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Costa Rica Investments April 2024 Webinar Review

Updated: Jun 17

Our managing director, Richard Bexon, presented a webinar in April outlining the essential, need to know, data regarding the real estate investment market and tourism data in Costa Rica for the month of April.

Today we will discuss:

  • 1. Country Data

  • 2. Tourism Data

  • 3. Location Data (the best performing towns and cities)

  • 4. Search Data

  • 5. Opportunities

1. Country Data

Costa Rica received investment 13.4 times it’s GDP, punching well above it’s weight in 2022. From global data, that came out in the end of 2022/2023 it looks for every dollar of GDP, and the amount of investment dollar received; and as you can see Costa Rica is was the number one country on that list.

A lot of that foreign investment is coming from the technology sector, as well as from businesses and professional services. Real estate and tourism also accounted for it's fair share of the foreign investment coming into Costa Rica. Clearly Costa Rica is really punching above its weight when it comes to foreign direct investment.

2. Tourism Data

When looking at the total arrivals into Costa Rica during Q1, (that being January, February and March) over the last 6 years (which is the most popular time for tourists, and therefore arrivals) shows a speedy recovery from Covid-19, and 2024 has seen the largest amount of tourist, ever!

In Q1 2019, we received roughly 870,000 arrivals from all methods, so airplane (the most popular method), Car, and Boat. We saw a dip in 2020 and 2021 of course from Covid-19. Then we started to see a recovery in 2022 with a gradual increase and with near par arrivals to 2019 there in 2023. Costa Rica was reaching pre-pandemic levels back in 2023. And of course, 2024, setting a new record here with over 11% growth in Q1 2024 over Q1 2019.

When we look at country arrival data, we can see where some of this growth is coming from in Q1. The top countries are outlined in the graph below. Everything highlighted in green is growth, everything in orange is growth as well, but it's not as big, and everything in red is decline.

So when looking at numbers growth here, you can just see the U.S. just outstrips everyone else. It's bigger than all the others countries put together. The U.S. had 24% growth from 2019 to 2024 in Q1.

In Canada, the growth was 12%. But when you start looking at the numbers, it really is pretty small in comparison to the U.S. And here at Costa Rica Investments we can't see that really changing much.

3. Location Data

Costa Rica has popular locations, and some not so popular locations. When we look at the growth of specific locations in Costa Rica, San Jose is seeing a lot of growth, but a lot of that's coming from the towers. If any of you have seen the skyline of San Jose, you'd have seen that change over the past couple of years.

We also see Puerto Viejo, Cahuita seeing huge change in vacation rental growth here as well. Jaco, all that growth is towers, anywhere that they're able to build towers and condominiums is just going to grow much quicker that any other location in Costa Rica because they can add 150, 250 rooms by clicking their fingers and putting that tower up, rather than having to build horizontal condominiums rather than vertical condominiums.

There is also some potential here in Costa Rica! Junquial, Negra, La Fortuna, Samara, Monteverde, Chachagua (by Arenal) are all locations with large amounts of growth in terms of percentage increase of listings, does this make them a good invest? When looking at those areas, don't look at percentage growth, but for their numbers growth, because you're going to see that some of those high percentage growth locations haven't seen as much growth in numbers, maybe percent, but not in numbers.

4. Search Data

In the graph below you are able to see the figures for the number of google search's regarding each location. This is people searching for locations online on Google. We looked at the search terms over the last 12 months in Costa Rica.

There are some big shockers in this one. And again, you're going to start to see multiple locations repeating themselves on this. So these are the average search terms per month.

Many of these were very expected, but places like Herradura are included because of the resort and Marina of Los Suenos. Arenal and Monteverde are big surprises on this list, but are becoming more prominent in terms of tourism, and therefore increasing their value as locations for investment.

5. Opportunities

So, where does the magic happen? It happens in areas that are still relatively low-key and have un-inflated prices for land and houses (if you look in the right places) and have high tourism demand. Below are the locations we've identified.

  • La Fortuna / Arenal ( High search data, affordable Real Estate, High end hotels, solid occupancy)

  • Monteverde (High search data, affordable Real Estate, mid level hotels , solid occupancy)

  • Tamarindo (High search data, find land and build or older homes and remodel, mid level hotels, solid occupancy)

  • Puerto Viejo / Cahuita (High search data, affordable Real Estate, mid level hotels, solid occupancy

  • Samara (High search data, affordable Real Estate, not so many mid end hotels, solid occupancy)

If you have any questions fell free to email or click the button at the top of the page to book a call with one of our investment or relocation specialists.

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