Foundations for the Future | Real Estate Update
Safety, Stability, Health, and Happiness | A Look at Costa Rica for Future Residents
Inverse Project | The Senderos Architect’s Guild
New Team Members (In More Ways Than One) | Welcome to Senderos
Foundations for the Future | Real Estate Update
It’s an exciting time to be in Tamarindo. Tourism continues to shatter all-time records, and Costa Rica’s push to welcome digital nomads and expats has been signed into law.
It’s yet another sign of the growth of the region and a potential sign of even more growth to come, and that’s exciting for anyone who lives in Guanacaste. A rising tide lifts all boats, and we’re happy to say that Tamarindo in particular is trending in a positive direction.
To see this continued strength of demand for Guanacaste during a time of year that’s traditionally quieter is even more striking. And firsthand, we’ve seen this trend with a wave of inquiries for the new homes in Las Crestas.
The New Normal? Airlift Continues to Break Records
Just two years removed from the heart of the pandemic, Guanacaste put up another record-breaking month in terms of Airlift, with July 2022’s Airlift of 136,558 smashing the previous record of July 2021’s 101,888.
That makes this the 4th record-breaking month in a row, and the analysts on our team are starting to consider that this is more than just a spike in arrivals, but might instead be indicative that the long-term growth of our region is gaining speed and traction.
Investment into a region has a snowballing effect. New projects, be they beautiful homes, new restaurants, infrastructure investments, and so on, make a region more desirable and attracts more interest, which in turn attracts more investment and so on.
And with the support of the Costa Rican government through initiatives like the new digital nomad visa, Guanacaste seems primed to continue its upward trajectory in a meaningful way in the coming years.
Digital Nomad Visa Signed Into Law
As of July 18th, 2022, Costa Rica’s President, along with the nation’s Tourism, Finance, and Security ministers have signed the “Law to Attract Remote Workers and Remote Service Providers”, colloquially known as the Digital Nomad Visa, into law.
This has been a long time coming but required a great deal of work behind-the-scenes to finalize the specifics that will allow remote workers from all around the world to live in Costa Rica for a period of up to one year, with an option for renewal.
The Remote Work/Digital Nomad Visa At A Glance
Any foreign person who provides services remotely, through online platforms, to a physical entity or person outside of Costa Rica, is officially qualified to apply for this visa.
All filings can be done online, and will be given expedited approval by the Immigration Authority, provided that applicants fulfill the following requirements:
- An application letter signed directly by the applicant
- A filing tax of $100.00 or the equivalent in the applicant’s national currency
- A copy of the applicant’s passport
- An international medical insurance policy for the applicant and all dependents for the duration of your stay, with minimum coverage of $50,000.
- Proven income of the applicant of at least $3,000 for individuals or $4,000 for family units (or the equivalent in local currency). Income can be proven via:
- Bank statements over the last 12 months, with a sworn statement from the applicant relating to the source of the funds
- A signed and apostille Certification of Income by a Certified Public Accountant
Successful applicants will be granted a year visa, which is renewable for a second year with a minimum of a 180-day stay in Costa Rica, and a number of privileges including:
- Exemption of import tax on equipment used to provide remote services
- Access to local banking
- Access to a local driver’s license
- 100% exemption of utility and income tax
- And exemption from taxpayer status as a Costa Rican resident
It’s certainly an attractive option for anyone looking to easily explore the possibility of life in Costa Rica, and if you have any questions about these new regulations, or you’d like to learn more about the process, you can reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Buzz Around Town for Las Crestas
It’s also been an exciting time around Senderos with the launch of Las Crestas, ushering in new possibilities and beautiful homes along striking ridgelines and large homesites.
And if you’d like to take a stroll through Las Crestas, we’re happy to share that each new homesite in Las Crestas has its own viewing platform. Milled from fallen pochote trees on our property, these platforms are designed to have a light footprint and capture the raw natural beauty of Las Crestas.
The homesites around these platforms aren’t completely cleared, retaining the majority of their plant life with the addition of keyhole views to capture the most breathtaking looks in each direction.
