Curtis Duggan: Guess what? This next episode is a crossover episode. The conversation you're about to hear on the Remotely Serious podcast feed is between me and Richard Bexon. Richard Bexon is the host of the number one. Real Estate and Investment podcast in Costa Rica. He's someone with a lot of experience guiding people in coming to Costa Rica, investing in Costa Rica and buying real estate in Costa Rica.
All things which are also of interest to. Digital nomads and remote workers with an interest in Central America, hence the the crossover appeal. And so I'm excited for you to hear me and Rich speak and yeah, let's jump right in.
Hey everybody, welcome back to Remotely Serious. I'm here with Richard Beckon. I assume I'm talking to you, with you in, I'm in Canada and you're in Costa Rica. I gotta say we don't know each other. You've been gracious enough to jump on a pod with me, and I have to say, it's one of those unequal relationships in the sense that I've probably listened to.
Going on 60 or 70 of your episodes of your Costa Rica Real Estate and Investment Podcast. So it's been just a solid rotation over the last, I would say, nine months. I've been to Costa Rica a few times and I'm on this podcast I'm interested in, and we're interested in remote work and digital nomads and Costa Rica.
With, its, even before it had a digital nomad visa was a hotspot for all kinds of travelers going back decades and more recently, it's known as somewhere that remote workers and digital nomads can head to. I'm just curious, When you have a long history with your firm in Costa Rica, do you remember when the first time you started to become aware of remote work and or digital nomads as a class of people that was making its way to your neck of the woods?
You know what?
Richard Bexon: I think I remember connecting our phone system. We had an ergen voiceover IP system in 2006, and I'm going back here. Voiceover IP systems now are, telephone systems are, really easy to get. They're in the cloud. Back then it wasn't, it was a server that was connected to a server in the states.
We were able to have people working remotely in Costa Rica for us. It was just, remember the day that I worked out how to connect. It completely changed our travel company back then. But I would say it's really, I'd probably say, 2016, 2017, basically, when Selena Hostels came into Costa Rica, oh, I see.
So we were in Panama actually at the time when the guys that started Selena Hostels were actually just starting there as well. My business partner Casey, was opening a hotel, which I invested in Pet Sea. The original Selena hostels guys actually were down there and then they opened one of their first ones here in Costa Rica.
'cause they sold it to, they bought it from a friend of mine, Fannie who owned. God, what was the name of the property? I can't even remember now. 'cause it was one of my first stays in Costa Rica in Mammal Antonio. And that's when I really was like, okay, what is this? And I was like, wait, it's a hostel where people work.
Like I didn't quite get it 'cause it was pretty new.
Curtis Duggan: And then I started Aren't hostels for partying, aren't they? For teenage, teenagers that are partying. What? What's this coworking space? Yeah.
Richard Bexon: It's basically what happened was, Selina Hostels was smart. They got onto a trend beforehand, which was that like people didn't wanna wait till they were 65 to travel.
They wanted to also they didn't want to take a gap year and not have any income, they wanted to work, they wanted to travel, they wanted to have fun, and it put all this stuff into a cocktail cocktail mixer and then shook it up. And then Selena Hostels was the first one that I was really aware of.
I'm sure there were other ones out there that really, I would say here in Costa Rica, started to do it on a, any a, I would say, mass
Curtis Duggan: level. Yeah I've stayed in Selina hostels, I believe in Noss and in Monteverde. I and I think that's, The only, I don't think I've stayed in Selena, other parts of the world, even though I've been to other parts of the world, so I associate Selena a lot with Costa Rica and I know that it did start in, in Panama, like you mentioned.
So maybe that's a good segue into the fact that, to, to introduce your firm, you are a content creator and a podcaster. But that. That content creation supports a larger firm that has interests in real estate and financial investments in Costa Rica. Do you want to introduce that a little bit before we move
Richard Bexon: on?
I come from really a hospitality background. I used to own, I sold last year I used to own Costa Rica's largest luxury travel company, or central America's largest luxury travel company, which is the Namu Travel Group. We managed about. 25,000 people a year here in Costa Rica. Very luxurious.
It's how I got my start because really here, real estate and investments follows hospitality, and I say hospitality, travel and tourism. So I was in that world helping hoteliers and others basically make investments in Costa Rica. But really I was the chief operating officer.
