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.


The Latest News for Uvita, Costa Rica 1


What’s in a name? In the case of our company, I’ve heard comments about the name “Guys in the Zone” that range from: “not professional” to “that’s cool”. It all came about quite innocently. Spend any time at all in The Zone, and you’ll hear the term “The Zone” somewhere. We are a string of small towns and neighborhoods all along the southern pacific coastline of Costa Rica. From just north of Dominical, let’s say from Portalon south to Palmar Norte.

"alt=ocean-view-of-uvita-costa-rica"

The Zone: Where the mountains meet the Pacific Ocean.

The area around Dominical (named after a type of short banana called a dominico) caters to a large degree to tourism.  Dominical beach is world famous for its consistent break and is a challenge for the best of surfers.  So in Dominical you’ll find lots of surf shops, surf camps, surf schools and surfers from all over the world.  There are a few restaurants and gift shops as well.

There is a rather large-ish flat area around Dominical that is currently undefined.  I suspect that in time it will house various services and shops for the tourism industry: restaurants, hotels, shops, tours etc… But the area really isn’t that large. And, the area is finite.  It has the Baru river on one side, and it has the coastal mountain range running at an angle that pinches the usable flat area down to a configuration of a slice of pizza. There is room for growth there in Dominical, but not much.

The room for growth is in Uvita (meaning- little grape). The coastal mountain range that snugs up against the beach at Dominical, runs parallel to the ocean along the zone between Dominical and Uvita. At Uvita, the coastal mountain range angles inland and then comes back toward the ocean. This results in a triangular rim of mountains creating a bowl-like configuration around the flats that are Uvita. But that’s not all.

Right at about that point, where the ridge runs inland forming a triangle, there is a complimentary triangle of land jutting out into the ocean that is then adorned by Uvita’s famous Whale’s Tail. These two triangles of land, laying as they are, side by side, form a diamond, well – loosely speaking. But the point is (no pun intended) that the area around Uvita is vast in comparison to the flat usable area around Dominical, which leads us to the point (eh…) that Uvita gives all indicators of being the area where commercial, social and cultural happenings will be centered in the future.

This is important to the topic of real estate and investment concerns.  Early recognition of a trend can help to position oneself well for future payoffs.

Current News

Uvita is an interesting study in the melding of several cultures. European, Canadian and United States-ian cultures converge here with the existing Costa Rican culture.  I can’t say the existing “indigenous” culture since even the Ticos (Costa Rican’s) are European transplants, much like North Americans.

The Ticos seem to have an amazing tolerance for noise. Our Guys in the Zone office is located right in the heart of Uvita, on the coastal highway. The coastal highway is the main artery through Costa Rica now, connecting Nicaragua to the north, with Panama to the south. Consequently there are lots of trucks using this highway. Some trucks use the Panamericana Highway (which runs through the middle of the country), but most use the coastal highway through the main center of Uvita.  The trucks themselves are not the problem. What causes the problem is the fact that the drivers like to use their jake breaks as they pass through town, often at a higher than desired speed.

Now, to any civilized member of the human family, this borders on the ridiculous. These guys know that they are passing through an area of business, families going about their day and life in general going on – all of which is interrupted as we wait for them to pass through town with their truck blazing out the most obnoxious of noises.  This is what it sounds like:

GaaaghKaughhKhaaaKggggKKkkgggggggaghaghaha-KneeeeeeegheeeeeeeeeAhhhghaghggggggggg.

There’s even a “No Jake Brakes” sign hanging across the highway in Dominical, but truck drivers either can’t read it or don’t care.

Now, I’ll grant you that some of the more professional minded Ticos, such as the restaurant owners, will roll their eyes in frustration at the racket, but for every one of them that responds this way, there is someone whooping and waving to the truck drivers in greeting.

From where Rod & I sit in our front row office, Uvita could be one of the most beautiful little coastal hamlets in the world.  Everything grows here, especially the truly exotic varieties of flora that the Earth has to offer. Why the town resembles more of a strip mall than an exotic tropical oasis is a bit difficult to understand.  So, we weren’t surprised today when we received the request to post this announcement in our window:

“United We Can Achieve” – The Development Association of Uvita invites you to the Community Center of Uvita Costa Rica.  Important issues on the agenda:

  • Local control of ocean park entrances
  • The Boulevard – control truck speed & beautify the Costanera in Uvita

“The Boulevard” idea for the Coastal Highway is something that has got me a bit excited.  There is enough room to run a center area down the highway that can be planted with Almendra trees, that produce a type of almond. These are the type of trees that make lots of shade and are the main, if not the only, food for Scarlet McCaws.

    One of the strengths of The Zone is there are many people from different parts of the world.  We talk to most of them on a regularly basis, and to an individual, they want to create an active, beautiful life here.  Whatever growth Uvita experiences, moving forward, it’s nice to know that industrialization will be met with a vibrant and educated counter force.  That’s just some of the latest news for Uvita, Costa Rica.  If you want to know about all of the latest gossip and goings on, you have to take the plunge and make Uvita your home.


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.


One thought on “The Latest News for Uvita, Costa Rica

  • kathleen s.

    Hi Ben and Rod – I kind of stumbled on this site and even though we are no longer in the market for property, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your comments.  Thank you for your continuing contribution to the culture of Uvita – it is timely, interesting, and welcome addition to the public dialogue.  Thanks for taking the time to keep us informed. (Thanks also to “Tigre”. Kathleen S.