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Costa Rica • January 2014 • #01




Welcome to Costa Ballena! Known for its dramatic coastline, it is a unique tropical destination where lush mountains meet pebbled beaches. Baptized in 2006, by the Minister of Tourism, Costa Ballena was officially defined as the coastal range from ‘Rio Barú’ in Dominical, all along the coast, including Uvita and Ojochal, with the river mouth of the ‘Río Grande de Térraba’, at the height of Coronado, delimiting the zone. Costa Ballena features many lifestyle advantages and the aim of our publication is to present these benefits to help peak the curiosity of new investors, families, retirees and just about anyone who is looking for an improvement in the quality of their standard of living. Coming from an authentic voice, presenting accurate information, this first edition will inform you about the generalities of our area and help connect you with resources should you decide Costa Ballena is an area you want to investigate further.

Already acquainted with the area and ready to invest into a healthier lifestyle? We can help springboard your transaction, transition or both, as we present reputable and reliable businesses. Well placed trust is cornerstone and Costa Ballena is home to many qualified professionals that want to help you succeed. After all, many have made the transition themselves and understand that it can seem overwhelming when undertaking such a decision. Investing or deciding to relocate, requires a good understanding of what are the new sets of laws, customs and standards, and understanding that there is an underlying process, that many before you, have gone through successfully. The key starting point, especially for foreigners, is a good real estate agent and legal counsel; from there, our professionals will be able to support you throughout the scouting and buying process. In future editions, we will explore such topics as retirement, building in the tropics, sustainability, and owning and operating a business. Stay tuned, keep in touch, and for now, we invite you to read on and dream with us a little. Perhaps, in the end you will find Costa Ballena is the place you’ve been looking for!

¡Disfrute! Nikki Whelan • Editor and Founder


Credits: Editor & Writer: Nikki Whelan


Photographer: Ruben Romรกn Ninth Parallel Photography

Costa Rica as an Investment Opportunity

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Why Choose the South Pacific?

Next Edition: June 2014

Lifestyle Perks

Questions, comments? nikki@costaballenaliving.com


Join the Adventure! /costaballenaliving


Read it online: www.CostaBallenaLiving.com

The Featured Home

Casa Heliconia!

Brisas de Osa


Stop by one of the locations to pick up your copy:

DOMINICAL 1 km south on the Costal Highway

UVITA Dome Commercial Plaza, 2nd floor

OJOCHAL Calle Soluna, 20 mtrs east of Police Station

CORONADO DE OSA 3 miles south of Ojochal Entrance


Costa Rica as an Investment Opportunity


Costa Rica is the longest-standing democracy and has one of the highest standards of living in Central America. The economy is stable, with future investment into public services and infrastructure planned.

‘Pura Vida’ National saying, which literally translated means “pure life”. It is used as a greeting, goodbye, or if someone asks how you are doing. It also extends beyond the simple words and infuses everyday life. It is a lifestyle and is symbolic of the simple enjoyment of all life has to offer, being content with what one has and not to worry, things will work out, they always do.

Having abolished the army since 1949 and reinvesting those funds into health, education and culture, the population has one of the highest literacy rates in Latin America, not to mention they were rated as the Happiest Country in the World in 2009 and in 2012 by the New Economics Foundation. The weather is mild year round, biodiversity is abundantly thriving and there is ample availability of food and clean water sources. With an economy catering to tourists, you’ll find a wide array of services, varying from spa treatments to modern telecommunications. In order to improve employment opportunities, many Costa Ricans speak a fair amount of English. Overall the economy is strong; and recently the Costa Rican government, demonstrating a strong stewardship of forward thinking, opened talks with China about a designated “economy zone”. This would imply less dependence on the US economy in the future and is an encouraging sign that they are diversifying and keeping in times with the changing winds. Costa Rica offers low taxation and is the same time zone as the central part of the US, another investor benefit that cannot be overlooked. Reliable telecommunication services are being improved all the time and practically anything you need can be imported. In Central America, it is known to be the easiest country for property purchase. Non-residents are legally able to invest in Costa Rica, assuming available funds are at hand and one has a valid passport. A very attractive feature is that once purchased, property owners then have the same legal rights as Costa Ricans. Currently it is a buyer’s market; 30% accounts for land sales and the remaining 70% of purchases are for finished homes that are ready to use right away, or as a source of income generation. Interesting to note, many of the sellers do not plan in leaving once they sell, rather they are looking to reinvest and move on to their next property adventure. There are two types of buyers; those investing for profit and capital growth, and those investing in lifestyle and experience, and of course some fall into both categories. If you are looking to invest and live in Costa Rica, obtaining residency is advisable, and a good consultant can help facilitate the process immensely. For those who do not wish to obtain residency and who plan to be in and out of the country renewing their visas at a minimum of every 90 days, we can consider the distance to your home country if travelling from North America. San Jose is a two hour flight from Miami and a three and a half hour flight from New York. SJO International has nonstop flights from New York, Houston, and Miami. The flights remain highly affordable with flexible times being offered. It also makes it accessible for family and friends to visit. Another important factor is culture and as a general rule ‘Ticos’, a colloquial term for a native of Costa Rica, are very friendly and promote pacifism. Rarely will you encounter hard-lined nationalists who are not supportive of foreign investment. As investors come into the country, they have recognized that there has been an increase in the quality of their everyday life. Generally speaking, the sentiment that resonates among Costa Ricans is that as long as respect is maintained and foreign investment continues to uplift and aid the overall development of the country and its people, investors need not worry about protectionist attitudes that may be found in neighboring countries. And not enough can be said about the open attitudes Costa Ricans demonstrate. Their lifestyles reflect a laid back attitude and ‘Pura Vida’ permeates into their everyday life. Truly generous people by nature, we have much to learn about their lifestyles and culture. They say a picture is worth a thousand words and an experience is priceless. All things being equal, the experience of Costa Rica will be what ultimately wins you over; it is unlike no other in Central America.


Why Choose the South Pacific?


Leaving our “tech” world behind, entering into an ever green, ever lush, natural paradise and playground that we call home, Costa Ballena is an area that has remained relatively off the beaten path.

Unaffected by large scale hotel developments, with shorelines remaining protected, chic boutique style hotels have replaced these types of accommodations. The animal life is abundant; with monkeys, birds, flowers galore; the animal lover, the nature enthusiast, we welcome you to join in on the fun and explore. The topography is unique, views of the ocean to one side and jungle views to the other, and with beach access all within reach, many options for all tastes and budgets are offered. With neighbors around, but none in sight, properties are built with modesty, and some others lavish and luxurious. Without a doubt, they offer all the comforts one requires. It can rain and be sunny on the same day and at the same time, but give it ten minutes and see the weather change in the blink of an eye. Leisure activities include visiting a mountain neighbor for a sunset, conversation and glass of wine; looking up at night to see a clear starry sky or a full moon light up the night; and going to a backyard waterfall BBQ for a little Sunday Funday with friends, family and visitors alike is always a great way to end a week and resource. Highly accessible to San José, in a little over a three hour drive, the Costanera Highway, completed about five years ago, and the surrounding national airports in Quepos and Palmar Sur make Costa Ballena an attractive location for people who need to come and go. Now with plans of an International Airport in Palmar Sur that is government approved, the attention of developers looking for new opportunities have their sights set on the Osa Canton. Further probabilities that indicate economic growth and prosperity are coming to the area, is the government support of the establishment of ‘Instituto Nacional De Aprendizaje’, commonly referred to as INA, where residents can receive an education free of charge as long as they complete the degree that is offered. Studies are currently being done to see which courses are to be available via the Uvita location. The types of people that are attracted to Costa Ballena occupy themselves with living healthy active lifestyles, safeguarding and appreciating the beauty and nature that surrounds them, and all seem to be whole-heartedly committed to enjoying all life has to offer. The personalities of the people who populate the area are diverse. “We all have our story as to why we are here and we all are adventurers in our own ways.” – A sentiment that resonates from many. Highly self reliant people, they work hard to create the lives they want to live. By living in Costa Ballena, one cannot help but experience a shift in mindset; a return to a much simpler way of life is not so farfetched of an idea nor is it out of the norm. Sometimes, all you really need is a hammock for your afternoon ‘siesta’ to make your day! Ah, the simple pleasures of life!

Costa Rica is divided into seven provinces: San José, Alajuela, Heredia, Cartago, Guanacaste, Puntarenas, and Limón. Furthermore, it is then subdivided into 81 cantons. Costa Ballena is located in the Osa canton.

