fruits, or you stop at the grocery market once again to pick up pasta and locally grown beef, avocadoes, or whatever you’re in the mood for.

8:00 pm

Dinner was better than any dinner back at home. Not just the fresher food, but you notice that the kids are better behaved and your spouse seems to listen better than ever. The saying Pura Vida you hear so often around here (pure life), begins to resonate.

8:30 pm

You decide it’s game time. With the kids, you play charades or a board game, or maybe a makeshift water polo match in the pool. You realize that back home, the TV would be on and no one would talk to each other, but the kids haven’t even mentioned turning on the TV. This is what life is all about: Quality time spent with the people you love the most, creating experiences and memories for your kids to grow up with.

10:00 pm

The kids are beat and so are you. Everyone heads to bed with the sound of crickets reverberating outside the house as a kind of white noise that guides you to the most restful sleep you can remember in years. In a few hours, the sun will rise again, and the pattern will repeat and you’ll realize, this is how life was meant to be lived.

If you are interested in knowing more about the area or looking at property while here, talk to the people at the Samara Guide/Properties in Costa Rica office, they’ll be happy to help you and guide you in the right direction!




Costa Rica’s Southern Zone: Dominical, Ojochal, Uvita

Costa Rica’s Southern Zone: Dominical, Ojochal, Uvita

July 7, 2016

Properties in Costa Rica

The Southern Zone is known for its laid back vibe and three of the most magical towns in Costa Rica: Dominical, Ojochal, and Uvita. Rainforests, legendary surf spots, long stretches of beaches, an abundance of rich terrain and a laid-back atmosphere define this area. It’s a rare place on earth. While development has picked up recent years due to improved roadways and access to the area, the development and conservation regulations ensure this area will never become a noisy resort town with overbearing skyscrapers.

Along the Costa Ballena lie Dominical, Uvita, and Ojochal. These three Southern Zone coastal towns are off the radar hot spots. Dominical is a legendary surf spot. Uvita is a commercial center. Ojochal is a small village in the jungle. Deep blue waters meet the towering mountains and green jungles forming a breathtaking landscape that is raw, pure and clean. This is a place for adventurers and those seeking a more laid back lifestyle.

Dominical

Dominical attracts surfers from around the world each year to its legendary waves. The waters here are not for swimming and the waves are legendary. Making the trek to Dominical is a surfer’s pilgrimage. This haven beyond its legendary surf is an attractive laid back village with a few restaurants and shops. Surrounded by estuaries, mangroves, and marshes, the area has an abundance of wildlife. It’s now home to an estimated 700 residents. The pristine environment and warm culture draw surfers and eco-tourists. With lots of yoga and various types of holistic health practitioners mixing with the local culture harmoniously, it is a beacon for wellness. Vegan, raw food, and juicing are common here. Those seeking to live a more sustainable lifestyle flock here. In Dominical, there is time to reflect and just be.

Ojochal

Ojochal is a popular landing spot for expats from North America and Europe. It has grown into a culinary hot spot too. This coastal town is just 30-minutes south of Dominical. With hotels, restaurants, bars, doctors’ offices and a supermarket, it is a low-key Costa Rica town complete with the conveniences of modern life making it an ideal place to visit. With ATV tours, canopy tours, bird watching and mangroves to explore, there is no shortage of adventures and activities. For surfing, there is Playa Ballena and Playa Uvita nearby.

Uvita

Nestled in between Dominical and Ojochal along the Costa Ballena is magical Uvita. This town has a large supermarket and is probably the most developed area of the three places. Scuba diving, horseback riding, canopy tours and wildlife tours are all nearby. Uvita has grown famous for the hosting the annual music festival, the Envision Festival, which celebrates art, culture, yoga and sustainability each year in February. People flock to this small town in Costa Rica each year for the festival, which draws large crowds.

The magic and charm of these three towns lie in the quiet sustainable development, which protects the pristine ecosystems while also providing a level of comfort. The culture is laid back, health conscious and committed to wellbeing. There are few places left in the world that can match what the Southern Zone offers as a quiet refuge from the modern world for adventure, fun, and restoration.

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Sustainability and Costa Rica

Sustainability and Costa Rica

June 28, 2016

Properties in Costa Rica

As one of the most biologically intense countries in the world, Costa Rica has long been known for attracting people craving a more self-sufficient way of life. As one of the first countries in the world to be 100% powered by renewables, it serves as a mecca for those seeking to live in harmony with nature. The natural environment and climate is conducive to a sustainable lifestyle. Year after year people who want to grow their own food, be energy independent and have their own independent water supply move here. This trend shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon either.

