San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Condominium “Village” Offers Water Sports, Diving, Fishing, Beaches and Other Amenities

THE Mapache Condominiums, ownedby Carlos Arroyo, are among the mostambitious real-estate ventures in a town ofincreasingly grand projects.The complex is within walking distanceof the town center, the casino,seafood and pizza joints, the high-speedInternet café, dive shops, hotels and eateries,large U.S.-style grocery stores and thekaraoke bar.However, as this enclave develops, it isbecoming a private village with the sameservices offered in town, including a smallschool, as well as some extras that haven’tyet hit the main strip of Playas del Coco.On the horizon are an Italian restaurant,an open-air shopping plaza and thetown’s first movie theater, all along windingstreets patrolled by private securityguards.When finished, it will boast 700condos built among dense gardens underthe shade of the tree giants the builders leftstanding. The units are situated aroundswimming pools – 50, all told – and arewithin two blocks of the beach.Carlos’ laid-back nature, short ponytail,jiggly waistline and quick laughterhardly blend with the luxury, precision andgrandiosity of the project. But he is anideas man. Mario says his brother neverstops thinking; even when cruising in hiswood-trimmed van, he is considering hisnext improvement or his next big project.The school, for example, is an institutionhe helped rescue after the original buildingin town burned down.HOWLER monkeys bellow from thebranches above the rooftops, and Carlos issure that many more monkeys and birdswill descend from the forested hills aroundthe complex when construction is finishedand the rest of the gardens planted withintwo years.As of this writing, 70 of the 100 completedunits have been sold to buyers from22 different nations. One hundred more areunder construction.“It’s not a housing project; it’s a littlecity,” Carlos said, “with studios from$30,000 up to luxury homes in the milliondollarrange.”THOSE who have invested don’t seemto have enough good things to say.“Where else can you buy a mini-housefor so little, just five minutes’ walk fromthe beach?” British expatriate AngelaPerry asked. She and her husband bought aduplex for themselves and 12 studios torent. Units are available for long-termrental or by the night, starting at $15 forthe most basic.Accommodations aside, the other drawis the area’s jungle-and-beach fantasyland.Mapache has an arsenal of motorized toys– 24 ATVs and 12 jet skis, in addition tothe pangas and diving and sportfishingboats under Mario’s command.For information on buying or rentingcondos, or boat tours, fishing and diving,call 670-0239 or visit For condo info, e-mail, and for infoon water activities,

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