*Disclaimer: All market statistics are based on OTP research and not reflective of any official statistics. We assume no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions in the content. 

Land sales in Costa Ballena are on the rise in 2023. With the shortage of ocean view homes for under $600,000 available on the market, buyers are shifting to purchasing more ocean view land. The Costa Ballena real estate market has made a big shift from predominantly the sale of mid-range-priced ocean view homes to luxury ocean view homes and land, as reflected in the sharp increase in average sold price in the first quarter of 2023.

Entering the market at this time are predominantly under $400,000 new, small, modern homes in Uvita and luxury ocean view properties priced at $1 million and over. There are fewer homes coming onto the market in the mid-range price between $600,000 and $1 million. 

However, Osa Tropical Properties’ broker, Kevin Champagne, believes that Costa Ballena may have hit the ceiling on real estate prices for the moment. ‘That does not mean that we will see a big dip in pricing, but I don’t foresee prices increasing much more in key markets in 2023,” says Kevin.

Last year, at the start of 2022, we witnessed a sharp rise in the number of well-priced lots and homes selling alongside the rush of tourists who were allowed to travel to Costa Rica once again. All of the below-market-value inventory sold quickly in 2022 and real estate prices climbed as demand grew, peaking in the third quarter of 2022, right at the point that the US Dollar hit its highest value. 

“With the popularity of this region growing for tourism,” says Kevin, “prices for almost all properties increased dramatically in 2022. Whereas this year, they appear to have stabilized a bit as more new inventory enters the market.”

“People selling older homes today are struggling to find buyers at the inflated rates of last year. Many of these homes have been on the market since the start of the high-season and they were expected to sell but the tightened market appears willing to wait for a better deal on an old home or they want a newer home.”

Costa Ballena Real Estate Market Report For January to March 2023


Comparing the first quarter of 2023 to recent quarterly reports, the total number of deals in Costa Ballena was down by over 50% (104 deals in the same period in 2022 compared to 51 deals in 2023 so far). Despite this dip in the number of properties sold, the average value of properties sold in the first quarter of 2023 was higher than the fourth quarter of 2022 as more $1+ million dollar properties sold this year. Eight properties over $1 million have sold so far in 2023 whereas only 20 properties in these price brackets sold in all of 2022. 

The price per acre of land has also shown a significant increase this quarter over last quarter, with land in Uvita shifting from $82,500 per acre sold to $120,000 per acre sold this quarter on average.

The most popular price bracket for homes for sale in Costa Ballena in the first quarter was between $300,000 and $600,000. There were nearly the same amount of homes sold in the $1 million and over brackets in this quarter and the last but with less homes being sold in the middle price brackets between $500,000 and $1 million.

The total number of deals in Costa Ballena went down from around $50 million in the first quarter of 2022 to $33.5 million in the first quarter of 2023. However, the average value of the deals has increased considerably from $480,619 to $658,624.

Dominical and North Costa Ballena

Dominical saw 11 deals in the first quarter of 2023 with nearly $9 million in property sales. Dominical’s average sold property value is $814,818. Property buyers in Dominical and the northern Costa Ballena region were mainly interested in land purchases, preferring large lots over 3 acres strictly with ocean views.

Uvita and Central Costa Ballena

Uvita saw 16 deals in the first quarter of 2023 totaling just over $10 million in sales. Uvita’s average sold property value is $663,063. The types of properties that people were most interested in this quarter were mainly ocean-view homes in the mountains above Uvita, although many new homes in Bahia are being bought and sold, mainly modern homes built in the last 5 years that are in close walking distance to the beaches and National Park on small properties with three bedrooms and a pool.

Ojochal and South Costa Ballena

In the first quarter of 2023, Ojochal again had the most property transactions with 23 deals accounting for more than $14 million in sales, which is the highest number of property sales in Costa Ballena. However, the average sold property value in Ojochal was $609,470 in the first quarter 0f 2023, which was the lowest in the area. This is a reflection of the fact that the majority of properties being purchased in southern Costa Ballena are vacant lots, many of which had been listed for much longer than a year.