It’s a little adventure just to journey out to each of these homes, and if you’d like to schedule a tour and possibly make one of these homes your own, you can reach out to us at email@example.com.
Safety, Stability, Health, and Happiness | A Look at Costa Rica for Future Residents
For the past 18 months, Costa Rica has been experiencing an influx of new residents from the US, a mixture of temporary visitors testing the waters of life in Costa Rica and more long-term homeowners ready to make this beautiful tropical nation their home.
Here at Senderos, we’ve experienced the same trend, but we’ve also noticed that it’s more than the beauty, wildlife, beaches, and waves drawing people to consider picking up from life in the states and moving to Central America.
Economic volatility, political division and uncertainty, a reshifting of lifestyle choices, and the new world of remote work have all made it increasingly possible, and increasingly attractive, to take a look and consider other places outside the US, places to live which might not have been feasible just a few years ago.
But why Costa Rica? This small country has been a haven for surfers, yogis, and ecotourism for nearly 40 years, and has an international reputation as a tropical paradise certainly worth visiting.
But there’s an important distinction between tropical destinations and potential long-term homes, and Costa Rica thrives as a haven for expats as well, consistently listed in the top 10 on global lists.
In this article, we’ll explore the factors that make Costa Rica a safe, stable nation, which includes its small, localized communities, a culture that does not like conflicts, an outsized pride in the Tico identity and lands, and a population with a remarkably healthy lifestyle.
The Cultural and Geographical Roots of Stability
Costa Rica’s growth into a peaceful haven in the heart of the Americas can lend credit to Costa Rica’s rugged topography and incredible diversity of terrain and climate. Even prior to colonial times, communities needed to be small and self-sustaining, since travel could be difficult and often dangerous.
During colonial times, this network of small communities remained, since differences in climate made large-scale plantation farming unsustainable, and the difficult-to-conquer terrain meant that many of these communities remained at least partially free and independent.
After independence in 1821, Costa Rica faced turmoil like all of Central America, but once again proved difficult to conquer, and rebuked attempts from invaders in order to successfully remain independent. Costa Rica also has no strategic resources like oil or rare minerals, helping it avoid being a pawn in global conflicts.
In fact, the closest Costa Rica came to falling into turmoil was actually from its own military, narrowly surviving a coup and civil war in 1948. Costa Rica’s response was novel and far-reaching. Before long the country had abolished its military, and today remains one of the most populous and prosperous nations without a standing army.
This history is important to understand the cultural context of the Costa Rican lifestyle — people in Costa Rica have lived peacefully, independently, and prosperously in close-knit communities since 1821, and their most dangerous challenges — defending against invasion from Nicaragua and navigating their own civil war — have been overcome through national unity.
As a whole, Costa Ricans don’t want conflict. They don’t want war. In fact, they’re proud of that peace, and how shifting their national focus to their people, infrastructure, and natural resources has allowed a small, still-growing nation like Costa Rica to be a leader by example on the world stage.
Tight-Knit Communities and Smart Investment
Outside of the Central Valley and some regional capitals, Costa Rica is almost entirely composed of small towns and villages, each with its own close-knit community where everyone knows and looks out for each other, disputes are handled internally, strangers stick out, and news travels fast.
Ask any Tico, and they don’t just refer to themselves as “from the Central Valley” or “from Guanacaste”. They are from Cartago, or Alajuela, or Escazu, or Quepos, or Potrero, or Tamarindo.
Many of these small communities grew as self-sustaining fishing and farming towns, where you find a generally peaceful and healthy way of life — active physically, with strong community connections, and nutrition from natural, locally grown foods.
There’s a reason Costa Rica is home to one of the world’s 5 Blue Zones, Nicoya, where individuals regularly live above the age of 100, and Nicoya is not a tremendous outlier compared to other parts of the country.
This tendency towards an active, healthy, and connected way of life, in touch with nature, is another pillar of the innate Costa Rican culture, and it’s one that’s been bolstered since the abolition of the military in 1948.
That’s because all of the massive expenditure required to maintain an army has since been redirected to projects like Caja, Costa Rica’s social security system, along with education and infrastructure.
