House Hunters International...

Idiots In Paradise!


It's bad enough many Costa Ricans think that all gringos are rich, aggressive, loud and just plain snooty.  While there may be some truth to that assessment, television shows like House Hunter's International helps reinforce this exaggerated and over-played stereotype.


One of their newest episodes features a fat cat, retired couple from South Carolina who travel, with their lap dog Oscar, to Nosara, a surfing community.  Their goal is to buy a 2nd (vacation) home.  Unfortunately (as the story line goes) they only have 3 days in which to make the purchase.  Unfortunately their budget restricts them to only $700,000!  "Oh I do declare... what's this poor couple to do!"

I don't wish these people any harm or ill will but by their own admission, they know very little about this Costa Rica, it's people, it's laws, customs or infrastructure.

With each passing day I meet more and more people who decide to move to Costa Rica after watching a show like House Hunters International.   It amazes me how simple this show makes it appear.  As a result, they wind up...

  • Coming to Costa Rica without doing adequate due diligence

  • Piss away their life savings only to find that they absolutely hate it here

  • Decide to move back home but can't sell their house!.

Now I'm not calling these people assholes, but c'mon... dropping $700k in 3 days without doing your homework?  This television show makes it look way too easy to simply pick up and move to a foreign land and set up house.  Unfortunately, too many people are easily influenced by "schlock" television shows like this.

Armed mostly with information based on this TV show, these uninformed viewers will arrive only to learn that there is little modern infrastructure so many expats demand.  For instance, the TV show does not tell you...

  • There are no modern hospitals within a one-hours drive of Nosara

  • The roads are mostly unpaved and

  • Accessibility to consistent, high quality utilities like electric, water and internet can be intermittent.

  • Squatters have rights?  They will need to hire full-time people to house sit in between visits.

  • Affluent looking gringos are more likely to become victims of crime

These issues may not be a problem, provided the buyers are made aware of them in advance.  But unfortunately this TV show depicts a highly distorted image of what life in Nosara (and other places) is really like.  But isn't that what sales is all about?

When you view a show like House Hunters International, please view it with a skeptical eye.  Living a wonderful, safe, relaxing life in Costa Rica is not as easy as this television show makes it appear.  Do your homework.  LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP!


UPDATE, July 12, 2010:  It appears that this particular episode is no longer available for viewing on the HGTV website.  Maybe the producers got the hint!



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