Regrets – I’ve Had Them in Costa Rica


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An eternal optimist, Liu-Yue built two social enterprises to help make the world a better place. Liu-Yue co-founded Oxstones Investment Club a searchable content platform and business tools for knowledge sharing and financial education. also provides investors with direct access to U.S. commercial real estate opportunities and other alternative investments. In addition, Liu-Yue also co-founded Cute Brands a cause-oriented character brand management and brand licensing company that creates social awareness on global issues and societal challenges through character creations. Prior to his entrepreneurial endeavors, Liu-Yue worked as an Executive Associate at M&T Bank in the Structured Real Estate Finance Group where he worked with senior management on multiple bank-wide risk management projects. He also had a dual role as a commercial banker advising UHNWIs and family offices on investments, credit, and banking needs while focused on residential CRE, infrastructure development, and affordable housing projects. Prior to M&T, he held a number of positions in Latin American equities and bonds investment groups at SBC Warburg Dillon Read (Swiss Bank), OFFITBANK (the wealth management division of Wachovia Bank), and in small cap equities at Steinberg Priest Capital Management (family office). Liu-Yue has an MBA specializing in investment management and strategy from Georgetown University and a Bachelor of Science in Finance and Marketing from Stern School of Business at NYU. He also completed graduate studies in international management at the University of Oxford, Trinity College.

By Ronan McMahon

The stream is full, white and bubbling from the rains. The roar of water impressive. The dense foliage is a rich green and home to brightly colored birds. I consult my booklet that lists Costa Rica’s birds to see if I can make a match. Too late. They have darted behind some undergrowth.

As I walk up the forested part of the lot, the sky opens up and I feel the bright sun on my face. The temperature is fresh and comfortable. Almost cool. We’re in the Talamanca mountains, the breeze is always refreshing here and the temperature today is in the mid 70s. December can be a bit chilly by Costa Rican standards. Views toward the Caribbean ocean and dense jungle covered hills open up in front of me.

At 1.2 acres, this lot is big. It’s also wide with more than 100 yards of frontage to the quite country land and the stream at the back of the lot. We’re about 15 minutes up a quiet country lane from the main highway that goes from the capital San Jose to the Caribbean coast. San Jose is two and a half hours away. Next door is the first and only community targeted at the North American market. If you bought here you would have gringo neighbors. But, only when you want them. The rest of the time you’re outside…part of the local community.

The price of this lot: $26,000.

With the size and dimensions of this lot it could easily be sub-divided. In fact, I thought this land would be perfect for a little development project of nine casitas built among the fruit tress and flowers. Meditation and reading rooms could be built in the thick jungle perched above the roaring stream.

The prices are this low because, despite it’s beauty, the world and Costa Rica has forgotten about the Caribbean province of Limon. Few Ticos I met in the capital or the Pacific side have been here. Many foreigners don’t even know Costa Rica has a Caribbean side.

Thirty-five minutes from here you hit the beaches of the Caribbean. Untouched, they stretch south toward the border with Panama. I didn’t see a soul on these beaches. Piles of driftwood, stacked randomly by the ocean, lie under the mist of breaking waves.

Seven minutes drive into the hills is my next port of call. The views to the ocean are spectacular. Better, however, are the views inland to steep and sharp jungle covered mountains. Again, the breeze is fresh. We enter this piece of land directly from a quiet country lane. A neighboring farmer drifts by on horseback. Tips his hat and keeps going. Everything seems in slow motion here. The pace of life is that relaxed.

The entry point is perched right at the top of the hill. The views 360 degrees. The land here has been flattened and a wooden structure built to take advantage of the views. Most of the 50 acres of land is covered by dense and valuable forest. The stream full with water competes with birds and the distant roar of howler monkeys for our attention.

This farm has just sold for $150,000. Again, there is potential for development of these 50 acres.

My only regret is that I’ve missed out this time. But now I know what I want to buy here. A farm just like this…covered in dense forest…with views to the mountains and the Caribbean. I’ll be ready to pull the trigger the next time one comes up. I’ll be back…

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