Costa Rica: Adventures in Pura Vida!
About the Costa Rica We Love
To frequent visitors, Costa Rica is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. My sister, a professional photographer, calls it one of the “most photogenic places on earth.” For such a small country (about the size of West Virginia), it is a land of incredible diversity.
When people read about or travel to Costa Rica, they are usually focusing on the two main tourism areas of the country: northern or central Costa Rica along the Pacific coast.
The north Pacific area, including Guanacaste Province and Nicoya Peninsula, is the most popular tourist region, with beaches that make you never want to leave. Several housing developments are so nice that they have enticed many visitors to become property owners.
The local international airport in Liberia has spurred a lot of development and a rapid increase in housing prices. However, real estate prices have moderated with the downturn in the global economy. The weather is very pleasant during the dry season (December through April), but because of the lack of rainfall, much of the greenery turns to brown.
Bustling Central Costa Rica
Central Costa Rica along the Pacific offers, as one tour guide describes it, a “mix of sophistication and funkiness, sometimes right down the street from each other. This is Costa Rica’s ‘party hearty’ region.” Towns like Jacó sport a number of high-rise condominiums and large crowds during the high season. This can be partly due to its easy driving proximity to San José, the country’s capital city. It shares many of the weather characteristics with the north.
Southern Pacific Costa Rica—the Amazon of Central America
Southern Pacific Costa Rica, in contrast, is perhaps the most beautiful yet least-visited region. This is largely due to lack of transportation infrastructure. The paved highway along the central coast, the Costañera highway, turns into a rough dirt road south of Quepos and north of Dominical, the gateway town to southern Costa Rica. Another reason for the low rate of tourism is because there is not an international airport at this time.
Yet the beauty of the region, and its diversity of wildlife and marvelous plants and trees, have led some to call it the “Amazon of Central America”. The rugged and wild Osa Peninsula and its famous Corcovado National Park is literally the most bio-diverse region of the most bio-diverse country in the world. Southern Costa Rica is the home of the country’s best eco-tourism and most scenic natural beauty.
It receives some rainfall during its dry season, so it stays emerald green year round. It reminds me of northern Kauai in Hawaii 30 years ago: quiet, lush, beautiful. This is where you go to enjoy unspoiled nature, not for the nightlife. (Although there are some very nice restaurants tucked away across the area!) Housing prices are much lower here—at least for now.
The new paved section of the Costañera highway between Quepos and Dominical is nearing completion, and will be done in late 2009. The new international airport at Sierpe will be completed by 2014, possibly sooner if you believe the government. As the transportation infrastructure gets completed, there will be many more visitors to the region and sharply higher demand for resort housing. As my partners and I develop La Joya Perfecta just 15 minutes from the new airport, we are committed to do so responsibly, with respect for the environment, and intend to preserve that which makes this region so absolutely stunning. Two-thirds of our property will be preserved in its rainforest state.