by: Federico Fernández, Real Estate Consultant
As I follow up on the urban growth of the city of San José and surrounding areas in our central valley and study about the urban phenomena going on there, I can’t avoid comparing it to what I experience day-to-day in the community I live in. For twenty-three years, I lived in that city. Now it has been nine years since I moved to the lovely province of Guanacaste and I have built my home and I am raising my children here. I feel more and more untied to the hectic ways of the city.
When I go back to the city in search of certain goods and services, modern entertainment and to visit family, right away I identify how the skyline is evolving rapidly there. You can see several cranes and tall structures emerging, big malls being developed, new neighborhoods becoming popular, other traditional neighborhoods becoming commercial, convenience commercial center concepts appearing in former vacant lots, etc. The typical Costarrican urban resident can’t live without his car. Hence, for new development, huge parking lots or basements and parking buildings are a must. Along with this, a traffic problem inevitably arose.
I am glad these things are happening in our nation’s capital city. It evidences progress. I can stand all of that for a weekend, but visualizing my family and I going through it on a daily basis, makes me want to drive the four hours it takes to get back home right away.
I once promised myself I would never stop cherishing the beauty of the simpler kind of life I chose. And I do. The worst traffic we can face is a line of no more than a dozen cars and that is something extraordinary: if a tree fell in the road, if a couple of delivery trucks parked where they should not, etc. The presence of thousands of tourists that regularly are not around except in super high seasons like Easter and New Year’s Eve alters this balance we residents are used to. But it is good to see a crowd around from time-to-time, as well.
I enjoy that the longest time I am in the car can be 30 minutes and that represents going through a long distance in a beautiful area anyway. I have been able to pull over to show my kids closely turtles, snakes and other sorts of wildlife crossing the road. I have also had to wait for cattle in the middle of the street, even in Tamarindo, to decide what they were going to do before I could drive through them. This is something unimaginable if I had stayed in the city. I know that a lot of “urban ticos” and citizens from all over the world who either made the same decision as me or are just visiting us can see what I am talking about.