Having either worked hard in the past to get to where we are or now trail blazing to create a life that has a future, we are all stewards of the area and hope to attract like in kind. If you want to participate in community, Costa Ballena presents a great opportunity, come visit us soon and join in on our plans. ‘Cascada de Ojochal’


San Isidro deEl General


Also known by its municipal name, Pérez Zeledón serves as Costa Ballena’s closest city center. With many professional services available, like international financial institutions, it is also surrounded by the rural agriculture which keeps the city bustling. When visiting, it provides a prime opportunity to stock up on supplies and refuel before heading out to more remote locations. Theaters, universities and automotive dealerships are found in ‘PZ’. The Inter-Americana Highway passes through the city that connects to San José. As you pass through and drive towards Dominical, the drive provides awe-inspiring views of the countryside landscape and an additional highlight, you drive through an area designated the cloud forest, which always delivers a breeze of fresh mountain air.


A surfer town not too far off the beaten path, just 27 miles (44 km) South of Quepos and a national airport, and within an hour’s drive from San Isidro de El General, Dominical is the gateway to Costa Ballena.


With consistent waves served up at the ‘playa’, and home to annual surf competitions and lifeguard fundraisers, this little town is known to light up at nights. Local bars with periodic live music venues are offered as entertainment. Walk along the river, ‘Rio Barú’ and enjoy the restaurants, some of which are also known to offer vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free menu options. Yoga and organic living, being central to some residents’ lifestyles, encourage the flourishing of likeminded individuals to the area. As travellers pass through, the attraction of living simply and in nature captures them and many decide to extend their stay. Many surfers or those on adventure trips, decide Dominical is a great home base while travelling in the area and so, due to the influx of tourism and around the area, investors may want to consider Dominical as an option for purchase with the intent of property rental.

Dominical Sushi Fresh sushi made on the spot! Jota and Rosio invite you to try their Costa Rican inspired rolls, such as the Tico Roll, with sweet fried plantain or the Bruce Lee Roll that packs a punch! Traditional sushi options are also available. Open daily for dinner starting at 5 pm. 50 meters north of the Football Field or 100 m east of the entrance to Dominical. + (506) 8826 7946

Families, couples and retirees alike, also enjoy the fresh mountain air combined with the proximity to the beach in the surrounding municipalities, such as Dominicalito, Puerto Cito and Escaleras. Although Dominical remains a small town, it does offer access to business services, such as the Banco de Costa Rica (BCR), a banking institution, and the Instituto Costarriciense de Electricidad (ICE), where electricity, internet and phone services can be set up. The closest beaches are Playa Dominical, Playa Dominicalito, and Playa Hermosa. It is not recommended to swim in the river nor in the strong waves of Playa Dominical. And while driving to Uvita down the Costanera Highway, you can spot a few roadside waterfalls, a unique feature of the area.

Porque No ‘Tasty treats & funky beats’, served up fresh with an amazing Oceanside view just outside of Dominical. Don’t miss their nightly chef’s specials, delicious pizzas & fresh seafood. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Tuesday through Sunday. Beachside off of the Costanera. + (506) 2787 0025 www.cpporqueno.com

‘Rio Barú’



Uvita Bamboo Forest


From a mountain range view, the town of Uvita offers amazing, truly stunning, natural amphitheater style views with the main attraction being the famous natural reef barrier, the tombolo – THE Whale’s Tale!

With a mountain backdrop, the ‘Rio Morete’, which runs through the town center and ends in the ocean, is a nice touch that reminds us of the beauty of the area. There are waterfalls to visit and spend a relaxing day at. And on Saturdays, the little town is busy, as shoppers head to and fro, from the farmer’s market to wherever they may go. The town, surrounded by nature and a bamboo forest, offers access to many services; banks, lawyers, healthcare, hardware stores, and more. Everything daily living requires, for families, retirees, business owners and tourists, are available in Uvita. Residential areas can be found outside Uvita in areas such as San Josecito to the North of Uvita, offering up great jungle and expansive Ocean views, or Ballena to the South, which offers great views of ocean and natural rock formations, that of the Three Sisters and ‘Isla Ballena’. The Costanera Highway, which connects us to San José, runs through the town, and unlike the towns of Dominical, Bahía and Ojochal, where one needs to turn in to access the town, in Uvita one can merely stay on the highway to pass it by. It is the bustling center of Costa Ballena that is gearing up for expansion.

Catarata de Uvita Refresh your body and mind at Uvita’s waterfall, a piece of paradise. Come take a break, swim and relax in a chilled out ambiance, with good music and fresh food. To find them go 800 meters east of the BCR and then 400 meters north. Open daily from 8 am-5 pm. After 5 pm, open only via reservation. + (506) 2743 8138 ‘Catarata de Uvita’

Roadshack Deli Fresh sandwiches, salads and smoothies served in a relaxed atmosphere, with Costa Rican Craft beer, organic wine and local cheese available for your pleasure. They spotlight a different cheese every week and have live music on occasion. Located 50 meters west of BCR. For to go orders: + (506) 8629 8663 Find them on Facebook: /Roadshackdeli



To walk the Whale’s Tail you can enter the National Park in Bahía, and once there you’ll find there’s plenty to discover. The mangroves at early morning, the eucalyptus forest that is replenishing itself, a full beach at low tide on which you can walk for miles or play a while, and in the ocean waters nearby, twice yearly, the returning homesteaders, the nesting humpback whales that grace us with their presence.

Sabor Español Specializing in Paellas, Sangria, Meats & Seafood dishes. Meet Montse & Heri, who bring their Spanish fusion dishes beachfront to Playa Uvita. Reserve in advance for their specialty lobster dishes prepared with a typical Ibiza flavor (24 hours preparation time required). Spanish wine selection available. Lunch 12:00-3:00pm. Dinner 6:00-9:30pm. + (506) 2743 8312 or 8768 9160 GPS: N 9°09’099”; W 83°44’098”.

Restaurant Los Delphines Restaurants line the street to the park entrance; the first stop is to try one of Adams’ creations, all served with a local finesse. The ‘Tico’ chef who owns and operates Los Delphines, will be glad to recommend some of his organic meal options, with most of the local produce grown on his parent’s farm. Located on the main street in Bahía. + (506) 2743 8111




One would not believe that just 15 years ago the land was barren, completely cut down and used as cattle pasture, it was not the lush forest we know it as today.

Ojochal, named after the “Ojoche� tree, also known by natives of the area as the tree of life (as one can consume the tree from root to leaf), is a quiet village that is home to many expatriates and snow birds alike. Also well-known for its large French Canadian expatriate community, Ojochal boasts a strong community with a wide diversity of people, whether it is culturally speaking or professionally. It has a cosmopolitan community and you never know who you may meet at one of the various social events held throughout the year, fascinating people and fascinating stories light up conversations. These days, Ojochal is home to various works of living art, as many homeowners take pride in their manicured and fruitful gardens.


It is hands down, the culinary destination of the South Pacific. With fine dining ranging from Mediterranean to Indonesian, you are sure to be amazed by the culinary talent that each restaurant offers. There are no ATMs or banks; there is a supermarket, home hardware store, local public school and a gas station. If you are looking to find some calm or raise your family, this quaint, residential village is perfect, and the local community will always make you feel welcome. Ojochal possesses great mountain views and for walkers who love to get out in the morning the ‘Perezoso loop’ makes for a great walk of about 5 km which showcases the beautiful greenery of the mountain range and also features some of the best ocean views found in the area. Some ocean views include that of the Térraba River, the largest river mouth opening in Costa Rica, ‘Isla Garza’, Drake’s Bay, Osa Peninsula, and on clear

days views reach ‘Isla del Caño’. If you live in the lowlands of ‘el pueblo’, around 4 o’clock you can sit back and enjoy a breeze that carries the scent of the ylang ylang trees through the village, and listen to the bustling of workers heading jovially home for the evening. A river runs through the entire length of Ojochal and a tree that denotes a fork in the road makes it feel homey and you are reminded of the simplicities of life. When you are looking for some fun in the sun, Playa Tortuga is the closest beach, followed by Playa Ventanas, Playa Piñuela, and Playa Ballena. As for services, Ciudad Cortés and Palmar Sur, both within a 30 minute drive from Ojochal; offer all the services you will need. There is an airport in Palmar Sur with national flights that depart daily. And many decide to reside just outside the town, in areas such as Piñuela to the North, or Coronado to the South.

