Friday, March 25, 2011
Costa Rica’s Peninsula Papagayo is absolutely stunning…breathtaking. A truly special place. If you are visiting the Liberia area of northern Costa Rica…and you are willing to leave with a much lighter wallet, this is where you should come.
I spoke at a conference here in January. I stayed at the Four Seasons—Costa Rica’s most luxurious…and most expensive…hotel. I also got to spend some time looking at the Four Seasons resort properties. The world-class resort treatment starts the second you get off the plane. Your every need is anticipated…you don’t have to ask.
Before you even pick up your luggage at the airport, you are greeted by a concierge from the resort. With a wave from the security guy, you walk right by the screening line and out to an SUV where you’re immediately handed a cool towel, and chilled water…and asked about your music preference and volume for the drive. The entire experience at the resort was in line with this initial experience. It didn’t slip once.
An army of golf carts hummed around the pathways that link villas with the main hotel amenities. From my spacious balcony I saw humming birds, monkeys, butterflies and a $200 million luxury yacht. Land Cruisers were onsite when you wanted to make a trip to the golf club…or the beach club that has the best sunsets.
The golf course has one of the most spectacular settings on earth. On several holes you have dramatic ocean views to three sides. Then, dramatic drops bring you down to sea level where you play parallel to the beach.
Hard to imagine that 30 years ago this entire province (Guanacaste) was just cleared cattle land!
I’ve told you about this area before. Here, investors made a killing from positioning themselves ahead of the Path of Progress.
It was tricky to get to Guanacaste. Liberia airport only had occasional international flights. Drive-wise, it took around five hours from San Jose on a rough, potholed road. Only diehard surfers and backpackers braved the journey. Mainstream tourists stayed away.
Then the road was resurfaced. And in 2002, regular direct flights started from Liberia airport to the U.S. In 2003, Liberia airport saw 50,000 passenger arrivals. By 2008, that had soared to 500,000. Resort and residential developers raised the bar, snapping up the best beach and ocean-view land.
In the three years after regular direct flights started, the price of prime land quadrupled.
The real estate market has moved on from the early-in days. I visited a $1.4 million (2,800-square-foot) ocean-view condo. I also saw ocean-view homes in the $2.6 million to $7 million range. (There seems to be some wiggle room on the pricing for each of these.)
This is the communal pool for the condo project. The unit I visited is to the left of the pool.
These condos sit above the golf course and look out to the marina. Build and finishes are top class. The layout of the condos feels more like a home than a condo.
As I said, the early-in opportunity has passed. But it’s always good to look to the past when projecting what the future can hold for places on our beat now. From this area we can see that:
- You can profit from positioning yourself ahead of the Path of Progress
- Buy quality…you’ll always do better in the long run
- Do your due diligence. Understand what the local issues are. For example, in this area water is a very big issue: there simply isn’t enough of it.
Editor’s Note: There is a Path of Progress story happening right now in another part of Costa Rica…that’s dramatically beautiful…with low property prices. In fact, you can buy a lot here from $40,000, and build a 2,000 square-foot home for $200,000. A new road makes it easy to get to this place for the first time, and government plans call for an international airport. You can see this location for yourself for $250…which covers your accommodation, meals and transfers…on a chill weekend trip. Click here for an information pack.