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174 Costa Rica New Beachfront Development near Jaco

174 Costa Rica New Beachfront Development near Jaco
174 Costa Rica New Beachfront Development near Jaco

Podcast Transcription


[Richard Bexon]
Good morning, Maria. How are you doing?

[Maria Jimenez]
Good. How are you? Thank you for having me here.

[Richard Bexon]
Not at all. Not at all. I'm actually I think you're in San Jose.

And I'm actually down in OR are you in Los Suenos?

[Maria Jimenez]
I'm in Los Suenos. Yes, we can do it in person.

[Richard Bexon]
I don't think I've ever done a podcast in person yet.

[Maria Jimenez]
But I've, I've been True.

[Richard Bexon]
I've been requested actually to do a podcast called Costa Rica dogs. Me and my friend were talking about this Casey, but it's called dirty old gringos. I don't not too sure about that.

But it's like the gringos that have been in Costa Rica for like 40-50 years that you know, the original guys that came here in the 70s and 80s, the godfathers of tourism, eco sustainability, you know, people that came here when it was really virgin, but we'll see if that one happens. But that's gonna have to be in person.

[Maria Jimenez]
I call them the settlers.

[Richard Bexon]
I think the dirty old gringos comes from it being more marketable. But I don't think any of those guys would actually like to be called that. So but anyway, well, my first question for you, Maria, again, thanks very much for taking the time to join us here with real estate in North America, kind of more, I would say on a downward trend.

You know, in some areas, I think it's flat. I definitely know it's not growing at the volume it did post COVID, but probably not even here as well. I mean, how has like your volume of business impacted?

What are you seeing? And what do you think that you expect of 2024?

[Maria Jimenez]
Well, I'm almost new in this business. Like I'm an entrepreneur myself. And I started in real estate after 2021 in the year of 2021 was when I first started.

And I have seen more and more requests of different markets. And it's not only the vacation rental second home luxury home, but the one where they are planning to move and come to Costa Rica to retire and leave. And they are understanding them within three or four or five years, they want to move to Costa Rica and make their living here.

So it's very interesting, because in my two years, which are post COVID, I don't know the real estate market before I know it as an investor, as as other parts, but not as that.

[Richard Bexon]
Okay. I mean, if you were to compare, though, let's say your volume, I don't know, this quarter, say October, November and December, versus October, November, December last year, you know, 2022. I mean, how do they how do they compare just to give people an understanding of the what's kind of happening in the market?

[Maria Jimenez]
Well, I've seen growth and more and more requests for more variety of properties. And it's very funny, because as you were saying that US market has slowed down, which is not the case, probably last year, against this year, that that market has a slowdown, but we haven't seen yet such a slowdown in the requests here. My brokers in the company always warn us like, okay, be aware, be aware, be aware.

Yeah. So I'm constantly learning and understanding what is it that it's out there, the interest rates are very high. And that's a complaint we hear all across, even from the Costa Rican buyers, who are foreigners buyers, they are afraid they don't want to invest, they don't want to put all the money into a property.

But also, there's a need to have that other property where they can pretty much like hide and survive something like that.

[Richard Bexon]
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it's interesting.

I was up in Santa Juana Lodge yesterday, with the owner of Santa Juana Lodge, who's also the owner of C. Comano, Jim DeMarla, I've been friends for many years. He was saying, because it's a very rustic lodge he has up there, he was like, it's incredible the amount of like fortune 500 CEOs and like high flying people he gets up this very rustic lodge.

And I said, Look, Jim, I think the thing you understand is people are looking for raw and authenticity. And the biggest asset that Costa Rica has is its people. So when you go to a lodge like that, where it's run by the community, like you get that rawness and that authenticity.

And I think that that's what a lot of people look for in Costa Rica, because I think it's very different to find in some parts of the world as well. Like you have to go to the real countryside sometimes in here, in this country. But like here in Costa Rica, you drive 10 minutes and you have raw and authentic, you know, you've still got the guy riding around, you know, with his machete on top of a horse.