‘Playa Ballena’

Citrus Looking for a lounge atmosphere? Meet up for cocktails and dinner or make a lunch date with a friend and sit by the river to enjoy a moment in great company in a relaxed ambiance. Saturday night Chef’s Specials are often on the ‘carte du jour’. Located 50 metres from the Police Station. + (506) 2786 5175

Exotica A Unique Gourmet Experience! Lucy and Robert welcome you to their intimate fine dining establishment serving Thai, Viet, French and Polynesian dishes that are to be savored. Be sure to save room for one of their delectable homemade desserts. Located 1 km on the main road off the Costanera. By reservation only. + (506) 2786 5050


The Beaches of What makes a great beach? The short answer is a great beach depends on what you are looking for.


Costa Ballena has an inviting mix of warm, brown sandy beaches and being well informed will ensure that you will find the beach that is perfect for your sunny day. With the changing tides, beaches are transformed in a matter of hours, therefore you need to check the tide charts as they may determine where you go. At low tide, caves can be discovered, beaches can be walked for miles and swimmers can take advantage of softer waves. At high tide, beach lines disappear; yet the surfers and sports enthusiasts come out to play. Some beaches are rocky rimmed and others offer ample shade with relaxation areas, all prepared for your enjoyment. If you want to rinse off after you’ve been in the salty water, some beaches have small rivers nearby. Those beaches located in the National Parks offer showers and have picnic tables at your disposal. The most important beach rule is to be cautious upon entering the water; due to the Pacific wave action, many beaches have strong rip tides. Regarding rivers, please exercise caution as Costa Rica is home to many crocodiles and caiman. For swimmers and families, many safe options are available; being safe is a matter of being well informed. Ask around and locals will be glad to share their knowledge.


Playa Dominica

Playa Dominicalito

vanced surfers, A paradise for ad istent waves year round cons the town of are served up in t spot to people Dominical. A grea nset and enjoy watch, catch a su Get ready to water activities. the surfers be impressed by up the waves. who are cutting the difficulty Appreciation for evitable after of this sport is in h! visiting this beac

The beach hosts a stunning backdrop and setting for taking pictures. At low tide, this beach is perfect for leisurely walks as you can walk all the way to Playa Dominical and with the sound of ocean waves hitting the shoreline it will be sure to soothe worries away. Local fishermen launch out their daily exploits from the nearby bay, Roca de Amancio.

Playa Hermosa A beautiful name for a beautiful beach, this beach fills up on weekends; get there early to get a spot under the shade or bring a parasol for those hot sunny days. Fresh fruit and ‘ceviche’ stands are located at the entrance and are a must try! It’s also a hot spot for intermediate to advances surfers alike, with Punta Achiote on the North end of the beach.


Costa Ballena Playa Piñuela

Punta Uvita (also known

& Playa Colo


as Playa Cham


Want to walk the Whale’s Ta il? This is where the tombolo, th e famous natu ral barrier reef , is located. Wid ely known as a great spot fo r beginner su rf er s and kayakers , Playa Chamán w ill delight the A dventurer in yo u. One can venture in to the mangr oves of Bahía or kaya k-surf the tom bolo at high tide. A mple shade lin es the beach, whi ch is rarely crow ded. This playa is th e perfect plac e to spend a day.

Playa Ventanas spot Playa Ventanas is also a great at de sha ple Am . day to spend the le, ilab ava is s tide h hig both low and , bay a in d ate situ is ch and as the bea ad it is a great spot for swimmers e, larg , sea the by Cut . body surfing be to dy rea are es cav nel natural, tun g their explored. At high tide, makin waves way through the tunnels, the ring nde thu ng azi am produce an ough sound. The water bursting thr ng azi am an are gs nin the cave ope s. nes sight to wit

Playa Ballena k, Also part of the National Par ra tho ple a ers off a len Playa Bal g lon , tide low At of activities. ves wa ter sof ch, bea the walks on g ptin tem and ers for swimm rn rock formations at the Southe to rs you are ch, bea end of the rts discover. A great spot for spo t fec per is ch bea the ts, enthusias nd for a Sunday soccer match, Sta h hig at fing sur or rd boa Up Paddle tide. Paddle boarding, surfing nsive tours and lessons are inexpe a. and easily available in the are

Playa Tortuga & Isla Garza Where the river mouths of the Ojochal hills meet the ocean and home to Reserva Playa Tortuga, a not for profit organization that aims at educating locals and visitors alike about the conservation of wildlife, this beach offers a unique habitat for sea turtles. Every year Olive Ridley Sea Turtles migrate to Costa Rica to hatch their nests. This last year, Playa Tortuga was home to a nesting Leatherback Sea Turtle; the earth’s most ancient and largest living reptile. For just a few colones, Panga style boats will transport you across the ‘Rio Terraba’ to ‘Isla Garza’. This small island, named after a small White Heron, is a relaxing, sunny way to spend a day. On this secluded island, you will definitely feel whisked away!

With a direct view of the island formations ‘Las Très Hermanas’ (The Three Sisters) and ‘Isla Ballena’ (Whale Island), accompanied with the sound of the waves crashing on the rocky rimmed beachfront, Playa Piñuela makes for a perfect sunset moment. Swaying palm trees provide shade cover and fishermen cast out lines from the shore. Playa Piñuela is the last stop on the ‘Parque Nacional Marino Ballena’ circuit.


Coastline Map of Costa Ballena

19 Ballena Bistro If you are headed to Playa Ballena, stop in at the Goathouse which houses Ballena Bistro and Shop Adorable, which offers a selection of quality second hand furniture and clothing. Ballena Bistro serves daily lunch from Brazilian fish soup to freshly grilled veggie sandwiches. Dishes are casual and creative with the best ingredients available, they support sustainable fishing only. Closed Mondays. Open Thursday nights with live music. Located at km 169 on the Costanera. + (506) 2786 5407 www.goathouse169.com


Lifestyle Perks


Costa Rica was cited by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 2010 as one of the countries that has attained much higher human development than other countries at the same income levels.

In many ways Costa Rica is forward thinking, and is a very respectful culture. It offers many lifestyle advantages, the air is clean, the beaches uncluttered and being close to nature and surrounded by people who demonstrate a high degree of respect towards the environment is astounding. The weather allows the enjoyment of outdoor living year round. Your health will improve and you’ll find no matter how healthy your lifestyle was before, Costa Ballena can deliver a new level of what it means to be healthy. Processed food is expensive and fresh food being as abundant as it is makes a change in what you eat easy. Many new residents within their first year loose those unwanted pounds. And if you are affected by dry skin or other health conditions, such as severe headache, in many cases after an extended stay, these issues have been reported to remedy themselves by adopting a healthy lifestyle in sync with what is available or simply by being in this type of climate. We return to a simpler way of life. Without the technological infrastructures, like automatic tellers at every turn, one is left to get back to interacting with other people. There are no self check outs at the grocery store and someone even packs your purchases for you! At the gas station there is an attendant to fill your tank and at the bank you are sure to strike up a conversation with someone you just met as everyone is friendly. With the constant reminder of the ebb and flow of life, the tides, a factor that greatly affects lifestyles in a coastal area, one seems to become naturally aware of the incoming and outgoing movements of water and the moon cycles. A common conversation in the area surrounds what moon cycle we are in. Is it the time to cut the crop, your hair, or is it the best time to visit the beach? These questions seem to infiltrate into everyday

life and as one adopts a ‘Pura Vida’ lifestyle, an adjustment to the natural flow following the rhythm of Nature one becomes more in touch with themselves as well. They say if you observe nature and do as she does you will live a happy and fulfilled life. Much can be said about the truth of this last. As to the cost of living in Costa Rica, it can be less expensive than in North America, it will depend on your lifestyle. If you are accustomed to expensive goods that are imported or processed, fine dining as entertainment, and enjoy your spare time shopping, you may find it difficult to live on a budget, but that can also occur anywhere. Conversely, if you learn to “live like the locals” and control your spending habits, you can live very well. The exchange rate is favorable, medical costs are considerably lower, and utilities are definitely lower as homes do not have to be heated during the winter and investing in solar power can prove to be worthwhile. As the wages are low, you can even hire help around the house at a low cost, freeing up additional spare time to spend on activities you are passionate about. You’ll be able to set aside time for that book you’ve been dying to read in just one sitting! Your hammock awaits. Overall, the sentiment that resonates is that people of the area feel a sense of control of their life, they feel empowered and it’s reflected by the happiness that emanates from each interaction. Its fun to live here, everyone is a personality and who doesn’t enjoy a laid back atmosphere where fun is always on the agenda. And you will never get bored in Costa Ballena unless you choose to be. The area offers a little something for everyone and to be surrounded by people who live inspired, energized lives, inspires you to do the same. Every day is a new day and every sunrise and sunset brings new opportunity.

Life expectancy in Costa Rica is almost 77 years, one of the highest in the world.

