Century 21 Ballena Properties is on the move and winning awards!

Century 21 Ballena Properties is on the move . . . again! Our office has generated so much more sales volume in 2021, that we have exceeded our highest expectations for this year, sailed far beyond where we expected to in the face of the global crisis we are all still struggling through.

Surprisingly, during this year’s challenges we have actually doubled our sales volume compared to all of 2020 already! As we accelerate towards the big changes that the upcoming New Year of 2022 appears poised to bring to our world, our office’s rising trajectory could not look more optimistic. As winners of the #2 position among all C21 offices in Central America in 2019 and 2020 – whose numbers we have already blown away — our track record of perpetually rocketing higher and higher into the stratosphere of real estate success appears to be unstoppable.

One of those awards was earned by Karen Rath, for her accomplishments as a Top Performer in 2019. The same trophy was awarded to the office’s inspiring broker/co-owner, Marcel Van Willigen, who received the Top Performer prize for 2020. Our office also earned the Centurion Award for BOTH 2019 and 2020! The reason we have waited so long to report the good news is because the pandemic prevented the delivery of our trophies until last month and, as you know, nothing is 100% certain until you’re actually holding it in your hands….

As we’ve mentioned before, however, the best measure of a Real Estate Office is not how many awards they have won, or how well they perform compared to other offices within their franchise, but rather how well they serve you, the client. As clearly evidenced in the glowing testimonials, the staff at C21 Ballena Properties hold this philosophy, as not just a nice sales slogan, but as a fundamental tenet of doing business properly. We think long-term as fellow members of Costa Ballena Community, knowing that how we treat our incoming neighbors while conducting our business with them, shall be reflected back to us, in how we will be treated by them when they have settled into the Community down the road. We are also fully aware of the fact that our sellers often stay in this area, are just selling their current home in order to upgrade…and remain C21 Ballena clients. Our magnificent track record for sellers reflects our superior level of service to our inventory of listings. In this exceptionally hot sellers’ market we are currently experiencing, we hold our listings in the highest regard, giving them the utmost attention and care. In summary, since we continue to live among our clients in all areas of real estate day to day throughout the year — including construction, remodeling, and legal services — it is very important to us that everyone involved in each and every transaction is happy with the final outcome. Taking care of our clients to the maximum of our ability is, was, and always shall be our #1 priority.

Naturally, it takes a highly cohesive team effort to make everything flow smoothly, in active offices of any type. The C21 Ballena Team is no exception. Our staff is made up of a highly diverse international mix, and 7 languages are spoken fluently. ALL the agents are CRGAR Licensed Realtors, and C21 Ballena Properties is part of a small family group of interconnecting professional services: the property sales office, a full-service law firm, and a custom construction company. All three businesses are located just steps from each other in the same professional commercial center right off the coastal highway. Hitch your wagon of your new tropical lifestyle Vision to the stars, with the stellar Dream Team at C21 Ballena Properties.

Costa Rican House sizes

Not all home buyers know what house size they are really looking for. Most would say they’re looking for a 3-bedroom / 2-bath home, with a large terrace and a pool, or something like that. Few buyers say they’re looking for a 2,250 square foot home, do they? 

The house size may not be the most needed information before buying a home, but it is still important information needed to make a final decision on a potential purchase. When a buyer sees that a home is listed as having 2,250 square feet, they might think the house is way too small for them, or too large.

In some parts of the world, the listed house size is indoor space. That means that the listed size has to be heated or air-conditioned. Not so in Costa Rica.

Under the roof

Costa Rican house size is the square footage measured “under roof”. That means that we include not only the interior space, but also any exterior space that is under the roof, such as attached carports, all attached terraces/ outdoor living spaces. 

In m2

In Costa Rica, we measure construction in square meters or m2, which is equivalent to 10.79 square feet. For easy calculation, multiply the home size in m2 by 11. A linear meter is 3.28 feet.  You can learn about the secrets of Costa Rica real estate measurement conversion in a previous Blog post.

Real estate listings

In Costa Rica, the property size is measured by a surveyor, then registered in the National Registry. The house size, on the other hand, is not registered in the National Registry and therefore not used in the real estate deed/ title.

Nonetheless, the property size on online listings should be as correct as possible. The construction plans are the only documents that possibly prove the correct size. Often, changes are made during construction and rooms are enlarged or added on without changes to blue prints or permits.

The only way to find out the correct house size is to use a measuring tape and a calculator and do it yourself or ask your realtor to do it!

Additional building

Our agents always use the house size in the listing overview. Any additional buildings that are not part of the main house can be explained in the property description. That way, gazebos, a guesthouse, a caretaker’s house, etc. will not be included in the home size.

