EFAM | Escape From America Magazine

Living in Costa Rica a Life of Adventure

The heart of the Costa Rican jungle

Late one evening, after a long day of fighting fires from my dead end job only to come home to the latest stack of bills, I decided that I had had it with never feeling my life was truly the adventure of a lifetime I dreamed it would be growing up.  I see the contestants on CBS’s Survivor and say, “I want to do that.”  I finally grew tired of envying those without a care in the world.  Today is the day that I take initiative toward happiness!  I sought out on a mission to find the world’s newest adventure where I could leave a lack-luster life behind and embrace a humbled spirit with a passion for excitement.  An adventure few had heard of, yet I was a dedicated part of.  I wasn’t quite sure what I was looking for, but I would know it when I saw it.

After  a long drawn out keyword search on Craigslist, I found something I had never heard of before.

Permaculture.  “Sounds like some sort of crazy barbershop colony,” I thought.  But because of my thirst for adventure, something as foreign to me as ketchup on ice cream might be just what the doctor ordered.

I wanted to learn more.

The link took me deep into a website for a Permaculture University in the heart of the Costa Rican jungle.  A developer who owns over 700 acres of amazing mountainous jungle land which included in his adventure resort development is the ultimate teaching of sustainable living.

Again, I wanted to learn more.

The property itself, now named Osa Mountain Village, sits on the western hills of Costa Rica overlooking the Pacific Ocean, lush valleys, and stunning sun-sets.  It is about 20 minutes from Palmar Norte and 40 minutes from Dominical.  At a temperate 2,000 feet elevation level, the area boasts ideal climate, an abundance of wildlife, and a wealth of adventure activities.

People have been enjoying the canopy tour since it opened in May

Two massive waterfalls make residence where a canopy zip-line tour and repelling down the waterfalls was one of Osa Mountain Village President Jim Gale’s first installations.  One of these waterfalls stands over 300 feet high.  Jim says, “People have been enjoying the canopy tour since it opened in May and, while at the property, they ask about our community. The response has been overwhelming! With our own food production, fun things to do on-site and quick access to other areas, we envision our residents being able to live comfortably for about $500 per month.” With the thought of zip-lines and waterfall repelling on-site, learning more became a must.


Digging deeper, I discovered that the development had just recently acquired a charter for deep-sea fishing for the community residents, had plans for on-site horseback riding stables, a huge amphitheater, gym, community center, general store, day-spa, swimming pools, tilapia fishing ponds, wedding/event coordination, and much much more.

Now, I had to learn more.

I became intrigued by this whole “permaculture” idea.  Basically, people all over the world are coming to the resort community on holiday for 2 weeks of learning how to make sustainable gardens, create energy out of what I would normally throw in my trash, and learn how to survive should things in the world take a turn for the worse.  Think about it, in a world that continues to get smaller with natural resources that are disappearing at astounding rates, sustainability is likely the path of the future while Osa Mountain Village is already paving the road.

The food that the permaculture students produce is designed to fill gardens that will supply the majority of the food for the residents and investors of the Osa Mountain Village community.  Osa Mountain Village uses a “vertical system” for growing their veggies, herbs and spices.  The system allows them to grow vast quantities of veggies in a relatively small area.  Paulo Fearron, a graduate of Earth University, has been hired to assist with this process of food production and to lead the permaculture university.  I found this a truly novel concept that allows residents to live at the community for less than a few hundred bucks a month while eating well with little inconvenience and being able to enjoy all that the development will have to offer.

There are also tilapia ponds to supply fish, chicken coups for poultry, and of course the deep-sea fishing charter for more variety of fresh fish.  From there, residents just have to pick their fresh food to either cook themselves in the beautiful native hardwood kitchens in their villas or one of the chefs at the Osa Mountain Village restaurant can cook it for a fee substantially lower than anywhere else.  On top of this, the water systems at Osa Mountain Village are being designed not only to harvest clean and pure mountain spring water, but also recycle it through a treatment system using both biological and technological systems that will allow the waste water to be filtered and used again.

Suddenly, I really had to know more.

Villas range from 1 to 3 bedrooms

Well it sounds amazing but what does a villa look like at a place like this?  Jim Gale’s plan is for a 4 Phase development process that will result in approximately 150 villas with the development land consisting of less than 3% of the total area.  Leaving a whopping 97% as nature preserve and a wonderland of jungle the way Mother Nature intended.  Villas range from 1 to 3 bedrooms, all with large kitchens and bathrooms.  The smallest villas are over 720 square feet, while the larger ones top out at almost 1500.  Granite countertops, huge living areas, natural hardwoods, a patio with a  hammock are standard in every one of these luxury villas all designed to maximize comfort while limiting energy costs to keep sustainability consistent.

Now I was excited to learn more.

Or should I say I was nervous to learn more.  Since, as with most things, at the end of the day the make or break comes down to the big question of, “How much is this going to cost me.”  I’ll do my best to break it down as simple as possible.

For full ownership of a 1 bedroom villa, the price is approximately $109,000 with 2 & 3 bedroom villas ranging at around $189,000.  Or you can own a 4 week fractional ownership for only $18,000.

Heck, that wasn’t too bad.

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I could purchase a fractional, spend my 3 weeks of vacation from work every year in Costa Rica and donate the other week for my local charity to auction off.  And with financing available, and/or dipping into my 401k or IRA, it would be a quick, easy, and painless purchase.  Life at Osa Mountain Village is inexpensive to say the least thanks to all the fresh food that is part of the community and the amenities that are highly discounted to residents and investors.  Also, if I can’t make it down there one year or if I want to go somewhere else I can chose to sell my 4 weeks or trade it like a house swap.  What I do with it each year is up to me, because I own it.  4 weeks that I own at an adventure resort for the same price as a 1 week timeshare that I wish I never bought was a no brainer.

So that’s what I did.

Owning a villa out-right for $109,000 to live full-time, let my friends and family enjoy, or let Osa Mountain Village rent out for me while I snag a huge majority of the profits was the better deal and better long-term investment, but I’m happy with my decision.

In fact, at the end of the day I have been nothing but thrilled with my decision.  The construction is progressing and the first phase is underway and set to be open for business by the middle to end of 2010. Also, Jim Gale (President of Osa Mountain Village) has been nothing but terrific when it comes to communicating with buyers, adding new ideas to the community, being honest and trustworthy, and designing what I have no doubt will become the first of many sustainable living resorts where living is playing.  In all, Osa Mountain Village is a community built on the ideals of sustainability of food, water, energy, and all resources necessary for a completely “green” resort life while never sparing any expense on making sure the enjoyment of life and luxury in the Costa Rican jungle.

It is truly a remarkable development to be a part of.  I learned all I needed to and my adventure has begun!

If you would like to learn more about all the other amazing things this community has to offer, I encourage you to visit: www.osamountainvillage6.homestead.com

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