We were managing 150 people, $75 million a year in, in sales to just Costa Rica. 150. Yeah, 150 people. It was like juggling chainsaws. And again, transition from that into kind of full in investments and development and real estate. So what I do is, Costa Rica could be complicated, but really as I'm bringing the world of real estate investments and hospitality together.
Why? Because hospitality dictates where real estate goes. Real estate dictates where investment goes, and kind of investment sometimes dictates where hospitality goes. So it's a bit of a triangle there. So I'm constantly looking at that data, analyzing tourism data, analyzing real estate data, analyzing vacation rental data.
I. Looking at values based on return and just really trying to find the diamonds. And then I run a, an investment fund as well as people will hire us to help them invest. And yeah, so we have properties all over Costa Rica. I worked on hotels, individual condos, bits of land, developing larger resorts.
It's a wide mi rate of things that we've
Curtis Duggan: worked on here. In terms of the investors or the clients of your projects, investors in your projects or the clients of your services, what's the breakdown roughly between, let's say, Canadians, Americans, Europeans, Asians, and Latin Americans?
Where do your investors come from?
Richard Bexon: Mainly I would say North America and Europe. If I would have to say, I'd probably say 60% the us, 30% Canadian, and then 10% from Europe. I don't really get huge amounts outside of that. Every so often I get an Australian here or there. But really I'm gonna say, and Europe, I'm talking more like Switzerland than it's usually old money that I get from from Europe.
I would say mainly North Americans, and some of the time it's investors. A lot of the Canadians that I'm dealing with are like relocating, and a lot of young families are looking to relocate as well. So I've seen that quite a bit for various reasons. And then with that, of course comes investment as well.
'cause they're like, okay, I wanna move there, but I also want to have some form of investment. So a lot of the time they're buying. Either a home with some vacation rentals on, that they could make a good return on, they could live off that, making three to $5,000 a month on that.
Or they wanna buy out two bits of land, one for their home, and then one to actually develop an actual an actual business
Curtis Duggan: on. I found I'm not an expert in this and you're certainly much more of an expert than me, but I know just through being a person in business for several decades and years that when you're, let's say in the United States or Canada and you want to get into investing in real estate, there's often all kinds of local, domestic tricks.
Tax benefits, ways to amortize real estate over several years. And I think you've already alluded to this as well or alluded to the fact that, the people coming down to Costa Rica have a blend of interests. It might be financial, but also moving a family and having a vacation home. Do you find that type of We want a vacation home for six weeks and we want income for another 10 or 11 months.
Is the classic split or is there a split between pure vacation, home, pure investment in terms of what people are looking for? Man,
Richard Bexon: all over the map. Yeah, I mean we deal with so much stuff. I love dealing with the people that are looking for kind of a vacation rental property here.
That kind of blends lifestyle and investment. 'cause it's fun, when it's investment, it's ones and zeros, it's. I would say not as fun as dealing with someone where you're like, you have to get to know their goals, who they are, what people they want to be around, what's important to them, the life that they're living, but also what the life that they want to leave at, to live at some point.
What stuff do you would you like to be doing and making sure that The now and the future can be encompassed in a certain area and that they're round their tribe. And then from there is just making sure that they have a clear plan for, making returns annually.
And we provide 'em a financial model with comparables of what that could look like. Put 'em in touch with property management companies that suits really the goals that they have. If they're looking to just aggressively rent, there are better companies then hey, I just want to. I just, I want to cover my bills.
When sometimes it's I don't really care. I just I don't, I just want someone to property manage it. And, but I don't want to rent it really. I just wanna come back. So it's just, it's all over the map of the stuff that we deal with. But usually I would say that there is some form of investment element there.
Because if there's not, like you could just buy anywhere, we're just really guides. Sometimes it feels like we're financial and life coaches rolled into one. Because. We'll say to people sometimes of look, I don't think you should do this, and this is why. And the reason that we can do that, Curtis, is because people hire us.
We're not like realtors. We don't chase commissions. People actually hire us as consultants. It's. I think it's like financial advisors or accountants or lawyers that, like whenever you want to do something complicated, you're only as good as the team that you've got around you.
