May 222009
 

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Writing a blog about Costa Rica real estate has its perks. We’ve got readers out there who are doing some pretty creative projects and we don’t even know about them… until they get ready to go to market with their project. Such is the case with Sierpe Del Pacifico (SDP). Fred and his son Cassidy approached Rod & I about a month ago to tell us about their project in Sierpe. I think that this type of inquiry wouldn’t normally have much interest to us Guys, but Fred had written such an eloquent and well crafted introductory e-mail that we were intrigued.

Sierpe is a bit out of the way, on the fringe of “The Zone”. I’ve also heard that it is hot and buggy. I’m not much for hot and buggy, but in truth I couldn’t speak from personal experience regarding the place, so I kept an open mind.

What Fred & Cassidy have done is they have formed a father & son team and are passionately developing a piece of property that offers what, I suspect, a lot of readers of this blog are looking for: a truly unplugged, solar powered, bio-digesting, boat access project, surrounded by some of the best fishing, both fresh water, brackish and deep sea, in the… country? World? I don’t know, but you always catch big, tasty fish when you go out with them.
We met in Sierpe where I parked my car and looked a little hesitant at Cassidy when he said to just leave it there as we started walking towards the boat. He saw my concern and said that Sierpe is one of the most crime free areas he’s ever seen.

We walked past the Sierpe jail, which had no door on it. They said that on the rare occasion that there is a resident there, and he needs to use the nearby bathroom, he stands in the door and waves at whoever may be nearby, and they have the community responsibility to escort the “prisoner” to the baño and back. If the prisoner were to just go it alone, he’d get in some kind of trouble.

This feel of community, safety, and security permeated our day along the Sierpe River.

Guillermo is the man in charge of pretty much everything having to do with SDP. Lean and clear eyed, Guillermo was born and raised in Sierpe, and is one of the pillars in the local community. He works full time for Fred & Cassidy, and has nicely interfaced the necessary connections between the cultures there. Gringo’s and Ticos, working together with a common interest in preserving some of the most profoundly natural terrain on planet earth.

We got in the boat and were expertly glided down the Sierpe about 10 minutes to the private dock that services SDP. All residents of SDP get their own slip included in the purchase of a property there. The prices in the project range from $40,000 to $225,000, depending largely on the river views. This compares nicely with a project up in Quepos where just the slip alone will run you $175,000.

The ocean tide is what affects the flow of the river. Sierpe has a constant floating bio-mass of what the locals call “lechuga” which translates to “lettuce”. It isn’t edible, but just looks a bit lettuce-like. There are some flowering lilies as well – gorgeous. The effect is that you can tell whether the tide is coming in or going out by what direction the lechuga is moving. When we got there in the morning, it was all moving inland. When we returned in the afternoon, it was all flowing towards the ocean.

The fact is, that waters around Sierpe are teeming with fish of all kinds. Red Snapper, snook, sea bass, robalo (not sure what the translation is of that) and more. The crocs, birds, and people are all well fed thanks to the larder provided by the earth.

To truly unplug, this is the place to do it. You can grow some of planet earth’s tastiest fruits and vegetables on your property. You can hop in your boat and catch your protein needs for the day. Pluck a couple of mandarin limes off of your tree, catch a red snapper, and concoct your own signature touch ceviche.

We visited the model home, a rustic, well built 800 square foot villa on one of the lots. We enjoyed the air motion provided by the ceiling fan, and marveled at the LED 60 watt light bulbs that generated a normal amount of lighting needs for the living space – all solar powered. The view off of the elevated patio was of a virgin primary stand of rain forest where monkeys, parrots, parakeets, and all other manner of wildlife can be seen. The cup of coffee made on the propane stove was stellar. We found ourselves delaying departure even though we still had a good amount of property to walk.

