In many ways, the Caribbean side of Costa Rica stands apart from the rest of the country.
For many years, this area was virtually isolated – a situation that went two ways. Many Ticos have a deep-rooted distrust of the Afro-Caribbean settlers, and the Caribenos developed a strong identity very different from the rest of the country.
The inland lowlands are home to a few pioneering ex-pat residents who don’t mind the more prolonged rainfall and humidity. The towns along the main San Jose – Limon highway of Guapiles, Guacimo and Siquirres are bustling agricultural centers and provide most shops and basic services
The area further south from Limon to Cahuita and Puerto Viejo is struggling to shed its poor man’s image as well as its reputation for being rough, tough and unsafe. However, local hoteliers, tourist operators and residents, fed up with the lack of government support, got together to clean up their towns and re-equip police stations providing better security services to improve the region’s reputation. Although drug use and petty thieving prevail, major crime is rare.
The southern Caribbean’s climate is decidedly different from the rest of the country. It can rain at any time although July and August are known for the heaviest rainfall and September and October can be the most reliable months for clear, dry weather. Further north from Limon to Tortuguero, rainfall is greater with no specific dry season. This does mean that the Caribbean coast is always green and the rain forests live up to their name.
Although hurricanes are extremely rare, the region can feel the effects with extra offshore heavy rains and winds during hurricane season. On average, temperatures are lower than on the Pacific coast and air conditioning is not necessary. It has a wonderful variety of beaches from black, white or golden sand to coral, with deep bays and reefs offshore.
Most tourist investment has been into boutique hotels, mid-range B&Bs and surfer hostels. Limon is the nearest airport serviced by local charter planes and scheduled flights by the two domestic lines, SANSA and Nature Air; Juan Santamaria international airport is three and a half to four hours away by road.
The roads remain a pothole disaster area but it helps keep the slow pace of life as bicycles and pedestrians use the single main road for lack of sidewalks. High-speed internet is reaching the towns with ADSL promised for the whole region in the next months, although you must live within 3 km (1.86 miles) of the main road to receive the DSL signal.
A cosmopolitan mix of foreigners have chosen the Caribbean; it is popular with Europeans, west-coast Americans and Canadians. Ticos are finally shedding their ‘fear’ of the Caribbean and are starting to buy property for weekend homes.
There’s no doubt the area is lively with parties most nights in Puerto Viejo; a warning to anyone who values the quiet life. Rental homes are scarce too and could be an investment option to build houses for rent on smaller easy-maintenance plots.
With increased cruise ship traffic into Limon, business opportunities catering to passengers during their day visits abound. Luxury boutique hotels are needed.
Our thanks to Manuel Pinto of CARIBE SUR Brokers for this information on the Caribbean. The only CCC-affiliated (Costa Rica Chamber of Real Estate Brokers) brokers based on the Caribbean coast, CARIBE SUR Brokers cover the area south from Limon down to Manzanillo.
Caribbean Real Estate in Costa Rica
Article/Property ID Number 493
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