And Costa Rica certainly is that, because again, it's an unregulated market. It's caveat mTOR, BioWare, and you just need to know what you're doing in Latin America and especially in Costa Rica.
Curtis Duggan: What does that mean? Unregulated. So what kinds of things might you expect in Canada or the United States that you just need to let go of or.
Realize are not regulated in Costa Rica.
Richard Bexon: Look, if a realtor knows that something's wrong with a property or there is a body buried somewhere, or something's not right here, they don't really have a duty to say that to you and I think in Canada and the us they do, I think the good ones here will, of course they'll give you the black and white of it, but.
It's an unregulated market. Anyone can become a realtor. You could come down tomorrow Curtis and say, I'm a realtor. Okay, really? You should Beshe registered, which is our s e c. But again, a lot of people don't do that. It's not necessity. You just need to be really careful of dealing with reputable people with references, just because again, if you buy and something goes wrong, Realtors is gonna go, dude, you should have done your due diligence.
And that's where it all the time, clients come to us when they're either before that stage or they know that when they hire us with the due diligence of look, we go really deep in due diligence. Septic tank, and, analysis is water analysis, soil studies, topography studies of making sure that zoning is right, of just making sure that everything is, And then if it's a working business, Curtis as well, and it's a vacation rental, et cetera, it's just checking the numbers to make sure they make sense.
A lawyer can do the legal part, but there's nobody taking care of kind of more the function of the house, man. It's just, they say that Costa Rica's a sunny place for shady people. That's always it's, and I'd say that everywhere is just here. There's no going back, there's no suing anyone.
So you just better make sure that you have a really good team to go into it. Like it's a great country. It really is. You just need to, you need to trust, but verify everything.
Curtis Duggan: Got it. Yeah. And maybe on the appeal of Costa Rica and just giving a bit more context before we get into some of the effects of remote workers there.
So it's a central American country. If you think about the thin, narrow peninsula that has both a Pacific and a Caribbean side, and they're pretty close together, that strip of. That area of land that connects North and South America in Central America, it's the second to last one. Costa Rica, then Panama, and then it's the Darien gap.
And you can't really get to Columbia because there's a jungle that's impossible. So
Richard Bexon: can you can go through it just Oh, you can, you don't. You could,
Curtis Duggan: yeah, you could go through it, but you probably wouldn't want to. Yep. In terms of the geography and I'm gonna, I'm gonna give a very simplistic or a broad overview.
There's essentially a Central Valley area that you can fly into in the capital city, San Jose, and then there are it's not that far, I would say less than five or six hours to get to a Caribbean side. The a nacoya Peninsula on in the west, in Guanacaste, in the northwest, and then a Southern.
More, more rural peninsula in the southern area, the southern peninsula in places like O OSA Peninsula and Drake Bay. And then, I haven't covered everything, but there's five or six or seven regions. Are you focused on any particular region with your firm or are you national Everywhere.
Agnostic to exactly where.
Richard Bexon: We are everywhere. And the reason being Curtis is it gives us perspective, and that's why I actually live in the Central Valley, because I can fly anywhere. Like tomorrow I take a 30 minute flight and I'm in the Northern Pacific area. Next week in Monday, I'm in lafa Tuna, it's a three hour drive.
Then the following week, I'm down in Manuel Antonio. It's a 15 minute flight for me, so driver drives down there, I fly. And even the oss like that's the great thing. Domestic airline here, it's okay. 18 seat ces, Cessna planes, but I pay like a hundred bucks and can go anywhere in the country, where a drive might take four, five hours. I can be there in 30 minutes or 40 minutes, in a flight. But we go everywhere, basically, all over. We've got stuff in the Caribbean, we've got stuff in Ael, Monteverde, we've got stuff in the OA Vita, we've got stuff in Ada, Samara, all the way up in Guanacaste.
Tamarindo player, za. We have a huge perspective of the whole country because it allows us to give that perspective to clients.
Curtis Duggan: Got it. And for clients they may be, I'm sure many of your clients have visited many times and are familiar with Costa Rica and its regions and what it's like.
But for those that know it, as an idea or as a stereotype, maybe they're familiar with Florida and Mexico and play Ade Carmen and Port Ata. They think about real estate in Costa Rica. We can imagine what the Mexican real estate on the Cancun, on the Cantana Roo side or the Cancun Coast is lots of all-inclusive resorts, some gated communities.
