Costa Rican villas offer winter escape
Direct flights from Canada to resort area
While most Canadians are toasting their frozen toes by the fire, Elyse Johnson of Vancouver will be floating in the infinity pool at the Palms resort in Liberia, Costa Rica.
Johnson owns one of only 32 villas in the gated community of the Palms just steps from Playa Flamingo — a pristine beach on the Pacific Ocean in the Guanacaste region, an area speckled with Canadian investors and tourists.
The Palms is only a 45-minute drive from Liberia’s recently expanded international airport, which is now offering direct flights from Canada.
“The infinity pool is definitely my favourite feature,” Johnson says from her home while packing for her annual six-week stay at her villa. “It feels like you are right on the edge of the ocean.”
The villas are now on offer for frac- tional ownership through the Private Residence Club, which in November was heading into its first full season.
Prices range from $129,000 US for 1/10th shares to $149,000 for 1/8 shares, with annual club fees at $5,646 and $7,058, respectively.
Once the privilege of sole owners, the beach-view villas that sell for $1.2 million US can now be enjoyed by the average investor.
“In this economy, people want flexibility with frequent use by family and friends for minimal investment and maximum returns,” says sales director Jim Jackson while conducting a tour of the villas. “We are meeting that demand.”
The Private Residence Club is for people who want a luxurious, fully furnished vacation home with amenities and services — but without having to maintain it or invest millions of dollars.
Beachfront is especially rare in Costa Rica because of legislation enacted in 1977 that banned beach de- velopment, but the original resort was built before then.
In 2005, commercial developer Bob Spence of Sacramento, Calif., purchased the property and has since invested $20 million in renovations.
Every 2,300-square-foot villa overlooks the white-sand beach and includes free long-distance calling and wireless Internet, along with two balconies, two bedrooms and three bathrooms.
It also includes a luxurious Jacuzzi tub in the master ensuite, Viking appliances in the kitchen, and unique finishings that range from Brazilian floor tiles to Spanish tiles on the roof.
Each detail in the villas was handpicked by Spence and wife Marsha.
The mahogany and glass doors in each unit are worth $30,000 alone, providing transparent indoor-outdoor living and lighting to suit every mood and time of day.
Marsha selected the Tommy Bahama furniture and original artwork, and worked with a local artist for the mural in the on-site fitness centre. She also lends her green thumb to the courtyard garden.
“The biggest draws here are the beautiful private beach and incredible sunsets, so we wanted the villas to reflect these quality experiences,” says Bob Spence over coconut jumbo shrimp at on-site Palapa Grill.
A hands-on developer, Spence oversees everything.
He’s even on hand for grouting tiles on the new threebedroom residences, ready for sale next month for full ownership starting at $2.5 million.
“There are no property taxes in Costa Rica and I assist buyers with all the legal transactions. Buyers become owners in shares at point of sale, and can enjoy the ‘pura vida’ here, too,” says sales director Jim Jackson, quoting the national motto that means “pure life.”
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The infinity pool at The Palms in Costa Rica, a gated community of 32 villas just steps from the Playa Flamingo — a pristine beach on the Pacific Ocean.
Beachfront property is especially rare in Costa Rica due to legislation in 1977.