And like, you even get it in Santa Ana, like down in San Jose, like it's incredible. So but yeah, I mean, what is your advice for a lot of people investing in Costa Rica? I mean, you know, it's a lot of people want to do it.

But I mean, what are your kind of your sage bits of wisdom for them?

[Maria Jimenez]
To be, to know that they're moving a country. That's something I tell and remind my clients all the time, because especially for the US market, it's so usual for them to move from one state to another state. And it's so simple.

And they're used to that. But here, they won't be moving a state, they're moving a country and they face the language and all the tramits which come with a property and which come either if it's only a vacation rental or living here, they will need to open a bank account and they will need to understand that they're going to be one day sitting a three hour time or four hour time in a bank branch, understanding that they have to have all the papers ready. They will have to go through a license process through the immigration process. And those are overwhelming for many clients, they are frustrated easily, which when they don't understand how to pay the HOA, when they don't understand how to pay the municipal taxes, and that they're not getting the billing on their mail, because we don't really have the mail.

So I tell them, do it, you will be happy. But remind yourself, it's a country, it's not a state, what you're moving. Also knowing what you can invest and what is the end goal of that investment.

If it's going to be a standalone property, yes, you have no HOA fees, but you will have to have a caretaker, a neighbor, an alarm system and things like that that provide you security. So you need to understand all those things before making that investment. And if it's construction, it's probably going to take you two years before you can see your building ready.

[Richard Bexon]
Yeah, which is really is not that bad. I mean, you know, some people are like, you know, I mean, we've been building houses in like 16, 18 months. But I mean, if you don't have like a project management team, it probably will take you two years.

But I mean, a lot of people even two years, though, can be quick. I mean, some people have to wait three, four, five years in the US, you know, so it's not too bad. Maria, you touched on something there, which was security here.

I think it's the front of a lot of people's mind here at the moment. I mean, what is your viewpoint on what's happening in Costa Rica and how secure it is?

[Maria Jimenez]
Well, when you're buying title land, and foreigners are allowed to have to own corporations to own the property under name, we respect that. So there's security for the investment against other countries where people are buying in structures or who knows what complication that puts at risk their investment. That a Costa Rica has that security where the government is decentralized, as you know, and it gives frustrating when you're doing that permits, because you need to go to the municipality and to the city and all these things that are independent branches that tell you if you can build or not build.

But that same authority and maybe called bureaucracy gives you also security that your property is your property. So don't fall into buying it in a different way. Foreigners are welcome to invest in Costa Rica and own the land, their name or their corporation name.

[Richard Bexon]
What about when it comes to personal security, though, Maria, like physical security, if that makes sense, you know, Costa Rica's had a couple of headlines recently about stuff that's going on. I know it's the thing that people are worried about, like, is it safe? Like for me to visit Costa Rica, like personally, I mean, what is your viewpoint on that area?

[Maria Jimenez]
My viewpoint is I feel very secure. If I travel, I never go around with all of my belongings, camera, computer and things walking in the middle of any city in the world. So be aware you're in cities in Costa Rica are much more smaller than any city that probably is out there in the world.

But be aware that yes, people in school, they will talk to you, they will greet you, they will smile at you, because that's how Ticos are. We are like that. But be aware that you still need to take care of your belongings.

If you're going to a beach for a day, someone needs to stay watching the belongings. Not everyone can go to the ocean and leave the belongings because you, if you're in a park, you run at the risk that the monkeys will take your belongings. And that's a good one and funny and you'll have a lot of footage, but you don't want to cry about your things.

So don't leave the items in your car for stopping for a meal or something. Make sure that you're always seeing the car. And sadly, that's part of what we have a robbery.

And also with the standalone properties, it happens. So you have to have some sort of security. That's why also gated communities are fantastic in those cases.

And you have a choice that vary from $100 to $1,000. So also understand what you can afford and pay for every single month.

[Richard Bexon]
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I've always said that Costa Rica is very much opportunistic crime.

You know, I mean, people see an opportunity and that's typically how it happens. You know, I mean, I think there's been a spate recently of, you know, drug crime in certain areas, but I think it's not thinking, you know, it's isolated more towards the Punta Arenas to the Limon area, you know, those actual towns where, you know, basically drugs are being imported. And again, to date really hasn't affected tourism that much.