From farms to eco-retreats to to permaculture to micro farms, there is a large, enthusiastic, committed community for sustainable living and green design here. The country is known for its eco-tourism, and it’s a major industry for this small country. As a country, Costa Rica was the first in the world to run 100% on renewables. What this trend reflects is a desire among the locals as well as incoming expats to simplify their lives. It’s about downsizing, simplifying in style, and living in harmony with nature. People crave a high quality life at a slower pace and Costa Rica delivers on that desire. The country’s commitment to the environment and protecting biodiversity means it supports the sustainable lifestyle new residents seek.

Costa Rica’s climate makes it conducive to living sustainably and the year round near perfect weather simplifies energy needs because the country does not experience large fluctuations in temperatures throughout the year. In addition, the climate also supports year round agriculture, which makes it easy for locals to grow and produce much of their own food. There is a lot of rich land available, and the relatively young housing stock means that homes tend to be simple yet built with current materials, and can easily be adapted.

Self-sufficiency is part of the culture. People purchasing property and homes here want to take more control of their lives and be able to manage their resources for a number of reasons. For some it’s simply about reducing cost of living, and for others, it’s forged through a deep commitment to living a more sustainable lifestyle, and for others, it’s about a lifestyle choice that allows for more independence. The available housing inventory offers plenty of attractive options for those seeking partial self-sufficiency to those seeking 100% self-sufficiency.

The fact remains there are a number of issues attracting North Americans and Europeans to Costa Rica. Self-sufficiency is a rich part of the culture and history; it’s not an idea people are struggling to grasp and adapt to as is the case for much of North America.These expats seek a simpler more balanced life, and Costa Rica is conducive to a self-sufficient lifestyle. It’s a top international destination when it comes to living a sustainably and finding a home to achieve that goal.




Spending Time in Nature Boosts Your Mental and Physical Health

Spending Time in Nature Boosts Your Mental and Physical Health

June 23, 2016

Properties in Costa Rica

Nature is the remedy for emotional, spiritual and physical well being. The more time we spend in nature, the better our health and overall disposition. It balances us. Urban environments tend to be hectic and stress filled. When people get an opportunity to step away, it provides a much needed time to rest and recharge. As we become more aware of the importance of green space to our health, many cities have invested in creating more open spaces for their residents.

Costa Rica has a long established reputation for being a place that is very much about nature. Here people are able to connect with nature daily. This factor may be one of the main reasons Costa Ricans tend to be in good health, experience lower stress and anxiety levels as well as a long life expectancy. The average life expectancy is 79.4 years. Spending time in nature recharges the soul and mind while energizing the body. It builds strength and resilience, and helps people to remain centered and balanced.

Whether it’s a walk in a park, strolling the beach or hiking through the forest, spending time in nature improves every aspect of our health, and has even been scientifically proven to benefit our brain chemistry. There’s something about nature that positively impacts our physiology. It’s been proven people who live in urban environments have higher levels of anxiety and depression than those who live in more natural settings. Nature is good for our overall mental health.

We also know that when we exercise outdoors instead of inside, physically we get more Vitamin D, which is a nutrient many people in the western world are deficient in. This deficiency leads to chronic health problems. Part of the problem we face in our current age is that our reliance on technology and addiction to devices means people spend less time outdoors and in nature and more times on their screens. Science shows us that this is neither good for our physical nor mental health. Too much screen time leads to social isolation and poor health.

When we spend time in nature with people it helps us strengthen our relationships too. Modern life is filled with distractions and when we get a chance to be outdoors with family and friends, it provides the vital time needed to connect and form strong intimate bonds with the people we care about. Technology and media is pervasive in every area of our life and finding time to be quiet and reflect is critical to our overall health. Spending time with nature solo gives us time to check in with ourselves and see how we are doing. It has a tendency to boast our overall mood too.

Making time to get outdoors will improve every aspect of your health. It builds physical and mental strength, lifts your mood and provides much needed time to restore balance. It’s one of the big factors in ensuring you life a happy, long life.




Costa Rica’s Charming Central Valley

Costa Rica’s Charming Central Valley

June 18, 2016

Properties in Costa Rica

Dramatic volcanoes and mountainous ranges, national parks, lush green rainforests and proximity to San Jose, makes Costa Rica’s Central Valley one of the most desirable regions in the country. Here a cosmopolitan flair meets a laid back environmentally conscious sensibility. The Central Valley has grown to be a blend of cultures dating back to the original indigenous settlers and now absorbing the expats from North America and Europe to create an international melting pot of world cultures.