Young families and “foodies” are particularly attracted to call Ojochal home, with highly popular expat schools, incredible restaurants, and less busy beaches being major attractions.

Land in southern Costa Ballena is the least expensive at $133,000 average lot price compared to $178,000 in central Costa Ballena and $319,000 in northern Costa Ballena. Per acre, Uvita had the highest value at $120,000 per acre compared to $93,000 in Dominical and $82,000 in Ojochal.

Properties Sold in Under 30 Days

Two lots and one brand new beach villa had pending deals within 30 days of listing. Both pieces of land were in the Uvita area and the new home was in the hotspot region of Bahia in Uvita. Two homes in Ojochal went under contract in a notably short amount of time (both around 40 days listed on the market). Both of these properties were priced in the “sweet spot” of under $400,000 homes, neither of which feature ocean views but they are both positioned in convenient locations, with swimming pools, and in new or well-maintained condition.

The length of time that a sold property spent on market in the first quarter of 2023 increased by 17% over last quarter. Many new homes sold in the fourth quarter of 2022 by speculators who spent the year building new homes or renovating old homes to be sold for a profit. This has left many older homes on the market that are taking longer to find the right buyers. And the length of time on the market is also a reflection of many more lots being sold in this quarter, many of which have sat on the market for a long time.

Brand New Houses (Under Two Years Old)

Of the four new homes that sold in the first quarter of 2023, three of these homes were in Uvita and one in Ojochal. All of the homes had more than three bedrooms and all were modern in architecture and design. The views varied for these homes however the brand new ocean view home was the one that sold with the highest price tag of nearly $2.5 million. The mountain and jungle view modern new homes that sold had prices in the mid-$400,000s.

Luxury Properties

For the purposes of this report, we make the generalization of labeling any properties priced over $1 million “luxury properties.” This does not imply these properties have any specific qualities of so-called “luxury” but they all do have defining features that set them in the upper-tier price brackets. These qualities may include (but are not limited to) fantastic ocean view, beach-side or other sought-after location, or a modern, high-end construction.

In the first quarter of 2023, eight properties were sold that were over $1 million in price. Six of these were high-end homes of varying age, as well as one beachfront hotel, and one large parcel of development land in Dominical featuring a sensational ocean view. The land, the beachfront hotel, and an ultra-luxury estate with a helipad were all listed on the market for a number of years and finally sold at the start of this year.

Only one luxury home sold without having an impressive ocean view. It sold for $1.5 million because it is a brand new turnkey construction with four bedrooms and a beautiful pool in a great location in the mountains near central Uvita. 

New On The Market

The first quarter of 2023 saw 121 new listings hit the real estate market. Most of these were located in the Uvita and Ojochal areas. The vast majority of the listings currently for sale in these areas (around 60%) are in one of two price brackets: between $300,000 and $500,000 or between $1 million and $2 million USD.

The majority of price reductions on listings for sale were also in Uvita and Ojochal, which shows that the real estate markets in these two areas are still finding their niche.

2023 Market Drivers And Predictions

According to our Osa Tropical Properties realtors, buyers today are predominantly looking for land with an ocean view for under $250,000 USD. Ocean view homes continue to be popular, with newer modern homes selling more quickly than older, colonial-style homes, regardless of price.

“There has been a significant rise in the number of modern homes for sale on small properties,” says OTP agent, Marcia Oro. 

“There seems to be a saturated market of new modern homes in Bahia because they were selling like hot cakes last year but this has slowed down,” says Marcia. “Now there are too many homes for the amount of demand in my opinion. My buyers are more interested in privacy and bigger lots. They are looking for more remote, tranquil properties that are away from noise and neighbors.”

To get the best chance of making a good sale, OTP realtor, Richard Owens, suggests to sellers that it is important to take care of any deferred maintenance issues. “Potential buyers spend a lot of time tracking the local real estate market and they can tell what is a good deal. Things like house placement, water management, and general maintenance of the home and property are all key factors that buyers today are paying attention to.”

