Location: San Vito, Costa Rica
Natural Paradise: Finca Cantaros is a uniquely special place, 17.3 acres (7 hectares) with lovely home, lake, forest and gardens set in the tranquil rural canton of Coto Brus, just minutes from the Panama border. Located at a cool 1200 m elevation in the desirable neighborhood of Linda Vista de San Vito, the property enjoys spectacular views of the Talamanca Mountains and the Coto Brus valley. San Vito—the capital of the canton—is a small but vibrant town just a short drive away with all the essential shopping amenities, professional services and expanding hospital.
The owner’s home (140 sq mtr / 1500 sq ft), originally built in 1994, was completely remodeled in 2014. High ceilings, skylights, and LED lighting with dimmers throughout provide a spacious and gracious atmosphere in a modest-sized home ideal for a couple or small family.
The kitchen is superbly designed for a serious cook with excellent counter space and cabinet storage and with a sophisticated gray/white granite counter and detail around the sink and stove. There is a side-by-side stainless steel refrigerator, stove, and dishwasher. For ample food storage there is a walk-in pantry. A contemporary dark granite breakfast bar communicates with the living room area for a counter/pass-through from the kitchen.
There are 2 full bathrooms, a large master bedroom with walk-in closet, a small second bedroom (now being used as an office) and sitting room (or study) that could be converted to a third bedroom. There is a spacious storage room with cabinets and shelves adjacent to the laundry room.
Beyond the sliding glass doors of the living room is a very pleasant covered terrace of (14 sq mtr / 150 sq ft) with a view to a lawn and gorgeous garden and beyond—down through a forested area—to Lake Zoncho, the property’s own lake and wetland.
As part of the remodeling, all electrical wiring was upgraded to current standards, and wiring for telephone, broad-band internet, satellite TV, alarm system, and stereo speaker systems installed to be integral with the construction. A new solar hot water system was installed on the roof with back-up electric heater. There is a 2-car parking garage with “bodega” storage room and a protected laundry drying area connecting to the owner’s house. A greenhouse for a vegetable garden and nursery is located near the owner’s house behind the garage.
Current Uses as Income Property
Finca Cantaros has been managed as a private nature reserve open to the public with entrance fee since 1995, and its highly regarded private nature reserve is mentioned as a not-to-miss attraction in most guide books to Costa Rica. After nearby Las Cruces Biological Station/Wilson Botanical Garden, a center of scientific research and intellectual life of the community just 2.5 km away, Cantaros is probably the best known property in Coto Brus.
At the entrance to the property fronting on the main road there is a historic wooden building (149 sq mtr / 1600 sq ft total) ideally located for passing tourism. Built in the early 1950s by an Italian settler, it was remodeled by the current owners in 1994. In the road front part of the building currently is a store (30 sq mtr / 323 sq ft)—run by the owners—of fine indigenous Costa Rican and other Latin American handmade crafts. Income from the store and visitors to the nature reserve, including occasional campers with recreational vehicles, cover most of the salary and benefits for the full-time caretaker/groundsman.
In the rear of this building there is a one bedroom, one bath apartment for the caretaker/groundman’s family. The current family is highly responsible and reliable and steps in to manage visitors and security when the owners are away, but a new owner would be free to make other arrangements for such services. The main tool storage “bodega” is close to the caretaker’s back door.
A separate space in this building has a half-bath, two small extra rooms that have been used as children’s rooms for the caretaker family and storage, and a small conference room that serves as an office area currently rented by a local tour agency.
The lake of 0.75 hectare/1.85 acres appears on Costa Rica maps as Laguna Zoncho. Studies of the lake have determined that indigenous people lived around it 3250 years ago. A petroglyph and “metate” (grinding stone) found by the owners are in protective shelters near the lake. The lake and its rainy season wetland support a diverse aquatic life, providing a healthy environment for birds, fish, frogs, turtles and other creatures, including the occasional tropical otter.
Since purchased by the owners in 1994, the property has been reforested and restored from pastureland with thousands of native trees, palms, fruits, and diverse native understory plants. The property’s secondary forest—now over 20 years old and 54% of the property—is thriving, habitat for small mammals and many species of birds. (220 bird species are on the Finca’s bird list to date.) The extensive garden and orchard areas attract many species of hummingbirds and butterflies.
-Large Rancho with electricity, water, BBQ grill and nearby bathroom and shower, is ideal for meetings, parties and campers; accommodates groups up to 40.
-Three smaller rancho shelters are located with views throughout the property.
Potential and possibilities –Finca Cantaros has several excellent building sites, so new owners could build additional housing, cabins or income producing features on the property. The roadside building in the front of the property (currently store, caretakers’ home and tourism business tenant) is prominently located and easily seen en route to popular San Vito. Currently with 1 ½ bathrooms, this building can easily be converted into a larger home, a hostel, a restaurant or even an office building.
And owners could also simply enjoy the entire property as a private estate.