That’s part of the reason why Costa Rica gets 98+% of its electricity from sustainable sources, has a 97% literacy rate, well over the average for Latin American and Caribbean countries, and also ranks as the happiest country in Latin America and one of the 25 happiest countries on earth.
The last major piece of the Costa Rican puzzle came together in the 1970s and 1980s, with a major national push to reforest the country after decades of unrestricted logging and protect remaining primary forests and ecosystems.
Since then, Costa Rica has recovered from only 24.5% forest coverage to upwards of 50% forest coverage, protected over a quarter of its total landmass in National Parks, and become a haven for ecotourism, which together with other forms of tourism comprises about 5% of its total GDP.
Protecting This Paradise As A National Priority
In some developing nations, a sudden influx of foreign investment through tourism and increased global interest can bring prosperity, but it can also bring the risk of crime and destabilization of certain parts of the country.
That’s why the conscious, 75-year decision since military abolition to prioritize and protect the wellbeing of the Costa Rican people (which you could argue traces its way all of the way back to pre-Independence cultural values) has been so important.
On a national level, investment in education, infrastructure, and social services helps keep people safe, employed, and healthy, which reduces the rate of poverty-induced crime. Strict banking regulations have prevented Costa Rica from becoming a haven for tax avoidance or money laundering. And a rigorous partnership with the US has allowed Costa Rica to keep drug trafficking from becoming a major dark industry (though, like in all nations, it would be naive to say it does not exist).
In many ways, these are self-serving goals from an economic perspective. Creating a safe, secure, educated populace makes Costa Rica more desirable to foreign travelers and foreign investment, which are massive pillars of the economy. Protecting the environment allows Costa Rica to set itself apart from other countries as a beacon of ecotourism. Sustainable energy is cheaper in the long term by far.
So from a cynical perspective, the happiness, healthiness, stability, and safety of people within Costa Rica are just a convenient byproduct of what is best for business and the growth of the nation.
But when you talk to the average Tico, the connection is much simpler. They’re proud of what their country has accomplished, and the lifestyle they lead. They want to preserve Costa Rica and each of its colorful communities as a place where they want to live.
And the results — a country where people are happier, healthier, safer, and more secure, and one where the land is protected and preserved for future generations — speak for themselves, in the forms of happiness, health, and more and more people choosing Costa Rica as their new homes.
Inverse Project | The Senderos Architect’s Guild
In the first of our series on the members of the Senderos Architect’s Guild, we’re spotlighting Inverse Project, whose integration of striking modern designs with natural materials and greenery makes their homes bold, beautiful statements on the Senderos landscape.
The Team Behind Inverse Project
Inverse Project was founded by Daniela Hammond LEED™ AP BD+C, and Richard Hammond A.I.A., two veteran architects with decades of international experience.
Daniela Hammond was born and studied in Germany, but her work has taken her around the globe, where she has 18 years of experience working on a range of projects ranging from office buildings and residential to universities and museums.
Prior to Inverse, Daniela worked in notable design firms in Los Angeles where she was responsible for multiple aspects of the projects including design, construction documentation as well as LEED certifications. Most notably, she helped design the first Google Headquarters, as well as the beautiful University of Santa Barbara Bioengineering Building.
Richard Hammond was born in Zimbabwe and graduated from Wits Architecture School in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1997.
Since this time he has worked in notable architecture offices in Cape Town, Los Angeles, and Costa Rica, gaining 20 years of Architecture and Interior Design experience and receiving more than 40 design awards (10 AIA and 9 IIDA) across residential, workplace, hospitality, event, education, and museum projects on 5 continents, notably including the world’s first 3D printed office building in Dubai and the Costa Rican Museo del Oro.
The Origins of Inverse Project
Richard and Daniela founded Inverse Project in the late 2010s in Costa Rica, where they had already lived for more than 5 years.
When we sat down with Richard, he explained that many architects dream of starting their own firm, and when Daniela finished a round of continuing education in 2019/2020, it seemed to be the perfect time to found their own project. They had already traveled the world, learned in different industries, and to both architects, it just seemed like the right time to start.