I know, and I've seen that Costa Rica is certainly not like Mexico there. It's quite different. But for someone who's just getting acquainted with Costa Rica, maybe listening to this podcast or one of your podcasts for the first time what are the ways that introduce people to think about?
How Costa Rica might be different. It's not just another hot place, it's lit. It's a different country and it's quite different. What stereotypes do you see people bring with them and do you ever have to educate people like, this is what you should expect In Costa Rica? It's a little bit different than I.
Play Del Carmen condo or your Florida condo? Sure.
Richard Bexon: Look, I think just to get the summary of Costa Rica from a terrain point of view of as you mentioned there, it's like a rectangle that's sitting horizontally, with the Caribbean on one side and the Pacific on the other, and through the middle is basically a mountain range.
And we have volcanoes there with 30 different micro climates. If you want to be cold, I was up at the peak of Chio the other day. It was six degrees Celsius. I could see the Caribbean and the Pacific on both sides, watching the sunrise exceptional. So if you want cold, we can get down to 32 degrees Fahrenheit, zero degrees Celsius here altitude.
But if you want hot and humid or you want hot and dried, like we have all these microclimates. Here, but the further south you get, the more ly the country gets. This country has 6% of the world's biodiversity. About 40% of the country is national parks and reserves. Okay. So there's a huge focus on here, on, sustainability ecotourism.
And the people here, it constantly become, is voted one of the happiest countries in the world. 99% of our electricity is basically renewable here. The cost of living is probably about the same as North America or Canada. But again, I say that we pay for the freedom that we have.
I say that we pay for the weather that we have, and, all of our food comes from here in Costa Rica, we don't really import much apart from gas petrol. The reason being is 'cause Costa Rica will not allow drilling because of, its focus on sustainability wildlife preservation and its biodiversity.
So that just gives you an idea. Costa Rica has never like really suffered. And I'll say that, and I'll probably get beaten up for that, but had a civil war, 46 to 48, 2000 people died. And that's it. I'm simp it's really, I'm simplifying stuff here, but like the country has been peaceful, it's one of the top democracies in the world.
People are like, wow It just seems so, like there's not these two parties. I'm like, there are 25 presidential candidates in the last election for the one guy. Wow. So usually the best guy usually wins. The problem is they never have a majority, so nothing really ever gets done, which is the beauty of the country.
It's just slowed steady, it's organic. Like this country made a variety of decisions over the years and this wasn't planned out. If anyone says it was planned out, they're lying to you, man, because like people here are just relaxed, like it's chilled. There is no long-term plan. The long-term plan is protect the environment.
Yeah. And don't people build huge towers on the beach here and if they're gonna build all inclusives, that's the area. The Northern Pacific area is where it's, but it's so difficult and expensive to do now that unless you are a Ritz Carlton or six Senses financially, it doesn't make sense to bring in, a mid-level bar ental, like level hotel.
They're there because they were built years back, but This country is just it's expensive now, which I'm sure that you've seen Curtis, it
Curtis Duggan: is quite striking to walk through the thickets on the way through the trail to the beach at Noss. Look north, look south along a beautiful beach and not even see.
A single tower for miles and miles, kilometers and kilometers, anywhere, which you wouldn't get on most parts of the Mexican coasts, which are the closest analog that I've been to. I've noticed that you tend to ask a question. I'm actually curious about this. You ask your guests quite often regularly.
Almost at the end of the end, the episode. And I definitely encourage people to listen to these episodes 'cause I'm addicted to them and I think they're very informative. But you ask your guests who are often experts in law, real estate, civil engineering, sales, they're all kinds of experts from all around Costa Rica.
And you ask them if you had 500 k. 500 grand to invest anywhere in Costa Rica, what would you do? And then they give you an answer, and the answer is vary quite a bit. After asking that question, what I imagine what could be now hundreds of times, do you see any trends? Is there, are there themes that emerge from getting that data again and again from the people that know best?
Richard Bexon: I think that the one that I get most is I'm gonna buy a piece of land that's just set back a little bit from the beach that's somewhat affordable, 50 to a hundred thousand, and then put units on it to rent either short term or long term, yeah. We don't really have tiny ho housing here in Costa Rica.
