Southern Nicoya Peninsula

It’s a small area, but with big variety. The southern part of the Nicoya Peninsula has three basic areas of development, and they’re all extremely different. On the northern edge of this zone, Malpais and Santa Teresa represent a vibrant young surfing community. At the southern extreme, Montezuma attracts the hippy-at-heart who has made money and wants to enjoy it with a nice home and a simpler lifestyle. In between there’s Tambor, which looks set to attract the wealthy and the active senior with a quiet beach and luxury services.

One thing these communities certainly have in common is the difficult journey needed to reach them from San José. Travelers must be prepared for either an 8-hour car ride, or a 3-hour drive followed by a 1-hour ferry ride, followed by another hour or so of driving on a winding, difficult road. Flying is also an option. The difficulty in accessing the place has meant that it tends to attract more independent and adventurous individuals to the area.

The real estate market in each of the three areas is growing fast. Santa Teresa and Malpais have had a head start, but Montezuma is catching up. Tambor, meanwhile, is set to explode. The coastal areas there provide the perfect setting for resort living. A vast bay backs up to planes that rise into the hills to create perfect spots for high-end, ocean-view residences.

The southern Nicoya Peninsula is popular with tourists, backpackers and surfers. Its relative remoteness has even made it somewhat popular with Hollywood stars who are keen to escape the Paparazzi. There’s usually a rumor or two circulating about the last visit from the glitterati. During the research for this book, Mel Gibson was the talk of the town, as Leo DiCaprio had been previously.

While there is plenty of room for real estate development in each of the three areas mentioned, the expatriate communities have roots and are quite established.

Finally, the small towns of Paquera and Playa Naranjo are also worth a mention. These communities connect the peninsula with Puntarenas through the ferry services, but surprisingly they retain their Tico flavor. With anything and everything for sale, however, that’s likely to change in the future.

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Guuide to Real Estate in Costa Rica

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