When I first ventured from my home state of California to Costa Rica’s South Pacific coast I was immediately reminded of one of my favorite places in the world: lush mountains, luxurious stretches of caramel beach, scenic waterfalls, plentiful wildlife, waterfalls, superb surfing… it was just like a tropical Big Sur!

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I had lived in several other areas in Costa Rica, but the Pacific zone took my breath away; I felt right at home.

That was more than ten years ago, when even getting to Costa Rica’s South Pacific was an adventure in itself. The southern sections of the Costanera Highway had recently been cut out of the jungle. Few roads were paved. The outside world was just discovering this region where toucans and spotted cats of various sizes were at least as common as tourists.

Infrastructure was minimal — no hospital, roads that were basically linked potholes — but there was something special about this frontier settlement. The friendly, sleepy small-town atmosphere was amazing. It was a real community. People were committed to protecting the flora and fauna. I settled right in, surfing and enjoying the amazing landmarks, natural and otherwise, like the Diamante waterfall and the San Clemente Bar and Grill. I met my soul mate, who is now my wife, and we stayed.

And we weren’t the only ones. In recent years the South Pacific zone has drawn a diverse group of expatriate residents from North America, Europe, and other parts of Latin America, including families, retired persons, and young people just starting out. Surfers, artists, actors, naturalists…we have all kinds and it shows when you come to town.

Some estimate that the year-round population of Dominical and surrounds is approaching 1,000 nature-loving souls, but concrete numbers are hard to find. One reflection of the growth that’s occurred is the proliferation of playmates for children aged two to twelve and beyond, which has, in turn, helped to attract other expatriate families like ours. One positive result is our community’s growing determination to improve the local school system.

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The eclectic nature of demographic growth in the South Pacific zone has created a unique atmosphere. The area’s dining options have been enhanced with the appearance of a variety of great new restaurants, and there is now a wider range of activities for the entire family to enjoy, from whale watching to live theater. Existing infrastructure has also improved, as reflected in the ongoing road-paving progress on the Costanera from Quepos to Dominical. Further development plans include the construction of two new marinas and a new 631-megawatt hydroelectric plant.

The real estate market reflects the transformation of the South Pacific zone from a remote, exotic outpost to a highly desirable, multi-faceted destination.

Nowadays, there is a much wider availability of finished product, from mid-range villas and condos to luxury homes in the two-million-dollar range, although land still dominates the market. And no wonder, there is an abundance of white-water coastal views with sunsets all year round. Current annual appreciation of between 5 and 10 percent reflects a sound investment environment.

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The amazing thing is that, even with all the change that has come, the South Pacific has managed to keep its soul. One contributing factor is that the zone’s “late development” has helped to insure that area natural resources may be better protected than is the case elsewhere in the country. Development laws are in place, and huge green – and blue — spaces are already preserved here, such as the vast La Amistad International Park and the innovative Ballena National Marine Park.

The ultimate reflection of my confidence in the South Pacific zone is my wife’s and my decision to start a family here. We are happy that our one-and-a-half-year-old son has the chance to call this beautiful coast home. Sure, there may be more surfers in the water than ten years ago, but it’s easy to see why. People are drawn here because it just has that feeling of being right.

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Growth Brings Positive Change in South Pacific Zone

Article/Property ID Number 2253

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