The region offers world-class medical care, excellent schools such as the Country Day School, cultural activities, the modern conveniences of restaurants and shops. The area has undergone careful sustainable development to create an inviting 21st Century environment complete with reliable high-speed wireless that is also ecologically sound. The Central Valley represents a pleasant anomaly that is highly desirable to many people.

San Jose forms the epicenter of the Central Valley. As Costa Rica’s capital, it is the urban center and the cultural and business pulse of the country. It’s also where you will find the best medical care in the country. These factors make the area very attractive to business people, as well as expats living and working in Costa Rica. Here you have the cultural charm, laid back lifestyle, commitment to sustainability coupled with a cosmopolitan vibe and 21st Century infrastructure and amenities. People are well-educated and aware of their environment here.

Neighboring Santa Ana and Escazu are two of the poshest neighborhoods in Costa Rica. Escazu is frequently referred to as the “Beverly Hills” of Costa Rica. These are the swanky areas in the Central Valley with many cultural activities as well as upscale shops, boutiques, and restaurants. These towns cater to a mixture of Ticos and expats living in the area and tends to be international. They are cosmopolitan, charming and offer easy access to downtown San Jose, top medical care and some of Costa Rica’s finest schools.

There are also neighboring colonial towns of Heredia, Alajuela, and Cartago. These places are deeply rooted in Costa Rica’s cultural history dating back to the 16th Century. As the oldest settlements in the country, part of their charm resides in the colonial architecture and traditional town planning. These are very attractive pleasant communities that offer a slower pace of life while still being close to the buzz and action of San Jose.

Alajuela is a pleasant escape from the hustle and bustle of San Jose. The central market, with fresh produce, fish, and meats, is a popular local meeting spot on Saturdays. This small city is in driving distance to the world-famous Arenal Volcano and Monteverde Forest Reserve. Also nearby is the Manuel Brenes Biological Reserve, which is filled with splendid orchids and rich vegetation.

Cartago was Costa Rica’s first capital and one of the oldest communities in Costa Rica. It was the capital until 1823. It’s famous for its grand gray and white Byzantine church, the Basilica de Nuestra Senora de Los Angles, which is home to the famous Black Madonna statue who is Costa Rica’s patron Saint. With rich soil, Cartago is a major producer of milk, potatoes, onions and coffee. The Reventazon River runs through the town too. It is also home to the well-respected Costa Rica Institute of Technology.

Heredia is the smallest Costa Rica providence, and it’s also the most authentic. There are few places that can really match the traditional charm of this town. Referred to as the “City of Flowers,” there’s an abundance of orchids, and it’s surrounded by coffee plantations. In the middle of the town, there is a Central Park, which acts as a meeting place. Here you will find the famous Costa Rica church, the Basilica de Barva. It’s also close to the Barva Volcano in Braulio Carrillo National Park.

These are just a few of the defining places in Costa Rica’s Central Valley. They form much of the core of the country’s cultural heritage. By successfully preserving the past while adapting to the needs of the present and future, these towns create pleasant, stable environments anchored in the country’s rich and diverse cultural history.




New Cultural Heritage and Environmental Projects in Ciudad Colon Build Community

New Cultural Heritage and Environmental Projects in Ciudad Colon Build Community

June 10, 2016

Properties in Costa Rica

An anthropological museum and craft training center in the University of Peace as well as a natural park are all in the plans to be built this this year. These three architectural projects will create public spaces for the local population to gather and celebrate their cultural heritage as well as the natural environment. These projects are being designed to create community and foster dialogue among local people as well as preserve the historical cultural memory. They will be significant additions to the area and have a lasting impact on shaping the development of Ciudad Colon.

CANTONAL MUSEUM

The Cantonal Museum is an anthropological museum that celebrates the cultural history. Located on one side of the old market of Mora, the museum will have two levels, within which there will be an area dedicated to pre-Columbian history and the canton. There will be rooms for temporary exhibitions, a theater room, a square of sculptures, and a gallery which shows work generated by local artists. There will also be a Gazebo garden with a library and a classroom for workshops, as well as other gathering and meeting spaces.

The intent of area is to create public spaces for the community. According to the mayor of the district of Mora, Gilberto Monge, these structures will complement existing ones, the so-called old market which includes a farmers’ market, a youth house, park and church. It’s a town center for community cultural, religious, business and leisure activities to be carried out.

The museum will be a total area of 1,7000 square meters and collaborating with the Museums of Costa Rica. The project will cost an estimated $800 million CRD. The building will incorporate a combination of concrete, metal, ceramic and wood into its design to create a simple modern style that blends with the style of the current local market. The museum will also include outdoor garden space for people to gather and interact.

