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3 Features Your Home Needs to Keep You Cool in the Tropics

3 Features Your Home Needs to Keep You Cool in the Tropics

Searching for a house in a place like Costa Rica can be really exciting, especially if it’s your first time living in paradise. Because the country offers a lot of options when it comes to construction, it’s imperative that you buy a home that will stand the test of time while keeping you comfortable. With the warm humid climate found in Central America, you’ll want to make sure to choose or build a home that is open and designed with the tropics in mind.

You might be thinking to yourself that you don’t need to worry about staying cool thanks to modern day conveniences like air conditioning. And you’re correct if you want to pay incredibly high electricity bills every month and live in a human aquarium. However, the majority of people in Costa Rica don’t have air conditioning in their homes because they work with nature to ensure that they get good airflow while enjoying a relaxed indoor/outdoor lifestyle.

So what should you look for to ensure that your time in the tropics is a pleasant one? Here’s our favorite architectural elements to look for when buying a house in Costa Rica.

Tropical House Tip #1: Ventilation, ventilation, ventilation

Simple open homes with lots of windows and doors are ideal in Costa Rica. The more sliding glass doors and french doors the better. Some people even choose totally open wall plans with minimal enclosed spaces. This instantly creates a natural connection to the outdoors and lets in all those delightful cross-breezes. Before buying a home in Costa Rica, see if it’s possible to spend a day in your potential casa (Spanish for “house” in case you didn’t know) to see what kind of light and wind you’ll experience over the course of a typical day.

Tropical House Tip #2: High ceilings with ample awnings and eaves for maximum outdoor shade

Another simple but highly effective way to beat the heat using house design is to have high vented roofs with lots of overhangs and awnings. The eaves create great outdoor space and shade while also keeping the rain away from windows and doors during those renowned Costa Rica downpours. The ventilation, which will usually be along the peak of the roof or perpendicular to the roof towards the triangular peaks of the walls. Don’t be surprised if there’s no attic or false ceiling; most Costa Rica homes don’t bother with these space-slashing and unnecessary extras.

Tropical House Tip #3: Simple construction materials that will stay cool and clean

Your future home should be constructed with basic but hardy materials that don’t hold heat or dirt. Cement block and cement prefab homes are very popular in Costa Rica for a reason: they last forever and are easy to maintain. Plus they’re earthquake resistant and impermeable to termites. However, if they aren’t well-shaded by the roof or nearby trees, they can become a family-sized furnace. Wood is also a viable material, but it has to be closely maintained because of termites and damage from the elements. Similarly, your interior finishes should also be durable and easy to clean, such as tile or wood. To summarize, never buy an untreated wooden house with carpeting and drywall unless you’re an absolute masochist.

Still looking for your tropical dream house with intuitive passive cooling? Make sure to check out our full list of properties for sale in Costa Rica to find yours today.

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