Exclusive listing or FSBO (for sale by owner)

Sellers like to see the correct house size used in a listing. If you plan to have your property listed as an open listing, you could measure the home and give everybody the correct size. In most cases, you sign an exclusive listing agreement with a realtor, the realtor will do the job for you.

Making offers

If you’re the buyer, make sure the advertised home size is correct, before making an offer on a home, so it can be used to compare with other listings you may be interested in. Ask the agent the following questions:

  • Where did the listing house size come from?
  • What is the living area’s square footage and what is the exterior square footage?
  • Are any additions added to the home counted in the square footage?

Asking these questions will ensure you know exactly what you are purchasing. 

Questions about houses for sale in Costa Rica? For more assistance, do not hesitate to contact us!

BlogGreen Light for Digital Nomads in Peaceful Costa Rica!

On July 13, 2021, the Costa Rican legislature passed in a final binding vote a new Immigration Law that gives ‘digital nomads’ — those who have jobs or businesses that they work completely online via their connected digital devices, regardless of their physical location in the world – up to two full years in Costa Rica without having to leave to renew their visa. This is a monumental change in Costa Rica’s Immigration policy, and a watershed event for literally tens of thousands of expats from North America and Europe who come here every year for extended stays, but who previously had to leave every 3 months to renew their tourist visas, formerly the only type of visa they could get without applying for residency of one type or another.

Here are the principle features of the new Immigration Law category:  The digital nomad must provide proof that they have a stable monthly income equal to or greater than US$3,000. The benefit can be for two people who make up the family group, but with an average monthly income of US$4,000 or greater. In addition, the applicant will have to either prove that they have adequate international medical insurance to cover any and all possible health emergencies while within Costa Rica, or acquire a medical services policy here that covers them throughout the term of their visa. The actual term of the new Digital Nomad Visa will be up to two years: one year initially, and extendable for one more. To request the extension, the beneficiary must have been on national soil for at least 180 days of the year that it was originally given (which means you can come and go as you wish, needing to stay in the country only half the year total). Digital nomads are not only exempt from paying Costa Rican income tax, but also exempt from the payment of import taxes on basic personal computers, cell phones, or similar equipment they need for their online work. The new visa category also allows digital nomads to use their own valid driver’s license from their country of origin.

Synchronistically, some pretty amazing progress has been made in just the last two years in digital technology upgrades to facilitate this surge in digital nomad residents. Fiber optic bulk lines for the Americas pass right along the coastal highway here in the Costa Ballena area. Local access to these large hardened cables filled with thousands of fiber optic lines has been opened up exponentially in the last few years to more fully serve the growing Costa Rican population, as reported earlier in 2021 in an article published by The Tico Times.

Regarding the fiber optic cable networks that are continually being brought higher and higher into the mountain communities above the towns of Ojochal, Uvita and Dominical, digital service providers are boasting speeds of between 20-200mbps with great consistency, depending on your location. We’ve got 5G high speed internet with fiber-optic cable reaching into many communities with up to 200mbps, and transmitters sending up to 30mbps to the more remote areas. The Costa Rican government’s Grupo ICE is offering speeds of up to 200mbps in most of Uvita, and has been laying cable in Dominical and Ojochal as well. There are now several private companies as well offering fiber optic digital connections, so telecommuters have multiple options to choose from.

There are many delightful aspects of being a digital nomad in this area. For those concerned about dining, food, and general health issues, here in the southern Pacific zone of Costa Rica we are blessed with a plethora of world-class restaurants and private caterers, easy access to the newest hospital in the country, several local multilingual private doctors, and even a brand new Medical Center in Uvita with bilingual dentists sporting the most modern equipment available. An additional convenient service for prospective digital nomads in this area is home delivery of groceries. You can even get fresh organic produce and other plant-based sustainable products from the local Farmers Markets delivered right to your door every week. Add to these wonderful local services the multiple options of cellular, cable, and now fiber-optic internet connections for your online telecommuting work, and you’re set. Being connected with high quality communications in paradise makes the Costa Ballena area one where you never even have to leave your home to enjoy some of the highest quality gourmet meals and healthy foodstuffs on the planet. It’s all just a mouse click away….. 

