In 1998, Patrick and his mother purchased 24 acres of mountain property with a distant view of the ocean on the Southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica. The property has essentially 12 flat, build-able acres at the top of the mountain, and then it plunges over the edge descending almost vertically to the river below.
About twenty years ago, the flat area was cultivated for coffee, but the steep mountainside was never disturbed for farming and remains thick primary forest. Of course, a lot can grow in twenty years, and even the former coffee fields have become secondary forest now, with a full canopy creating ample shade. The property is home to a wide range of wildlife, from snakes and lizards, to monkeys, agoutis, and shockingly-blue Morpho butterflies.
Plans for the property include creating nine small housing lots for sale on part of the build-able area, and creating a “mountain retreat and spa”, complete with restaurant, pool, nature trails and lookout platforms on the other. We hope to become a day-escape for locals (ex-pats and well-to-do Ticos) and vacationers who want to relax in a beautiful, serene, environment.
Having lived here for a year before (and in Pat’s case, two years), we know exactly what needs to be done in order to get things moving as quickly as possible. The first item on the agenda is cleaning out the underbrush and making things ready for the trucks to come in and dig the road and level the construction areas. Pat has hired five guys to help him chop and groom, and after two weeks of work from 6:00 am to 1:00 pm (when the rain usually starts), the task is almost complete.
Three days a week, Luc and I have been tagging along – mostly to get Luc accustomed to the jungle (and to keep me from going crazy in the house all day!). It’s been a real treat for me to be able to explore with him for hours at a time, and we’ve found a wide array of crazy-looking bugs. In just two weeks, Luc has morphed from a tentative, mud-hating, city boy into a grubby little Tarzan who can recognize toucans by their calls alone. In the same amount of time, I’ve changed from working, weekend-only mom to a full-time teacher, protector and friend. The transformation hasn’t been entirely easy, but I don’t think Pat and I will regret the decision to be the ones to introduce our kid to the wonderful world outdoors.