First, they designed Nonosi, a home in the hills of San José that would one day grow to host the Inverse Project studio. From there, they bridged out to home projects across the Guanacaste coast, tackled renowned design competitions around the country, and began to quickly rise in national notoriety.
The Inspiration Behind the Name
The name of the firm — Inverse Project — comes from a willingness to look at design in a different way, to flip the script, to be willing to invert concepts like solid and void, rough and smooth, heavy and light, and appreciate that out of those dichotomies can come something powerful.
“Mathematically, the inverse of the function reveals something totally new, totally opposite, but still fundamentally related. We try to keep a little bit of that thinking as we deal with design, always being willing to throw some sort of twist or inversion in that can create a surprising feeling or beauty.”
Richard also explained that calling the firm Inverse Project had meaning. In just a short time, they have grown from a team of two to a team of eleven members, and both Hammonds keep an open mind to the future.
“We like keeping it a project. There’s lots of work, and we are growing a creative culture with fantastic people and a great culture, but there’s also a malleability of a project. We can become whatever we want to become.”
Inside The Design Philosophy of Inverse Project
In many ways, the design philosophy of Inverse Project is still evolving, the byproduct of cross-pollination between Richard’s diverse architectural background and Daniela’s depth of experience in designing offices, universities, and creative spaces.
One thing that was clear throughout the process though, was that this project would be open-ended, out of a desire from Daniela to shake things up after years of specialization.
Still, there are definitely some key principles in the work of Inverse Project.
Their designs are conceptually grounded, emerging from the analysis of the site, the context of the building, and how it will be used. As Richard explains, there are some fundamental, visceral aspects of creating an experience that can’t be ignored — a home has to feel comfortable, welcoming, and useful to its family, which is a distinct difference from artistry reserved for public spaces or museums.
Cultural context is a big deal as well. For example, Costa Rica is known to be a country that’s connected to nature, rather than expansive cityscapes, and that factors into the expectations and design.
For influences, Hammond points to some general movements — modernism and a bit of postmodernism — but notes that there are so many skews of these movements that they don’t quite capture the essence of Inverse.
Instead, Hammond describes the Inverse Project philosophy as an intuitive, rather than formal process, and one that is constantly iterating. The design team doesn’t like to repeat itself, instead aiming to keep things fresh and new not just for the client, but for themselves. And to hear Richard tell it, there’s no other way that they could design.
“A home or other building has to be practical, appropriate, and contextual. But it also has to have a little bit of magic, something that’s surprising and inspiring, and that part kind of reveals itself. Through years and years of experience, you develop a toolkit of techniques and strategies, but ultimately each project is still a unique and collaborative process.
We expect the unexpected, we’re willing to try new things, and when we work with like-minded clients (along with a great team of builders and designers), those are the times when truly powerful projects come to life.”
The Inverse Project in Senderos
One such partnership that has yielded some beautiful homes has been Inverse Project’s work within Senderos. Though the collaboration started off by chance, it was clear after the first meeting that there was some life in a partnership.
Hammond explains that he was pleased to find both professionalism and rigorous practicality in the same organization as a strong vision for something different, inspiring, and beautiful. More often than not in Costa Rica — a playground for architectural design — the two don’t coexist, and being able to connect on both a creative and concrete level was a big selling point.
As projects began to come to life, and Inverse began to contribute to the landscape of Senderos, there was a spirit of collaboration and exploration that seemed to fit the vision of both firms.
“We love when we can collaborate and sort of discover things together. Every once in a while you get people who have a really clear Pinterest board, but then you see that they’re sort of wedded to these pre-existing ideas. Inspiration is great, but we never want to do something too prescriptive, something that’s been done before.”
Fitting in with this vision is the rest of the Inverse Project team, which is comprised of young, inspired Costa Rican architects who offer both an incredible creative energy, but also an intimate knowledge of cultural context and what’s important in Costa Rica.
Add in the fact that both Hammonds are fascinated by sustainability — which is oft overlooked in the luxury homebuilding space where the cost of energy isn’t necessarily a consideration — and contributing to the overall architectural and artistic legacy of Costa Rica, and it makes sense that Inverse Project have been huge contributors to the design of Senderos.