For digital nomads, telecommuting from Costa Rica can generate the sensation of being on an exciting tropical vacation, while also being totally productive. This creates a completely novel and distinctive lifestyle, which leads to a much healthier state of mind and greater personal enjoyment of life. Just the fact of being surrounded by a real natural jungle environment – instead of the congested, noisy, concrete jungle of the typical city — can significantly neutralize the normal stresses of the workaday life. You might even begin to actually enjoy going to the ‘office’ each day, as you sit at your desk in shorts and a t-shirt – or surf trunks or a bikini, your flip flops serving as ‘work shoes’ lol – sipping on fresh Costa Rican coffee and popping chunks of fresh tropical fruits in your mouth as you start your ‘work day’. Maybe adding a warm chocolate croissant from the local French bakery to balance out your continental breakfast in digital nomad Shangri-La can enhance your morning experience even more. The excellent digital connectivity available here also reduces the possible feelings of ‘isolation’ that some experience after they move from a densely populated area to a much more sparsely settled region. Another wonderful ‘side effect’ of taking the ‘medicine’ of moving to this vibrant part of the world, is the increased clarity of vision and higher perspective that one tends to quickly be imbued with. Relocating to this supportive and inclusive community enhances all these benefits even further. Working from the beautiful mountainside tropical forests and beach areas of the Costa Ballena and Osa region is a potent reminder that the purpose of work is to facilitate living life to its fullest!

Another hard-to-find aspect of southern Pacific Costa Rica is how magically peaceful it is here. Since Costa Rica abolished its military in 1948, and the crime rates here are literally some of the very lowest on Earth, one can relax calmly in your tropical home here without worrying about your personal safety like you would in almost any North American or European town or city. Most of us here in the Costa Ballena feel completely secure here, while we observe from a very safe distance the strife and mayhem that seems to be increasing dramatically in our former home countries. The only kind of ‘home invasions’ we tend to experience are those dared by ‘perpetrators’ such as hungry green iguanas looking for hibiscus flowers (and sometimes pet food in open bowls on the patio), chirping geckos hunting down flying insects inside our dwellings at night (they hang out near the lights), and morpho butterflies flitting through our gardens! Well, I guess I also have to include the ‘armies’ of ants that sometimes ‘break in’ through tiny cracks in the walls, and ‘steal’ crumbs of food off the floors and counter tops…. In any case, this region is one of the most gorgeous ‘safe havens’ on the planet, and one that is becoming more and more known by that rare and wonderful distinction with each and every passing year (please see our previous blog post on that topic).

Since digital nomads need no longer worry about having to leave the country every three months to renew their visas (aka ‘do a border run’ as we say here), nor the painfully slow internet speeds of Costa Rica’s past, and can also feel maximally secure in one of the very few countries on Earth with no military, and that no foreign soldiers will ever invade (except maybe to get some ‘R&R’ during their military leave lol), there is no longer any logical reason to postpone your relocation to your dream work environment, your move to paradise. With the added motivation of the ‘modern industrialized world’ getting more and more loco, what is holding you back from fulfilling your digital nomad lifestyle fantasy now?! Connect with one of our qualified, experienced local agents today to help you make your telecommuting dreams come true.

Contact us if you have questions about this article or costa rica real estate.

Mid-2021 Real Estate update

The real estate market in Costa Rica, pretty much everywhere, is booming!  It is real, and we have not seen it this busy since prior to 2008!

The market is in the process of changing from a buyer’s market to a seller’s market. Inventory of existing homes is very low!  Houses are selling really quick, and for close to asking price …. something we have not seen in the past 10+ years!

Economics 101 teaches us that when this happens, prices will go up… and they are!  They’re certainly NOT going down, for the foreseeable future.

Here are some potential reasons, that this is happening…

The following information is a direct quote from “Costa Rica Guy”. Interesting to ponder….

Reason #1: COVID-19 (indirectly)

When the pandemic first broke out in March of 2020, none of us realtors knew what to expect. Costa Rica quickly closed its borders, by air, sea and land. The logical reaction to that move was, oh shit, 2008 all over again, probably worse…we had no idea how we were going to feed ourselves!

And, things were slow for a while. Then, mid-year, sales began happen and we began to gain momentum; and by the end of the year, the Costa Rica real estate boom was moving!

Why would there be Costa Rica real estate boom in the midst of a worldwide pandemic?

Well, I don’t think you can pin the Costa Rica real estate boom directly on the virus, since that little bugger doesn’t really care one way or another. But it did put in motion, or serve as the catalyst, or spark, for a number of societal changes that have made people more willing to move. And, for some of them that means to move all the way out of one’s country of birth to new and potentially more exciting environs.

And of course there’s also the phenomenon of folks moving from big cities to more rural areas, which has ignited a boom in U.S. and Canadian real estate markets. And for some of those more adventurous types, the tropical jungles, beaches and verdant mountains of Costa Rica represent a very enticing “rural” area to move to!

This COVID-19 inspired real estate boom in the U.S. and Canada is providing buyers with the cash to make their expat move to Costa Rica!

Reason #2: Career Mobility

Perhaps the most salient of these societal changes, for purposes of explaining the Costa Rica real estate boom, is that of folks being able and willing to work remotely.

