The Most Sought-After Amenities in Costa Rican Luxury Homes

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Whether you’re building a luxury home in Costa Rica for personal use, investing in a villa that you’ll one day resell, or developing a spec home or an entire development, then you’re also interested in current trends, market demands, and buyer needs. 

As a highly successful broker – last year, my company, Blue Water Properties of Costa Rica sold $114,000,0000 – as well as a real estate investor and developer myself, I have unparalleled insight into Costa Rican market trends.

Right now, the pendulum has swung firmly in the direction of smart design – namely, architecture for a tropical environment and the Costa Rican lifestyle, with an emphasis on durable luxury, plenty of ventilation, and no compromise, when it comes to ocean views, luxury finishes, and premium materials. 

An Ocean-View or Oceanfront Location

An Ocean-View or Oceanfront Location

If there’s one amenity that is Costa Rica’s most coveted and, in some cases, rarest is a beachfront or panoramic ocean-view location.

Without doing a deep dive into the intricate legalities and municipal regulations (that’s another post for another day!), know that oceanfront residences are exceptionally rare in Costa Rica. This is due to laws governing coastal properties, which allocate Costa Rica’s ocean frontage and coastline for public use – that is, save for a select few grandfathered homes and homesites. Consequently, oceanfront properties remain a rarity, even within the realm of luxury villas in Costa Rica.

In areas where oceanfront properties are nearly impossible to come by, then panoramic ocean views reign supreme. I’m not talking about peekaboo ocean views or fleeting glimpses, but rather private retreats tucked into the coast’s undulating hills and offering sweeping, 180º panoramas that frame glistening Pacific Ocean views and vibrant sunsets. 

Even more coveted are those ocean-view luxury homes perched so close to the coast that you can check the surf conditions and even hear the rhythmic crash of waves from your private terrace.

Tropical-Modern Design

Tropical-Modern Design

If your passion lies in refined design, Costa Rica’s acclaimed national and international architects currently favor tropical-modern design: an array of features, from expansive walls of windows and natural stone accents to lofty ceilings and meticulously framed vistas.

Imbued with the essence of Costa Rica’s pristine natural beauty, tropical-modern architecture stands as a testament to ingenuity: often secluded into lush landscapes, these luxury villas and homes lean into clean lines and contemporary color schemes, with expansive interiors seamlessly merging indoors and out, through the use of natural materials and sleek steel accents, alongside oversized windows and retractable glass walls. 

This is the realm where casual elegance meets modern sophistication, harmonizing perfectly with Costa Rica’s untamed beauty. Where exquisite design and contemporary aesthetics resonate, luxury homes seamlessly integrate with, rather than merely complement, residents’ lifestyles.

I’ll get more into specifics below (see Indoor-Outdoor Living and Luxury Design Finishes, below), but here are the broad brushstrokes of what tropical-modern design entails, at least here in Costa Rica:  

  • Extensive Use of Glass: Large glass panels offer sweeping views of a home’s surrounding landscapes, infusing interiors with natural light and seamlessly blending indoor and outdoor spaces.
  • Stilts Optional: Depending on the landscape and home design, elevated homes can provide numerous benefits, including pest control, enhanced air circulation, and minimal disruption to the terrain. Stilts also allow for unrestricted movement of wildlife underneath without the need for extensive excavation.
  • Natural Ventilation: Prioritizing energy efficiency, architects often promote ample airflow via high ceilings, open layouts, cross-ventilation openings, and the integration of screens and fans.
  • Protection from the Elements: To combat rainy season downpours, homes are well-concepted and intelligently designed to incorporate protective measures, such as large roof overhangs, covered outdoor areas, and efficient gutter systems.
  • Clean Architectural Lines: Characterized by sleek and uncluttered designs, modern-tropical homes boast clean lines that exude simplicity and sophistication.
  • Organic Materials: The country’s most upscale residences incorporate organic elements like teak wood, processed bamboo, and cultured stones, fostering a cozy and earthy atmosphere while treading lightly on the environment.
  • Insect-Resistant Materials: Understanding the challenges posed by humidity and insects, Costa Rica’s luxury homes now utilize steel and concrete foundations, while wooden elements are treated with insecticides for longevity and protection.
  • Sustainable Concepts: These homes often also embrace sustainability, with features like rainwater harvesting, green rooftops, gray water reuse, and solar energy utilization for electricity and hot water.

