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The last Paradise on Earth - by Richard Wells

I've been traveling and writing about places all over the world for a number of years where I believe my readers would love to visit and live. Growing up in England I long ago came to dislike intensely cold weather. So, one of my most important criteria for a retirement home is a temperate climate. My most recently trip that matched my criteria took me to Costa Rica, a place which can be best described as one of the last paradises on earth!

Costa Rica for years has been a number one tourist destination, however, in the last five years it has really blossomed into one of the number one places in the world for the baby boomers to retire. MSNBC recently called Costa Rice the hottest real estate market in the world. This small country in Central America is about the size of Switzerland and is located between Nicaragua to the North and Panama to the South. In fact Costa Rica is called the Switzerland of Central America. It is abundant in wildlife, flora and beautiful rain forests throughout the country.

Costa Rica eliminated its military in 1948 after a brief revolution and now is one of the most stable democracies in the world. They have no nuclear or coal powered generating plants and most of their power is hydro and wind generated. They are leading the way in being an environmentally friendly country and on there way to becoming the first country with no carbon footprint. In Costa Rica law is so perfectly enforced, that a permit is needed even to cut down a tree. They also have the highest literacy rate in all of the Americas even exceeding that of the United States.

Costa Rica Climate and Weather

Costa Rica also has one of the best climates in the world. Like many tropical countries, Costa Rica has two seasons, the dry season and the wet season. The dry season (summer) lasts from December to May. The rest of the year is the raining season and it usually rains in the afternoon, leaving the rest of the day to be enjoyed, however, I also enjoyed myself during the rain as well. Costa Rica really reminds me a lot of Sri Lanka, having the same kind of terrain and also the same lush vegetation. Since Costa Rica in near the equator the sun shines for 12 hours a day from 6am to 6pm everyday of the year. Therefore there is no need to change your clock.

I fell in love with the friendliness of the Costa Rican people and the country's endless beauty! The National Parks, the rich vegetation, the endless supply of organically grown fruits and vegetables which grows 52 weeks out of the year here, the rain forests, the cloud forest, the canopy tours, white water rafting and of course the beautiful beaches, and that is where I bought my own little piece of paradise on the central pacific coast.

The Central Pacific Coast

The central Pacific coast is located between Jacó Beach to the north and Quepos/Manuel Antonio to the South. Jaco Beach was the first famous surfing destination in Costa Rica and is also famous for its sport fishing. Manuel Antonio to the south is a distance of about 30 miles and is home to the most popular tourist destination in Costa Rica, Manuel Antonio National Park, which is one of the few places in the world where the rain forest meets the ocean. Here you will see three towed sloths and monkeys hanging out in trees that border some of the country's prettiest white-sand beaches.

Just a few miles South of Jacó Beach you will find the Communities of Playa Hermosa, Esterillos Oeste, Esterillos Centro, Esterillos Este and Parrita. As far as I am concerned, this is the Gold Coast of Costa Rica and is where a development boom is taking place right now. The beaches are long and pristine where you can breathe in fresh salt air. I like this area much more than Guanacaste because it's lush and green with rain forests with many attractions and a lot of things to do all within 30 to 40 minutes. Guanacaste on the other hand has a much dryer climate, a more arid terrain, no rain forests and few attractions. There are many all inclusive resorts in Guanacaste, but there is not much you can do once you get out of those properties. The Central Pacific Coast is an area where many first class developments are located like Los Suenos and St. Regis and where many more are planned in the near future.

The main highway linking these communities is called the Costerna Highway and is destined to become the new Pan-American Highway that will run the entire length of Costa Rica along the Coast from Panama to Nicaragua. This will be the equivalent to the Pacific Coast Highway in California when completed. Work is well underway to improve and replace all the bridges and repave the entire length of the Costenara Highway. The Central Pacific Coast is also the closest beach from San Jose and presently takes about 2 hours to get there from San Jose, However, a new road is planned and will soon be built from San Jose to the Central Pacific Coast that will cut the driving time in half when completed.

It is in this idyllic setting that I bought my very own little piece of the last paradise on earth in Esterillos Oeste, Costa Rica. Why did I buy there when I could have bought anywhere in the world? Well is was for some of the reason I mentioned above, but it also had to do with the cost of property in Costa Rica compared to other places. I was recently in Hawaii and Southern California and it is impossible to get anything close to the beach for less than a million dollars and then the property taxes are unbelievably high. With the value of the dollar in Europe, forget about getting any deals there. Costa Rica on the other hand is an incredible value at the present time. Esterillos Oeste is a real beach community that sits on a beautiful beach where you can still buy property at affordable prices. I paid a fraction of what similar property would have cost me in Hawaii, Southern California, Spain or even Italy and the taxes are also a fraction of what they would cost in those other places. In fact the cost of living in Costa Rica is about a quarter of what it is in the UK and US. That is why more and more people like me are buying little pieces of the Last Paradise on Earth while they are still available. I have traveled and written about dozens of places around the world, but for me none can compare to Costa Rica. I am in the process of building a small home and in a few years when I retire, this is where I intend to spend most of my time.

Good traveling,
Richard Wells
United Kingdom

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