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.


Costa Rica Season Change


We truly do live in a different country here in Costa Rica. I know – this sounds a bit obvious. But sometimes the place can seem just like another “state”. We can forget, when our focus is on the price of land, how to build a house, residency, how to open a bank account or any number of other tasks, the mundanity of which can cause one to forget – “hey, I’m doing stuff in a foreign land”.

"alt=tropical-flowers-in-costa-rica"

One example from the Heliconia family

I LOVE talking with the old-time Ticos (Costa Ricans) about earth matters.  My buddy Chan has his gardener, Gilbert of many years.  Gilbert knows everything about the earth.  Trees, plants and heliconias in particular. If you are in doubt as to what a heliconia is, the Bird of Paradise is one of the best known of that particular family.  It is one VERY exotic family of tropical flowers.

Gilbert has a small business of cultivating heliconias.  When he has some new plants he can be seen at the Saturday morning Farmer’s Market in Uvita selling his varieties for something like $10.00 apiece.

I had the opportunity to walk in the jungle with Gilbert one time.  What an experience! (By the way, Gilbert is in his sixties and I’ll bet he don’t read so good.) I am truly enamoured with the flora and fauna of Costa Rica.  To have the opportunity to talk with, walk with, and in general, spend time with a man such as Gilbert out in the jungle, was for me a wonderful thing.

When you are in a different land, there aren’t just different versions of plant and animal names, there is an entire other language that pertains to trees and plants. A dictionary doesn’t help.

On this day, Gilbert detected that he had a listening ear and so off he went – describing all the trees and plants and insects of the jungle. He reaches out with his machete and taps the bark of a rather large tree while saying it’s name – well, what the earthy Ticos call it.  Then, where he tapped it there comes a drip of blood red.  He wanted to show me how the sap of this particular tree looked exactly like blood.

Another one oozed a milky substance.  Gilbert lapped up the milky substance with his finger and licked it, relishing the apparent good taste, but I think that there was some sentimentality at play here. Gilbert told me that in the old days, when he and his buds would work in the jungle, they would bring or make coffee on break. They didn’t have to bring cream, thanks to this tree.

We have just passed through a very hot dry season here in Uvita – well, Costa Rica in general. What is it being called now? Global warming? Climate change? I’m sure there is a politically correct expression for what the weather is doing – everywhere. (I find it interesting the we humans can’t agree on what the weather is doing.)

Interesting how here in Costa Rica the warmer weather has resulted in more rain. I was talking with my neighbor the other day. He is of the same ilk as Gilbert.  He said this is the first actual “summer” we’ve had in 5 years. My memory says that this is very close to correct.  All of us “foreigners” living here in Costa Rica have been complaining up a storm about the heat.

Well, it all changed a few days ago.  There is a palpable feeling of “AHHHHHHH!” amongst everyone. The skies cloud up, and it rains, lightly for the moment, and the ground drinks it up, and the air is cooler – ahhhhhhh!

I don’t really understand why the “dry season” is the “on” season from Costa Rica.  For most of the expats living here (is that redundant?), the rainy season is the better time to be here. I wonder if it is going to end up being like my experience in Aspen Colorado.  When I moved there in ’79, there was only one season: the ski season.  Then, little by little, the world discovered the amazing summer season in Aspen and I think that the summer went on to either equal, or surpass, the winter.

I am seeing word start to seep out that rainy season here in Costa Rica’s southern pacific zone, is really quite delightful, and in some cases, is to be preferred over dry season.

Returning to plants and earthy Ticos.

My Abuelo (adopted grandfather) in San Isidro was truly made up of Earth. He knew it like the back of his hand. He is in his 80’s now and is unable to work.  I think that this will eventually get the best of him. He said that the earth needs to get warm and that when it unseasonably rains during dry season, it messes things up because the earth cools down.

Interesting perspective.  I think more about the water falling from the sky and he is thinking about the temperature of the ground.  In time, it turns out, I find out that the jungle flora benefits from stress. That the trees and heliconias and fruits are all much more productive when they have been given a good stress by dry season, the stress of being dry and warm.

Stress is a good thing? Well, it appears that when it comes to plants, perhaps so. One very knowledgeable long time expat tells me that if you have an orange tree, or a avocado tree, or some fruit tree, and it is not bearing fruit, to give it some good whacks with a baseball bat. It will then start to produce fruit.

So, we have weathered the first true “summer” in 5 years. We are now heading into one of me favorite times of the year, when our world tuns back to its verdant, saturated green, the streams and waterfalls all get fuller, and the temperature is… well… perfect, 24 hours a day, in typical Costa Rica fashion.