How Steve ended up in Costa Rica
I am a wanderlust. I studied international business in college to pursue my desire to travel. Throughout my life I've found ways to travel. My first major adventure alone was driving a 1968 Chevy Belair that I'd bought for $200, leaving Boston, Mass in early January, driving to the border of Guatemala, spending 4 months in Mexico and returning just in time for summer. I'd just turned 18 and had graduated high school a half year early. As life unfolded, I found myself in Ecuador, Panama, Belize, Thailand, Mexico, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Malaysia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, the UK, Italy, Singapore and a host of other countries looking for the perfect place to call home.
It was about that time that I started reading books on International travel, eventually subscribing to International Living. At the time, their publication was typically a two page hand typed newsletter. I realized early on that the world is a small place and there are many places on the planet where the pace of life is slower, things are less expensive and life is more enjoyable. After I married, I introduced my wife Kristina to my nomadic ways. We traveled pretty extensively but found we kept going back to Costa Rica. Soon enough it hit us, we started searching for property in Costa Rica, we were ready to carve out our escape plan and have a place of our own and Costa Rica was the place.
I bought my first piece of propery in Costa Rica sight unseen, from my neighbor in Key West, Terry Mallott. It was not until after we owned there that the husband of the owner of the development asked us to build them a US sales team. (My wife and I owned a sales recruiting company). We said no at first but eventually decide to give it a try, part time. I guess things happen for a reason, it was one of the best decisions of our lives.
I can assure you that the time you spend on our tours will be the best use of your time when looking for opportunities outside the US. Costa Rica is an easy step, not exactly like diving into the deep end. First of all there are a lot of North Americans there already. I didn't have to give up the amenities I'd come to enjoy. We have a brand new hospital nearby, a brand new highway, lots of restaurants and hotels in town, a great community, inexpensive and frequent flights to Costa Rica, great health care, low cost of living, etc. We've had many International Living readers visit a variety of "Chill Weekends" with other developers in various countries tell us that ours is the best one offered. We continue to outsell nearly every other project represented by International Living.
I'm still an IL reader and our firm was the major sponsor of the recent Ultimate Event in Quito in both 2009 and 2010 and again in 2011. Ronan McMahon and Margaret Summerfield continue to praise our project as one of the best out there. We are by no means the cheapest but you get what you pay for. The property you purchase abroad is an asset, not an expense. Assets well chosen will appreciate in value. The cost of living (expense) in Costa Rica is as cheap as Panama, Ecuador or Nicaragua and much less expensive than the US. Traveling as a tourist in Costa Rica is not cheap simply because tourism has doubled in the past 3 years alone and demand exceeds supply for tourism. But living there is a different story and surprisingly affordable.
Update 2014 - Let's cruise ahead to 2014, seems like we lose track of pages in our website and I just stumbled upon this one and realize it has not been updated since 2011. We still sponsor nearly all the International Living events and now are working with Rubloff International Real Estate Advisory Service, owned by Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Group. Business has been excellent, we continue to build more custom homes each year and our tours continue to sell out. We've now added a "Hot Properties" affiliate that sells discount investment parcels, condos, commercial parcels, farms and ranches and a variety of specialty offerings for investors and end users.