I would do a lot probably with tiny homes on it, around a large social area in a pool, because the short term, we don't spend much time inside here, when we, yeah. We've got 19 home builds on at the moment that we've helped the client go from finding land to building and win the design process.
And I'm like, you don't need a house that big, like your social area doesn't like your inside and outside needs to blend and flow because we spend most of our time outside. And make sure it's covered because the sun here is strong, but also as we get heavy rains in the afternoon sometimes, which I love 'cause it brings the temperature down, but there's definitely a trend.
Coastal areas for sure. Just 'cause the numbers don't usually work here in the city. Here in the city, you get, anywhere from four to 6% returns, at the beach long-term, maybe eight to 12 and short-term, you could do 15 to 20% returns depending on what it is. But there is a tendency to move towards, I would say, short-term vacation rentals multiple units on an in individual lot.
Curtis Duggan: that's very specific and I think it for the North American or probably many European listeners, The starting point, the entry point to get into a project and start doing something that will have an R o I or very likely will have an r o I guess. No, no guarantees, but should have an r o i is quite low relative to, I'm in Western Canada right now.
A lot of people listening are in Canada, the United States and Europe, and you wanna buy a house, you wanna, I'm looking out here, I can see outside my window. This is an audio, be an audio podcast so no one can see what I'm pointing at, but, A regular house here is 1.4 million Canadian dollars for a house that was built 50 years ago.
So it, it is quite striking that a little piece of paradise. Is the ent the entry point to get started, whether it's land or something else? A condo or a detached house is I don't wanna say shockingly cheap because I think it, it makes sense. It's not necessarily it's not New York, so that makes sense.
But it still seems like there's there's a lot of opportunity that I think most people would be probably shocked to see what it, what they could do. Yeah. Get started on, you
Richard Bexon: can get a one bedroom like kind of somewhat nice place here, condo, there's stuff at $120,000, that's already done.
But if you wanna buy a piece of land for 30, 40,000 and you don't care that it has like a ocean view, once you start getting to ocean views, you get premium. But if you have it set back like five, 10 minutes away and You could get some, you could get a very nice prefab unit, one bedroom, prefab unit for $50,000, and it comes with everything inside it.
On your land, all in, you could probably be in for about a hundred, $110,000, as a. Yeah.
Curtis Duggan: Getting to digital nomads and remote workers I guess another question that you asked maybe not as much as the 500 k, how has the market been going? We see in other parts of the world that there, there is a recession I don't want, I'm not the economist at, in the newspapers or whatever, but there is a recession in jobs.
There was a boom time for the kind of tech workers that can become digital nomads and remote workers. The kind of knowledge workers. Coming into the pandemic and then with the acceleration of remote work from the pandemic and the acceleration of a lot of different companies hiring mega hiring, whether it's the big tech companies in the United States or other companies that was going on.
And then some time in 2022, there were more layoffs around. And I'm speaking about a very specific niche. I know this isn't the whole market. There's retired people coming to Costa Rica. There's other, there's students coming to Costa Rica, so I don't wanna make. It sound like, I think that this niche is the whole world, but I am curious if you have seen waves come and go around, whether it's are the SA Salinas are packed and then they seem a little bit half full, or how has the migration of this.
Class of workers, remote workers or digital nomads, if you will. What's the vibe around how many of them there are? Whether it's increasing, flattening out and how are they affecting real estate and just society and the economics of places in Costa Rica? Are they a force or are they just, I also, I guess maybe one more question is do they even matter compared to the tourists?
No. We think that they're this trend, they might be still a very fractional percentage of. What's affecting and moving the needle?
Richard Bexon: Look I don't know, I don't have the stats to answer that question really, Curtis, but Yeah. And I think from moving the needle, I know a lot of hoteliers, a lot of developers here in Costa Rica.
I think we're seeing a return to normality of what it was. The tide has risen, but it's now returning to a pre covid seasonality, should I say? The numbers are higher. Again, the tide has risen. There are definitely more digital nomads here, Curtis than there were prior to Covid, of course. I think it's a trend that's here to stay just because I look at my own business, it.
