San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Osa Attracts ‘Pioneer Spirits’

BUILDING in the OsaPeninsula is

often expensive, difficult and legally complicated,

according to property owners


Outside of Puerto Jiménez, the peninsula’s

largest town, property owners

often have to cut their own roads, repair

them every year, dig wells or pump water

from creeks, plug their appliances into

solar-powered sockets, build and maintain

structures under an average yearly

rainfall of four to seven meters and

wrestle with the legalities of buying land

from farmers who have never owned a


But this paradise is worth the effort,

they say. It is home to Corcovado National

Park and a rainforest National Geographic

has called the second most bio-diverse

region in the world.

Paul Collar, owner of Osa Water Works

in Puerto Jiménez, calls it a “quiet, remote,

wild frontier.”

“IF you’re any kind of naturalist, this

is your Mecca,” Collar said. “Corcovado is

the crown jewel of the national park system.

There’s also a beautiful gulf and the

hottest sport fishing in the world.”

Until recently, most foreigners who

invested in the area bought tracts of land

from farmers and built their houses from

scratch. Now, 10 to 15 years later, some of

them are selling. Also, to save others the

hassle of dealing with untitled properties,

some foreigners have subdivided their land

and sold it to newcomers.

Power lines do not extend into most of

the jungle and pristine coasts throughout

the peninsula, so homeowners need to

install solar panels, hydroelectric or gas

generators – something contractors there

can help with.

Collar recommends new property owners

contract builders from the region.

“THIS area poses construction challenges that often leave San José firms, even competent and recognized firms, with time and budget overruns,” he said. Area construction firms include Osa-Agg, S.A. (735-5668), which specializes in remote home and road construction, and Osa Consultas (, 735-5491).

Collar provides consulting and contracting services for potable water supplies and alternative energy sources (, 735-5702).

Two real estate brokers who spoke to The Tico Times said they are not content to simply sell land to their clients, rather, they assist the buyer with advice and support through the twists and turns of the building process.

JEFF Lantz, of the Osa Land Office (, 735-5626 or 235-5683), offers information on everything from squatters to immigration law, as well as building assistance.

Examples of what’s available in the area include a beachfront estate spanning 185 hectares (456 acres) in Los Mogos, from the edge of the Golfo Dulce up a mountainside to the main road.

The property, listed at $600,000, is forested, has natural springs, electricity along the main road, a one-kilometer beach and boasts “spectacular South-facing views” over the gulf and to the Pacific Ocean.

Lantz said it is an excellent property for a low impact eco-tourism project or residential houses.

TAO Watts, of AdventurOsa Properties & Services (, 735-5164 or 820-7095), screens potential clients before selling them a piece of land in a part of the world they might not appreciate.

“My job as a realtor is not only to prequalify people financially but also to prequalify them as a good neighbor,” she said. “It’s a tough lifestyle and we don’t want a bunch of whiners.”

Watts is interested in “wellness communities,” of people who are conscious of the environment and how to live in it.

“Osa attracts people who have a pioneer spirit,” she said.

One of the properties she has on offer includes more than a kilometer of pristine beachfront in Bejucos, on the north rim of Golfo Dulce. Nearly half primary rainforest, the other half secondary, the area is ripe for “conscientious development as eco-tourism, residential sites, or conservation” projects, Watts said.

IN nearby Playa Tamales, she offers a “sweet, tranquil property beautifully land-scaped with flowers and fruits on one of the nicest beaches on the Golfo Dulce, near the mouth of the Tamales River.”

The property includes five ranchstyle cabinas, a small dipping pool in the garden and a storage house. It is fully furnished, including tools and a generator.

“It is perfect for a small retreat center, a private residence or for a commercial tourist business,” Watts said.

ALEXANDER del Sol (, 849-3482) has an extensive list of properties throughout the Osa and the Southern Zone.

One of them, which he calls a “gem,” is 30 hectares (75 acres) in Los Mogos on two separate plots off the main road. The land is primary and secondary forest and pasture with myriad fruit trees and a view of the Golfo Dulce.

The property includes a house on the main road with electricity and three potential building sites with views, including one with a new access road ($95,000).

TOMBoyland, who put his Escondido Trex tour company (735-5210) up for sale, said Osa will remain a frontier until the road is paved all the way to Puerto Jiménez.

“When that happens, we’ll become a Manuel Antonio,” he said, referring to the tourist destination on the central Pacific that is saturated with hotels and resorts around a protected forest.

“Osa is wide open for business opportunities,” he said, and echoed the concerns of other residents there, adding that he hopes the incoming businesses are environmentally responsible.


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