The virus has all but put an end to that time-worn daily commute to some steel, concrete and glass bunker that housed a workforce, who would slave away every day, elbow to elbow, or cubicle to cubicle.

Nope, these days working from home, with the help of an internet connection, is more the norm.

And as folks discovered this new way of working, a light bulb appeared over many noggins, which harbored the thought, hey, do I really have to stay in this tired old boring place? Perhaps I could move and work in another, more exciting and exotic, locale, like, say, Costa Rica, even!

We have historically seen most of the expats moving to Costa Rica be in or around retirement age. Those folks didn’t really need to earn an income in Costa Rica…

And we still have those types coming. In fact, for reasons that follow, they are coming in increasing numbers, as well…

But now there’s added to the mix, a younger crowd who are coming here to live and work, albeit remotely, often for some enterprise back home.

And, since Costa Rica only taxes income earned within its borders, there really is no “tax impediment” to making this career move!

That has expanded the demographic scope of our market and is helping to ignite the Costa Rica real estate boom.

Reason 3: Political Turmoil

The 2020 U.S. presidential election was definitely one that will live in infamy. And, the fact that it took place during the peak of a global pandemic just made it all the more, well, infamous.

Well, now it’s over, despite the fact that the loser and many of his followers remain convinced that it’s not. The aftermath of that political storm, which culminated in the January 6 U.S. capitol insurrection, remains as tumultuous as ever.

Even though the left can claim ultimate victory, there are still many of the liberal-leaning who have just had enough of it. And some of those are headed to Costa Rica, where they believe life might be a little less imbued with constant political conflict.

And of course many on the right are also moving to Costa Rica in order to escape the dawning of socialism in “America.”

So, no matter which end of the political spectrum a person might lie, that person has probably considered becoming an expat…

And, Costa Rica seems definitely to be one of the top choices for making one’s escape from the coming apocalypse.

Reason #4: Other Areas of Social and Cultural Unrest

It seems these days you can’t turn on the television or scroll through your newsfeed without becoming alarmed at the shape our world is in. There’s a whole lot of bad crap going on out there, no doubt about it…

Is Costa Rica any better?

Well, it ain’t perfect, but actually yea, I would say that it probably is better in many ways.

We don’t have much in the way of political conflict down here. Oh for sure there’s an occasional eruption, like what happened last year in response to the fiscal reforms flowing from a sizable IMF loan that the Alvarado administration was seeking. Usually political unrest in Costa Rica takes the form of road blockages, normally non-violent. Those will go on for a few days, or maybe a week, and then they peter out…

At least that’s been my experience over the last 20 years.

We also don’t have gun violence like that which plagues my birth country. I have never heard of a mass shooting in Costa Rica. Again, at least not over the 20 years that I’ve lived here.

We don’t really have a racial problem here. Now, I’m not saying that prejudice doesn’t exist in Costa Rica. It certainly does.

But by and large, people keep those views private. And you really don’t see such a glaring public disparity in the way folks of various races are treated down here.

Likewise, you don’t see such a cultural uproar about things like homosexual rights, gender neutrality, and other hot buttons that seem to have folks at each other’s throats in the U.S. and even Canada, to a lesser extent.

Here we like to say “Pura Vida“, which means many things, but one of those is a willingness to live and let live. We just don’t make a habit of getting into other people’s business down here.

This is all probably a gross oversimplification of what is going on…

But it seems to me that the above represents a pretty cogent summation of what’s driving so many “Northerners” to consider Costa Rica as their new home.

Let’s just hope that the influx doesn’t cause Costa Rica to begin exhibiting many of the traits those folks are fleeing!

P.S. Of course it’s also possible that COVID-19 did nothing more than accelerate trends that were already in motion before the world ever caught wind of the bug. Nevertheless, it is sort of fun speculating…

Much of this article came from here: and was written by “Costa Rica Guy”.

If you wish to discuss how this affects you, with a licensed realtor, do not hesitate to contact us!

Questions on costa rica real estate? Send us a message.

Escrow?? How does it work in Costa Rica, why do we use it?

Why do we use escrow when you purchase real estate in Costa Rica, and how does it work? Some foreign buyers think that this works the same as it does in North America, but it does not!

So, we are here to help you to learn how escrow accounts in Costa Rica function ….

Why Escrow?

There are several good reasons to use escrow when purchasing a property, especially in a foreign country:

  1. By using escrow, the buyer only has to present all the documents required by law one time. The escrow company shares the documents with the buyer’s lawyer and the real estate company. It’s a one-stop thing. You can also use the same documents to open a bank account!
  2. The buyer’s earnest money deposit is tied up by the “Sales Purchase Agreement” and is held by the escrow company until closing is completed.
  3. All the funds will be available at closing, after legal team confirms closing of sale.
  4. The seller can give the wire instructions to the escrow company well in advance, and have the funds sent anywhere in the world you want.