ARTISAN WORKSPACE

The university is also building a center for crafts and artists. The artisan workspace area will be designed in such a way that the public can watch the artists work. Construction is expected to start next year and cost around $190 million CRD. The funding will come from the National Director of Community Development. The initiative also includes the Association of Artisans of the district of Mora. It is an important part of both preserving and fostering the continuation of the local culture and heritage by supporting the local artisans and providing them with a community space to create and design that is easily accessible to the public at large.

CRISTOBAL NATURAL PARK AND RECREATIONAL AREA

Also planned for the area is the Cristobal Natural Park and Recreational area. The area will serve the communities of Biriteca, Bermudez and Carvaial and Cristobal. The area passes through the Pacacua River, which is contaminated and in the process of a massive clean up. Part of the plan is to generate awareness among the locals of the need to take care of the river and not contaminate it. To carry out this project, citizens participated in workshops and it is very much a community supported project. In the park, there will be a space for children to play, exercise equipment, outdoor theater, meeting areas and other community facilities.

It is estimated that the project will start construction next year. For this purpose, it obtained resources from the Ministry of Housing and Human Settlements through the communal bonds. The estimated cost is $500 million CRD, and the design will be part of the SIGNATURE TO01 Architects.

These three projects are significant developments to the community that will have a lasting positive impact on supporting the local culture and heritage while creating public meeting spaces for people to connect and engage in a dialogue that strengthens the overall well being of the community at large. They support both the cultural and artistic expression of the locals. While the museum perseveres the past cultural history, the artisan space nurtures the present and future of cultural memory and traditions. Meanwhile, the natural park supports the preservation of a healthy environment. All three projects create positive public meeting spaces that support and strengthen community.




Why Americans Move to Costa Rica

Why Americans Move to Costa Rica

June 6, 2016

Properties in Costa Rica

In recent years, more Americans have discovered the advantage of moving to Costa Rica. This peaceful nation located just above Panama is Central America’s longest running democratic governments. American retirees, young people and families are attracted to Cost Rica’s high quality of life, relatively low cost of living compared to the US, commitment to sustainability and pristine natural environment. With an established strong expat community, it is easy for North Americans to adapt and integrate into life here.

Here’s a list of the top factors attracting Americans:

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Costa Rica is significantly less than major US and European metro areas. Here you can live comfortably, depending on the area, on anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000 a month. Retirees and expats most show a guaranteed income of $1,000 month in order to qualify for permanent residence. You can rent a two-bedroom house by the beach from anywhere from $350 to $1,000 a month. There is fresh, organic high quality produce available year round. Imports are high but with Amazon and online shipping, there are ways to cut costs.

Real Estate

People who purchase property here also do quite well if they are able to rent out the property as a vacation rental during high season. In fact, many foreign residents own rental properties, which they use as a second source of income. There is a booming tourist industry here and beach rentals are in high demand. Costa Rica real estate is recognized as a solid asset investment.

Quality of Life

Costa Rica has the longest running democracy in Central America, and is considered a very stable country. It also rates high each year on the happiest index, and in 2014 was voted the happiest country in the world. If this vote indicates anything, it’s an assurance that the country offers its residents a high quality of life. Here stress levels are low, nature is abundant and life is good. People focus on their overall well-being here including mental, psychical and spiritual health. The vast number of yoga retreats is a testament to this practice.

Weather

Costa Rica has a year round near perfect climate. Located just 8 to 12 degrees north of the equator, the temperatures are consistently in the 70s with plenty of sunshine. The rainy season brings afternoon/evening shows to the region, and the change in environment is a welcomed break from the constant sunshine. It provides time during the day to rest, read a book or just unwind and enjoy a good conversation amongst friends. Here you can forget the snow boats and winter jackets at most, you may occasionally need a long sleeve shirt. Costa Rica is a place where you can wear flip-flops year round and sunglasses are a must.

Outdoors

One of the biggest points of attraction to Cost Rica is the natural beauty and pristine environment. A long time, surfer’s paradise it is home to 27 national parks, 58 wildlife refuges, 32 protected zones, and wetland, forest and biological reserves as well as numerous other conservation areas. 25% of the country’s landmass is protected. With striking rainforests, mangroves, stretches of white sandy beaches, Costa Rica is one of the most biologically intense regions in the world. The biodiversity here is unmatched making it a critical place for wildlife preservation. The country takes protecting biodiversity very seriously and actively works to protect natural habitats as land development occurs. Costa Rica is home to many world-class waves attracting surfers from the around the world each year.