You know, we're not seeing it in our numbers and demands, you know, it's going very well, you know, and the government is, you know, putting their foot down here, you know, allocating resources here to police departments, you know, all throughout the country and also, you know, having more police on the roads as well here. So I think it's just that people just need to understand that like, you're not really going to see it here. It's not Mexico here by any means.

It's a very peaceful, tranquil country. Yes, things happen. But like, again, from a personal point of view is the majority of it's just opportunistic crime, like just don't create the opportunity.

[Maria Jimenez]
Yes. If you leave the bicycle outside, it's going to be taken by someone. Someone might think it's garbage.

[Richard Bexon]
Exactly. Exactly. I mean, that's what happens sometimes.

I mean, like, look, when I've got like an old washing machine or something, like I leave it outside our condominium and it disappears in like two seconds. I mean, that's kind of, yeah, it's, you know, it's naturally recycled, say so. But I mean, there's a lot of, I mean, you're here in Los Banos, you know, which is near Haco, which is in the Central Pacific for anyone listening.

I mean, Haco is about to have a like, you know, probably double its inventory in that area with all these new towers going on.

[Maria Jimenez]
We talk about that.

[Richard Bexon]
Yeah. I mean, what, what impact do you think that's going to have on the market, Maria?

[Maria Jimenez]
Well, I think a lot more of visitation, which we keep growing. And as you know very well, the growth of tourism is constant in Costa Rica. And we're way behind a country like Mexico, who has 10 times our visitation rate.

So I think that will open offer. So there can be more tourism, but also for the investors that are doing Airbnb and relaying on making that investment as their income producing, they have to be aware that a lot more rooms will be available. So they need to understand that.

In their projections.

[Richard Bexon]
Yeah. I mean, basically inventory is probably going to double, you know, or at least increase 50%. And I mean, I think Haco is at about a 53, 54% occupancy.

So I think you just need to analyze that numbers because a lot of the demand is in high season. Anyway, there are certain periods of the year where that demand is and probably everything's full. So yes, there could be surplus.

I think it's, as you said, you just need to analyze the numbers.

[Maria Jimenez]
And I have seen clients also that they don't really want to rent. They're buying their property and they will come three, four times, six times a year. And all they want to know is that they have their own place in Costa Rica for them and for their friends to use.

So if that's the case, the variety that's coming out there in the market of new properties gives a good opportunity for this option because also the properties that are moving, coming in and out of the market of vacation rentals have an impact on what we can offer. Right.

[Richard Bexon]
Definitely. Definitely. I mean, you live in Los Sueños full time.

I mean, how is that different than the Haco market? I mean, I'm very aware of it, but like for people listening here, I mean, they're literally 10 minutes apart. I mean, what is the difference?

[Maria Jimenez]
The difference is a big difference. You have to decide if you want to leave a walking distance to a marina or walking distance to, I don't know, restaurants and a supermarket. Exactly.

Other services. Los Sueños is a very well gated community. I allow my kid to go in a bicycle to the marina area.

She is young and I don't feel unsecured by doing so. Your property is going to be secure. Your belongings are going to be secured the whole time.

It's very pretty. But then in Haco, you have the ocean, the beach. People like to have the sand and that closeness to being able to see the sunset all year round pretty much.

So it's for different markets. Some people want, I have brought clients that come to Los Sueños and they say like, this is like Florida. I don't want to have a property in Costa Rica.

It looks like Florida. They want to stay then in Haco. They want to be in the first row, which gives you, Haco gives you that luxury.

You can have tidal land, beachfront, which is not everywhere in Costa Rica. Most of those opportunities are concession and we don't recommend them for foreigners.

[Richard Bexon]
What product do you think, what product do you think is currently missing in your area? Meaning that like, what stuff are clients looking for that's not there? What would you love to have more of?