As of 2012 Costa Rica now produces more than 90% of its electricity through

renewable sources.

The democratic government of Costa Rica is the

oldest of any Third World country and it is often referred to as “The Switzerland of the Americas.”


Essentials of Costa Rica


Pieces of Advice

A rich experience awaits and to help facilitate integration, it is highly recommended to take a few Spanish courses before coming or to sign up for classes once you have arrived. Although English is generally spoken, if you plan on living here awhile and integrating into the community, a little Spanish goes a long way. Even for simple transactions, having a foundation of the basics of the language can greatly improve the ease of which things get done. Locals appreciate you trying, and when they see you try, it makes them want to get to know you and share their wealth of knowledge. Medicinal cures, ways of thinking, knowledge about the land, locals hold the key and it would be a shame that a language barrier be the block to accessing some of the rich experiences these interactions hold. If you are planning on running a business, learning Spanish could be what turns your business into a success and it is, after all, a sign of respect towards the language and the people of the country you have chosen to make your home. The ability to communicate in Spanish will enrich and facilitate your experience, guaranteed.

A 4-wheel drive vehicle is indispensible when living in Costa Ballena. Due to the landscape, not much of the terrain is flat for long and in order to be able to reach the breathtaking views that are strung along the coast, one must first get there; a good,

reliable vehicle needs to be included in the budget. And with a vehicle comes maintenance. Find a trustworthy mechanic and get regular tune-ups, maintenance is less expensive than repair. Be informed and have a good mix of local community members and professionals within your social network. Costa Ballena offers a great deal of professionals who are there to help and want to ensure your success. Policy and laws change constantly; people make it their business to inform themselves about these updates, lean on them for advice. Without a doubt, a resounding individual trait that local wisdom echoed was that anyone attempting a move needs to foster patience. Each culture has their idiosyncrasies, awareness and understanding of these customs and ways of doing things can help cultivate patience. When expectations are set and communicated clearly, things run smoothly. Things are done different here and things move slower. After all that’s why most of us, if not all, have moved here. And when difficulties arise, as in any transition they will, frame it in the positive, maintain appreciation for what is, take a step back and breathe in new perspective. As the saying goes, you can’t stop the waves but you can learn to surf. It’s all a matter of attitude. Let’s de-stress, Pura Vida!

Being well informed is key! The Costa Rica News Costa Rica’s official English Google News Source. We know what you want to know and how you want it. Be in the know at www.thecostaricanews.com

Tico Times Online Newspaper based in San Jose, Costa Rica. Central America’s most trusted English-language news source since 1956. www.ticotimes.net

Ballena Tales Local magazine and travel guide for Costa Ballena. All content is written by locals and covers topics such as Events & Entertainment, Places to Stay & Places to Eat, Surf & Sports, Environment & Wildlife, and Art & Culture. www.BallenaTales.com /ballenatalesmagazine

Ask, Ask, Ask! Ask around, locals know best.

Ask the ‘silly questions’, you will find out they may not be so silly after all.

Ask your Self, contemplate on the things you want in your life and then go after them!

A Poetic Culture!

When a woman is pregnant they say she is “con luz,” or “with light.”


Purchasing Property

‘Bienes raices’ The Spanish word for Real Estate gives meaning to the expression “laying down roots”. ‘Bienes’ translated means property or possessions, ‘raices’ means roots, put them together “property roots”.

The process of purchasing property in Costa Rica is fairly similar to that found in the United States and Canada, with a certified ‘escritura’ and ‘plano’ required for most transactions. You will want to have a thorough title search done, in the official Public Registry, called “Folio Real”, to ensure there are no legal issues or debt on the property. A title search will show all data on the property; including area, ownership, boundaries, location, mortgages, and other liens. As always it is highly advisable to use a local Real Estate agent as they are familiar with the overall process, can refer the right contacts, and will help ensure that all the right paperwork and the most important points that are unique to your purchase are covered. Laws and policy change constantly; the local professionals are your best source of information. Soil tests are of utmost importance and ensuring access to a water source is imperative, these are details or costs that should not be overlooked.

Concession The only area where purchases become more complex is with beachfront property, considered to be in the “Maritime Zone”. Some people simply refer to it as concession. This affects 95% of beachfront property and is defined as 200 meters along the shoreline. There are two factors at play: the first part of the law states that the first 50 meters of tideland and the areas exposed during low tide are inalienable public property, the second part of the law states that the next 150 meters can be granted for leasing by the local governing body to private individuals or corporations. It is worth noting, leases are not granted to anybody with less than 5 years of residency.

Property Management Professionals at your disposal! We are a group of high energy, self starters, who are well organized, articulate, pro-active and customer-centric. Our team of dynamic Property Management Professionals executes excellent decision-making skills; demonstrate great time and team management skills; and our active involvement will ccontinually keep you informed, from wherever you may be. Our skills and services include: • Obtaining vendor bid proposal for home improvements, general maintenance & project completion; • Managing reservations, follow ups, payments & quotes; • Organizing tours and transportation for guests; • Arranging cleaning & maintenance; and • Greeting guests and completing check-in/check-out procedure. Our team of Professionals is at your disposal and your property will be in good hands, worry free. Please contact management@costaballenaliving.com for more information or if you have any questions. We can help make owning a vacation rental a breeze! Even if you don’t rent out your home and you just need a helping hand with the general upkeep, no task is too small!


How to

M Choose aView There are many factors when considering a view: jungle versus ocean; closed and intimate versus open and expansive; Infinite Ocean versus Natural Landmark; many elements are to be taken into account and the final decision depends on the person, their preferences and more often than not, their budget.

Many properties offer both ocean and jungle view, depending on the size, some can have expansive views and when moving to another area of the same lot, a closed intimate view can be found. Some buyers need to visit many options, while others know when they’ve found the perfect location as it simply takes their breath away and they feel at home right away. When looking at property, buyers should primarily consider the ground level view, particularly from the areas where most time will be spent, for example the view from the kitchen, the dining area, the balcony and family rooms, which are the most-used rooms in a home, in addition to the master bedroom. Overall, the home buying process will take care of the decision of what is the right view for the buyer. The first step for the buyer is to define what is important, the available budget, what compromises that can be made and to find the team of professionals that will help during the purchasing process and thereafter. Discussion of plans and needs with the Real Estate agent will provide greater clarity and outline possibilities. Getting input from all the professionals involved when building a budget is most important; accurate costing for expenses, such as soil tests, water tests, road maintenance, good legal counsel, and unexpected costs are to be reflected. When looking at the property consider a mix of variables, like the essence of the land and the elements that are at play, like the sound of water or the trees that rustle in the breeze. Consider that sometimes a view can change. Inform yourself about the lots around that are for sale, and if in the future your view could become obstructed by a new building not yet erected. Evaluate the natural surroundings as well, perhaps the trees that are planted on a lot below are not yet mature and will grow tall. Look at the risks and legal aspects, take the time required and make the necessary expenditures to get all paperwork, evaluations, tests, and legal background checks complete. Lean on the reliable team of professionals you have acquired to help pave the way. Ensure that there is access to necessities, like water, electricity and a reliable road. Get your land surveyed. Spend time at the location, take photos, make notes, and go at various times of the day. If you are buying a raw piece of land or planning renovations, when possible include the team of professionals that will be bringing the project to fruition. They can provide valuable insight and they can help save you time and money in the end. (This last, we’ve all heard it before, but the professionals all repeat it, so please heed the advice). And finally when a decision needs to be made, first and foremost be sure to buy within your budget. If your budget does not allow for an expansive ocean view and a jungle view, perhaps choosing a more modest ocean view and staying within your budget would be the best option. And a view can always be created, a beautiful garden can flourish and be fulfilling to work towards. And if your budget permits, plan for a little something for every taste. In the end, personal needs, lifestyle, and budget will determine the best view and buy appropriate for the investor.


Casa Heliconia Driving up to Casa Heliconia, settled in the mountains, a feeling of tranquility and calm fills the air.