Therefore, the use of escrow takes the stress out of the purchase / sale for all parties!

Here are the laws that we all need to comply with, to complete a real estate purchase, and the reasons for using the escrow process:

Money Laundering Law

Law # 7786, referred to as the “Drug, Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism Law” (Ley sobre estupefacientes, sustancias psicotrópicas, drogas de uso no autorizado, actividades conexas legitimación de capitales y financiamientos al terrorismo) now regulates the movements of large amounts of money.

This is controlled by “SUGEF”, the Financial Institution Superintendency of Costa Rica. These financial controls are worldwide and controlled by The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog.

Origin of funds Law

Law # 7786 obliges your banker, your lawyer, and your real estate broker, to request proof of the origin of funds. If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear. SUGEF only wants to know where you acquired the money that you are using to make a property purchase in Costa Rica.

You can prove this by supplying the last 6 months of bank statements, a copy of a property sale in your own country, income tax statements, or other proof.

Earnest Money

Once you have agreed with the seller on a sales price, you’ll probably want to take the property off the market until closing. That’s done by making an “earnest money deposit”. You don’t want to give this earnest money deposit directly to the sellers!  Escrow is the perfect and safe solution for this. Your attorney will be able to describe what will happen to the earnest money deposit in the “sales purchase agreement”. That way, your money is safe until closing.

Before you sign the “Sales Purchase Agreement” though, ask your real estate agent for escrow company options. Contact one of them and complete all the requirements before you wire any money.  Setting up your escrow account may take up to 3 weeks, so allow for that time frame.  Once set up, the escrow company will give you the wire transfer information.

If you purchase a property through our office, the agent will assist you as much as possible with the escrow company, legal team, etc. For any questions, be sure to contact us!

Questions about this article or buying costa rica real estate? Feel free to contact us!

The Costa Ballena area of southern Costa Rica’s Pacific coast is a truly exciting place to live.

The Costa Ballena area of southern Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, incorporating the towns of Ojochal, Uvita, and Dominical, is a truly exciting place to live. This is especially true for those who love nature, sports and outdoor activities in general. Besides being one of the most celebrated tourist and retirement destinations on Earth, the clean, adventurous and peaceful living the natural environment offers in our region facilitates a much healthier, more dynamic, and mightily self-empowering skill set development for children of all ages.

For retirees, digital nomads looking to resettle in a peaceful tropical paradise, and adventurous parents with growing children alike, the Costa Ballena area and greater Osa region of Costa Rica stand head and shoulders above the rest for experiencing the best available clean, fun, and enlightening lifestyle on the planet compared to city living, and even to most other tropical areas as well.

In point of fact, one of the most prestigious and long-established retirement community magazines on Earth, International Living, has just declared Costa Rica as the #1 place for North American and European expats to retire for 2021! Here is why in their own words, excerpted from their recent article (https://internationalliving.com/the-best-places-to-retire/):  “Costa Rica is an outdoor culture—with no shortage of physical activities from fishing, golfing, and horseback riding to hiking, surfing, and yoga. Plus, there are less processed foods, and abundantly healthy choices of locally grown fruits, vegetables, organic eggs, and endless seafood and grass-fed beef. It is no surprise to hear reports about expats having shed unwanted weight, taking fewer prescription drugs, and overall better fitness of mind, body, and soul.”

An additional advantage of moving to Costa Rica is the significant reduced cost of living. Costa Rica is highly affordable, even on the smallest retirement budget. Consumer prices are 24% lower than the U.S. on average. If you are a family and would like to provide your children a higher quality education than Costa Rica’s very basic public education system offers, this extra savings can be utilized to provide a more solid and secure foundation for your precious children’s future.

On the topic of Costa Rica winning the #1 spot on Earth for retiring in 2021, another magazine broke down the top 5 areas within the country to do just that (https://www.prweb.com/releases/costa_ricas_top_5_expat_havens_in_2021_internationalliving_com/prweb17685313.htm). Here are a few things they have to say about our beloved world-renowned ‘wild side’ of this paradisiacal expat haven: “About three to four hours from San José and the Central Valley, the Southern Zone offers a totally different landscape, lifestyle, and climate. It’s an unspoiled seaside wilderness with a laidback beach lifestyle and a warm, coastal climate. . . .

Dominical, a small surf village, is the gateway to the region. Uvita is the commercial hub, with banks, hardware stores, and pharmacies.

