Virgin Grand
A Multi-Resort Development










A Multi-Resort Development

Real Estate Boom
         Real estate and tourism in Costa Rica is skyrocketing, but it is no accident. The government, described in the Wall Street Journal as “one of Latin America’s most stable democracies”, has discovered that tourism is the secret to improving roads, building and expanding airports, and raising the country’s standard of living. 

         When The Four Seasons was built in 2001 in the Northwest Quanacaste region, tourists consisted mostly of fishing groups and eco adventurers, but the five-star resort was an instant success and more upscale developments followed. As a result, tax money was channeled to improve access and the local economy skyrocketed. On the heels of this success, Costa Rica instituted a sustainable tourism development plan to preserve its natural splendor and is offering unprecedented incentives to develop resorts. 

         While labor costs run as low as $300 per month for construction workers, taxes and import duty have made imported building material costly. However, developers of tourism projects can now qualify for an exemption that waives all fees on materials used in connection with developing a resort. In addition, for the price of a permit, builders can apply to truck river rock (gravel) from local streams to use as sub-base for parking lots and private roads. How much better can it get - low labor cost, materials from anywhere in the world imported free of added charges and quarry-quality stone available around the corner at no charge? 

         Escalating Property Values 

         The Los Suenos Resort (www.lossuenosresort.com), on the mid-Pacific coast, is another project that demonstrates the recent rise in upscale developments, tourism, and how a large resort can catapult the local real estate market. Although the site is a two-hour drive from the closest airport and many people questioned whether visitors would come, it was an instant success. According to local residents, the former cattle ranch, measuring approximately 1100 acres, was purchased around the millenium for approximately 1 million dollars. Today some Los Suenos condominium units and home sites sell for more than this, but what is even more significant is the price run-up miles away. In the town of Jaco located 10 minutes to the north, a large supermarket was recently built and they are now asking 1.5 million per acre for commercial property on secondary streets (see photo). If prices were to appreciate like this in the Virgin Grand area (and there is no reason to believe that they won’t), this would represent a 7500-percent increase in the land value alone. 

         Tourism Increase 

         Since 1999, the amount of tourists who visit Costa Rica annually has doubled and continues to grow. This is largely attributed to baby-boomers coming into the retirement age and the recent ramp-up in second home cost in other parts of the world. While home prices in Florida, the New Jersey shore and other vacation areas have fallen recently, Costa Rica real estate in the resort areas has continued to rise. 

         Visitors come here for the first time and are surprised by how safe and secure they feel. People soon realize that Costa Ricans are very friendly. Many speak English, they have a 98% literacy rate, and are very service-oriented. The country’s virgin, unspoiled beauty is breathtaking and the rural areas are akin to going back to a period when people lived off the land and pooled their efforts. 

         While exploring the Virgin Grand site, our group simply dismounted our horses and ate wild pineapples, bananas, coconuts and cashews, and drank water right out of streams whenever we needed nourishment. We also spent a day walking through the center of the nearby town without ever seeing a beggar. They have lived off the land here for years and are more accustomed to helping each other.

         As more first-hand visitor accounts like this spread back home and tourism incentives continue to facilitate better roads and infrastructure, the visitor rate is poised to increase exponentially. 

         Five years ago, the Virgin Grand site had no utilities at all. Today it is serviced by electric, telephone, cable television and high speed Internet, and the roads are under improvement. Locals in rural areas will tell you that they have been working on the roads for a long time, but now, where there are promising tourism projects, the roads are actually getting built. 

         Another sign of rapid growth is the influx of large US and International realty and building companies. It is rumored that Turner Construction is planning a large presence in Costa Rica and Colliers International has already set up several offices. 

         Colliers’ literature, distributed at the recent Costa Rica Tourism Investment Summit that Plaza Properties officials attended, states that they “began operations to maximize opportunities in a country where the political, economic and social stability attracts important flo
ws of foreign investment capital”. 

         Colliers Also Offers These Compelling Points

         • Costa Rica is the most stable country in Latin America. 
         • Tourism has grown over 10% per year over the last four years. 
         • Costa Rican property is easy to own for foreigners and foreign investment is expected to quadruple 
            from $225 million in 2005 to $850 million in 2011. 
         • $2.15 billion has been committed to 35 new projects in the most popular tourism area over the last five
             years. 
         • Foreigners have the same property ownership rights as Costa Rican citizens, including Fee Simple 
            ownership. 
         • American-style financing and property and title insurance. • Low property taxes compared to USA. 
         • Costa Rica has had a constitutional democracy for over 100 years and no financial crisis for over 
            20 years. 
         • The US Government predicts 1 million Americans will retire to Costa Rica over the next 10 years. 
         • Costa Rica is only a five-hour flight from Los Angeles or a 2.5-hour flight from Miami. 

         For more information on the Costa Rica real estate and tourism boom, please visit our press page or click here.

         There is also a great deal of information on everything from title insurance to moving furniture and cars to Costa Rica at http://sombrascr.com/faq/.