The clouds roll over the misty mountain tops and freshen the atmosphere, stunning views, all around, provide perfect backdrops for any occasion. With a canvas that gets repainted every day, moment by moment, the constant changing light throughout each day has one continually seeing this environment with new perspective. One can’t help but notice the almost surreal perfection in the elements at play. A magnificent interaction between calculated design, meticulous structure and a home built for luxury entertainment comes to life. Being nestled halfway between towns, this home offers a great combination between accessibility to services in Uvita and leisure activities in Ojochal, and yet it remains private and intimate. Views reach from the tip of Panama to Manuel Antonio, they oversee ‘Las Très Hermanas’ (the Three Sisters), ‘Isla Ballena’, Caño Island, and at low tide the ‘vista’ showcases a beautiful panoramic of the Whale’s Tail. The homeowner’s favorite moment is watching visitors’ reactions as they walk through the open double doors and gape at the scenery before them. With the thermal winds breezing through the air and the sunny beams of light that jet in from the front to back, relaxation and enjoyment are all that are on the agenda. One can choose to enjoy lounging on the open terrace, cooling off in the infinity pool or cooking up a storm in the fully equipped, chef inspired kitchen. Clean lines frame each view and with that, one feels transported into a world of pampering, sustained by healthy lifestyle practices and rewarded through the accumulation of a lifetime of hard work. One can now sit back and enjoy all life has to offer.


Open House to be held!

To sign up for regular updates, visit our website www.CostaBallenaLiving.com For further informaton about the sale of this home contact us directly realestate@costaballenaliving.com




Hermosa Retreat

Located less than ten minutes from Uvita, a newly constructed home awaits for a family, entrepreneur or investor looking for an income generation rental home and getaway retreat.


With a dynamite view of the Whale’s Tail and that of the changing tides below, this home is turnkey ready. Hermosa Retreat, a three bedroom, two and a half bathroom, two-storey home, was built by an engineer and builder who specializes in the construction of affordable luxury homes, based out of Whistler, Canada. Combined with the efforts of a Feng Shui and Geobiology consultant, this home was built to harness the energy of the land and the surrounding environment. Such details as the strategic placement of crystals in the foundation and proper routing of the plumbing make this home a feel good, energy booster retreat. With breezy air that runs through the rooms’ all day long and the sound of the waves that relax you as you nestle in for a good night’s rest, you are sure to feel pampered and rejuvenated.

For more information about the sale of this home, contact: Jimmy Drews Coldwell Banker Vesta Group Dominical + (506) 2787 0223 + (506) 8730 8957 j.drews@cbcostarica.com

Built for comfort, functionality and quality, the foundations are solid and go 20 feet down to ensure stability. To keep in line with the overall philosophy of the home, only natural chemicals were used to ensure that bugs and pests are kept away, all to ensure your absolute comfort. The outdoor living space is excellent, with a large balcony and unobstructed view to enjoy sunsets that capture precious moments. There is also a pool area with terrace, and a mature mango tree that has kept its roots. One can enjoy luxury comforts, such as cooking with a view, concrete counters in the kitchen and bathrooms, glass tile floors, alongside teak wood flooring. With Playa Hermosa, located just down the hill, it is great for long walks at the beach or could be a surfer’s paradise. No need to check the tide charts, just look out the window and you’ll see if surf’s up or if it’s low tide. There is always the possibility of renting before you buy, and once you have settled into this intimate location, you will not want to leave.



Geobiology is the study of how the Earth influences all living matter; human, animal or plantlife. As it pertains to building your home, addressing negative geobiological factors can correct different natural and artificial elements that affect your long term health.

Some common aspects to consider are electromagnetic fields, underground water sources, radon beneath the earth’s surface and the identification of cracks or spaces that are below the foundations of your home. Geobiology also addresses the Hartmann and Curry lines, electromagnetic lines that cover the entire globe. If they converge they create a vortex that has a dangerous effect on one’s health. All of these factors will greatly amplify the negative influence on your home and you will find that once geobiological factors have been accounted for in your home, a magnetic force will transform important facets in your everyday life and health.

Feng Shui

Feng Shui is the art of organizing your living space. It examines how the placement of objects within your home can affect the Chi, a life force or energy flow, and how these objects interact with and influence your personal energy flow. In turn, this affects how you think and act and ultimately has huge bearing on overall success in one’s life. Feng Shui affects you every moment of the day, whether you’re aware of it or not, best to take notice, as once we are aware we can harmonize with nature and harness positive energy to our advantage.

Wondering If You Can Bring Your Pet? You can! What is important to know if you are traveling with your pet from the US or Canada is that first and foremost, check in with your current veterinarian to ensure your pet is healthy and that their disposition is acceptable for travel. Travel can create stress on your pet, so be sure to discuss with your veterinarian any concerns. Second, your pet must have up to date vaccines, especially their rabies shots, which must be administered 30 days before travelling. A health certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian must be completed within 10 days of the departure date of your flight, no later. Travel officials can deny entry to the country should the papers be expired by even one day. Travel papers can take between 24 to 48 hours to prepare, plan the timing carefully!

Finally, be sure to check in with the airline company when reserving your flight to ensure they accept pets on board as a carry on or to reserve space for the kennel. Most airlines have weight and size restrictions as well as specifications when bringing your pet on board.


TheValue of aView


A sense of freedom, luxury and achievement are felt when one sets eyes on a wide expansive ocean view. For some investors, price is not an issue and the view that takes their breath away is the one that is a must have. But the question begs, is it worth the investment? Here is a breakdown of what constitutes an increase in a property’s value based on the view†: •

1% - 2.5%: From ground level, a home with a view overlooking unobstructed open space (not necessarily water as the open space).

3% - 5%: A home just high enough to overlook trees or other buildings, with a partially obstructed view.

6% - 8%: A good unobstructed view but without much elevation; a home halfway up the hill, for example.

9% - 12%: A home at the top of a hill with an unobstructed view (of a landmark, city or other).

15% - 20%: A water view. An outstanding, unobstructed view of a big lake or ocean can start at a price increase of 15%, and if highly unique, prices can increase vastly.

On average, it is found that grand open views of water that are highly exclusive can add up to 59% of the value of a property.* It is noteworthy, that as the distance from the coast increases the impact on value greatly diminishes. Other important factors include attractive landscaping, which on average adds 5% to the value, buildings in a property’s neighborhood add 37% to the value, and attractive improvements in the immediate surroundings of a property add another 27% to value*. The overall conclusion is that aesthetics are multi-dimensional and can have an important impact on property value. A one of a kind view may be worth the investment and creating your own garden can turn in to more than a hobby; it could be a great investment choice in the end.

‘Casa Rana’

‘Hermosa Retreat’ ‘Casa Heliconia’

†Merilyn, Lewis. “What’s the value of a view?” MSN Real Estate. Microsoft, 25 May 2013. Web. 01 11 2013. <http://realestate.msn.com/whats-the-value-of-a-view>. *Bourassa S C, Hoesli M, Sun J, 2004, “What’s in a view?” Environment and Planning A 36(8) 1427 – 1450.


Interview with Dr.Gustavo Cintron Machon


Central America’s Great Health Success Story In 1941, when the CCSS was created, Costa Rica began to provide universal health care to its wage-earning residents, with coverage extended to dependants over time. Today, its healthcare system is ranked higher than that of the United States, despite having a fraction of its GDP*.

Costa Rica boasts one of the best health care systems in Latin America and with medical tourism on the rise; Costa Rica is a league above the rest when it comes to quality, affordability and access. Travellers need not worry about Malaria vaccines, and communication with medical professionals is rather easy as many doctors, especially in private practice, received training in Europe, Canada, or the U.S. and therefore speak English. Overall, health care costs are about a third to a fifth of what you would pay in the U.S. and drug costs are less expensive, as a general rule, as compared to North America. When it comes to availability of uncommon prescriptions, solutions can be found given time and anyone with specific health care concerns should consult with a general health practitioner prior to moving. Prescriptions can be written in order to facilitate entrance into the country with such medications. For Health Care Insurance there are public and private regimes available. Many expatriates choose to use a mix of public and private options in order to cut down wait times for specific procedures and treatments. Via public institutions, the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) has the primary responsibility of providing low-cost health care services. The public sector recently underwent a change in administration and with it, came a revival in the commitment to the quality in the country’s public and private health care systems. New hospitals, new equipment, and improvements in staff training are among enhancements that are being felt nationwide. In Costa Ballena, good quality resources are available, alongside specialized resources in larger cities, such as San Isidro El General (one hour drive from Uvita) and San José (three and half hour drive). The closest hospital is in Ciudad Cortés (twenty minutes from Uvita), where Dr. Gustavo is a resident emergency doctor, in addition to his private practice. He is also part of MediRED, an organization of doctors whose responsibility in local communities is to be a primary point of contact to the principal hospitals; CIMA hospital in Escazú, Clínica Bíblica in San José, and Hospital La Católica in San JoséGuadalupe. Rest assured should there ever be an emergency, Dr. Gustavo can quickly arrange for helicopter or ambulance transportation and refer patients to specialists throughout the country. For expectant families, Pre-natal and Pediatric Services are available locally, with ultrasounds available at his private clinic. Other services including Orthopedic, Aesthetic Medicine, and Dental Cosmetics will soon become available. If you have questions, Dr. Gustavo invites you to make an appointment for a consultation to discuss any health care concerns prior to your move to Costa Ballena.