In other words, build for the tropics and let that inform, rather than hinder your aesthetic. 

Indoor-Outdoor Living

Indoor-Outdoor Living

If there’s one phrase that you’ll hear over and over – whether you’re building your own home, investing, or developing many homes – it’s “indoor-outdoor living”: tropical architecture and a design philosophy that seamlessly integrates interior and exterior spaces, almost erasing boundaries between the two.  

In tropical climates, like those in Costa Rica’s beach towns, where the weather is often warm and inviting, tropical-modern design maximizes natural light, ventilation, and a connection with nature.

Key features of indoor-outdoor living in tropical architecture include:

  • Open Floor Plans: Spaces should flow effortlessly from indoors to outdoors, often with ultra-high-end bi-folding glass doors that can be fully opened to merge interior rooms with outdoor patios, decks, or gardens.
  • Floor-to-Ceiling Glass: You’ll often observe massive walls of glass in Costa Rica’s luxury homes. Wondering how that connects to sustainability and tropical-modern design? Add shading, which is often automated and set on a timer, to help prevent loss of cooling while maximizing resident comfort.
  • Outdoor Rooms: Designated outdoor areas, such as covered terraces, verandas, or courtyards, are treated as extensions of indoor living spaces, providing additional areas for lounging, dining, or entertaining.
  • Natural Materials: The use of natural materials like wood, stone, and bamboo creates both a cooling effect and a cohesive transition between indoor and outdoor spaces, enhancing the tropical ambiance and connection with one’s surroundings.
  • Seamless Transitions: These architectural features can include level thresholds, consistent flooring materials, and harmonious color palettes, to keep transitions cohesive to the eye and create a sense of continuity and unity.
  • Climate Control: Design strategies, such as shaded overhangs, pergolas, ceiling fans, high venting, and strategically placed vegetation help regulate temperature and provide comfort in both indoor and outdoor spaces.

Overall, indoor-outdoor living in Costa Rica prioritizes harmony with nature, promoting a relaxed and sustainable lifestyle that celebrates the beauty of your surrounding environment. 

Luxury Interior Finishes

Luxury Interior Finishes

A luxury home obviously has luxury finishes – but the question is what luxury finishes, for our specific market? 

As I already mentioned, Costa Rica is currently in it’s “tropical-modern” architectural phase, which is a wonderful thing for new construction. In addition to natural ventilation, humidity-resistant materials, and other Costa Rica-friendly design choices, the tropical-modern aesthetic also extends to the interior finishes. 

In broad strokes, the following are some of the luxury interior finishes that reflect a blend of sophistication, functionality, and tropical elegance – the qualities most in demand right now in Costa Rican construction: 

  • High Ceilings: Double-height, cathedral, and lifted ceilings are very in vogue, both for their beauty and cooling qualities. 
  • Premium Wall Finishes: Both Venetian plaster and wallpaper accents are very popular, promising luxury, beauty, and durability in our homes. 
  • Natural Stone: New construction often incorporates natural stone elements, especially quartz and travertine, to lend an air of opulence and timelessness to spaces like countertops, flooring, and accent walls.
  • Custom, Light-Wash Cabinetry: Tailor-made, often light-colored cabinetry crafted from premium woods or sleek, contemporary materials like high-gloss laminates, adds both functionality and style to kitchens, bathrooms, and living areas.
  • High-Quality Tiles: The tropical environment and beach heat love tile and in Costa Rica, that currently means porcelain and ceramic tiles, often in intricate patterns and rich textures. They offer durability, easy maintenance, and a touch of elegance.
  • Designer Lighting: Statement lighting fixtures, including chandeliers, pendant lights, and wall sconces, serve as focal points and contribute to the overall ambiance of luxury interiors. These fixtures are often imported to Costa Rica.
  • High-End Appliances: State-of-the-art kitchen appliances and home automation systems offer convenience, efficiency, and security to luxury homes.
  • Smart Home Technology: Integration of smart home technology for lighting, shades, climate control, security, and entertainment enhances convenience and elevates the luxury living experience.