[Maria Jimenez]
Well, for the amount of people that I see going to Pricemart, which is the Costco of Costa Rica, of Latin America, I think that is missing. But for me as an entrepreneur and business owner, we really don't miss anything. Like we have government services.

We can go to the Caja office. We have all the, pretty much all of the bank branches, the public ones and many private ones between Haco and Los Sueños. You'll find that the rest of the supermarket chains are also available from Alto Mercado to Maxi Pali.

So you have all of the Walmart branches to Amica provides for hotels and restaurants, which comes very useful instead of a Pricemart location. There's also services for kids, like classes, like they want to be enrolled in ballet or jujitsu. So for people that are not visiting but moving here to live, there's four plus options of private schools plus all the public education that's free in Costa Rica.

So there's very few things that you lack compared to our previous life in San Jose. Haco is a very complete community.

[Richard Bexon]
We're doing the Pequeño Mundo in Heredura, just so you know. So you'll have that.

[Maria Jimenez]
I heard you told me last time we met. Yes, I heard. We're looking forward to that Pequeño Mundo.

[Richard Bexon]
Exactly, exactly. But I mean, what real estate product is missing? What would you like to have more of?

Like we would love to have more single family homes, you know, around the three to four hundred thousand. I mean, what would you love to see?

[Maria Jimenez]
You know, what's really missing and people ask a lot, an all inclusive resort.

[Richard Bexon]

[Maria Jimenez]
Well, there's there's not really an all inclusive resort in this area. And I used to go to Amapola. Yes, but it's still not out there like I don't know, like dreams or like a brand name kind of all inclusive resort.

There's none. The Hotel Maria does very well in Los Angeles, but probably the area can afford another hotel. It was recently announced that Villa La Paz is transforming into autograph collection by Marriott.

So yeah, that's bringing. I don't know more options, more high end options for.

[Richard Bexon]
Well, when Enjoy Group gets hold of anything, it usually becomes an autograph Marriott. So so, yeah, that was I think it was their uncles. But it's yeah, I mean, it's a beautiful hotel, but I agree.

I mean, you know, I mean, here it's very small boutique hotels here all in the central and southern area. I mean, you know, the majority of full inclusives are up there. I mean, there's probably a huge market for it.

I mean, if someone bought Teresa del Pacifico, if they ever sold, you know, you could turn that into an all inclusive in Playa Hermoso or.

[Maria Jimenez]
Yeah, I think the best Western in Oaxaca still isn't all inclusive, but yeah, but there's like that feeling of that part missing and people ask about it.

[Richard Bexon]
Well, because I would never think that, but that's a great viewpoint. Well, let's change gears, Marianne, talk about Mystico. Mystico was the project that we met, you know, where I've been down to, I think, two or three times now, you know, just I mean, beautiful master plan that you guys have got there, you know, homes kind of around lakes, cycling, hiking.

I know that you guys are building beachfront stuff now. There's also a beachfront community. I mean, it's an up and coming community in the area.

And I mean, I think that there aren't that many up and coming beachfront communities that are just getting started. I mean, a lot of stuff is being around for 30 years and is nearly finishing. I mean, what is it about this development that you believe in?

And like, how would you describe it to listeners?

[Maria Jimenez]
Yes, because of working the whole area and living in Los Angeles, I found Mystico and originally when I saw it and when I visited, they didn't have the beachfront property. Now they have it. It was something that they secured this year or at the end of last year.

And that has been a game changer for them. They have been in the market. They are already houses built there, apartments built there, but it's going to be over 900 acres of property.

It's very environmentally friendly. The element that unites the development is the water. So there's lakes, there's river, the oceanfront.

They are keeping reserves within the community to make it very, very green. And they are keeping all the vegetation and all the the greenery is more endemic. You know, other developments, they have a switch, like let's move the rainforest into all these beautiful flowers.

So that is part of the beauty of Mystico. It's a place where it's gated. Desarrolladores 506 have been around in Costa Rica for 50 years.

They know how to develop. They've been involved in commercial, in residential development, and they have been very organized and focused on developing the project. I see an opportunity for people to have a combination of owning their property is near an ocean access, which is Playa Hermosa, and having security without having to pay the overprice of a brand or a market that's there.

