Cuba & Costa Rica Blog
About this blog
Written by Cuba and Costa Rica expert Christopher P. Baker, this blog will update readers on life in these two diverse and exciting countries.
- Last blog post on Costa Rica and Cuba
- First-ever group motorcycle tours of Cuba successful
- Cuba’s Mariel port readying for Panama Canal expansion
- Musings on wildlife encounters on Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula
- Cuba’s Steam Trains puffing their last gasp
- My top five thrilling activities in Costa Rica
- Cuba’s fun February festivals include Harleys, Books, Cigars
- Five top volcano viewing experiences in Costa Rica
- New road along Costa Rica / Nicaraguan border mired
- Cuba’s Hotel Campoamor at Cojímar to be restored?
- Cuban revolutionary Celia Sánchez honored in new book
- Christmas challenge for Costa Rica’s sexually abused girls
- Costa Rica opens Chinatown in downtown San José
- David Soul films Hemingway’s car restoration in Cuba
- National Geographic Expeditions receives license for Cuba tours
Cuba opens up to foreign real estate sales
The moment I first arrived in Havana in 1993 I knew that I wanted to live there. For only the third time in my life (London and San Francisco being the other two), I felt a place calling me – a soulful satisfaction never more keenly felt than when simply whiling the hours away in my sillon (rocking chair) in classic Cuban fashion.
Needless to say, I'm eager for the day when I can actually buy myself a pied-a-terre in Cuba.
Opportunities for foreigners to buy property in Cuba pretty well ended with the Revolution in 1959. Cubans themselves can swap like-kind properties with state approval, but officially not even they can buy or sell land or houses.
In 1996, Cuba briefly flirted with real estate sales to foreigners when condominiums in Havana's Miramar district went on sale (starting price was a very tempting $67,000). The experiment, however, was swiftly nixed when buyers started flogging their properties for much higher prices.
Now the good news...
At least one dozen residential resort complexes are in the works along Cuba's north shore. All are coastal properties centered on golf courses and marinas, to be funded by villa and condo sales to foreigners. The first such project, The Carbonera Club, has opened for private sales.
The project is a 50:50 joint venture between the Cuban government and British leisure group, Havana Holdings. Famed architect Sir Terence Conran has been hired to design the site, while Esencia Hotels and Resorts (a subsidiary of Havana Holdings) will spend about $400 million to built the flagship resort, mid-way between Matanzas and Varadero and handily just minutes from the Varadero international airport (and a one hour drive from Havana). The 170-hectare resort will feature a hotel, beach and watersports club, tennis club, and an 18-hole golf course, plus 720 private one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments and villas.
Membership ($1,000) in the club is a prerequisite for private villa ownership, secured with a 10-percent-down reservation deposit and 30-percent-down sales contract. Applications for both are now being accepted. The project is expected to be completed in 2011.
And the bad news? Alas, for now U.S. citizens (and residents) can't apply.