Ojochal is the jungle village famed for its gourmet restaurants, which are run by an international cast of expat foodies. Expats here relish the mix of natural beauty and off-the-beaten-path life, yet with modern conveniences very close at hand.” Completion of the coastal highway relatively recently (2010) significantly cut the drive time to the Southern Zone, and opened up this area to expats like never before. But development is still very small-scale, with the primary emphasis on sustainable development that has a minimum impact on the natural environment, and therefore the region is still unspoiled and shall almost certainly remain so for decades to come.

Please see our last blog post regarding the amazing variety of wildlife and natural environments in our exceptionally diverse and dynamic Costa Ballena region (https://www.c21ballenaproperties.com/blog/posts/2021/june/biodiversity-opportunities-in-osa/).

Another aspect of this area that may pique your ecological interest, is the fact that this area is still so fertile and uncontaminated by modern pollutants that many expats who move here jump on the opportunity to grow their own healthy organic food right in their own gardens! There are several Farmers Markets in the region where fresh organic produce can be obtained as well for those who don’t wish to ‘get their hands dirty’ themselves in the nutrient-rich soil, and some even make home deliveries now since the measures taken to fight the global pandemic shut down a few of the public markets (though some, like the Farmers Market in Uvita, have now fully re-opened). If you are one of those running a fully digital business or working exclusively online from your house, and so have more free time at home to do some gardening, this additional beneficial ‘outdoor activity’ – and additional health enhancement via an improved diet for you and your family — may be very appealing.

One of the most prevalent positive impressions we expats receive when we first arrive here is that the local ticos are generally wonderful people, eager to share the magic of their culture, food, and traditions with foreigners. In addition, in the Costa Ballena area, you will also find engaging expats who will help you through the process of acclimation. The vast majority of new arrivals say it is very easy to make friends and fit in here, and that is especially true for families with children. There exists no better way for a child to learn a language and culture than by interacting with the children who grew up in the area.  Learning the dialect from the local kids in both school and play imbues your children with skills that give them distinct advantages for their future lives as more self-empowered multi-lingual, multi-cultural adults.

On the topic of children, there are several excellent internationally-accredited schools here for your young ones to take advantage of. All are bilingual (or trilingual, in some cases), so your child has the golden opportunity to end up fluent in a minimum of two languages.

Right here in Ojochal we have the newest addition to the high-quality mix of accredited educational centers, Life Project Education.  There is also the Centro Educativo Costa Ballena just up the coast in Playa Ballena, also called Escuela Verde (located between Ojochal and Uvita), and two private schools in Uvita itself: the Uvita Christian Academy and Kabe International Academy. All of the above schools are recommended for their good curriculums, avenues for social & lingual development, and instructors who have a passion for teaching children. For more details on the local schools, public educational facilities, and children’s activities in this area, please see our blog post on that exact topic from last year (https://www.c21ballenaproperties.com/blog/posts/2020/march/families-schools-and-a-whole-lot-more/).

Whether you are looking to spend your golden years basking in a tropical wonderland, relocate the base of your digital business activities to a more relaxed and stimulating locale, or provide your children with a significantly more instructive education in a much more personally empowering and stimulating learning environment – or accomplish all three at once! — the Costa Ballena de Osa region on the southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica is now ‘officially’ your best bet for investment in 2021. Our multilingual agents and staff here at Century 21 Ballena Properties, along with our associated business partners, have both the skill sets and deep experience to help you make all your personal and family tropical living dreams come true.

Questions about buying property in Costa Rica? Contact us today and discover how we can help you and your family to live the dream!


The Osa Cantón here in the southern Pacific zone of tropical Costa Rica has one of the highest concentrations of biodiversity on Earth. The world famous Corcovado National Park, just a 2-hour drive from our Century 21 Ballena Properties office in Ojochal, is documented by organizations such as the Neotrópica Foundation (www.neotropica.org) to host over 5% of all land species on Earth!

And that’s not all:  The magnificent Pacific Ocean right off the shores of Ojochal and our Whale Coast (Costa Ballena) are one of the very few places on the planet where humpback whales migrate in order to peacefully breed and birth their babies. The Marine Whale National Park (Parque Nacional Marino Ballena) – named precisely after these intelligent, magnificent gentle giants  — extends from the Whale Tail formation in Bahia-Uvita (the next town north of Ojochal), all the way down to the stunning beaches of Playa Piñuelas and Playa Ballena just minutes from our offices. All residents of this area can literally visit the Park’s beaches every day if they like. In addition, the amazing beaches of Playa Tortuga – Turtle Beach! — the Río Térraba river mouth, and Garza Island are situated directly in front of Ojochal.

