Latin America

From the City to the Beach: 36 Hours in Costa Rica—with Benoit Properties International

Follow us on our recent trip around Costa Rica to get the inside scoop on San José and several thriving beach towns along the Pacific Coast.

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Last week, our UK team flew to Latin America to explore the region’s most promising real estate markets and uncover the best opportunities for investment. Following a first stop in Panama City, we spent some time in Costa Rica—between the capital city, San José, and several beach towns—where we are launching some exciting new properties and projects.

In this article, we delve into our 36 hours in Costa Rica and shed light on several of the best destinations for homebuyers.

City Living in San José

costa rica san jose propertiesAfter an easy hour-and-a-half flight from Panama City, the team arrived into the hustle and bustle of Juan Santamaría International Airport, around 20km northwest of San José. It was late evening, so we checked straight into URBN Escalante—the sister project of our latest launch, Secrt Escalante—located in the Barrio Escalante neighbourhood. Recently named one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world by Time Out, this is without a doubt one of the best areas of the city.

The next day, we explored the five square blocks surrounding the development which is teeming with trendy restaurants, boutiques, cafés and bars. Most of the buildings are low-rise, with colourful murals and outdoor seating areas, great for soaking up the San José sunshine. It’s easy to see the appeal here for both locals and tourists. The neighbourhood feels very safe and there is plenty going on, yet it manages to escape the hectic pace of other parts of the capital.

Completed in 2019, URBN Escalante is one of the most recognised buildings in the area and a hotspot for tourists seeking a trendy place to stay. Staying here was ideal as we were able to experience the development’s facilities and get to know its merits first-hand. The branding, architecture and interiors at URBN Escalante are really next level, with premium amenities including a gym, cinema, rooftop pool, outdoor area, panoramic lounge, and separate lobbies for homeowners and guests.

urbn escalante san jose costa rica

Out of the 30 highest-revenue apartments in the area, 80% belong to URBN Escalante. The developer is renowned and has several completed projects in San José which command high occupancy rates and strong yields, providing a proof of concept for investors. Barrio Escalante has a market score of 94/100 on AirDNA, demonstrating its investment potential. With a thriving short-term rental market, investors can expect high returns in this part of the city.

On our last evening in San José, the developers at URBN Escalante threw a party on the rooftop. It was great to get to know the team there a bit better while enjoying drinks, pizza, and panoramic views of the city.

To the Coast: A Day in Jacó

Benoit Properties International then headed on to Jacó, a popular beach town in Costa Rica around 100km southwest of the capital. The drive is usually about two hours but we made a couple of stops along the way. Luis, from the developer of URBN Escalante, recommended we stop at Tarcoles Bridge—a popular tourist destination where you can watch giant crocodiles sunbathing and swimming in the river below.

We are working on a new project in Jacó, so we headed here first to meet with the developers and have a look around. The development offers one and two-bedroom condos with large open-plan spaces, high ceilings, and quality finishings. Many of the apartments have balconies or gardens and all enjoy access to a communal pool. It’s a lovely community in a great location, just five minutes from the beach. (We’re preparing to launch this project within the next few weeks and it will be sold by Benoit Properties International on an exclusive basis, so stay tuned.)

costa rica beach properties jaco

Afterwards, we headed to Hermosa Beach, just south of Jacó. This sandy 2km cove is encircled by lush forestry and overlooks the Gulf of Papagayo.

World-class waves make Hermosa Beach a top surfing location and a regular host to the World Championships. While the area has a long surfing history, it drew global attention in 2022 when it was named a World Surfing Reserve. With only 12 reserves across four continents, this title serves as a testament to Hermosa’s exceptional waves, wildlife and community.

With an hour to get some food before heading back to San José, we grabbed a table at a beachfront restaurant and bar called Vida Hermosa. It was a great spot to watch the waves and enjoy a cold drink in the sun amid tranquil surroundings, with just a handful of other diners, some sunbathers, and a surfing class down on the beach—as well as a massive iguana that rocked up while we were tucking into our lunch.

Fred’s Ramble to the Nicoya Peninsula

Before we linked up in San José, our U.S. Director Fred spent a few days in the Nicoya Peninsula. This coastal region of Costa Rica is one of the world’s “Blue Zones”, where people are living significantly longer, healthier and happier lives. This draws in waves of tourists looking to immerse themselves in nature and wellness.

Santa Teresa and Nosara are two of the most popular beach towns in Costa Rica, known for their relaxed ambience, blissful beaches, incredible surf and luxury coastal properties. Fred spent a few days in each location, getting to know each town’s unique appeal and scoping out the best opportunities for investment.

The coast here is idyllic and a major draw for tourists. With calm waters and beautiful white sand backed by lush forestry, its beaches offer a slice of natural paradise. When you’re ready to take a break from the sand and surf, there are plenty of great restaurants, beach bars and boutique shops to explore.

While these towns are becoming increasingly popular, they are largely removed from mass tourism. Nosara, in particular, will escape the heavy development of other Costa Rican beach towns as it is surrounded by the Nosara Biological Reserve, a 90-acre protected area comprising 300-year-old mangroves and abundant natural wildlife. This ultimately means that its homes are in limited supply and will continue to gain value as demand grows among tourists and homebuyers.

santa teresa

Why Invest in Costa Rica

Known for its unique natural landscapes, rich biodiversity and “pura vida” lifestyle, Costa Rica is a haven for travellers and those in the market for a vacation home. In recent years, the country has continued to gain popularity among ecotourists and wellness seekers, driving up the demand for holiday accommodation.

However, a booming tourism industry isn’t the only factor at play. Economic and political stability, ongoing development, and demand from expats and retirees are also driving up housing demand and property values. According to Statista, the residential real estate market in Costa Rica is expected to grow in value from $251.50bn this year to $276.00bn by 2028.

While travellers are enticed to Costa Rica by the promise of nature and ecotourism, many are also discovering the appeal of its urban centres. Trendy neighbourhoods in San José and vibrant coastal towns like Jacó offer the best of both worlds, with access to both the city and surrounding nature.

Whether you’re looking for a beach home or a trendy city apartment, Costa Rica has it all. Its diverse real estate market caters to a wide range of buyers—from expatriates and holiday home hunters to those seeking lucrative investment properties. If you’d like to find out more about owning a home in Costa Rica, get in touch today to speak to our team.

Love Costa Rica? Discover more in our destination guide,
and contact us today to secure your perfect property.

costa rica beach properties