Hi everyone. I just found this forum and feel humbled by the wonderful informative posts. I am a 60-something year old American ex-pat with a wife and two small girls (6 and 8 years old). We are slowly building a "retreat" on a 500 acre farm in the mountains (1,500 meters altitude) for my family and friends. I am in no way trying to recruit people nor am I selling anything. Of course, I do dream about having a real community of independent, free-thinking folks but they are not that easy to find in this part of the world! Here is a link with a photo of the main house and a partial view of our artificial lake.
My purpose is to learn as much as I can from the many experts here. I hope to make my property a working organic/hydroponic farm within the next few years and am starting from scratch, with great ignorance and great enthusiasm. If anyone wants to know something about Costa Rica (I've lived here for 25 years) I'll be honored to help if I can.
The farm is located between Cartago and Perez Zeledon in the Cerro de la Muerte. I purposely wanted a location off-grid and relatively isolated but with lots of water and other natural resources. It took several years before I found one I could afford. Time and cost of construction is much longer and much more expensive than in other areas, but if I live long enough to complete it I will feel like I've reached paradise while still alive
It is great to hear about what you and your family/friends are doing in Costa Rica. Thanks for the link to your site too, there is a lot of really enlightening information on there. My wife and I are actually looking for a similar piece of property for the same purpose. We have been living in country for the past seven years and have spent loads of time researching land, but have yet to find what we are looking for. We, like you, are interested in something at a higher elevation, hopefully bordering a national park or other large piece of land in private conservation.
Any chance you have any leads for properties similar to yours (less land would be fine) or know of anyone who wants to join financial forces to buy a large piece of land for self sufficiency/conservation? Maybe someone has a large piece that they would be willing to sell some of as long as we were going to be conserving/homesteading as well?
I think we may have spoken to almost every realtor in the country by now. We are looking at properties under 200K.
Also, I am really interested to know what you are feeding your trout instead of commercial feed. We were considering raising worms for this purpose. Very excited to hear what has worked for you.
First of all, congratulations on surviving in Costa Rica for seven years! After living here for so many years I can't imagine a better place to be. Unfortunately, most people come here, fall in love, immediately sell up back home and spend all their money, and a couple of years later sell everything here for half of what they originally paid for it (if they're lucky), and return home heartbroken and broke.
I've sent you a private message with my phone number and would be happy to hear from you. If you don't get it and are interested in meeting sometime, let me know.
I looked for my property for a number of years before finding it. I would probably still be looking if it weren't for an old Tico friend of mine. I told him what I was looking for (i.e. natural resources, water, altitude, isolation, etc.) and told him to call me with a firm PRICE before I would even consider looking at it. For those who don't live in Costa Rica, there are local prices, and there are Gringo prices.
Regarding food for the trout, we fed them NOTHING. In my pilot project, about 50 fingerlings grew to 8-10 inches in a couple of years. Of course, I was not and am not interested in commercial fish farming, but rather another food source for my family. What we may do in the future is buy one of those outdoor blue light electric bug zappers and place it (without the bug bag) over a strategic corner of our pond. I imagine our greedy little fishes would quickly grow accustomed to waiting in that spot for the "burnt" offerings to fall into the lake. Whenever we wanted to eat fresh trout, we could easily (in theory) just scoop one out with a net.
I also avoided realtors when buying in Osa. The Gringo price was almost 3x what I had a Tico friend acquire the finca for.
I purchased another ranch near Coto Brus by asking around and found a great place.
There are no ethics for realtors to follow in Costa Rica. Try to stay away if you can. Your footwork may save you 10's of thousands of dollars or colones.
Howdy Rick, looks like you have found a great place. I have always wanted to check out Costa Rica. I have worked with several guys who would take vacations there. One said he was going to retire there but I have lost track of him over the years, so I don't know if he ever made it.
Have you explored the whole 500 acres yet? Do you have natural food plants identified?
The farm is highly mountainous and walking is not easy (that's one of the reasons I bought it in the first place). The topsoil is very deep and while surveying the steepest inclines I needed to take along a staff that was nearly 2 meters (6 feet) long, and in places it would sink in about 1 meter (3-4 feet). I have still not walked the entire farm but it sure is beautiful, with many waterfalls, etc.
Regarding plants, as you may know, Costa Rica has some of the most divergence plant life in the world. I have a friend who has lived in the area all his life and he is showing me some of the more interesting plants, both medicinal and food. I have so much more to learn and if you want to help, come on down.
it seems you found a really nice place to start a homestead/retreat !
I'm a youngish (33) Belgian guy coming to CR this December till mid-January, to tour various fincas, and get the feel of the land, to assess if I could buy land here and create a nice sustainable homestead.
I would love to pass by your place, and trade some help at whatever you're doing for some advice
You'll never get away with this you overconfident blob! The most you will ever get is this tiny ad: