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Locations to consider living in Costa Rica

My wife and I are looking for feedback on locations that would provide the following:
- very safe
- reasonably priced
- nearby to golf and beach (within several miles)

Any suggestions would be appreciated.  Thanks.

Ralph and Marian

For serious golfer or even semi-serious, Costa Rica is not the place to golf, inexpensively. Not many courses near the beaches and these are geared for the tourist at an expensive  hotel to play a few holes.
When golfing at the beach, expect it to be very hot unless you play in the very early morning, and often very windy from Nov-March in Guanacaste. It gets dark here, around 6pm, so no evening games. During the rainy season, the conditions may not considered 'ideal'.

Suggest you search out the golf clubs first...but check carefully that they are actually in existence, since many were 'touted' as going to be built but plans changed...

Beach living is not cheap, either, especially if you use A/C.
You should check the areas out for yourselves before making any decisions.

Thanks for the quick response.  My research has indicated that golf and residence would be expensive near the golf resorts.  Many expats live by the mountains which is less expensive for residence and A/C.  So is there a happy medium?  Could you live closer to the mountains and commute to beach/golf within an hour drive?  Please keep in mind that safety is our number one concern.  Is there any places that you could recommend me researching or agents to contact?

Ralph

I would strongly suggest you visit for more than a short vacation, check around then RENT, until you are sure this country is for you. Lots of websites to look at.
Many say that between 50-60% of  expats return to their homeland for various reasons within 3 years and while it is very easy to buy, it is very difficult to sell.

Info living here legally

There are two golf course that I know of, first hand. One is Cariari Golf and Country Club and Valle del sol, the latter being less expensive and preferred by the expats that I know and that can afford to golf.  The area around the Cariari is very and safe area to live.

No, expect it to take at least an hour and a half to reach a nice beach town from most areas in the Central Valley....and that depends on many factors.

Thank you very much for taking the time to respond with solid advice.

Ralph

I lived in Herradura for 1 year, very close to Jaco on the Pacific Coast. We lived within walking distance to the beach and golf resort at Los Suenos. The membership to Los Suenos golf, fitness, and pools was about $3000 for the year if I recall correctly which is very comparable to any golf clubs we have here in my hometown in Columbus, Ohio. My rent for a modern, secure 3 bed, 3 bath condo was $1100 a month, which again was was very reasonable. I felt very safe walking around with my family including my 2 year old and teenagers. The Electricity was a big unexpected cost so you must make sure your housing is airy and efficient or it could run up to $800/month if you run AC constantly in a 2000 sq foot house...at least for us. We found a way to stay cool by leaving the house more and no AC at night (most of the time). The rainy season is not as bad as ppl say, it just rains everyday at about 4 pm and the grounds were fine most of the time, but that was just my experience, of course climates can change. I have a friend that my son went to private school in Herradura with that is a realtor in Jaco if you want contact info.

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Thank you for the information.  I have heard that AC can be expensive.  Most people suggested living near the mountains to cut cost.  Thanks for the name of realtor.

Ralph

You should try Pilas de San Isidro. I live here and love it!

For cheaper living in the mountains I would suggest San Ramon. However I have no idea if there's a golf course within an hour of there, and as someone said the distance to the beaches is over an hour even though San Ramon is or is about the most western of the Central Valley. (Not sure where "Central Valley" ends, going west.)

As to a.c. I am getting ready to build and I am told that the thing about building is that most people do it wrong and do not have proper insulation and ventilation. If you do that right then a.c. isn't going to be AS expensive as many who have done it wrong are paying. But electricity is still expensive.

One thing about living in the mountains in the Central Valley is that you won't need a.c., you just need fans and ventilation as mentioned. Most people's day time living room is an outdoor porch or patio and when I have lived in Costa Rica I spent 90% of my time outdoors except for sleeping and maybe an hour or two before bed.

Also the mountains are generally much cooler. Every 1000 feet elevation gives you noticeably cooler weather. If you get up around 4-5k feet it actually gets cold (to me anyway) in the night and early morning, 4-6am.

I have found the ideal elevation for me is around 2500-3000 feet.

As someone else said, don't just buy in  Costa Rica based on an article or two or what you've heard. First visit, then find a place you think you like, then LIVE there (not in a hotel but in a house) and get an idea what it's like to live there, at least a month, preferably several months.

If you don't like living there, try another part of Costa Rica. Costa Rica has micro climates so moving just from one side of a town to the other side can make a big difference. Example: north of San Ramon is higher and colder, west of San Ramon is lower and cool but not as cold. (This is a generalization, as an example. Micro climates about in all directions.)

Also various towns and communities have their own personalities.

A couple of members on this forum have talked about a gated community near Jaco I think, that they bought in and like. Maybe there's a golf course near there. Look around the forum for threads on that development.

The north west of Costa RIca is almost like CALIF. from what I hear (I've only been there once) - very hot and dry; completely different than the rest of Costa Rica.

Go on an extended golfing vacation there, check out the courses, check out the surrounding areas or areas as far out from a course as you'd want to drive. Then rent in that place for a month or two and test it out. If you give us an exact location (near this or that town) of a golf course and how far you'd want to drive to it from, then we can recommend a town to consider living in, at a higher cooler elevation - and cheaper than the beach areas.

Thanks for the suggestion.  Is it near a golf course or beach?

Ralph

No golf courses in this area. You really need to search out the locations of the golf courses in Costa Rica, noting that some may have been planned in the past but never completed.

Maybe 1.5 +/- hour to the beach in Puntarenas.

Guanacaste is great. We were there this past winter. Yes, it is hot but that is Costa Rica. Playa Conchal has a nice golf course. Tamarindo is very developed (for Costa Rica) and has a nice beach and great food.

