I love Costa Rica, so far one of my favorite places on the planet, it's all about the life style! I am all about balance; balancing what makes me happy and healthy and the work necessary to achieve it. When I really want to chill out I head South to this beautiful little country in Central America. We have traveled through out the country, but usually hang our pareos in Playa Hermosa on the Central Pacific (3 miles South of Jaco and just a 1.5 hour drive from San Jose). This little sliver of a town has some of the best and most consistent surf in the country along with a small but diverse selection of hotels to stay in, most directly on the beach with dorm style accommodations starting at $15 dollars a night, to very deluxe rooms with central AC and spa like bathrooms from about $150 dollars per night.
We also bought a piece of land in a gated community just on the Southern fringe of "Hermosa" and plan to start building our little casa in paradise very soon. Just like the real estate bust we experienced here in the US, Costa Rica, after their own boom also went bust. There had been an abundance of new development, from vacant lots in planned communities to Miami style glass high rises in some of the more popular beach communities like Jaco and Tammarindo. I am primarily writing about the beach here though many expats and Costa Ricans alike live in the capital, San Jose or the communities in the surrounding area known as the Central Valley
Just as things have started to stabilize here, Costa Rica is also starting to stabilize and there are many good opportunities for the careful buyer looking for a retreat in paradise.
I think what I like most about Costa Rica as compared to the Caribbean is it is a country first, tourist destination second. You can go just a few miles from Jaco and enjoy miles and miles of deserted beach lined with coconut palms, perhaps some small fishing boats and not much else.
Above photo taken by Keith 2009
The primary type of tourism here is serious "Eco Travel", where you can explore vast primary rain forest, cloud forests, volcanoes and an abundance of wildlife, including 2% of the worlds birds. There is also more traditional resorts including a beautiful Four Seasons (we honeymooned there)along with the sprawling Los Suenos resort with world class fishing and golf
When we go on our annual trip we usually set up our base camp on the beach at a wonderful little hotel called "Costenera" run by an Italian couple who came to Hermosa and never left, Nada and Stephano. Rooms start at about $35-40 US dollars a night, right on the break, simple but get the job done. we usually take a little apartment with a very basic kitchen, then lay in the hammock and watch scarlet macaws eat the almonds in the trees out front and just stare at the ocean, never gets tired!
I also married my soul mate and partner in crime in Costa Rica in 2008 at a wonderful, small boutique resort called Xandari by the Pacific. This very eco conscious resort was built and designed by a California architect and his artist wife. They have a sister resort in the Central Valley and grow their own organic coffee and many of the fruits and vegetables used at the restaurants.
If you are a surfer or looking to learn, there is no better place than Loma Del mar surf camp where local Freddy Quirros runs the show and will take excellent care of you. Freddy is a world class surfer and can guide you to the best breaks in the area. He is also a real estate professional and can help you find your little piece of paradise.
This is just a little glance into a small part of this beautiful country! I love all things Costa Rica and would be more than happy to answer any of your questions regarding travel and investment. Pura Vida!