Whether you locate in a city or in the country is a decision you should make after very careful consideration. The trade-off between city and country living is very great. If you're married, it's a decision both you and your spouse have to make.
It's still possible to buy small farms within the Central Intermountain Valley, but of course, not at the price you could five or ten years ago. The great influx of immigrants seeking to lead a new, varied, peaceful and exciting life in Costa Rica, and to locate on a small plot of land, has caused real estate prices to rise sharply all over the country.
Here's an example: Thirty years ago near the town of Desamparados, now considered a southern part of metropolitan San José, I was able to buy a lot for $975 with $375 down and two monthly payments of $300 each. Rather than use it for agricultural purposes, I built on it 10 small two bedroom houses. They were built in pairs with each two houses sharing a septic tank. My original idea had been to build the houses to rent at a very low rate to the principal employees of my book printing plant. I figured that it would be a good deal for them as well as an added incentive. However, all refused. They felt they did not want to be each other's next-door neighbours as they considered that seeing each other during working hours was enough. So I sold the entire property and was able to receive a nice profit for it.
Just as I bought that lot at a bargain, you too can still get some medium-size lots and undeveloped land at a reasonable price if you look hard enough. But, as I mentioned above, it's becoming more difficult every day as more foreigners seek Costa Rica as a new place in which to live. And I don't blame them for doing so.
The beaches of Costa Rica have been attracting the attention of Americans, Canadians and Europeans who have been buying beachfront properties at a rapid rate with no slowing down in sight. Condominiums have been snapped up by investors even before their construction has been finished.
Especially attractive are the northern Guanacaste beaches, but the ones in the rest of the Pacific, the ones in the south and central areas, should not be discarded as demand there is also high. On the Caribbean side, the area near Puerto Viejo has also attracted many foreign investors who are seeing their properties appreciate in value quite fast. Fine, if you're a beach lover and want to live there, but don't rush into buying. Before making the move, you should consider such things as the availability of amenities, schools for the children and top medical care. Some who buy do not occupy the property all the time, only a few months of the year. Take all that into consideration.