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Exploring Container Home Possibilities in Costa Rica

Updated: May 14, 2021


When we decided to move to Costa Rica, our original plan was for 6 of us (known then as The Aspiring Expats), to settle on the Caribbean Coast. We were to buy land, build and live in 4 sustainable living, self-sufficient off-the-grid container homes with a common area hub in the center, with plans to expand into a larger container community at a later date!



Five Year Look Back

August 3, 2015


At our last several weekly meetings, we have been discussing housing options using alternative construction based on repurposed shipping containers thus reducing environmental impact. Since we will all be downsizing to make the move to Costa Rica, the container home will challenge us to be effcient. We wanted to come up with a relatively inexpensive plan for sustainable housing in a community setting so that we could all live in close proximity to one another. Materials will be renewable, reusable or recyclable. We also plan to utilize solar and incorporate a pool.


Abron, the architect set out to draw up the sketches, which he presented to us on Sunday.


We were all pretty impressed and we will begin the search for land (and that perfect spot) when we are in Costa Rica in July 2016.



Besides providing food, the roof top terrace also helps to keep the dwelling cool by blocking sunlight from hitting the metal container directly.




Container Facts:

Shipping containers are flood and fire proof, making them a great home-building material. Ranging in length from 20 to 30 feet, shipping containers are typically only used for 10 to 15 years, but they can last much longer. A 20 ft shipping container is about 160ft of living space. (I think I heard Abron say that our containers are 40ft but don't quote me!) It is estimated that there are 24 million empty shipping containers in the world that will not be used for cargo again.


Check out our container home plan



So..."What Happened", you ask?

-Sometimes things don't go as planned. It's called LIFE!-


As planned, on June 1, 2016 we made our much anticipated move to Costa Rica!! (At least some of us did) On July 1, the entire gang of 6 was present. We travelled together to the Caribbean side to research purchasing our proposed shipping containers and began our inquiry into what was necessary to begin work on our "community". We immediately ran into obstacles regarding the purchase of land and water rights. Over the next week, Abron's girlfriend (who is from Colombia) had a very difficult time gaining entry into the country. Sadly, it became quite clear that she would not be permitted to live in Costa Rica. It had been extremely trying for us to even obtain permission for her short visit. Seems Costa Rica immigration isn't too keen on Colombians living here.


If she couldn't live here, then neither was Abron! You can't blame him though. He decided to continue with his architectural profession and return to San Francisco.


And just-like-that -- our dream went up in smoke!!!


Fast Forward to 2021

A lot can change in 5 years!

Some of of you may (or maynot) be familiar with Davia Antonia. She is a friend of mine and has a Youtube channel called LifeAHolic Costa Rica. She is teaching people how to build a container home AND buy the land (without an architect LOL) - please see her video Building a Container Home - Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica


If you are thinking of relocating to Costa Rica, living on the beach and have a dream of building your very own home here, THIS could be a wonderful opportunity for you!! This would also be great for those people who constantly ask me about living in the 'black community' in Costa Rica. You can be a part of growing that community!


Please contact Davia for more information and tell her I sent you!!!




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7 Comments


dan.parkins
dan.parkins
May 13, 2021

OMG! I wish I had know you all back then. I'm a Tico from the Limon Province and could have saved you a lot of grief. I'd be writing a small book to warn you of all that while well meaning, the venture was doomed to fail. There are so many issues, but to name a few on top of the list would be climate and culture.

Metal containers in a lush Caribbean climate means heat and rust. It's not just the oppressive humidity it's lots of rain, sun, and salt. You would be better building wooden homes using renewable resources like local wood and bamboo. Culturally, you could have also used local talent that have generations of experience understand…


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The Bella Blog
The Bella Blog
May 13, 2021
Replying to

Thanks Dan! I will keep that in mind!! We don't get over that way too often but I also have folks ask me for referrals for rental options. Also the person who is handling the new container project lives in Puerto Viejo and has been in Costa Rica for 5 years so she has a much better understanding of the area than we did when we were considering it. Although ours was a 3 yr project so we would have gained lots experience along the way. And OMG you are totally right about the peace of mind you gain by living here. It has been an awesome 5 yrs for us!!!

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downscelise
downscelise
May 13, 2021

So, are you still going to look into building a container home community? That would be so cool. I love container homes and want to live in one myself.

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The Bella Blog
The Bella Blog
May 13, 2021
Replying to

No, we're kind of settled now but I loved the idea was so sad when when couldn't do it.

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