It's also made in the recent years, which has brought into place the possibilities to have solar panels, all the electricity is underground, the water is being used more efficient. So the HOA is being kept low. So all those things are beneficial in the combination.

And for me is one of the best gated communities in the area.

[Richard Bexon]
Yeah, I think when visiting it, Maria, you know, my comment was that it's still lacking that community, if that makes sense, meaning that there are homes and but I, you know, from what I understand, it's definitely coming. So I mean, you know, it could be interesting to see, you know, it reminds me of Las Catalinas when they first got it started, you know, that they had the homes, but didn't really have the community. But like, you know, then it came very quickly.

You know, it's just I think, just a question of like, how fast can you move with the beach club and those kind of things. So I think as soon as that starts moving, I mean, I think for any investors that, you know, are investing for the long term or looking for something a little bit further out, you know, that's not Los Cueños, that's not in Jaco, but it's kind of close enough that if you want to go, you can kind of within 15 minutes, but it's also beachfront. Mistico should definitely be on their radar.

[Maria Jimenez]
Yes, and the variety, because me as a realtor, I can bring a client there, and they can choose from land or a two bedroom, two bathroom apartment to start in at $220,000, or they can move further up to land that's title and beachfront into more luxury, right? So there's like a variety of options of properties you can own depending on what you're looking and that gives flexibility to build a community also in a nice way. They're working on, I call it the beta beachfront community right now, the beach club, and they will have it for this season, but it's their first version and it's going to bring more awareness because the project was around for a couple years without any beachfront property and that is being reminded by consumers.

So now that they will actually are able to drive and see that the beach is there and the ocean is there and that you can go and see the sunset in the afternoon is becoming more relevant to a community. The cycle paths are beautiful, the hiking trails are beautiful, and using the lakes for kayaking or paddleboarding is super nice. You should come one of these days that you're training for your triathlon.

If you want to go in the lake, we have kayaks and paddleboards there.

[Richard Bexon]
If you want to come, you can use it. Fantastic. No, I'll definitely take you up on that.

I mean, again, I'm actually not training for a triathlon for another couple of months yet, but I should probably keep it going to get a good base. But well, Maria, I really appreciate you coming on the podcast. My last question for you, which I love to ask everyone is if you inherited $500,000 and you had to invest it into business or real estate in Costa Rica, what would you invest it in and why?

[Maria Jimenez]
I will probably look for two or three properties that are probably two bedroom, two bathroom properties. I will try that all of them are in the same building and put them in vacation rental. And I will probably choose the Central Pacific.

I like the Manuel Antonio Quepos area as well, but we have learned a lot. We do vacation rental for the last eight years. We know that having the same units kind of allows you flexibility on how to move your clients around and maximizes your income.

So that will be my choice. Um, I, if I have a view, I rather have a pearly side sunset view, because when you have the sunset setting on the front, it's terrible, really hot afternoon. So probably I'll have the option to have it sideways, even though I would love to have the ocean view.

[Richard Bexon]
It's amazing how many people don't think about the sun here because it's not normal, you know, in the, in the Northern Hemisphere, but here, I mean, the sun is so strong. Like the whole idea of somebody the other day was like, I need my eaves shorter. And I was like, you don't, you need your eaves longer.

Like the sun is strong here.

[Maria Jimenez]
Yes. Very strong.

[Richard Bexon]
Well, Maria, this has been great. I really appreciate you taking time to come on the podcast. Anyone that wants to contact you, I'll put all of your contact descriptions, uh, your contact details in the description down below, but thank you very much for taking the time to join us.

[Maria Jimenez]
Thank you. Thank you again for having me. I had a great time.

Talking to you and I will see you soon. Bye.

[Richard Bexon]
Sounds good.

[Maria Jimenez]

Let's Get in Touch!

We chat about the Central Pacific's newest beachfront development, Mistico, near Jaco and Playa Hermosa. Maria Jiminez from 2 Cost Rica Real Estate and I talk about the main beach towns, what's happening in each and where value can still be had in the Central Pacific.

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