San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Golden Opportunities Popping Up in Southern Zone

Getting to many spots in the Southern Zone requires a trek, but those who are fond of the area will tell you that’s part of its appeal. Sportfishing, practically private beaches and untarnished green hillsides are among the rewards that greet those who come to live or play down south in Costa Rica.

Several new developments are under way for those looking to live or have a second home in the Southern Zone, and developers say they’re keeping the area’s off-the-beatenpath appeal in mind.

Punta Dominical is a 1,600-acre gem in Dominical, on the southern Pacific coast, said sales director Tina Wallace.

Being developed within the property is Kiana Resort Hotel, which will be the first five-star hotel in the Southern Zone,Wallace said. The hotel will include 26 fully furnished, two-bedroom, two-bathroom luxury villas, according to Punta Dominical’s Web site. Amenities will include custom pools with lounge areas and shade cabanas, a full spa and an open-air dining area offering gourmet international cuisine.

The villas start at $399,000 and are expected to open in fall 2007.

Those who don’t plan to live in their properties year-round can earn revenue on them by renting them out through Kiana’s property management plan (see separate story on property management).

“We take care of everything from this end,”Wallace said.

On another corner of Punta Dominical’s plot is Canto del Mar, terraced villas set on a lush hillside. These two- and three-bedroom resort homes with two and a half baths start in the mid-$300,000 range. Like Kiana, Canto del Mar offers property management services to take care of rental and maintenance needs.

For more information on Punta Dominical, visit or call 787-0316 or 1-800-503-5374 toll-free from the United States.

Another Southern Zone hot spot is Playa Zancudo, said Dar Randall, owner of Golfito Realty, a company based out of the Central Valley town of Santa Ana, southwest of San José.

As with most Costa Rican beaches, construction in Zancudo is regulated by the country’s Maritime Zone Law, which states that the first 200 meters of land from the high-tide line belong to the state. The first 50 meters are considered public terrain and cannot be developed, and the remaining 150 meters can be developed privately, for hotels, restaurants or homes, through concessions granted by municipalities.

Buyers must do their homework if they’re looking to build anywhere on the beach in Costa Rica (see separate story), and many are in the process of applying for concessions to build in Playa Zancudo and in nearby Playa Pavones, Randall said.

Likely to go up in the next couple of years are single-family homes on the large side, not condominiums, so the area is likely to keep its no-crowds charm.

Draws to the area include sportfishing and a happening music scene that draws U.S. blues musician Taj Majal every year (TT, Jan. 27). Spectacular sunsets can also be taken in from these quiet, reclusive beaches, which face due west. For info, call Golfito Realty at 282-3370 or visit

Those looking for a remote, natural property should check out Vistas de Chirripó, a unique development planned in the foothills of the Talamanca mountain range, east of the crossroads town of San Isidro de El General.

Affordable living in a scenic setting is what Vistas de Chirripó plans to deliver, said owner Bill Herle.

The 110-hectare property sits on a green mountainside and is divided into 20 acreages for building. Lots range from $50,000-150,000.

Vistas de Chirripó is bringing roads, water and electricity to this previously remote plot of land and can also put buyers in touch with local architects, builders and lawyers.

Hiking trails and common facilities including a rancho pavilion are also in the works, and the property is near the Las Nubes Biological Reserve, creating many opportunities to get in touch with nature while taking advantage of the area’s mild climate.

The property is a one-hour drive from Dominical and near the town of San Isidro.

Beaches including Playa Hermosa, Punta Uvita, Playa Ballena and Playa Piñuela are also within driving distance.

For more info, call 879-7542 or 837-6998, or visit

Reaching these Southern Zone destinations may soon become less of a haul – after years of talk about an international airport going up in the area, officials selected a site between the towns of Sierpe and Palmar Sur, off the Inter-American Highway, to build one (TT, March 31).

The Southern Zone Development Authority (JUDESUR) has agreed to provide ¢600 million ($1.16 million) to develop an airport master plan and conduct soil and climate studies. The master plan is expected to be complete in April 2007.

A marina in the port town of Golfito is also in the works. After months of delays in plans to begin construction of a massive $400 million marina in the small gulf community, developer Hacienda El Dorado hopes to break ground by the end of the year, according to company president Jim Lindskey.

The marina project, which will include a 217-slip marina and a hotel, has now signed on a new partner, U.S.-based real estate developer Great American Capital, to help fund the project (TT, Sept. 29).


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