Meeting up with Randy Berg of CR-Home.com, I had one goal in mind – to get down to the bottom of why so many foreigners are retiring in Costa Rica.
I arrived at our predetermined meeting location – a small bistro pub style restaurant at the far end of Jaco beach along the Pacific Coast. When I arrived I was immediately greeted by Mr. Berg as I exited my rental car.
I had to ask myself, “Do I look like that much of a tourist?”
Maybe it was my loud Magnum PI style shirt or my button riddled camera sash – either way I must have been pinned a tourist by anyone within a 1km radius.
None the less I was pleased to be greeted so kindly by Randy.
Before we get in to the meat of it, I wanted to share with you the reason why I pursued Randy Berg in particular to answer this question.
In 2002, Randy and Rhonda Berg sold everything they had in Minnesota and moved to Costa Rica. Quickly realizing that the Costa Rica real estate market wasn’t all it was cracked up to be as far as quality for value comparisons, the Bergs decided to build.
Shortly after their home in Grecia was completed, North American media got wind of the story of two average Americans who sought a healthier more affordable retirement and moved off to Costa Rica.
Here they built their dream home for $50,000.
What a story right? I know…
Now, 10 years later, I wanted to meet up with Randy Berg, a pioneer in retiring in Costa Rica on a fixed income, to find out why so many foreigners are doing the same.
After ordering a fresh seared ahi tuna and an Imperial (Costa Rica’s beer), I got right to it by asking him, “aside from the obvious Randy, what brings Americans to Costa Rica in droves?”
“Well, you did say ‘aside from the obvious’ however isn’t it all a little obvious Chip?”
“Look around you – beautiful white sand beaches with turquoise blue waters, tropical relaxing atmosphere, the alluring world famous Ticas (Costa Rican women) and just the overall life of pura vida.” says Randy
Clearly all of what Mr. Berg had just shared with me was evident in my immediate surroundings however, what I really came here for, was to uncover the push that lures expatriates to Costa Rica in numbers not seen in any other country in Latin America.
In fact, more social security cheques are sent to Costa Rica than anything other nation outside of North America.
Randy responded with a wink and says, “so you want to know “The Secret” do you?”
This peaked my attention when Mr. Berg mentioned The Secret given I’d heard this before that foreigners already residing in paradise, do not like to attract more and share their new found Garden of Eden with the rest of the world.
Costa Rica is a tiny little country sandwiched between Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south. It has been without a military since 1948 and even had it’s president, Dr. Oscar Arias, honored with a Nobel Peace prize for mediating a peace accord throughout the region during a time of civil unrest in 1987 in Guatemala.
Since, Costa Rica has become a powerhouse in the digital technology realm thanks to a rapidly expanding wireless network capable of providing blazing Internet throughout the entire country via iPhones, iPads and any other 3G capable device.
Imagine sitting on the beach, much like I am in this instant, while conducting your business back home where there’s 3 inches of fresh snow and sub-zero temperatures?
Then Mr. Berg let the cat out of the bag…
The cost of living in Costa Rica – although over the years this has risen slightly – remains a fraction of what it would cost to live back home. The big difference is…you’re doing it in paradise while living a far higher standard of living.
Randy Berg has become notorious for building affordable homes for sale in Costa Rica and even graced the cover of Newsweek in doing so.
Randy asks me, “on your way in to Jaco you passed an exquisite world-famous surf beach with black volcanic sand right?”
For which I replied, “oh yeah…that beach was incredible and I even stopped above it to take a photo of the incredible vista of never-ending black sand along the blue water.”
“Well, that beach is called Playa Hermosa and right now I’m putting together the first affordably priced beachfront gated community that sells titled 2 bedroom beachfront villas for less than $150k,” says Randy.
“Come again?” I said surprisingly.
The fact is, Randy Berg has been building affordable homes in Costa Rica for over 10 years and even to this day he prides himself in not only his quality of work, but also his contributions towards assisting others so they may realize the dream he once had of living out his golden years in the magnificent and majestic Costa Rica – land of pura vida – the pure life.
By Chip Larsen