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Real Estate Newsletter #2

November 15th, 2005

The Rainy Season is Over, The Rainy Season is over! Hooray!

The Rainy Season is almost over. Mid-November means turkey-time in the States. Here it means the departure of “those in the know”: the visitors to Costa Rica who come during the rainy season, or “the green season” as the tourist bureau here prefers to call it; those who come here, visiting, touring, getting a feel for the place, considering a life in the tropics, who want to be here when there are less visitors, and to see for themselves what the tropical rains are like.

It's just about over. The temporada lluviosa, the “lower, slower” season for visitors to Costa Rica, is nearing its inevitable conclusion at almost the same day as the final thick clouds open and the blue skies illuminate the rim of the Central Valley, heralding the arrival of the long-awaited sunny, dry season. The departing visitors look around a final time, hug, wave goodbye, sigh, and carry away their baggage to waiting vans and taxis, taking with them bags of coffee, small painted wooden replicas of oxcarts, multi-colored tee-shirts shouting "Pura Vida!" and miles of photos of themselves feeding timid monkeys in palm trees along Manual Antonio's beaches; of themselves posing with broad smiles, standing in a tropical downpour, with enormous grins, their arms around the shoulder of a national park ranger, standing by signs that announce that here is a volcano or a lake or a waterfall or a monument; shots of mournful-eyed brahma cattle, of fluorescent blue morpho butterflies suspended in the air, of smiling Tico schoolchildren waving from buses; and precious fleeting mental pictures of moments in a rainforest, seeing a scarlet macaw in flight against a rainbow, or an orchid hiding in a high tree. Watching these last groups of rainy-season visitors leave, seeing them disappear down the road, makes me exhale deeply. I know that some have decided to relocate to Costa Rica, to make the jump, to purchase property here, and others have not. Not yet. At the rainy season's end, the arrival and departure of the visitor, the prospective property buyer, seems miraculous. There is a certain strange rightness to it all. The way in which they just happily arrive, with great expectation, and then do what they do, and the way in which they always feel as though their experience in Costa Rica was a culmination of something that was a long time coming.

The visitor to Costa Rica who comes here looking to own a piece of the country, in some inexplicable way seems to know why he or she is here and what he or she wants. But often they cannot explain exactly what that is. Here in this strangely familiar, yet very foreign place they know that they are still visitors, know that they know very little about this place, and know that they want to have a good time here and want to leave with an understanding of the place. So that they can decide. And so they do. They spend their average six-and-a-half days and then they leave, flying back to the States, to Canada, to Europe, to what they consider their real lives, mulling it all over, trying to imagine what it would be like living here. There exists a species of butterfly in the tropics that travels in a large flock which is made up of individual butterflies of two different colors, black and orange. When they land, the black butterflies take their positions and form a perfect circle, every time, and the orange butterflies form petals around the circle, disguising the flock as a large flower, to fool their predators. The black butterflies do not just decide, "Well, hey, I'm a black one and so I am going to go in the center circle." They just do what they do, and perfectly every time. And so the visitor to Costa Rica, considering relocation here, knows that during his or her six-and-a-half days in Costa Rica he or she will arrive at a hotel, and then the next day will visit our office and discuss what they would ideally want to buy, and then take off to tour the country, planning on returning to our office with a better understanding of all things Costa Rican, having been on top of Poas volcano, or at the base of Arenal volcano, and having walked along a dozen beaches at sunrise and sunset, and looked at two dozen properties, and having walked along a tropical forest road and strolled through villages, having smiled at Costa Ricans and having used some phrases of Spanish and seeing that the Costa Ricans always smile back and who always tell the visitor that his or her Spanish is very good. They will do that, and they will do it just right every time. And almost all of the time they will depart, feeling very, very good at having discovered Costa Rica. At the end of their trip here, for the visitor considering relocation, the remaining dominant impression is one of how right it has all been, how supremely perfect.

At the end of this rainy season I am reminded of the story of the old rabbi: Two disciples of an old rabbi were arguing about the true path to enlightenment. One said that the path was built on effort and good work. The second disciple disagreed. "It's not the work at all. That is only based on ego. It is pure surrender that is the path. As they could not
agree on who was right they went to see the master. He listened as the first disciple praised the path of whole-hearted effort, and when asked by this disciple, "Is this the true path?" the master said, "You're right." The second disciple was upset and responded by eloquently explaining the path of surrender and letting go. When he had finished he said, "Is this not the true path?" and the master replied, "You're right." A third student who was sitting there said, "But master, they can't both be right," and the master smiled and said, "You're right too." Costa Rica. Finally, the right place.

Hot Tropics Real Estate


This week’s focus area is the southern part of coastal Guanacaste province, and the beach areas of Playa Samara and Puerto Carrillo.

I like Samara and Carrillo, I suppose because they are still early in their development, and so there is much of Costa Rica still there. And prices for real estate there are not obscene. In such areas as Tamarindo and Flamingo, to the north along the Pacific coast, land and home prices are rapidly approaching California’s levels, or have already surpassed them. Samara and Carrillo are still places where Costa Rican families, as well as tourists, actually go. And that makes a big difference.


Samara has a super coral reef and a postcard-perfect small island, situated in the middle of the bay. It has that kind of laid-back charm that Kauai, Hawaii, had in the 1960s. There are some decent small hotels and restaurants and bars, and it remains a fishing and farming community that somehow exists in harmony and parallel to the activities of younger, international visitors and travelers. When you first arrive at Samara, there is a sense of being out of time; of a place belonging to another, earlier age entirely.

As an example of the properties available right now, today, that most probably will not be available in a month or two:

1) Two lovely bedrooms, two baths, magnificent views. Five minute drive to the beaches of Samara and the center of the village. Beautifully detailed kitchen, living room. On a quarter-acre of exceptionally nice land. 1100 sq ft home.

Underpriced at: $230,000

2) Three bedroom, three bath home. Approximately 2000 sq ft. Very nice kitchen, living room, storage area. Great terrace, stunning views of the beaches below. Asking only $3,30,000.

3) Italian-style hideaway. Just a few hundred yards from the nicest beach in the Carrillo beach area. Brand new. Two bedrooms, one bath, tucked into lovely tropical gardens. Outdoor storage room. Very nice patio. Swimming pool. Completely furnished, and even comes with a phone line. A mere $230,000

Write us. Stay in touch. And come and visit as soon as you can.


Hot Tropics Real Estate

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