More Europeans Visiting (And Moving To) Costa Rica

“Many more Europeans are coming to Costa Rica,” says OTP realtor, Rebecca Rowntree, who also owns a boutique hotel in Ojochal, Costa Rica. She has seen an increase in the amount of Canadians and Europeans visiting her hotel in 2023 so far.

“A lot of my recent hotel guests are saying that they feel disenfranchised with living in Europe. War is too close to home and if they are going to move, they want to be somewhere tropical and different.”

From Europe, 410,832 tourists arrived by air, which amounts to about 93% of pre-pandemic travelers. The United Kingdom leading the list with 70,425 tourists, followed by Germany with 66,716, France with 59,504, Spain with 53,217 and the Netherlands with 28,693 tourists.

The United States continued to be the main international tourist market for Costa Rica in 2022, representing more than 1.2 million visitors.

Bitcoin Jungle and The Rise Of Crypto-Enthusiasts in Costa Rica

There is some speculation that the average value of properties being sold in Costa Ballena is increasing because of the growth of cryptocurrency. This region of Costa Rica is known within the crypto-community as The Golden Triangle and is recognized for being a hub for the blockchain economy.

Jack Dorsey, Twitter Co-Founder, was recently spotted in Uvita, Costa Rica attending crypto-currency conference, Nostrica, in late March 2023. This was not his first visit to Costa Rica but possibly his first to Uvita.

Jack Dorsey, one of the most popular figures in Nostrica. Source: Nostrica2023 / Youtube

Although he is said to enjoy the beaches and surfing, it appears that Dorsey’s interest in Costa Rica goes deeper than tourism. The local growth in cryptocurrency exchange and blockchain innovation are said to be pull factors for Dorsey and other crypto-enthusiasts who are finding local communities to be enthusiastic about participating in a dual economy.

Read more about the Bitcoin Jungle and the Golden Triangle here.

Growth In Tourism To Costa Rica

Tourism is continuing to grow in Costa Rica in 2023, and is expected to surpass pre-covid numbers within the next three years. According to Costa Rica’s National Tourism Board (ICT) in a January article from Europa Press, Costa Rica expects to reach 3.8 million annual tourists by the year 2027, generating $4.9 billion dollars in foreign income.

Tourists coming to Costa Rica reached 2.3 million in 2022, which is 70% more than in 2021. Tourists entering Costa Rica reached their peak in 2019 when the country saw more than 3.1 million tourists.

Costa Rica in 2022 recovered 75% of tourists who visited the country prior to the pandemic as one million more tourists arrived in 2022 compared to 2021. The Canadian market itself (171,033 tourists), increased in 2022 by 121,116 tourists compared to 2021.

“These numbers are the extraordinary result of the joint effort of public sector actors and private sector actors. These are encouraging data that give us the impetus to get as close as possible this 2023 to equaling the tourism indicators that the country had before the pandemic. We have our sights set on the growth of visitation, but also of foreign exchange, of the quality of life in our tourist communities, of the quality of service, and we do it in communion with the sustainability for which we are recognized worldwide,” said William Rodríguez, Costa Rica’s Minister of Tourism.

Rental Properties In Costa RIca

Hotel activity across Costa Rica has also regained strength in 2022 reaching more than 90% of pre-pandemic numbers by the end of 2022. Prices for services and accommodations in 2022 were nearly 5% higher than in 2019.

The three months of the year 2022 with the highest influx of tourists by all routes were December, March, and July. Holy Week (the week before Easter) has always boosted international and local tourism. According to Costa Rica’s Chamber of Hotels, projected hotel occupancy could reach 84% across the country, surpassing 2022 figures.

Recent data shows that the Northern Region has the highest occupancy rates for this season, with 95% of their rooms booked. Meanwhile, the Central Pacific reported an 81% occupancy rate.

*Disclaimer: All market statistics are based on OTP research and not reflective of any official statistics. We assume no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions in the content.