House Hunting in Costa Rica: A Slice of Oceanside Paradise for $1.1 Million


This modern three-bedroom home sits on a hillside in Dominical, a beach town in Puntarenas province, on the southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Built in 2016, the 3,500-square-foot house is oriented to maximize ocean views, with sliding glass walls in every room.

The mountainous area, known as Escaleras, “we sometimes refer to as the Hollywood Hills — it’s home to some of the most amazing real estate in the area,” said Tim Fenton, president of Blue Zone Realty International, which has the listing. “The mountains are very close to the sea, so these homes are perched front row, overlooking the ocean.”

The single-story house is built from steel and concrete on just over a half acre. The front entrance, on the side opposite the ocean, opens directly into the living area, with vaulted ceilings that rise to 15 feet. The tiled floor extends beyond the retractable glass wall to form an outdoor patio with space for dining beneath a roof overhang. Clerestory windows above the wall allow more light.

Built-in Spanish cedar cabinetry and shelving in the living area matches the cabinetry in the adjoining kitchen. The kitchen also has a quartz waterfall island with seating for three and high-end, stainless-steel appliances. A separate outdoor kitchen has a gas grill, wet bar and wine chiller.

The teak-floored main suite is to one side of the living area, with a double vanity and a glass shower in the bathroom that can be opened to the outdoors. Two more bedrooms with en suite baths are on the other side.

All three bedrooms open onto terraces made from concrete slabs separated by soft pebble stone. An infinity pool set in the middle of the lawn has a ledged portion for seating.

The attached two-car garage is on the front of the house, which is wrapped by a section of lawn set with pavers.

The property has sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean, including a natural phenomenon popularly known as the “whale’s tail” inside Ballena National Marine Park, in Uvita, Mr. Fenton said. The rock and sand formation, which extends from the beach in the shape of a whale’s tail, is also the site where humpback whales gather twice a year, he said.

Americans were allowed back in as of November, and the pent-up demand was such that it proved to be “our busiest November in the eight years we’ve been doing business down here,” Mr. Fenton said.

Both agents said many buyers are looking for a newer three-bedroom house with a pool, possibly with an ocean view or within walking distance of a beach. Properties under $400,000 — Costa Rica operates on the colón, but U.S. dollars are widely accepted — move the most quickly, but buyers are generally looking in the $300,000 to $800,000 range, Mr. Champagne said.

There are no restrictions on foreign buyers in Costa Rica. Deals are commonly done in U.S. dollars.

All transactions require a lawyer/notary. It is common for one notary to handle the transaction for both buyer and seller, said Rodolfo Herrera, a real estate lawyer in the Dominical area. But buyers should make a point of finding one who is fluent in their language.

“I’ve seen many problems with buyers who used an attorney they weren’t even able to communicate with,” Mr. Herrera said.


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