“We would love to help Senderos become a district of experimentation and pushing boundaries, but still undeniably Costa Rican. We can envision a time where Senderos is a destination for architectural students to come walk and explore, and we’re doing our best to contribute to that.”
Inverse Homes in Senderos
Looking across the landscape of Senderos, you can already see some of the Inverse Project homes coming to life, and there are many more to come, including some of the newest homes in Las Crestas, as well as the Shoreline Club.
Closing Thoughts from Richard Hammond
“Everything about architecture is transformation. Materials into a home. An old ruin into a new gathering place. Architecture is a sort of alchemy — a strange art and science of transformation. And keeping place for a little bit of that magic, that randomness, that’s what allows you to breathe life into a project.
Oftentimes you have people who are so embedded into the intention that they lose perspective on that intuitive side of things, but when you’re willing to break up grids, twist a beam, all of a sudden you have brought a little element of something special.
With everything we do, we want to create something that will last, create a new way of doing things, and offer a vision that others can build from. But most importantly, we want to leave a legacy with the people that experience these homes. After all, in those immortal words, ‘people don’t remember what you say or do, but how you make them feel.“
Thank you very much to Richard Hammond for sitting down with us to discuss Inverse Project! If you’d like to learn more about Inverse Project, their ongoing work, and their team, you can explore their website.
New Team Members (In More Ways Than One) | Welcome to Senderos
It’s always a pleasure to welcome new faces to the team, and this month, that’s true in more ways than one. That’s because just this month, our construction team put together a Senderos football team to compete in friendlies and local tournaments.
In Guanacaste and throughout Costa Rica, it’s a fun, familiar practice to put together a team with friends and coworkers to play in the evenings, and many companies will go ahead and sponsor uniforms to make sure that when their employees represent, they do so in style.
Here it’s no different, and we’ll be rooting for our Senderos squad in their sleek, stylish uniforms in the years to come!
And with that in mind, we’re also happy to welcome a slew of new talented team members to the Senderos family. Who knows, maybe their skills extend to the soccer pitch as well!
Enrique Barrientos | Development Manager
Enrique Barrientos joins the team at Senderos with more than 20 years of developing and directing real estate projects, including the Peninsula Papagayo Marina and expanding the Mangroove hotel in Papagayo.
Originally from San José, Enrique worked with renowned architecture firms such as Gensler Costa Rica and with Bruno Stagno and has overseen numerous projects in the capital and throughout the country, particularly in real estate developments, residential towers, and mixed-use projects.
He and his family will soon be moving out to Guanacaste, where you’ll be able to find him enjoying time with his family, riding his mountain bike throughout the region, and exploring new spots on his motorcycle.
“What excites me most about working at Senderos is being able to develop an organized community with a high standard, to create a positive impact in Tamarindo and in the entire Guanacaste area. I greatly appreciate the culture of the area, the people, and nature, and I’m looking forward to contributing to this area.”
Arianne Beeche | Marketing and Sales Manager
Arianne, known as Ari to her friends, was born in San José but has lived in Liberia for the past 24 years, where she’s worked extensively in marketing, most recently as the Marketing Director for Pacifico in Playas del Coco.
Arianne is excited to bring that wealth of experience to Tamarindo and the Senderos team, where, as she explains, she’s excited about every aspect of working here, whether that’s the nearby nature, the lively culture and activities within the town, or the fascinating projects going on in the Tamarindo region.
In her spare time, you can usually find Arianne and her family finding the best spot on any river or beach or setting off on horseback with her daughter.
“To be honest, I’m super excited about all of it! I really want to understand how it all works at Senderos, and while I’m familiar with Tamarindo from the holidays, I haven’t gotten to know the town as well as I can. Working here, and getting to share it with other people, is a great way to change that!”
Jimmy Rojas | Community Manager
Jimmy Rojas is originally from Zarcero, a town in the province of Alajuela more than 2000 meters above sea level. It’s another place like Tamarindo where being active is a lifestyle, and Jimmy has embraced that wholeheartedly, with a passion for the outdoors and tackling new challenges, whether that’s on a mountainside trail or along the beach.
