Buying Land in Costa Rica
My insights into wise land purchases
in Costa Rica
By my third trip to Costa Rica,
I had honed in on some critical conclusions
of what I did NOT want, that you may or may not share
with me. These included:
1. beach front or near beach-front
property. Reason: Greater heat and humidity,
public accessibility, potential for flooding.
2. land that is remote or difficult
to access. Reason: NO matter what the promises
one might hear about the road or bridge going in soon,
or the utilities available any day, or the potential
for cell service within the next month...It is all conjecture
and there is no guarantee it will EVER happen. Large
development companies may offer more security in their
claims by offering to include infrastructure in the
price of your land, and there are some very good projects
being done. However, I also ran into a rather staggering
amount of them who had made many promises and then gone
broke. Check timelines and infrastructure promises carefully!
So for me, buying land off a public rock
road--not too far from a major paved road--made sense.
When a major storm hit the area recently, this farm
the roads, and the bridges to it did not suffer a great
deal of damage compared to many other nearby locations.
3. Land that has no electrical,
cell, or limited water availability. Even though
I would like to look into eventually building with the
objectives of green and "off-grid" sort of
architecture, having utilities backup is comforting.
It also seems to be a more solid investment due to a
greater pool of buyers should I need to re-sell. And
yes, even rainy areas like this experience droughts
& water shortages where there is over-development.
4. Land with a building structure
already on it. Costa Rica is located ona juncture
of tectonic plates, and therefore is prone to earthquakes.
A 6.2 Richter one occurred in November of 2004 during
one of my visits. I was happy to learn that most buildings
are constructed with close attention to durability in
the event of an earthquake. However, my preference is
to know EXACTLY how the roof over my head has been constructed,
so I completely minimize the probability of that roof
falling on my head! Earthquake building codes are fairly
stringent in Costa Rica and I am sure many structures
are safe. Also, I wish to customize the greeness and
energy-efficiency of my dwelling. This criteria is just
a personal preference I guess.
5. Land that has poor drainage,
or is right near a river. When it rains, it
pours here. There are many locations where the land
will flood if there is a very big storm.
6. Land that is too low, or too
high in elevation. If you buy land that is
too low in elevation, it is not necessarily the best
elevation for many species of hardwoods, that I have
an interest in growing rapidly on my land. If you buy
land that is too high in elevation, you get into the
cloud forest and it gets too moist, foggy and rainy.
7. Land that is being developed
primarily for foreigners, and no native Costa
Ricans. While there are many beautiful developments
along the whole western coast, I personally do not wish
to live in a country where the native people are shut
out of the neighborhood.
Views of the Ocean
This farm has what I would call a "small"
of the ocean. That is plenty for me, and
I do appreciate having some view since I love the feeling
of endlessness it gives me. "Big" ocean views
are quite escalated in price in most accessible locations
on the west (Pacific) side, and occupied primarily by
West, vs. east side of Costa
I've read that the western
side of Costa Rica gets about as much rain
as the eastern side, but on the eastern side it rains
more constantly. On the western side you have a rainy
season and a dry season, and I prefer a bit more sunshine.
Good land for reforestation
My preference was to find land that I could
trees on, for eventual conversion into
forest. Also, I want to plant trees for
steam and watershed protection. However, I also want
the option of growing valuable hardwoods that could
be harvested for some income on a limited basis in the
future. In this way, my trees can help "pay their
own way" for future preservation
of land for bio diversity and wildlife habitat.