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:
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.

The Most Precious Real Estate 4

I want to tell you the ocean knows this,         Yo os quiero decir que esto lo sabe el mar,
that life in its jewel boxes                                  que la vida en sus arcas
is endless as the sand                                      es ancha como la arena

As a teenager, I was as inspired by the poetry of Pablo Neruda. So much so, I decided to study English and wrote extensively during my college years in San Luis Obispo, California. I had the good fortune to rent a house on the beach with two friends, who were brothers. The younger brother would frequently bellow, “Thar she blows!” when he spotted a whale’s spout. His brother and I would always drop our books and run to glimpse one of Nature’s great spectacles.

Isla Ballena in the Parque Nacional Marino Ballena

Perhaps fueled by this touch of nostalgia and the fact that I spend almost everyday at the beaches in and around Uvita, I wanted to highlight some of the most precious real estate in Costa Rica— Parque Nacional Marino Ballena.

Parque Nacional Marino Ballena

Created in 1989, the Marino Ballena National Park was the first national marine park in Costa Rica.  It was created to protect the marine ecosystems associated with the beaches, mangroves, islands and a fragile coral reef that turns out to be the largest on the Pacific Coast of Central America.  The park itself stretches from the southern end of Playa Hermosa to the northern end of Playa Piñuela, and a triangular area reaching 9 miles out into the Pacific Ocean.  That triangle also includes the famous Uvita Whale’s Tail, Tres Hermanas (The Three Sisters) and Isla Ballena.  In addition to enhancing ocean view of property in the area, these landmarks are home to thousands of aquatic and terrestrial species.

Whale breaching in the Pacific.

“Ballena” means whale in Spanish.  That’s right… this area is visited every year, primarily between the months of November to early March, by southern and northern hemisphere female humpback whales.  They arrive to give birth and nurture their 14-foot?!! newborn calves in the warm, calm waters of Costa Rica.  Although there are daily whale sightings in the peak season, this majestic mammal is still on the endangered species list.  If you haven’t seen one up close, you might want to consider putting a whale-watching tour out of Uvita on your Bucket List.

Even if you aren’t into the idea of being on a boat in the open ocean, you can still enjoy the experience from land.  I vividly recall one morning at La Parcela (which used to be my favorite spot for breakfast until they stopped serving it!) when my parents were visiting.  We were enjoying our gallo pinto and eggs when a dark blue whale suddenly breached in the middle of the bay.  Over the next half hour, it continued to rise out of the water, twist, and crash down on its side at least 20 times.  It’s safe to say, this was the most memorable breakfast my parents and I have ever shared together.

Return Of The Ridley

The humpback whale is just one of many creatures inhabiting the marine park.  Sea turtles are another ancient animal that return to nest on these specific beaches every year.  Thanks to conservation efforts, Olive Ridley numbers are actually rising in the southern Pacific.  You can see them while snorkeling around the Whale’s Tail or one of the aforementioned islands.  But, let me tell you… if you haven’t seen a baby sea turtle dig out of its sandy nest and instinctively scratch its way to the water, you’re missing out on a truly wondrous experience.

Without question, the great outdoors, including the multiplicity of marine life found in Parque Nacional Marino Ballena, is at the center of this amazing life in The Zone.  It is one of the primary reasons tourists visit and why many of those tourists eventually invest in real estate and/or relocate in this part of Costa Rica.  The immediacy of wildlife in the southern Pacific zone, like a 50-foot whale breaching during breakfast, adds value beyond measure.

About Tigre

My first visit to Costa Rica was in 2002. I immediately fell in love with the warmth of the climate and people. After spending two weeks in San Jose, Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean side, and Tamarindo in Guanacaste, I knew there was a good chance I would return sooner than later. Sooner came just 6 months later when my uncle mentioned he was flying down to Costa Rica to close on a piece of property in the Southern Pacific Zone. On that trip I found my own piece of paradise above the small town of San Buenaventura, home to the San Buenas Golf Resort. Two years and 8 trips later, I decided to move to Costa Rica full time. Every day I am thankful for that decision.

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