To the north just a bike ride from town another public beach, Playa Ventanas, boasts a rare tunnel through solid rock that turns into a major blowhole twice a day with the changing tide. You can walk through it at low tide, or kayak through if you time it right. These beaches, all full of an amazing variety of indigenous species of flora and fauna, are totally free to the public to enjoy every day of the year. From any or all of these beaches you have the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the abundance of biodiversity of our near-shore marine environment, including both the aforementioned humpback whales, several species of wild dolphins, and giant sea turtles (more about them later). Naturally, boat tours created especially to see and get up close and personal with these amazing large cetaceans and other pelagic locals are available year-round.

For those who enjoy mountains and rainforest, here is an abbreviated list of some of the tropical creatures you might catch a glimpse of in our area, or even around your new tropical home here: four types of monkeys, coatimundis, raccoons, giant anteaters, possums, squirrels, and armadillos. For some free wildlife entertainment, you might be lucky enough to spot a ‘Jesus Christ lizard’ (basilisk lizard) ‘walking on water’ as it crosses one of the many streams flowing through our forests.

We could go on and on just about the mammalian life here if we wanted to give you a true sense of the biodiversity in this area, adding some of the more timid denizens of the tropical forest like tayras, kinkajous, agoutis, and the slow-moving arboreal sloths, all of whom are sometimes seen crossing a road, skirting through a garden, or climbing on the branches of our fruit trees at night. But no list would be complete, of course, without mentioning the wild cats. And we’ve spotted plenty! Jaguarundis, pumas, ocelots, margays, and even full-sized jaguars all call our coastal mountain ranges their native home.

Do you like birds? Well, birdwatchers literally come here from all over the world to fill their personal bird books with some of the rarest and most exotic winged creatures to be found on Terra. Besides the ‘standard’ fare of various types and sizes of green parrots, massive flocks of cute little parakeets, and the omnipresent chestnut-billed toucans serenading us all daily with their enchanting vocalizations, there are much greater rare potential trophies to be claimed for distinction by the astute (and diligent) birdwatcher with sharp eyes and discerning ears. We’ve got trogons, tanagers, woodpeckers, doves, kingbirds, flycatchers, owls, hawks, kites, kingfishers, three types of vultures, and a truly mind-blowing variety of stunningly beautiful hummingbirds.

The formerly endangered scarlet macaw calls the Osa area its primary home in Central America, and they literally fly over our homes quite often, noisily chatting with each other in their unmistakable calls that can be heard for hundreds of meters in all directions. If you’re really lucky, you may catch a glimpse of the still-endangered harpy eagle…which is the largest eagle in the whole world! And it lives right here! Oh, I almost forgot about the amazing variety of sea birds that live along our coasts, in our extensive mangrove swamps, and up a ways along our local rivers. But that list is simply way too long to include here….

After you buy or build your dream home here in Osa, there exists a rare and precious opportunity for you as a new member of the local community to contribute to protecting the incredible – and delicate – biodiversity of the region. Your voluntary contributions to the ecological sustainability of the natural wonders here is mutually beneficial, enhancing not only the richness of the local flora and fauna, but also the value of your financial investment.

One of the most powerful ways you can accomplish this win-win enrichment is to assist the Turtle Beach Reserve (reservaplayatortuga.org) in their protection of the nesting sea turtles right here on our local beaches. There are several facets of the program, and you can actually participate personally in some of them. Investing your time in assisting us locals in helping the sea turtle population bounce back after being almost completely decimated by poachers in the last century…. Well, sowing these types of compassionate, altruistic seeds in the local community – both human and natural — can bring you priceless personal harvests that money just can’t buy.

There are several other local projects and programs that could use your support, like the Ojochal Library, The Family Support Center of Ojochal/ Food bank, local Beach cleanup days, etc. There is a Facebook Page for the town of Ojochal where you can learn and discover even more.

With seven languages spoken fluently by the staff of Ballena Properties, there is help available in initial contacts, if you have a communication challenge with the Spanish and English spoken by most of the local population. Here at Century 21 Ballena Properties, we are more than happy to not only assist you in finding and acquiring your dream home in the tropics, but also helping you to protect, nurture, and enhance the wonderfully rebounding biodiversity of the Osa Region, and our blossoming local community.

Questions about properties for sale in Costa Rica? Feel free to reach out!

Low Inventory on the Ballena Coast

Marcel Van Willigen has been active in the real estate industry on the Ballena Coast for over 17 years. He has never seen a stronger housing market than the current one.

“It’s unbelievable but there is hardly any good inventory left,” the broker and co-owner of C21 Ballena Homes says! 

For potential buyers, the shortage of homes on the market, combined with a surge of competition from other purchasers, is setting off fast paced activity and you can sense a Fear of Missing Out.

Inventory is at a near-historic low, while demand for homes continues to grow.

This can be frustrating for eager buyers!