* Jacob, Brian (2009). “CLOSING THE GAPS: The Challenge to Protect Costa Rica’s Health Care System”.




In 1949, when the army was abolished, the Costa Rican government pledged that the “army would be replaced with an army of teachers.” In Costa Rica, universal public education is assured in the constitution, and to this day literacy, with a historical rate of 94.9%, remains one of the highest rates in Latin America. Elementary and high schools are found throughout the country, in nearly every community. Primary education is mandatory, and both preschool and high school are free of charge for residents. There are only a few schools in Costa Rica that offer beyond the 12th grade and students who finish 11th grade receive a Costa Rican “Bachillerato Diploma”, accredited by the Costa Rican Ministry of Education. In Costa Ballena there is a mix of both private and public primary schools. For accreditation of high school programs in the country of origin, one must consult with their local school representatives, as in each state or province there are a particular set of rules and in many circumstances equivalencies can be given or special exams can be taken in order to receive such equivalencies.

Tutoring in the Tropics Experienced

Tutor Availa English and Sp ble anish A ll ages A ll le vels (includin To schedule g high school a class, get in ) touch with K athy Sturk + (506) 8876 -5799 kbribson@ho tmail.com

Uvita Christian Academy The premier private school in the Southern Zone of Costa Rica!

Uvita Christian Academy is a student-centered private school that focuses on the individual child and their personal development. • USA Accreditation • Diagnostic Testing • Individualized Academic Approach • Flexible Calendar • Bi-Lingual (English & Spanish) • Year-Round Open Enrollment www.UvitaChristianAcademy.org (506) 2743-8589 (Office) / (506) 8618-9302 (Mobile) Scott D. Bogard -Administrator

There are both public and private universities throughout the country. The University of Costa Rica has been awarded the title “Meritorious Institution of Costa Rican Education and Culture” and is held in high regard. In recent years, many private universities and colleges have consolidated because of the demand for higher education, which exceeds availability provided by the public sector. For post secondary education, private and public schools are available in San Isidro El General and various programs are available. When it comes to evaluating options for your child’s education, many factors are to be considered. Foremost, would be the child and their natural disposition. Successful integration depends on the child’s willingness and openness at the onset and parental support and understanding is invaluable when difficulties arise. Every situation has a solution; children are highly flexible and adaptable, sometimes it is the parents who show more resistance to change then the children. Many examples can be found where children pick up the language in as little as three months when given the opportunity for full integration. By far the most enriching aspect of education in the Southern Zone is the cultural integration, not only in Costa Rican culture but internationally. Many children from all corners of the globe are present in the schools of Costa Ballena. The rich experience of exposure to an intercultural setting prepares children for what lies far beyond our younger years. With the digital age being as it is, hybrid teams worldwide are becoming the norm. To be able to adapt in the work force is a must and to have, in such young years, learned to adapt to a new culture and assimilate into a different system is valuable beyond measure; not only in the work force, but also to prepare one for the challenges in life. Home schooling is available, as are tutors who can provide additional support. For those who wish to return to their home country for post secondary education, preparation for pre-requisite courses can be done by distance, even exams can be done online, one simply needs to be well informed.


A Fulfilling Experience


It’s very rewarding to give back to those who appreciate, like giving your old clothes to the Good Will store in Uvita, it costs nothing for the people who are giving and helps many as all the profits go towards local families that do not make enough income to cover their monthly grocery bill.

Many volunteer opportunities are available in the area for those who are able to give back, like volunteering for DAWGs (Domestic Animal Welfare Group) by socializing a dog by taking them for a walk in Uvita or participating in a river cleanup organized by Reserva Playa Tortuga in Ojochal. Your involvement can be as little or as much as you would like, there are always opportunities to give back. People from the community in Costa Ballena show true solidarity, it doesn’t matter where you are from, if you need help people will try their best to help you out. There are countless stories of bad luck striking, only to be resolved by a passerby and then a newly sparked friendship emerged. There are associations, like CAP (Crime Awareness and Prevention), where community members have gotten together to create an influential voice that works on promoting crime awareness and prevention, ultimately assuring the safety and security of every citizen, resident and visitor in Costa Ballena. There are also not for profit organizations, like Forjando Alas, whose aim is to provide children with a place to go after school where they can get help with their homework and learn diverse skills not taught at school, like how to start your own garden. There is Rincon de Uvita, where there are almost nightly soccer games, a full gym, volleyball court and a skate park for kids. It is a local recreational center that provides a great resource for the community. Every Saturday the Farmer’s market is held at Rincon and because all activities focus on sports and family life, it provides a great environment that keeps kids focused on their bright futures that lie ahead. Brian, the owner, now retired, says it gives him great pleasure to be able to give back and hopes that more people who are likeminded will join the community efforts. And lastly, to stimulate reflection, an important point worthy of mention is that even if ‘Ticos’ in rural areas live simply and are poor on paper, they are rich beyond belief in experience and inherited knowledge. The growth that results from the exchanges with those individuals who have little material capital is extraordinary.

We begin to understand what it actually means to be poor and it becomes clear that poverty in spirit is much worse than poverty on paper. ‘Ticos’ who still own their land that was passed down through generations, many of whom choose to live simply; they are attached to their land and their way of life. What we may consider poor, to them is not poverty; it is what they have chosen, they are aware there is an alternative but do not want it. When we look at the essentials of life we know that the gadgets, the suits, the jobs, all the “stuff” really are not necessary. And this is when we begin to adopt a different outlook, one that stems from understanding of the core principles of human fulfillment and satisfaction of the Self, we can differentiate what is fundamental and what is not, we are able to clearly see there is no difference between those materially rich and those materially poor. Costa Ballena presents the perfect apprentice opportunity to stimulate this kind of growth, self reflection and to go beyond simply thinking about these principles but putting them into action as well.

Follow the story as it unfolds! There are many anecdotes to tell! For the story of how Costa Rica and generosity changed my life, read it online at www.costaballenaliving.com/cheeky-monkey-adventures/.


Are you a sports aficionado who is looking to give back to a community? Uvita may hold the right opportunity for you! Rincon de Uvita, the sports complex and commercial center is for sale by the owner, who is looking to relegate in order to fully retire. For more information contact Brian Nice directly at + (506) 8981 4500 or 2200 5125 or go online at www.ballenatales.com/el-rincon-de-uvita/.


Weather & Seasonality One of the best features of the coastal lowlands is that we enjoy a steady tropical temperature of around 27 °C (81 °F).


The sun rises at about 5:30 a.m. and sets twelve hours later, only varying slightly throughout the year. After a year of living here, or perhaps maybe only after a few months, you’ll find you’ll adopt a philosophy of “the early bird gets the worm”, as most residents naturally wake up around the time when the sun rises and the howler monkeys announce the start of their day. It’s wonderful to wake up with the sun shining and the jungle sounds that come alive, it never does get ‘old’, neither does taking photos of stellar electric sunsets, you never can have too many of those! There is no spring or fall in Costa Rica; the two seasons are called ‘verano’ (summer), and ‘invierno’ (winter). April through July are the months of transition, the rains begin to come in the late afternoon, although not daily, and as we approach winter, the periods of rain get longer, extending later into the day, by evening our skies are clear for star gazing and our mornings are fresh for brisk walking. Summer, or the dry season, runs from December to April and locals refer to it as ‘high season’ as this is when there an important passage of tourists that supports economy in our area. The environment during this time is perfect for specific varieties of flowers to bloom, such as orchids and bougainvilleas. There are varieties of colorful trees

that flower only during the dry season, such as the ‘Cortés amarillo’ tree, found specifically in the South Pacific. And we are fortunate enough in Costa Ballena to have access to many rivers and beaches to cool off during the hot days; a distinction that sets us apart from other areas in the country. The winter, called the rainy or green season, has our jungles looking lush and runs from May to November; October and November being the heaviest months of precipitation. Despite forecasts that announce rain day long, normally the rains in Costa Ballena come in the late afternoon and taper off in the evening, leaving our mornings fresh. During the wet season, stellar sunsets occur regularly and it is a favorite pastime to head to the beach to catch the ‘golden hour’, the period where a beam of yellow-orange light covers all it touches. The rainy season does have its perks; as Mother Nature shows off in thunderstorms, demonstrating the sheer power of the stormy clouds above, and the amount of rain that falls per minute, astounding to watch the grass drink it up. It is rather frequent for those at an elevated height to be able to watch storms from a distance over the South Pacific and these are some of the best natural shows on earth, guaranteed.


