With its natural lush beauty, growing ex-pat community, gourmet dining and moderate temps year round, Costa Rica’s Arenal offers plenty to tempt retirees seeking an unspoiled paradise. With property prices starting well below six figures, Arenal is fast becoming a hot spot for retirees and ex-pats looking for an affordable residence – which even reminds some of Lake Tahoe. See the following article from International Living for more on this.
It’s Costa Rica’s best-kept secret—and it caused quite a stir at a recent IL conference. Some attendees had been there before and couldn’t wait to share what they’d found. Word is slowly getting out about this hidden hot spot…
I’m talking about Arenal, in north central Costa Rica. It’s Costa Rica’s lake country, and it ticks all the right boxes for a growing number of expats and retirees.
The weather hovers in the high 70s year-round. There’s enough rain to keep the landscape fresh and green. Then there’s the beauty of this place…the friendly expats…the gourmet food…and the bargain-basement property prices.
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Arenal often reminds visitors of Lake Tahoe…without the crowds. If you love hiking, swimming, windsurfing, fishing, boating, bird watching, horse riding, or kayaking…this place is paradise. It’s a secret part of Costa Rica, where you’ll find gourmet food, good company, and property prices that seem to belong in a history book.
Let’s start with the natural beauty. It’s easy when you have the right ingredients: the country’s largest lake (33 square miles), a lush landscape of soft rolling hills, lofty mountains, and a towering volcano. For much of the year, only fishermen and sailors break Lake Arenal’s mirror-smooth surface; for a few months, stronger lake breezes bring in windsurfers.
The sharply pointed cone of the volcano reaches 5,300 feet. Yes, it’s “live”. That means a fiery display most evenings…and hot springs. Resorts offer a choice of outdoor pools, with different water temperatures, swim-up bars, and spa treatments—a perfect way to unwind at the end of a long day.
Throw in crashing waterfalls, deep caverns, and misty cloud forests…and a total of 790 square miles of conservation area, parks and reserves…and “unspoiled paradise” sums this place up.
The expat group is small, but very active, and welcoming to newcomers. They meet regularly, often at the Gingerbread Hotel. Once you’ve dined here, you’ll know why. The chef, Eyal, serves delicious, fresh, gourmet food. He prefers to use locally sourced products. On the taste front, his food ranks alongside the top restaurants in Europe or the U.S.—and at much more wallet-friendly prices. It’s by far the best food in Costa Rica.
The bargain-basement real estate is as mouth-watering as the food—homes start at less than $60,000.
This overlooked area boasts a wide range of properties, from local “Tico” homes, to lake-view or volcano-view home sites, to U.S.-style condos with a private marina overlooking the lake. They all have one thing in common: affordability.
This article has been republished from International Living.