I have to shield my eyes from the bright sun to really take in how stunning it is. On the shore of the white-sand beach, the Pacific Ocean laps at my feet. This beach is part of a national park—development is forbidden by the Costa Rican government.
I’m in the Southern Zone—one of the most untouched parts of Costa Rica. Over the decades since the 1970s, development has come hard and fast to Costa Rica. In the best known beach towns, you’ll find big hotels and sprawling condo buildings.
Here, it’s a different story. A 20-minute drive down the coast, you’ll come to the charming little town of Ojochal. The biggest hotel has just 30 rooms—you won’t find the massive chain resorts here you do in other parts of Costa Rica.
The Southern Zone has largely stayed off the radar of most tourists and expats—but that’s changing. It used to be hard to get to. Many of the few people who’d heard of it decided it wasn’t worth the trip. But then, in 2010, a new coastal road opened up. And, the drive from the capital San Jose, and its international airport, was slashed to three hours.
Now, more tourists are coming—and the Southern Zone is catching up to the rest of Costa Rica. As more people hear about it, I expect this area of Costa Rica to take off with vacationers. It’s stunning and beautiful. It has abundant wildlife and spectacular Pacific views. But it won’t get as developed as other parts of Costa Rica. A lot of the land here is in national parks. The government wants to keep it as unspoiled as it is now.
A lot of the tourists who will come here will be eco-tourists—or, the surfers who first came to Costa Rica in the 1970s, before the country really took off with vacationers.
Some will come for vacation. Others will want to own. But, because of that restriction on development, choices will be limited.
Get in now on real estate in the Southern Zone, while prices have yet to catch up with that rising demand, and you could do very well.
Just one mile from Ojochal is where you’ll find the development of Pacific Lots. It’s set back from the town, so it feels off the beaten track. It’s one of the best-in-class communities in all of the Southern Zone. And, pricing is low here. The developer bought up the land in the 1980s—so can keep prices low.
That means that you can get a lot with ocean or mountain views—or both—for less than you might expect.
I’ve just got word of one lot on offer here. It’s a 1.24-acre lot with prime ocean views as well as mountain views. Cost for that lot: $135,000. (There are also options to buy for less than that. Another lot here of 0.81 acres with good ocean views and great mountain views is priced at $85,000.)
There are around 250 homes built here—but they’re spread out. This isn’t a cookie-cutter development. And, there’s no rush to build. You can sit on your lot and build when you’re ready. There’s even a construction team here to help you design and build your own custom home.
If you decide to build, you could rent out your place when you’re not using it. Those original adventurers—the ones who visited in the 1970s—will want to come here. It’s reminiscent of that untouched Costa Rica they first came to see. But comfortable enough that they’re not roughing it.
Vacation properties rent out here for up to $1,500 a week. And, you have little competition from hotels in the area. Accommodation is scarce.
As more tourists and second-home buyers come, I expect prices will start to rise.
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