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.


New Theory Explains Why We Find Costa Rica So Darn Pleasant 7


or – How Media Saturation Robs Us Of Our Joy
or – an Original Thought is a good thing

We humans find ourselves intriguing, in fact – fascinating. Theories explaining the experience of being human abound .

One theory that I heard as a young man has stuck with me through the years. This theory now finds a rather interesting application in my life of living as an expat here in Costa Rica. I see the possible truth to this theory as I observe what I have come to know as “4th Day Original Thought Syndrome” or “4DOTS” in Costa Rica. Based on this thing that happens on day #4, many decide that they would like to either make Costa Rica Home, or to at least make it a big part of their life.

Observation:

4DOTS is simple – it’s really nothing more than relaxation. But I need to do a footnote definition here of what I mean by relaxation. It’s more than just having our neck muscles relax and our shoulders lower down by a couple inches, (which they do on day 4). 4 DOTS relaxation has to do with the mind.

The Theory:

It is thought that when we first have an experience as a baby, we fire off a unique circuit in our brain. The experience is profound and frequently pleasurable. We are drawn to the subject experience again and again to get better acquainted. We call this learning.

Let’s say that at the age of 1 year our Mother puts us on the warm, sunny lawn in our back yard to crawl around. A new circuit is fired through our brain and we are fascinated by the greenness of the experience and the warmth of the green. The texture is slightly prickly but not unpleasantly so. There is a humid component and a wonderful smell that we will later on associate with the word “earthy”.

From this point on in our lives this same circuit fires every time we experience warm green grass, causing a familiarity with the experience, and this we call memory. So the theory goes.

(As an aside, i t is thought that the psychoactive drug LSD causes variations in our established and familiar brain circuitry. This can be profoundly pleasurable (or disturbing) and cause fascination with what we adults would consider to be mundane things. This would explain why people on LSD can be seen studying their hand, or marveling at the grass they are standing on. )

But here is the significance of this in relation to Costa Rica. It is usually right about day 4 of a person’s vacation that the liberating effect of being away from the media circus back home sets in. In this setting we have what is known as an “Original Thought” (“OT” in scientific circles). Because it has been so long since we have had one of these OT experiences, the experience is, to say the least, agreeable.

OT Unmasked:
When we visit Costa Rica, we pull ourselves out of our lives of running as fast as we can to stay in one place. Or we may be moving slowly backwards, but whatever.

Right along with the luggage we pack to bring our clothes on vacation to Costa Rica, we are bringing all the mind and thought stuff that is ingrained from our day to day lives back home. In the US this involves a huge amount of a controlled media smorgasbord. At any given time in the US there are 6 hot areas of media coverage:

  • Political
  • Celebrity
  • Economical
  • Technological
  • Sportalogical
  • Oprah

Running in our heads are the latest tapes of what is going on in these 6 areas. All of this information does not originate inside of our own heads but from without (opposite of within). Of course, we are all intelligent and creative people in our own right. So, we take this information and color it and make commentary on it with our own unique spin, but really, someone else has pretty much suggested to us what we’ll be thinking about as we go through our days.

On day 4 that constant and ever- present chatter has subsided enough to where we may experience an errant thought of something unrelated to the big 6. This experience originates entirely from the source of one‘s very own, personal and private psyche – and this feels wonderful.

The media guys are smart and really good at what they do. However, the power of Original Thought is not to be under-estimated. Media programming does not hold up well in the antidotal face of these common Costa Rican pastimes:

  • quiet time in a hammock
  • quiet time not in a hammock
  • conversation
  • reading
  • writing
  • drawing
  • meditation
  • sitting by a waterfall
  • sitting on the beach
  • a board game
  • marveling at the strangeness and beauty of a toucan and/or a sloth
  • marveling at the sunset
  • marveling at why an Imperial tastes so good in Costa Rica

The Original Thought is likely something creative, or philosophical, or loving, or problem solving. The thought has a slight intoxicating effect. It is under the influence of 4th Day Original Though Syndrome that many have decided to do something outrageous like, say, move to Costa Rica.

I did. And I haven’t looked back.


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