In a nutshell, luxury architecture and design currently prioritize beautiful durability and craftsmanship with purpose.

Custom Infinity Pool

Custom Infinity Pool

Luxury homes in Costa Rica most often boast stunning sunsets and spectacular pools that overlook the mesmerizing Pacific Ocean. And what better pairing with that, than a custom, ocean-view pool? Just make it infinity-edge. 

Costa Rica’s custom-designed and meticulously crafted infinity pools are truly awe-inspiring. Featuring unique shapes, expansive meterage / yardage, atmospheric night lighting, and generous pool terraces, a luxury home’s pool can both define and redefine the concept of opulence.

Beyond their aesthetic appeal, these pools are meticulously designed to enhance leisure and relaxation. With deep and shallow ends – often, ultra-shallow for lounge chairs and sunbathing – as well as other features, like lap-length straights, gentle curves, and dedicated children’s areas, they seamlessly blend beauty with functionality.

Luxury Resort Community Amenities

Luxury Resort Community Amenities

One of the most sought-after amenities in Costa Rica’s luxury homes is not a single amenity but rather, the compilation of several: Luxury resort amenities, courtesy of a home’s resort community. 

This is of particular interest to developers and business-minded builders – whether you’re building to sell or building with only an eye to a far-future resale value: Many luxury buyers insist on gated resort communities, where amenities invite a truly elevated lifestyle. 

These communities can offer a host of amenities, but the most sought-after extend to luxury fitness centers / gyms, yoga studios, community resort pools, onsite restaurants, and hiking and biking trails. Communities that add on luxury Beach Clubs, championship golf courses, tennis courts, and spa services will add even more value to your luxury property. 

Download Profit In Paradise: The Investor’s Guide To Costa Rica

Download Profit In Paradise_ The Investor’s Guide To Costa Rica

If you’re seriously interested in Costa Rican property investment or development, then you’re also looking to maximize your profit through smart building decisions. 

That means you’re just the type of person for whom I wrote Profit in Paradise: The Investor’s Guide to Costa Rica, my newest free eBook. This info-packed guide covers all the basics and beyond – from investment incentives and market indicators to the various types of investment, including property investment, businesses, and development opportunities.

Bottom line: There’s no one way to do Costa Rican investment – but there are wrong ways! So, whether you plan to retire here, manage a vacation rental property, invest in development, or dedicate your hard-earned cash to anything in between, your purchase is more than just a lifelong dream to fulfill: It’s a strategic investment decision. This eBook will help you make it wisely.  


Ready to Sell  Your Costa Rican Development Quickly and for Top Dollar?

Ready to Sell Your Costa Rican Development Quickly and for Top Dollar

Whether you’re a buyer/seller, an investor, or a developer, you’re on the right track and in the right place. Researching the market and understanding your prospects is an essential aspect of the decision-making process.

Hi, I’m Becky Clower, and the answers to your questions are what I do: I’m a real estate broker, agent, and owner of Blue Water Properties, as well as a real estate investor and developer. I’m also your expert and ally in this red-hot market.

I have the credentials – the HGTV appearances, the personal experience, the business prowess – to put me on the map, but what really sets me and my company apart is my expertise: I don’t learn from others; I learn for myself. I’ve built over a dozen homes, including two spec homes, and after selling out my highly successful Mango Walk project in just five months, I began developing two more projects: a 16-unit condominium development and a 12-unit commercial project in highly competitive Playa Flamingo.

Bottom line: I offer real, honest advice and expertise. So, if you’re looking for a broker, an agent, an investor, a developer, or simply a trusted advisor to stand by your side as you navigate your Costa Rican journey, however it manifests, then please get in touch. Let’s get started!

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