Room to


Breathe! More than 25% of Costa Rica’s land is dedicated to national parks, reserves and wildlife refuges.

There are more than 100 different protected areas to visit. Both the smallest and the largest parks of Costa Rica are near Costa Ballena. The smallest being ‘Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio’, near Quepos, with 16 km² to discover and the largest park to the South, being ‘Parque Internacional La Amistad’, with 1,991 km² to explore. Another great park nearby is ‘Parque Nacional Corcovado’, internationally renowned among ecologists for its biodiversity and home to many endangered species. Big cats, like the Puma, Jaguar and the ever elusive Costa Rican cougar, alongside bird species like the Scarlet Macaw and Harpey Eagle find refuge in the depths of this tropical rainforest. It’s also where you can find all four Costa Rican monkey species; these are the white-faced capuchin, the mantled howler, the endangered Geoffroy’s spider monkey and the Central American squirrel monkey, only found on the Pacific coast. There is an abundance of hiking trails and while some areas remain remote and secluded, it is also easily accessible by the Sierpe wetlands and includes ‘Bahía Drake’. Many residents return periodically throughout the year to visit this park located in the ‘Penisula de Osa’. For those looking for a hiking adventure, visit ‘Parque Nacional Chirripo’. With a height of 3,727 m (12,228 ft) it is the 38th most prominent peak in the world. On clear days, from the summit you are able to see from coast to coast, with views stretching from the Pacific Ocean all the way across the country to the Caribbean Sea. Where the top of mountains meet and many rivers converge, permanent lakes with crystal clear waters are all yours to discover.

Did you

know ? Costa Rica hosts more than 5% of the world’s biodiversity even though its landmass only takes up .03% of the planet’s surface.

By 2021, Costa Rica is attempting to become the first carbon

neutral country in the world.



Rich Coast There are about 52 species of hummingbirds in Costa Rica, making the country a true hummingbird capital.

Costa Rica, literally meaning â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;rich coastâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, boasts an amazing array of biodiversity. Even though it is a small country, it has great biological and habitat diversity due to the convergence of two hemispheres, two oceans, and its varying geography. The unique topography, primarily created by the chain of mountains that forms a backbone down the length of Costa Rica, part of the Andean-Sierra Madre mountains, which runs the length of the western littoral of the Americas. With these elements combined, the land provides for various types of microclimates to flourish. Many of the residents of Costa Ballena are bird watchers, nature enthusiasts and draw inspiration to paint, photograph or to live a simpler life merely by observing the beauty that surrounds them. Many have cited that it is because of the biodiversity that is present in Costa Ballena that they have chosen to move to the area. The toucan, the symbolic bird of Costa Ballena, can be found gliding from tree to tree. After the first rains, the butterflies come out to play and it is wonderful to watch as they flutter about their carefree day! The mountains are where ocelots find their home. And if you like reptiles and snakes, you are in for a treat any night of the week, night walking tours, guide accompanied, are available at any time of the year.



The Land of Adventure S Stop dreaming, start discovering! Costa Rica awaits full of adventure. Costa Ballena is perfect for sports enthusiasts and for those who love to have fun and play. Active lifestyles are part of many of the residents’ everyday lifestyle and the weather provides the perfect environment year round to be outside. One can practice early morning yoga on the beach, improve their stability overtime with stand up paddle board in the mangroves, and surf at any one of the beaches during high tide. Join in on any one of the regular sports teams that are around, like soccer, baseball, volleyball and even basketball games. There are many water sports to enjoy like kayaking, snorkeling, diving, sport fishing, and boating. For those seeking thrill, waterfall rappelling (canyoneering) is a sport that is sure to get adrenaline pumping. Land sports include mountain biking, golfing and discovering the area on an ATV (All Terrain Vehicle) trail. A hike in nature makes for a great day of exploration, and if you listen closely and follow the sound of rushing waters you are almost sure to find a waterfall. A stroll or brisk walk on the beach at sunset is always a great way to end the day. Golf and bowling can be found in the Southern part of Costa Ballena, as can canopy tours, which is an exhilarating experience every time. Martial arts classes, spinning and gyms are found in Uvita. And cultural experiences are great for personal growth, visit the Boruca or interact with a ‘Tico’ or new neighbor from abroad, you’ll be sure to learn something new and forge lasting friendships. Try your hand at cooking ‘gallo pinto’ or ‘patacones’, sign up for a language exchange or put on your dancing shoes and test those new Latin moves. People who have always wanted to try their hand at painting, writing or photography find plenty of inspiration. Green thumbs have the perfect environment to expand their knowledge.

Our entertainment hub in the heart of Osa! www.baxterbowlingcostarica.com + (506) 2786-5786 or 2786-5783 Five and ten pin bowling is now available in the Southern Zone! On site facility is complete with coffee lounge, snack bar, sports bar and games for all ages.

Many annual festivals are held throughout the year and provide locals with a unique opportunity to participate in world class events without having to leave the area. The festivals are an asset to the area, especially with regards to income generation for rental properties as thousands of tourists come to the area specifically for the venues. The festivals attract various types of travelers as the events themselves are quite diverse. The year starts out with Best Fest a music festival which is now holding its third annual event at the beginning of February. We welcome artists from the United States and Costa Rica to perform beachside on a 2,000 acre farm nestled close to one of the most beautiful beaches in the area, Playa Ballena. Music styles include Jazz, Funk, Soul, Hip-hop, Reggae, Electronic, Rock’n’Roll and Bluegrass. Closely following, is this year’s first annual Craft Beer Festival, showcasing microbrewers from Costa Rica. Envision, now on its fourth year running continues to draw an increasing number of worldwide festival goers to the area and is held towards the end of February. Envision’s aim is to bring people together to help initiate positive change in the world via music, art and sacred movement. A variety of activities are offered ranging from performing and visual arts, yoga, and lecture based workshops. In March, we switch gears and head

South to Palmar Sur with a cultural event, the Spheres Festival. The spheres of the Osa Canton are revered and date back to pre-Columbian times, many questions remain unanswered about why they were made, what tools were used to build them, and where the materials came from. The spheres are regarded as one of the wonders of the world, alongside such examples as Stonehenge and the Mayan Ruins. Among cultural festivals, there is also what is commonly called the Little Devils Dance which is held in Boruca, one of the seven indigenous tribes to Costa Rica. These ceremonies and rituals take place over the course of four days and re-enacts the Spaniards being chased off by the Boruca. The Spanish are represented by a bull costume and the Boruca wear their traditional devil masks, the event is always held December 30th to January 2nd. The Whale’s Festival, going into its sixth year is held at the beginning of September and we celebrate the return of the humpback whales that come to the area to mate and give birth to their calves. There is also El Sabor de Ojochal that holds culinary events throughout the year; it is a non-profit organization that brings restaurateurs together in celebration of the culinary excellence found in Ojochal, Costa Rica. And for entrepreneurs, adventure of another kind can be found. The joy and fulfilment of starting a new venture in a new country holds many rewards. Simply the prospect of being able to start a business on a shoestring, something unheard of back home is an attractive feature of the area. New challenges are ready to be taken on and the chance to achieve greater personal growth lies in the end. To be surrounded by people who not only think outside the box, but live outside the box, is amazing and inspiring. To lead the way into a future that we concretely create provides personal inspiration, develops pride in oneself, stimulates team work, sets a great example for the youth to come, and fuels passion that encourages one to overcome the challenges that may be encountered. And funny as it may be, many of those who are “retired” are busier than most as they are pursuing new activities, now that they are established, comfortable and have time to do as they please; they choose to relax and also to work towards goals they have chosen to set. Retirement can also be a time to play! Many are taking the time to pursue projects that are based on personal interest and passion, and it seems that their inspirational energy is in the air! Their enthusiasm lends itself to all those around, not only for those who are retired, but for anyone who interacts with someone who has come alive, they too, will feel passion and a revitalization in their life’s purpose. We are all adventurers on our own path and we are on our way!

Fortunate to have excellent services in the area! Costa Ballena Yoga Uniting the body, mind and spirit for health and well-being Kimberly Faddah - Yoga Instructor + (506) 8707-6274 kimfaddah@yahoo.com Weekly classes are available in Ojochal and Uvita. Private group classes can be arranged at your convenience.

Looking for a great massage? Contact Ida! Contact Ida. Ask her about lymph drainage massage too, they are great for circulation Spanish: + (506) 2743 8489 or 8312 8208 English: + (506) 8397 0009 She’ll come to you, or find her 25 mts. East of the BCR in Uvita.


As Above, so Below

88 constellations light the night sky, for centuries man has relied on stars for direction, for weather indications and as a basis to spur on discussions about what lies beyond. Living close to nature locals often find themselves in discussion about what moon cycle we are in. Although the Sun is a star we could not live without, the moon too plays a pivotal role, as does the night. If we are in a new moon cycle it is time prune or cut, and transplanting and planting are best left to a full moon. A general rule of thumb for gardeners, the full moon period will be centered on what happens below the soil, and at all other times, your gardening will deal with anything happening above the soil. At night the jungle does not sleep, frogs, snakes and the hunters of the wild appear alongside the stars. This is also a time for star gazers to indulge. Easily we can learn to spot constellations such as the Big Dipper (Ursa Major), or Orion the Hunter, as well as the planets, the “wanderers” of the sky. And meteor showers are a great time to head to the beach with a wide celestial horizon with which you will get a front seat. With absence of light pollution we can look up at the night’s sky and any amateur can enjoy!

Constellations seen in the Costa Rican night sky

Fruit & Vegetable Haven!



With trees bearing fruit year round, local vegetables cultivated in almost any terrain (a local saying goes “plant it in the ground and watch it grow”), and local artisans pouring love into their craft, our taste buds have become indulged by all Costa Ballena has to offer!

With high quality and accessibility to fresh food almost everywhere, fruit stands can be found in every town, and with low cost options at farmer’s markets, you’ll find living a healthy lifestyle becomes easy. Once you are acquainted with the seasonality of the fruits and vegetables that grow locally, you will be looking forward to the mangos that ripen in June, and the mamon chinos and mangosteens that become available in July through August. An added bonus, your cooking skills will improve with no effort at all, the quality of the ingredients gives us all an extra hand in the kitchen. And for those concerned about meat sources, “happy chickens” are readily available, just ask around and you’ll be able to source some organic chickens and their eggs. As for medicinal and curative plants, fruits and vegetables, they are once again available in ample supply and variety. A few popular examples include: soursop, locally known as guanabana, a great anti-cancer fruit that can be eaten fresh or put into a blender; turmeric, great for detoxification and anti-inflammation, can be found fresh for you to transform, or visit a farmer’s market and you’ll find some ready to consume to save yourself the hassle; a local variety of ‘limones’, not quite a lemon, not quite a lime,

is used almost everywhere and helps cleanse; lemon grass, grown to help keep insects away and great to use in tea accompanied with some fresh local ginger; and ‘hombre grande’ that works great on any skin rash. There are also cosmetic plants that grow; like shampoo ginger that will leave your hair soft and smooth, and because our coconut oil is so pure, you’ll be using it everywhere not just in your cooking but even in your hair. Sage bushes can be dried and used as incense to purify energies. The ylang ylang tree provides sweet breezes to everyone that comes near. Talking with locals is always interesting, as we all have our tricks and tips that help us live healthy energized lives. Another important point for healthy living is water supply; in Costa Ballena we are very fortunate to have ample accessibility to various clean water sources, once again making our area unique. You’ll find you have never tasted food that makes your taste buds come so alive, until you have come to Costa Rica, and we doubt you’ll find another place on earth where there is an abundance of mangos, avocados, yucca and so many more fruits and vegetables that taste ‘oh so good’! And the coffee, don’t get us started!

Indian Mulberry Commonly known as Noni, the super fruit, it is packed with many powerful antioxidants and compounds that are believed to increase vitality. Rich in selenium, which promotes skin elasticity, glycosides, a defense against free radicals, and terpines, a great detoxifier. Noni grows year round and because of its pungent smell and strong taste it is given away freely by locals who harvest the tree.


Brisas de Osa


True to its name Brisas de Osa, located in the Osa Peninsula, has a wonderfully steady cool breeze and sits at an elevation of 2,100+ feet above sea level, allowing for the enjoyment of the sunny weather without the heat.

With grand views of the Pacific Ocean coastal line and the serpenting TĂŠrraba and Sierpe Rivers, the development project has potential unlike no other. A truly delighting and surprising feature is at night, when all is dark and the lights of the town of Cortes illuminate in the distance below, rekindling a sense of connectedness with civilization after a day spent in nature or at one of the beautiful beaches nearby. With the town of Palmar Sur being a ten minute drive away from the Costanera Highway, all the services needed is at oneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fingertips. A national airport in Palmar (10 to 15 minutes from the highway) with daily flights is available; therefore accessibility is not an issue. Moreover, an international airport has been approved and it is expected to start construction soon, as per the president; new highways and marinas are being constructed, a fully operational 10.000 square feet hospital, all indicators that expansion has taken off. A total of 50 lots remain available and various types of terrains with generous views of the South Pacific Ocean, the lowlands of Osa and the mountain ranges are offered. High quality construction is key and open, functional design for the maximum use of areas is planned. Eco-friendly building principles, such as energy efficient water heating systems, extensive use of exotic hardwoods throughout the houses like Cristobal, high ceilings towering to 16+ feet high, options for Jacuzziâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, liberal window use for maximum natural light and complete stainless steel appliance packages delight investors. Private gardens and sitting areas are available for each lot and one can enjoy the expansive public spaces set aside, more than 50% of the property remains untouched to protect the green natural primary forest that envelopes the development. Private waterfall and trail access is available on site and an additional perk includes membership to the Beach Club at Playa Ballena, part of the Parque Nacional Marino Ballena, one of the most beautiful and swimmable beaches of the area, just a 20+ minute drive on the Costanera highway. Brisas de Osa is a culmination of luxury and affordability, ocean view single family homes start at $149,900 and ocean view lots start at $34,900. All lots will be delivered with water and electricity to the lot-line. The project comes complete with optional concierge and property management services, alongside 24 hour security service. The stewards of the project invite you to visit them and see their two readymade showcase homes. The thought will then beckon, if this is the starting point, imagine the possibilities. What you will do is up to you, stop dreaming, and start discovering! Let the captivating sunsets whisk you away and make that dream a reality getaway.

Step ahead of the future, invest with your retirement account, ask us how! Brisas de Osa, the affordable investment and hidden gem of the South Pacific! • Unreal vistas and lush nature with superb pleasant mountain weather • High quality construction with luxurious finishes • Concierge vacation rental services available • Optional aquaponics garden to grow your own food on the development

Infinite possibilities with lots starting at $34,900, houses at $149,900, in a gated private community, the ideal place for retirement.

Don’t buy anywhere before visiting our development!

Contact Us!

info@brisasdeosa.com www.brisasdeosa.com COSTA RICA TEL: +(506) 8304-0525 USA TEL: (954) 837-6263



It’s not so much a good bye, as it is a hope to see you soon! I hope I have inspired readers to learn more about the area, provided useful information and resources, as well as provided food for thought for those thinking about their next steps in life. The headlines that were chosen were those topics that were echoed via the voices of the community, as to what they felt was important when they made the move and can also be your starting point for further investigation. In the end, what remains clear throughout the interviews is that the decision is one left up to personal preference. I think hands down, the best

piece of advice before making a life changing decision is to come discover what we have to offer, meet the people, and live the lifestyle. Move around, try different areas, and see what each has to offer. Tourist visas are valid for 90 days, use that time wisely; what you accomplish while visiting will create a springboard for a smooth transition. After a visit you will see if this is a way of life that suits your needs and fulfills your desires. If you are looking for a real change in pace, a better quality of life and like minded individuals, chances are, Costa Ballena may be the place for you. It has its challenges, and it holds its rewards. Opportunities are waiting to be created, for you, by you. Costa Ballena awaits!

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go do that. Because what the world needs are people who have come alive. – Harold Whitman

A special thank you to Jan & Jim, may you continue to enjoy all the happiness the World has to offer! Thank you indefinitely for your generosity. Thank you to all the businesses that took the leap of faith to support the first edition. May we all continue to grow and support one another. Thank you to my friends, family, and colleagues, you are all simply awesome!

Stay tuned as we unveil our

next feature! www.CostaBallenaLiving.com

This image has not been modified or retouched, it is an original sunset shot taken from our next feature house.

Profile for Costa Ballena Living

Costa Ballena Living - Edition #1 - January 2014  

Costa Ballena Living showcases Real Estate & Construction; the Community & Services; and the Lifestyle & Benefits of Life in Costa Ballena,...

Costa Ballena Living - Edition #1 - January 2014  

Costa Ballena Living showcases Real Estate & Construction; the Community & Services; and the Lifestyle & Benefits of Life in Costa Ballena,...