Like none of us, maybe we come together once a week, once every couple of weeks. This Friday we're going up to the mountains. But like people wanna work from home, man. And I think any smart company is gonna allow people to do that and they are allowing to do it in that, like any young person looking for a job at the moment is probably look, I wanna work from home, or I want to be able to, I want to be able to be, become a digital nomad.
It's a huge benefit to, especially young people. I don't think there's a trend that's stopping here in Costa Rica. Again, Selena hostel seems to be doing well maybe their share price not doing as good as they'd like it to do, they seem to be doing well.
Hoteliers may was a little softer. I think June will be a little softer than previous years, but still it's really difficult. Compare it to 21 and 22. Like you have to compare 2023 to 2019 is what you have to do. Because 2019 was the standard, it was the benchmark. 21, 22 was everyone was drunken on drugs, dude.
It was just crazy. Money was floating around. The US printed 23% of all money in circulation. It nuts, yeah. As you can, as you mentioned there with tech jobs, they're just throwing money around, now reality has hit is has set in and everyone looks down and they've got a big belly and they're like, wow, I got a better, in suck in the belt and basically get fit.
And I think that's what's happening at the moment. So I think we're definitely seeing probably a bit of a decline, Curtis on like digital nomads. I don't have data to back that up. But tour tourism numbers, January, February, March, April were records for this country. May looks like it'll probably be a record as well.
But I don't, I think definitely the luxury end of the market is doing very well. What I see Curtis is. More executive style digital nomads than young digital nomads. A lot of people coming here moving with families, but a lot of the people that moved here with families are still here.
Like they're staying here the long term. So I don't know whether you consider that a digital nomad, because like they came as digital nomads and now they're staying.
Curtis Duggan: They may simply be expats, remote workers and the stereotype of digital nomad doesn't apply to them anymore. One thing Curtis, sorry to Yeah,
Richard Bexon: yeah, no, go for it.
People have said is I can't believe how good the fiber optic internet is in Costa Rica. I was on the call the other day with a guy in California and he was having internet problems, and he was like, I was like, is it me or is it you? And he was like, no, it's me. This is really weird. And I'm like, yeah, we don't really have, internet problems, yeah. It's great. I have 300 meg up and 300 meg down, and I pay 65 bucks a month
Curtis Duggan: for it. Yeah. That's just competitive or better than up north. W would you say that setting aside, what, how many are digital nomads versus remote workers versus executives? In general, is the work from home concept affecting how houses are built, how hotels are building out?
Yes. Their services and ancillary facilities? What or, and what are they doing differently, it sounds like? Yes. So what are they doing? Yeah, the only.
Richard Bexon: The answer is yes across the board. When we build homes now when we design homes, there's usually an office in it. There's usually an enclosed office space in it.
If we're unable to do that, we'll put desks in the rooms, and that desk could just be a nice piece of teak wood, with a seat on it. With a, with a plug. With hotels, again, we're doing both in room and also building meeting space, I would say meeting spaces as in there is a community area and then there is an area to go and have, private meetings like a phone booth. So a hundred percent yes. And I don't think that's anything that's gonna change because I'm going to Europe for three weeks, I'm still gonna work, a little bit here and there.
Unfortunately, my dad's house in France doesn't have that, but, all the house in England doesn't have that. But I'll just find a room somewhere. Like I have a desk in a room in, in, in London that I use when I go back.
Curtis Duggan: We're seeing we're seeing in other places like Lisbon and Mexico City, and again, this is really niche, it's, it is niche about remote workers and digital nomads, but we're seeing a bit of a backlash 'cause the economy has turned a bit, the interest rates are up in North America and in Europe at least.
So local rent is up in places and the locals are in, in some cases, in isolated cases saying remote workers go home, digital nomads, go home. We don't want you here. You're gentrifiers. In my experience of visiting Costa Rica and the Ura Vita lifestyle and meeting with Teko Zika's, I've never experienced that in Costa Rica, and I don't get the vibe.
Do you foresee, the next decade it's gonna be full speed ahead with the locals welcoming the arrival of expats and people from places outside of Costa Rica to come and live there. And is there any political backlash to expats?
Richard Bexon: No. You have to understand cost.