Green

Cost Rica takes the environment and sustainable development seriously in order to protect the unique ecosystems that thrive in this area and critically important to the earth’s biodiversity. It is one of the first nations to run 100% on renewable energy drawing much of its energy from hydro-power. It is also working hard to eliminate gasoline dependent cars and building a public transit system as well as encouraging residents to move to hybrids or electric cars.

Healthcare

Costa Rica is known for its excellent healthcare at affordable prices, and medical tourism is a major industry here, and in fact is expected to double by 2020. Each year many US citizens as well as people from other countries, travel to Costa Rica for medical and dental care that is high quality and more affordable than their home countries. Medicine is an industry that this small country has really been able to master creating a sustainable model that is both high quality as well as affordable.

Strong Expat Community

Costa Rica has a strong expat community making assimilation here relatively easy for both retirees as well as families. There are also some excellent private day schools including both Waldorf and Montessori options here. The solid schools prepare students well for university in both Europe and the United States. It’s hard to find another country with Costa Rica’s pace of life, natural beauty and high quality of life outside of major cities that offers a parallel quality of amenities, services and educational options that Costa Rica can provide. The enclaves of expats provide a way to get involved and connected fairly easily too making the adjustment to a foreign country seamless. It offers a sense of community and as well as a support system.

Costa Rica’s draw of expats is not expected to slowdown anytime soon either. As the development projects and continual improvement suggest, Costa Rica is a recognized alternative to hectic pace and stressed out lifestyle many Americans face today. It’s a welcoming country that continues to attract people looking for an alternative place to build a life that is less costly than their present one without sacrificing quality of life.

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Surfing Vacations in Costa Rica

Surfing Vacations in Costa Rica

May 25, 2016

Properties in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a world-class surfing destination known for its legendary surf spots up and down the long stretches of sandy white beaches that define the coastline. There are breaks here for everyone from the pros to the beginners. It’s a fantastic spot. Tamarindo, Nosara, Jaco, Playa Grande, and Nicoya Peninsula are among the many surf spots here. There are a wide variety of package and trips to be found that include much more than just surfing too. Wildlife adventure tours, zip-line tours, horseback riding, snorkeling, diving and sunset sailing are among the many outdoor activities that vacationers can enjoy when booking a trip to Costa Rica.

If you are a beginner looking for a resort type experience than Tamarindo is one of the best spots you can venture for a vacation. Here you can surf while also enjoying the finer things in life. With an abundance of four and five star resorts and golf communities, there are packages, hotels as well as vacation rentals to choose from. You can explore the culture and have plenty of fine dining and shopping opportunities in town. Playa Pavones, not far for Tamarindo, offers world-class surfing with a famous point left break where seasoned surfers can be found riding the legendary waves. Playa Tamarindo is perfect for the beginner.

If you are looking for something a little more challenging and rustic, the Nicoya Peninsula is a fantastic option. This rustic destination is popular with a younger crowd and attracts surfers from around the world. Nosara is probably home to the most consistent break in Costa Rica, Playa Guiones. Here both beginners and experts can enjoy surfing and sandy beach breaks makes it the perfect place to learn when waves are small.

Playa Grande is also located along the Nicoya Pensinsula and offers consistently great surf in Costa Rica. Bordering the Las Baluas National Park and a popular leatherback turtles nesting spot creates the perfect backdrop for a surfing vacation filled with wildlife spotting and outdoor adventure. This sleepy little surf town is the perfect alternative to vacationers wishing to avoid the crowds of Jaco and Tamarindo.

Jaco may just be one of the most popular destinations for vacationers. Nearby Playa Hermosa offers massive swells. Here pros can be found surfing. The smaller Playa Jaco is perfect for beginners. These are the breaks closest to San Jose making it the most convenient location for travelers who don’t want to have venture far once landing. The lively town of Jaco combined with excellent surfing options makes it a fun Costa Rica destination especially popular among young people.

For a real adventurous surfing vacation, you can always venture down to the Osa Peninsula where there are legendary breaks. The area was named by National Geographic, the most biologically intense place in the world. It’s just a treasure trove for the surfers who come to Costa Rica each year to get lost in the waves. Whether you are an established surfer or someone new to the sport, you can find a grove here. It is also home to many legendary breaks that surfers will spend a lifetime to master.

If you are looking for a surfing vacation, there are few places in the world that can compete with what Costa Rica offers. Here you can spend your days outdoors thriving in the ocean with plenty of opportunities to explore nature by land or sea. There are also lots of good diving spots too along the coast. Whether your brand new to surfing is a seasoned suffer, there is something here for everyone. In Costa Rica, the surf is always up.



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