Jimmy’s contagious energy will be an excellent addition to the team, as will his 18 years of experience managing both national and international companies across tourism, clean energy, manufacturing, food, and other industries.
If you catch him in his spare time, you might have a hard time keeping up, but can find him doing essentially anything in the active, from hiking and rucking to staying sharp and fit in the gym and everything in between.
“What I love is that after many years I can return to a blessed land like Guanacaste with its customs and its beautiful people. Where I can contribute from my profession and experience to generate a positive impact on health, safety, and the environment, promoting good practices and improvements in the project to contribute to the circular economy.”
Ernesto Alvarado | Project Manager
Ernesto hails from Heredia, where he has almost 25 years of experience as an engineer and project manager in the construction and real estate industry.
Whether overseeing 100m plus industrial structures, commercial centers like the Plaza Liberia Center, the Marina Pez Vela at Quepos, or developments like the Papagayo Ecodevelopment, District 4 in Escazu, and Santa Verde in Heredia, Ernesto has seen it all, and he’s excited to offer his expertise to the Senderos project.
“The project is incredible! It has beautiful views. There is a mixture of jungle and beach.
The houses are impressive, beautiful, and definitely a construction challenge due to the topography of the lots. But those are all exciting challenges that I can’t wait to work on.”
In his spare time, you can find Ernesto hiking, whether that’s to a new mountain or a hidden waterfall, or relaxing and reading a good book.
Silvia is originally from San José, but her work as an architect took her all around Costa Rica before her arrival in Guanacaste as a part of the Senderos construction team. Early on in her career, Silvia discovered that she loved working out in the field, which has led her to take a more hands-on approach than more design-focused architects.
In her journeys around Costa Rica, Silvia awoke a love of traveling, exploring, and enjoying new places, cultures, and food, but also makes time to spend with family, particularly cooking together.
“I am very excited to be in Guanacaste, I have very close friends and family here that I am happy to be closer to. Working for Senderos is a new adventure I am super excited about. The people I have already met here at the office are amazing, and I feel very fortunate to be working with them.”
Sebastian Vega | Resident Engineer
Sebastian hails from a small town an hour from San José named Palmares, and has a decade of experience as a project manager and engineer for residential and infrastructures as close by as Sugar Beach and Las Catalinas, and as far abroad as Louisiana in the US.
In his spare time, you can find Sebastian exactly like he is above, kitted out training on his mountain bike, or hiking in search of beautiful new spots.
“For me as an engineer, it’s super exciting to be a part of a project like Senderos. This is an important project in an important region with some beautiful homes. It also helps that I love the beach and that this is the best place to be in this country!”
David Graterol | Electromechanical Engineer
David hails from Caracas, Venezuela, and moved to Costa Rica a little over a year ago to continue his career as a mechanical and electromechanical engineer. Prior to his more construction-focused work in Costa Rica, David has almost 14 years of experience in maintenance management and projects within both the liquor production and oil industries.
In his free, you can find David with his family, which includes his wife, children, and older brother’s family. Together, both families are Tamarindo and Avellanas regulars, where they’re passionate about surfing (especially the kids)!
“This last year since my arrival in Costa Rica has been an experience of growth and I am excited to take the next step at Senderos. It’s an amazing opportunity to be part of the team and continue developing my professional career, all while contributing my experience to a very interesting project.”
Gabriel Ortiz | IT Engineer
Gabriel hails originally from Moravia in the Central Valley but has lived in Guanacaste for 21 years, where he spent two decades in IT and worked as an IT manager for half of them, covering industries ranging from governmental work with providers like Microsoft and Cisco to maintaining casino computer systems.
In his spare time, you can find Gabriel with his family or out motorcycling in search of good food and excellent live music. Gabriel is a big prog rock fan, can’t wait for his two kids to be able to join him on his rides and share his music, and is also looking forward to being an integral part of the Senderos team.
“I like to create, solve and grow; that was the first thing that caught my attention the first time I visited the company, joining experience, knowledge, and energy to solve, organize and create a stable and versatile system of organized work, using technological tools. My contribution is essential in any division of the company, I love what I do!”