An Eco-Minded Beach Community Turns a Pristine Swath of Costa Rica Into a Paradise Peninsula
MASTER-PLANNED COMMUNITIES aren’t new-news for Houstonians (hello, The Woodlands). And neither is Costa Rica, for that matter, as a direct flight to the Central American paradise known for surfing and ceviche is less than three hours. But Costa Elena, an eco-friendly, sustainably designed community located in the less-trafficked northwest corner of the country, combines all of the above — and does so perfectly.
The secluded, 3,000-acre property where Costa Elena is situated is bordered by a UNESCO World Heritage site; the development’s backyard is an impressive 400,000 acres of untouched land known as the Guanacaste Conservation Area. Located just 45 miles north of Liberia, Costa Elena includes eight beaches, coastal plains and mountain tops alike, and dozens of sustainably built ocean-view villas.
The Costa Elena Ocean Club includes an incredible infinity pool and a full bar with private cabana-style lounges; future plans call for two more Beach Clubs, restaurants, shops, apartments and more. A boardwalk from the Ocean Club through the mangroves offers more than a pleasant nature walk: Since it was introduced in 2005, the 40-year master plan for Costa Elena has included conservation efforts for endangered species like jaguars and the yellow-necked parrot (both of which are now thriving in the region — keep your eyes peeled!). Pellas Development Group has also stressed the importance of recycling, utilizing solar power and stabilizing infrastructure, as well as hiring local and supporting local artisans.
As for the villas, which are available for purchase (homesites from $350,000; turn-key finished homes from $2.95 million) or rent through Inspirato, they go beyond picture-perfect. Seemingly carved into the mountainside, the homes adhere to a contemporary-minimalist, nature-inspired aesthetic: The floors are a lightly polished concrete that doesn’t feel industrial or cold, but rather comfortably modern, warmed by the hand-carved furniture of teak and fast-growing local wood. The ceiling looks like woven wheat, and sliding glass doors open all the way to make it seem like the floor plan seamlessly includes a fabulous private infinity pool. Inside, there are board games, Apple TVs, a fully stocked kitchen and laundry, indoor-outdoor showers, yoga mats — and an ocean view that will tempt the laziest of beach bums to do sun salutations on the daily. (Especially while a dedicated housekeeper-chef whips up a gourmet breakfast in your kitchen each morning.)
While there are plenty of nature’s sights and sounds to soak up from the villa, there’s more to see and do nearby: Inspirato can book guests private boat rides, kite-surfing excursions, volcano tours, zip-lining and plenty of other Costa Rica-beloved activities.
Back on-property, Costa Elena’s winding roads lead to several hidden beaches — best to ask a Costa Elena staffer for assistance in finding the best plot of sand for posting up that day. At any given moment, it appears that you’re surrounded on three sides by water. It seems impossible, but on this little sliver a paradise, a peninsula just feet away from Nicaragua, anything is possible.
The development’s Ocean Club boasts an infinity pool just feet from a sandy beach.
Costa Elena contributes to conservation efforts of Costa Rica’s abundantly colorful wildlife.