Friday, June 24, 2011
In the past six months I’ve enjoyed two scouting trips to Costa Rica, a vacation in Manuel Antonio, and a speaking engagement at a conference in the Four Seasons Resort on the stunning Peninsula Papagayo. I’ve seen five distinctly different Costa Ricas - and I’ve loved each one.
Costa Rica is on the mainstream media radar. The jet-set come here to snap up multi-million dollar homes and cruise along the coast in yachts worth tens of millions of dollars.
Here at the Pathfinder Alert, our Costa Rica is nicer. It’s undiscovered and comes with a price tag one-eighth of what you could spend if you follow those jet-set crowds. We’ll lead you to places ahead of the mainstream. Where you’ll find real estate values you thought were a thing of the past… and jaw-dropping, pristine natural beauty.
Let me show you what I mean.
My Costa Rica vacation brought me to Manuel Antonio. Manuel Antonio is just north of the Southern Zone you have been hearing about in Pathfinder alerts. Manuel Antonio real estate prices are high. Sellers ask $700,000 – $800,000 for a two-bedroom, two-bath condo…or $1.5 million for high-end penthouses.
Multimillion dollar homes nestle in the rich green hills overlooking the dolphin- and whale-rich Pacific. Nature is everywhere…howler monkeys…brightly colored birds and butterflies…and dramatic sunsets.
From boats we watched dolphins, whales and sunsets. In the national park our guide got monkey families, snakes, and orange and green frogs in the sights of her telescope. The beaches (also in the national park) are amazing. At night we could choose from a great variety of top quality restaurants.
This isn’t the type of early-in real estate market I look for though.
The big opportunity in Manuel Antonio passed a decade ago. Those who got early-in made a killing.
That’s why I’m focused just ninety minutes down the coast in the newly accessible Southern Zone.
Costa Rica’s Southern Zone is an area of deserted sandy beaches and virgin rainforest. Prices stayed low because this area was difficult to get to.
That’s changed. The completion of a new highway has cut the drive time from San Jose, Costa Rica’s capital, from eight hours to three. And that’s a smooth, comfortable, easy three hours.
Despite having two-thirds of its land in national parks and reserves…and not having sprawling subdivisions, high-rise condos and mega-resorts…the Southern Zone isn’t a forgotten backwater. Local towns like Ojochal feel surprisingly chic. You have a choice of international cuisines—French, German, Italian, Indonesian. A little delicatessen stocks imported goodies….wine, cheese, cigars, and chocolate. You can grab an espresso and pastry in the coffee shop…pick up warm crusty bread from the French bakery…or smokehouse chicken for a picnic on the beach.
Driving south from Manuel Antonio the coast and terrain undergoes a dramatic transformation. The jungle canopy is an intense and lush green…rolling right down to wide sandy beaches…like a tropical quilt for the hills that rise steeply and dramatically from the other side of the road we have been driving on. It’s stunning.
There is no development on the beaches in the Southern Zone. Development hasn’t come here yet. When it does, strict regulations should protect this coast. That’s good…because tourists, second-home owners and retirees are set to come in their thousands.
Even now, after the new road has opened, you can still buy a quarter-acre lot in Pacific Lots the gold-standard project in the region, for $40,000.
The Southern Zone is already changing, though. It is starting to buzz with real estate activity. Everything points to this area exploding.
I’m savoring my return to each of my five Costa Ricas. But for undervalued real estate opportunities, two of those five (Manuel Antonio and Peninsula Papagayo) don’t tick my boxes. They are beautiful and fun to visit…and they show us how we can profit by getting in early, ahead of the crowds, in places of outstanding natural beauty. The Southern Zone gives us a chance to do that now: in a stunning setting that’s newly accessible, still highly affordable, and with huge upside potential.
P.S. You’ll find out more about my five Costa Ricas…and why only three make the cut for real estate opportunities…at the International Living Live & Invest conference in Costa Rica this August 30th –September 1st. Click here to find out more and get a $200 early bird discount.
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