  • The hottest “pandemic purchase” is a house away from cities and populated areas, and apparently Costa Rica is a much desired place. More and more people look to remove themselves from North American and European politics. 
  • Existing home sales, which have trended upward since Costa Rica re-opened from lockdown in early November 2020, have soared to an all-time high in the early months of 2021, with no end in sight. 
  • Home prices are increasing and selling much quicker than they ever have; if priced correctly and in decent condition.
  • Homebuying in Costa Rica, only projects to become more expensive, if not impossible. If homes keep selling at this rate, our area could actually run out of homes to sell in just a few months.

Bottom Line

With a currently low number of homes coming to the market, anyone thinking of listing their property now, is in a prime position to sell. We are seeing record lows for the number of days a home is listed on the market, with many of the homes getting multiple bids and often higher than asking price.

On the flip side, waiting to sell could mean losing interested buyers to new construction homes.

You do want to relocate here…? What do you do? What are your options?

 There are many lots – ranging from 1/3 to 5+ acres, spread throughout the village of Ojochal and the Ballena Coast area.  It is becoming more and more lucrative to purchase a lot, and build exactly the house that you want.  This may sound daunting, to do this in a foreign country…But we have good news!

Questions about costa ballena real estate? We at C21 Ballena Properties have a sister company, Ballena Homes.  Our team can help you to build exactly what you want, at a good price point.  Talk to us! We are here to assist you!

                                                  Go to www.BallenaHomes.com to see what the construction team can do!  

                                                                Every home is custom designed to suit the owners wishes!

C21 Ballena Properties – #2 in Central America in 2020!!

Century 21 Ballena Properties is on the move! 

Not only in the literal sense – we announced our physical move into our upgraded stylish new offices in Plaza Ventanas (behind the giant dinosaurs) in our last post in January – but with a huge expansion of business activity as well.

In point of fact:  Our office has generated more sales volume in just the first 2 months of 2021 than during a whole normal year of sales! We had a very strong surge of new business to end 2020 on a high note – despite the global crisis that generally flattened sales all over the world — then hit the “turborchargers” after ringing in the New Year, which promises to be a major record-breaker. Speaking of unprecedented success….

Century21 Ballena Properties, with its dynamic Multinational Team, elevated itself to the lofty perch of the #1 in 2018. This monumental achievement happened just 4 short years after Century 21 Ballena Properties opened its doors. In spite of formidable competition from the approximately 20 other Central American C21 franchise offices (and, of course, the many other real estate brokerages scattered up and down the coast here), Ballena Properties still managed to claim the #2 spot in Central America for both 2019 and 2020. Imagine what may happen this year with us beating average yearly numbers already, with a full 8 more months to go!

For you the customer, however, the best measure of a Real Estate Office is not how many awards they have won, where they stand among the competition, or how many sales they have closed. Rather it is how well the contracted agents serve you, the client. As you can read yourself in the glowing testimonials, the staff at C21 Ballena Properties understand this fundamental concept very well, and have their priorities properly aligned. Taking care of buyers, sellers, and all others involved in the challenging task of closing a win-win property transaction is the goal that drives them to top performance each and every day, and serves as their primary focus. In other words, the Century21 Ballena Team got to be #1 in the region by making you #1.

Creating and closing successful real estate deals is always a team effort. Your C21 Ballena Properties Team is made up of a highly diverse international mix that includes native-born Costa Ricans, North Americans, and Europeans from various countries.  7 languages are spoken fluently, including even Russian and Czech. ALL the agents are CRGAR Licensed Realtors, and so were required to pass the CRGAR training course and fulfill important qualifications before being able to work as a “licensed knowledgeable agent” for this award-winning office.

In addition to the Realtors themselves, C21 Ballena Properties is part of a ‘Triple Crown’ of interconnecting professional services: the property sales office, a full-service law firm, and a custom construction company, all located conveniently in the same professional, commercial center right off the scenic coastal highway (protected by a full-sized T. Rex no less). Add to this unique combo of top-level offices, add the peerless international database of the Century21 Global Network, made up of over 200,000 agents all over the globe who are available to your personal representative, here at Ballena Properties to consult with at any time. By choosing the stellar team of C21 Ballena Properties, your ultimate success is guaranteed.

When Century 21 Ballena Properties established this franchise office only 7 years ago. They set a very ambitious goal to be the #1 Century 21 franchise office in all of Central America — and it took them only 4 years to make it happen. Now in 2021, after several years at or near the top of sales charts, and after assembling an incredibly diverse and proven professional Team that rivals the best worldwide, the probability is very high that they can facilitate the same success for you, and assist you to manifest your own personal Tropical Dream come true. When you can work with The Best, why would you ever settle for less?

Do you question about this article or real estate in Costa Rica? Feel free to contact us.