The Pacific coast of Costa Rica has witnessed rapid tourism growth in the past 5 years, so much so that coastal villages like Playa del Coco cannot handle the influx of tourists especially during peak times.
Five years ago tourists, particularly from Canada and the United States purchased small condos and lofts for as low as $35,000- only minutes from the ocean. Today those same properties are listed for sale at $75,000 and more, effectively doubling the original sale prices.
We were offered a two-bedroom condo in a three-year-old building for $125,000, complete with courtyard swimming pool and 24-hour security service. Purchase price three years ago we found out was approximately $35,000!
Price increases like this illustrate the snowball effect of rapid speculation, and the desire of many to produce a profit by simply buying a property and waiting for it to appreciate in value.
The Playa del Coco area has been built on speculation and lots of it. There are huge numbers of absentee landlords, just sitting on their investments. “FOR SALE” signs are everywhere, and even more new and bigger condos are being built.
As previous articles to this website have suggested, a certain amount of growth is good for tourism development and good for Costa Rica, but one of the drawbacks is that the local infrastructure was not built to handle the demand. Nor was the electricity grid built to sustain perhaps a 100% increase in the actual number of buildings in Playa del Coco since 2003.