How COVID Has Affected Costa Rican Daily Life

COVID-19 is a humanitarian challenge that will have lasting effects on how people live, work, and play for many years to come.

People could no longer meet, work, eat, shop, and socialize as they used to. The working world moved rapidly from business as usual to cautious travel, office closures, and work-from-home mandates. Instead of traveling and going out to eat at restaurants, we tightened the strings to spend only on essentials—primarily food, medicine, and home supplies—and getting these delivered much more often even in Costa Rica became easier as local companies adjusted.

Physical distancing has directly changed the way people inhabit and interact with physical space. This has created an unprecedented crisis for the real estate industry world wide and locally for us along the Ballena Coast line, with curfew restrictions and driving restrictions. 

Community Has Been a Source of Strength

Most local business owners have been smart to begin with decisions that protect the safety and health of all employees and other end users of space. The smartest will now also think about how the landscape may be permanently changed in the future, and will alter their strategy.

As expected our great country of Costa Rica responded quickly and the authorities have been very proactive in helping to prevent COVID from spreading within the country. Social distancing and new sanitary practices are the biggest measures taking place countrywide. Acting fast and responding with good measures in all local communities nationwide allowed us to move around more freely. 

Parque Nacional Marina Ballena, view from South end of Playa Uvita - Photo by Nikki Whelan
Parque Nacional Marina Ballena, view from South end of Playa Uvita – Photo by Nikki Whelan

How COVID Has Affected Real Estate in Costa Rica

The COVID-19 experience also permanently changed demand for real estate assets, such as hospitality properties and short-term rentals. Demand increased in all sectors locally as the demand for cross-border business travel, and consumers who are afraid of traveling overseas shifted their leisure travel to local destinations.

The depth and breadth of economic impact on Costa Rica  is uncertain, just as the scale of human catastrophe from the pandemic is yet to be seen. However, behavioral changes that will lead to significant space becoming obsolete in a post-coronavirus environment seem imminent. Given the potential for transformative changes, businesses will be well served to take immediate action to improve their businesses but also keep one eye on a future that could be meaningfully different and add growth in many sectors. 

Earning the respect, trust, and loyalty of locals and international customers has become key and I am proud to say that Costa Rica has responded by allowing us to live more freely without restrictions that keep us locked up at home. Proud to say that we are standing strong, keeping our borders open, inviting in international visitors, and keeping safe as we all work together during these difficult times. 

Written by Daveed Hollander

After arriving in Costa Rica in 1996, Daveed began his real estate career by co-founding Dominical Realty. In 2001, the company obtained independent franchise, and by 2004, they partnered with another Coldwell Banker franchise in Costa Rica to become the President of the Master Franchise for the entire country of Costa Rica. Daveed and his wife Vanessa have two children, Ethan and Zoe, and enjoy they their family time at the beach, surfing has become a family passion!

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