Cheapest golf is in Ojochal.  About 20 mil for a cart and 9 holes.  Not a 5 star but decent.

I hope you find/found where you want to be. 

Tom

Just FYI, my daughter and her family live at at golf and surf community in Nicaragua that has reasonable living costs and is a safe gated community:  haciendaiguana.com/   iguanasurfrentals.com/

You can build your own home or buy a condo on the beach or on the golf course.

Nicaragua certainly isn't for everyone, though a friend of mine likes to go there.

A lot  of gringos live in the Ojochal area. However like most beach areas it can get very hot there.

I don't know if there are any golf courses anywhere near any mountain towns but unless you are used to hot humid weather like parts of Florida or Georgia, you may not like living at the beach. One can get used to it, though, which is why it's best to rent for awhile where you may want to live, to see if you like it, first. 

I used to live at the beach and it would typically take me 2-4 weeks to get used to the humidity there. Once you get used to it, it's not bad. However that was AT/ON the beach, not half an hour from it. If you live half an hour or so from the beach you may say "Oh, I don't feel like driving to the beach right now..." and so you'll suffer the humidity but not be able to walk over to the ocean and easily take a dip.

So to me, if you're going to live AT the ocean it makes sense to live on the beach, not 15-30 minutes from it. But that's just my humble opinion. Something to consider.

Personally I am partial to the Southern Zone. In the spirit of full disclosure, I should say that work as a real estate agent in the zone with Coldwell Banker in Dominical. But I was living here long before that...

I am a blogger and wouldn't you know it, but I did write a list of reasons I believe the Southern Zone is the best place in Costa Rica to invest...here it is, for anyone interested...

costaricaexpattours.com/10-reasons-to-invest-in-the-costa-rica-southern-zone/

In the Southern Zone we have Costa Rica's highest mountains, but also some of the most gorgeous coastline and best waves. I also regard it as the last vast wilderness of Costa Rica, at least a habitable one...and here you can really find your own private paradise...

I live in the mountains of Perez Zeledon and love it, for the climate, the convenience (as in the "big" city of San Isidro de El General), the culture and it puts me in the right "context" of being able to enjoy both the mountains and the beach...Playa Dominical is only 40 minutes from my front door...and the trail head of Cerro Chirripo, highest mountain in Costa Rica, about the same...

Pura Vida!

Scott

packagecr :

Personally I am partial to the Southern Zone. In the spirit of full disclosure, I should say that work as a real estate agent in the zone with Coldwell Banker in Dominical. But I was living here long before that...

I am a blogger and wouldn't you know it, but I did write a list of reasons I believe the Southern Zone is the best place in Costa Rica to invest...here it is, for anyone interested...

costaricaexpattours.com/10-reasons-to-invest-in-the-costa-rica-southern-zone/

In the Southern Zone we have Costa Rica's highest mountains, but also some of the most gorgeous coastline and best waves. I also regard it as the last vast wilderness of Costa Rica, at least a habitable one...and here you can really find your own private paradise...

I live in the mountains of Perez Zeledon and love it, for the climate, the convenience (as in the "big" city of San Isidro de El General), the culture and it puts me in the right "context" of being able to enjoy both the mountains and the beach...Playa Dominical is only 40 minutes from my front door...and the trail head of Cerro Chirripo, highest mountain in Costa Rica, about the same...

Pura Vida!

Scott

packagecr, I like San Isidro de El General also and actually looked at property down there before I bought in San Ramon. I once lived near there and used to pass through Perez Zeledon. (Perhaps you can clear it up for me, then: what is the difference between "San Isidro..." and "Perez Zeledon" - they seem to be used almost interchangeably.)

I very much like that area!
The one drawback for me is that it is so far from San Jose in case I need something I can't get in S. Isidro, and that road that goes between there and San Jose is so curvy and full of trucks. But every place has its upside and its downside.

I have not been to S. Isidro for years; has it doubled or more, in the past 10  years? I would imagine it has, as have most towns in Costa Rica... Used to have a very small town atmosphere.

Thanks for the comment. Perez Zeledon is the name of the canton, or county. The main city in Perez is San Isidro. This is a common practice in Costa Rica. For instance, people who live in Ciudad Quesada will tell you they live in San Carlos, whereas the latter is the county, not the city itself.

San Isidro is often referred to as Costa Rica's second largest city, outside of the GAM. I am not 100% sure if that claim is technically correct, but I don't know what other city would be larger. It has experienced tremendous growth during the 6 years that I've lived here. I very rarely need to travel to San Jose as I can find most anything I need here.

You should come visit again some time. I believe you'd be surprised and pleased. For me, it's the best of Costa Rica. It still has a great small town feel and I love that. The people here are wonderful.

packagecr :

Thanks for the comment. Perez Zeledon is the name of the canton, or county. The main city in Perez is San Isidro. This is a common practice in Costa Rica. For instance, people who live in Ciudad Quesada will tell you they live in San Carlos, whereas the latter is the county, not the city itself.

San Isidro is often referred to as Costa Rica's second largest city, outside of the GAM. I am not 100% sure if that claim is technically correct, but I don't know what other city would be larger. It has experienced tremendous growth during the 6 years that I've lived here. I very rarely need to travel to San Jose as I can find most anything I need here.

You should come visit again some time. I believe you'd be surprised and pleased. For me, it's the best of Costa Rica. It still has a great small town feel and I love that. The people here are wonderful.

I do want to come visit SI again some day, and head on down to Dominical and up to Matapalo as well where a friend lives.

It will be interesting, I'm sure, to see how San Isidro has grown.

By the way, thanks for clarifying the "Perez Zeledon" thing! Finally I know!

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