Rica is very organic and it's very family orientated, which means that we don't see these. Huge ups and downs and I mean that in construction and tons of digital nomads coming and Costa just has a way and I don't know how of just organically allowing things to happen, allowing the amount of digital nomads to come here because again, there's just not like to build something anywhere close to the beach.
It's very difficult 'cause the first 200 meters concession then back from that, of It's not impossible, but it gets a little bit more difficult. But then if you go back a kilometer back, land like gets really cheap. There's still, this country has tons of land. We don't build up.
So like we, we don't really see a lot of that because again, prices are the same in supermarkets around Costa Rica. So it's not the in tourist and it's a small country. It's not the size of Mexico. It's not the size of Portugal. We have 6 million people here. Locals love foreigners because it gives them jobs, it gives them work, and really is, again, cons are just happy with what they've got, man.
And being present, we, that's, it's just great being here. In the nor in the Western world, we're constantly thinking ahead. We're trying to think, and maybe that comes from, harvesting where we had to sow seeds and harvest and we always had to be planning forwards.
Whereas here in Costa R you just wake up in the morning, walk outside and grab a mango, or you grab like an app or banana or platinum, like everything's here. So it's just different, but No, not at all. Costa Ricans and Koss and Kos love foreigners, man. It's great to interact.
A lot of people are well educated. They speak English here, they've started their businesses around them. It got, it gets work as long as, again, Kos have like money coming in, they can grab a beer. They're just happy being present,
Curtis Duggan: man. One of the things that comes up in, in your. Your podcast episodes is, what kinds of services are gaps?
Gaps in the market? Just ready and waiting for entrepreneurs to pick up a need for something and start a business locally somewhere. Are there certain things if there's entrepreneurs listening to the podcast that might think I want to go to Costa Rica and maybe. Entertain the idea of generating my income.
Maybe they're not a digital nomad. They want to come and be a local entrepreneur or find something where there's a need in the market. Do you see certain services or do your guests tell you that certain services are like, oh yeah, we'd love to have this, more of this, some kind of business in Costa Rica?
Richard Bexon: I'm an entrepreneur by heart. I'm constantly starting businesses. I think I've got like four at the moment and I'm thinking about starting a fifth one, which is a luxury transfer company. Why? Just because I see these opportunities. If the numbers work out, I'm like let's do it. I, I.
I learned a long time ago, me being in one business for 50 years is never gonna happen. Like I can't be in that one business and do that same job for 50 years. If I see opportunities, I have to do it. And again, a lot of people like that. Like you've got all these expats coming down, health insurance, who's managing who, where's the insurance brokers?
I don't see that many down here that are from abroad, so have insurance brokers that can work internationally between US insurers, Costa Rica, insurers, that's one. Taxes. North Americans still need to file taxes. Okay, how do you manage income in Costa Rica? Taxes in Costa Rica?
How do you pass that forward to the US or the, or Canada so you're not getting double taxed? Those kind of things. Estate planning, there's all of these services that are around all these people that are moving here. Toy shops just I know it sounds crazy. Toy shop, you have all these families in these areas.
They're going to parties. They need to buy toys for the kids, like when it's parties and kind of stuff, or toys, they don't exist, yeah, like I say, there's a saying here at platinum ca, there's money in the street. You just need to pick it up. If you, you're an entrepreneur, you're gonna see it.
You and just ask people, Hey, what's the stuff that you wish that you had? And they'll tell you. And that's what I do in my business is everyone's rich, where do you wanna be in five years? And. I don't wanna wake up tomorrow morning and have my cup of coffee and like my clients will tell me where I need to go.
I've got a general north of what we do for our business and the value that we add, but I'm constantly asking clients of what was difficult? What do you wish that like you'd have had that you didn't have? How can we improve? And really they dictate, where we go. I was never gonna get into building until a client was like, oh, rich, I don't wanna really buy the piece of land and like work with an architect to not have to do it.
And I was like, okay. I now have, four engineers in my office who help with the whole construction process from start to finish. We don't do it. We oversee it, we do the construction bidding. Why? Because I wanna start to finish product for a client where they don't have to worry about anything.
Like we will take care of everything for them.
Curtis Duggan: Got it. Yeah, no, that that's really interesting. I was just thinking about something you were saying earlier about working with Like working with old money folks. And it just triggered this thought in my head about how Costa Rica certainly stands out among the Central American countries.
