Should You Consider a Home in Costa Rica's Central Valley?
Nov 16, 2012
If you think a home in Costa Rica isn’t an option for you, think again! Whether you’re considering a second home, or a retirement home, Costa Rica is absolutely a country to consider. Not only is it affordable to purchase land, to build on later, or an existing home, it’s not a requirement to live there year-round if that’s not your intention. There is an incredibly lucrative rental market in Costa Rica, meaning you live in your house for the part of the year you wish, and rent it out for the remaining time of the year. It’s not uncommon to receive monthly rentals of $1000 - $1800, depending on the location of your home.
Consider Areas Outside of San Jose in the Central Valley
Approximately two-thirds of Costa Rican residents live in Meseta Central – the Central Valley. Aside from San Jose, there are many other large cities in this part of Costa Rica including Heredia, Cartago and Alajuela. Aside from being more metropolitan, the temperatures and general weather is considerably different from the Costa Rican coastal areas. With altitudes between 3,000 and 5,000 feet the climate is typically cooler then the hot and humid alternatives of the coasts, particularly noticeable during the rainy season. The Central Valley is located on a plateau and covers 3,500 square miles of land area. It may be interesting for you to know that the capital, San Jose, was not always the capital of Costa Rica. The original capital, Cartago, had its title stripped in 1824 by the original head of state that chose to move the government to San Jose. This decision had its pros and cons. For example, a fresh start for Costa Rica also meant that the typical, stylish Spanish architecture would be missing from the current capital city. That being said, there are many towns in the Central Valley renowned for their splendor and appeal that attract North Americans with their shops, galleries, churches, markets and restaurants, including San Jose.
Amenities and Activities of the Central Valley
Not only does the Central Valley have a refreshing climate and beautiful architecture, it also boasts a variety of medical facilities and well-known hotels. In addition, it houses Costa Rica’s popular American school – The Country Day School – located in Escazú, and the Juan Santamaría International Airport, both only a short distance from San Jose.
If volcanoes are something that interests you, the Central Valley is a must-visit location of Costa Rica! Not far from San José is the very popular Poás Volcano National Park (Parque Nacional Volcán Poás). Poás is by far the most active volcano in Costa Rica, and a visit to the park allows visitors an opportunity to actually peer into an active volcano without the difficulty of having to hike up one. There is currently no immediate danger associated with visiting Poás, as scientists are continually monitoring its activity. The last major blowout was in 1953, but a minor eruption occurred in 1989, closing the park for a brief time. Several volcanoes dot the landscape all along the Central Valley up towards the northern point of Costa Rica.
Small-Town Living in the Central Valley
If you’re considering the Central Valley in Costa Rica as your new or temporary home base, there are many options available outside of the capital, San Jose. Expats that choose to live in the Central Valley appear to be gravitating towards ‘Tico’ neighborhoods as opposed to living amongst themselves. There are several towns such as Atenas, Grecia and Ramón, to name a few, that are in close proximity to the International Airport in San Jose, as well as the Pacific Coast. The temperatures in these areas are also very appealing to expats – consistently warm, hovering around the 80s during the day and dipping down to the 60s at night. Aside from temperatures, these towns feature moderate populations and are well equipped with shops, doctors, dentists, incredible restaurants, fitness centers and charming street markets.
There's no doubt that Costa Rica's central valley is a paradise all in it's own. A year-round spring like climate, lush forests and all the necessities to make life comfortable.