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The Evolution of Costa Rican Architecture and its Influence in Modern Guanacaste

by: Federico Fernández,
Real Estate Consultant

ABC Real Estate Costa Rica

The Costa Rican architectural background in fact goes a long way back. Recently, sites where the mysterious pre-Columbian stone spheres were found in southern territories of our country were declared World Heritage by UNESCO. These belong to settlements established in our territory as far back as 200 B.C., and up to the 16th century, when the first Europeans explored what later became our great nation. You can learn about these interesting spheres at

The human settlements Spanish conquerors found back then consisted of villages with round cottages with stone foundations and thatch roofs that inspire the palapas we now find in several luxury homes and resorts in the province of Guanacaste.

Perhaps the type of architecture that marked our landscape the most was the one brought by our Spanish conquerors. Constructions from the colonial period between 1560 and the mid-19th century are still standing. A lot of them are religious buildings (Catholic churches), simple houses in the original grid of major cities, or hacienda houses.

As our nation became prosperous with the exports of our main product for decades (coffee) and there was an interaction with the old world, European

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 styles were used in buildings that date to the late 19th century and mid-20th century that still stand. Mainly in the central valley you can find gothic-style churches, neoclassical public buildings and private residences, a lot of Victorian-style homes that belonged to the powerful aristocracy, and even more recent tendencies like Art Nouveau and Art Deco.

But modern architects have adopted a neocolonial style that seems to belong better to the province of Guanacaste and its landscape with plains, beautiful trees, cattle raising activities, etc. Colonial Ranch Inn is a perfect example of this style.

The common defined architectural designs just mentioned could be said to prevail in our area, but they are not the only styles available. Costa Rican architects are very talented. With the presence of residents and home owners from all around the world, the current tendencies towards energy efficient and environmental friendly designs and the use of modern technology, new homes in all sorts of forms have been and are being built in Guanacaste.

ABC Real Estate Costa RicaWe at ABC Real Estate have served clients that fell in love with a particular existing residence. Others have found in existent construction the base to remodel and produce their desired home. Or, we have had the case where clients found THE HOME SITE and have placed in hands of a local architect and builder the responsibility to materialize this dream. Check out the properties we have to offer. You might find that idyllic place!

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