Its reputation as a safe, stable, democracy is untouched amongst its neighbors. But when you're dealing with possible investors and what you're doing in your various investment in real estate projects, do you find that Costa Rica competes globally, like almost on the Sotheby's and Christie's?
Circuit of, you might have a Swiss person from old money who says, we're thinking about Costa Rica, but we might also do Croatia or Greece or somewhere. Does it enter that conversation or is it really unique and almost uncomparable amongst other places to invest in? I don't, I guess
Richard Bexon: compared to, it gets, compared to Hawaii.
Yeah. A lot like, or Hawaii, like Mexico, it's just look, guys, like you can't, Mexico is Mexico, like Costa Rica is not. Is not Mexico, Costa Rica. Mexico is more buildings, condos like, it's fast and it's, but the problem is that they have a security, like here in Costa Rica, it's secure.
You don't need to worry that you're gonna get shot on the beach or anything here. The thing to worry about here at the beaches is, of like, where can I find shade and where am I gonna get a cocktail? That's the things here. It's just a very safe country, but, A lot of people compare it to Hawaii.
Just because how it, the volcanoes and rainforest, the problem is Hawaii's probably five times the cost, it's already overbuilt. Costa Rica is just more natural, because you just, you can't just find a piece of land and build here. You have to find a piece of land.
You have to make sure it has, water letter, it's right, zoning, et cetera. And then then you need to go through the process of 12 to 14 months of. Of design and construction. So it's just not something, you click your fingers and it's ready.
Curtis Duggan: I think that and time zone.
Yeah. Oh yeah. That's actually a point.
Richard Bexon: Yeah. The time
Curtis Duggan: zone is gonna be so time zone I don't know, arbitrage, whatever you want to call it, alignment with all of the people that are in North America and are able or working with North American clients and companies and colleagues and are able to work remotely and as much as the world.
It can be asynchronous and you can work across time zones. There's just still something about that being on the same time zone and Co Costa Rica's right smack in the middle of being able to work with. Hawaii, California, New York, Toronto, whatever across Canada and the United States. It's aligned with all that.
But yeah I think this is whatever we call them, expats, remote workers, permanent immigrants, permanent residents, digital nomads. I have a feeling there's gonna be more and more of them coming to Costa Rica to pursue a new life. Just curious if people are listening and wanna find more of your content on the internet and find out more about you, where should they go?
Richard Bexon: can go to Spotify or Apple and just type in Costa Rica, real estate and investments. You'll find the podcast there. We chatting, I just recorded my hundred and 50th one. Congratulations. Thank you very much. Yeah, they can go to our website investing costa rica.com. I think the podcast has the majority of they're 20, they're 15 to 30 minute episodes.
Every so often. I'll have one that goes a little bit longer, just because the topic is interesting and the person wants to talk about it, and I think it's relevant. I would say that just go onto, Spotify apple YouTube, type in Costa Rica, real estate investments where you can go to our website investing costa rica.com.
And you can just reach us, just email us like, I respond to most emails I'm not, people are like, rich, I can't believe that. You'll meet with anyone for 15 minutes. And I'm like, like I've been in those shoes before. Where you are lost. You dunno what it is that you do. I've taken on interns.
Who just reached out to me and were like, rich, I like what you're doing. Like, how could I come and work for you? And I'm like, I remember being in that position when I was 21 years old looking to figure out what I was gonna do in my life, and I, all I wanted was that opportunity. So I was like, I'm gonna give that person that opportunity, so we constantly have interns coming in and out from all over the world and here in Costa Rica as well.
Curtis Duggan: Rich, I really appreciate you going a little bit longer than 15 minutes with me to record this pod. I think it's been super informative and listeners that whether they're digital nomads or remote workers in my audience or they're just anyone that's interested, will add everything that you mentioned about your searching on Spotify and Apple and your website to the show notes so people can find it easily.
And I hope that they'll check out 150. Or more episodes of of your your feed.
Richard Bexon: Appreciate it man. Really appreciate you taking the time and having me on the podcast. And yeah, anything
Curtis Duggan: you need, just let me know. Thanks Richard. Poor.