The properties are gorgeous, and well priced based on their inherent amenities: view, building pad, accessibility. Oh, there are no cars in SDP. You arrive by boat, and you walk, or use a quad-runner, (ATV) to get around. All internal roads are narrow and couldn’t accommodate the passing of a car. The mangroves are a huge value-ad. We stopped and watched a family of about 25 pizotes cross our path up ahead. Toucans, woodpeckers and on it goes.

To live off of the grid, in self sufficiency, must be a wonderfully secure feeling. I’ve never personally experienced it, but I have certainly experienced the draw of the lifestyle.

We’ll be posting more about SDP as we come to know the project better. In the meantime, please click here to view the photos and videos that we took on our initial visit to the project.


Ben Vaughn is a long time expat, mid-50's single man, father of 3, grandfather of 4, living and working in Costa Rica's southern Pacific coastal zone. His blog is one of, if not "the" longest running real estate blog in Costa Rica. He writes about real estate, but also his personal observations of what its like to live in Costa Rica.
  • Dhenley15

    Hi Guys–I was interested to read your review of Sierpe del Pacifico, as I am looking around for a sustainable development to invest in despite these down economic times. Their lot prices don’t seem discounted to me at all–225K just for a river view–wonder what you think of their deals?–A house w/ some sort of panels between framing seems cheesey and is priced over 300K! and everyhouse built seems to be for sale–people getting tired of needing to board a boat when they want to shop?.

    Anyway, my comment is this: I was surprised you showed no concern at leaving your car at the dock at Sierpe. While we waited to board a boat for Drake Bay w/in 3 ” of standing with and transferring our backpacks to the boat a small group of teens had already lifted everything they could from our bags from flashlights to penknives. They seem to have made aliving that way they were so slick. But that’s just a postscript: I wouldn’t trust leaving my car for ten minutes let alone an extended day. My impression of the S. Zone’s no-door jail w/ no prisoners is because there is no police to arrest them! Or even operable patrol cars! The one chkpt by Baru is the only presence I’ve seen and according to CAP, the last report had a couple people being tied up and robbed at shotgun point along the first ridge of homes in Dominical. Scared to buy now. Care to comment?!
    David

    • http://www.costa-rican-real-estate.com Ben Vaughn

      Hello Dave,

      Many thanks for your thoughts. Crime here in Costa Rica is certainly different than anything I have experienced anywhere else.

      I have been the poster child for CAP and crime in The Zone, due to the fact that I was nearly killed by a thief after confronting him in the act of burglarizing my home, and then chasing him in my car and ending up getting a bat to the head.

      The repeated stories of thievery here can be a bit disconcerting. Personally, I find myself in a position of “picking one’s poison”. I have chosen to live in Costa Rica, and continue to do so, despite its negatives. When I look around at the world and consider where I want to live, I conceptually pick a spot, let’s say someplace in the US. I then consider the pluses and minuses of the decision, and I keep coming back to Costa Rica as having more pluses for me, AND less minuses, than elsewhere.

      The crime thing here is a definite booger on the quality of life, but I choose to live with this, and in fact believe that it is manageable. By being informed, and thinking about the prevailing conditions, wherever we are, we can avoid a lot of the problems. There seem to be boogers on life no matter where one goes. We humans have done a pretty good job of mis-managing the planet at large.

      My thoughts on Sierpe are similar to my thoughts on going to the beach:
      don’t leave anything in the car. Sometimes I even leave the glove
      compartment open and the doors unlocked. The roving band of punk thieves
      might take a quick gander through the car, but won’t do any damage, nor
      take anything since there is nothing to take. A sting would be a good
      idea. The video surveillance that CAP is putting up around Dominical has
      put nearly 15 of these guys in jail since its inception. While in jail,
      they evidently talk a bit and it would seem that word is getting out that
      The Zone is not the place to ply their trade and so they need to move on to
      greener pastures. Crime is currently on the decline here.

      I welcome this discussion and look forward to your response. Crime has had
      a HUGE impact on my life and I think that it is a service to my clients to
      openly discuss it.

      Ben Vaughn

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