It rained for forty days and forty nights... Okay, exaggerating, but that's what it felt like. Heck, look at the weather forecast from last week. There were lightning flashes across the screen as I tried to take the screenshot.
The day that I decided to get into "planning/work" mode, the rain stopped and the sun burned through the clouds. The rain felt like an omen. It made me pay attention and forced me to make a commitment to myself to "get to work". I knocked out multiple blog posts in that week, but really didn't do much else related to my goals. Once the sun showed up, I wasn't as diligent with the with the blogging. I'm enjoying the process of writing, but it takes quite a bit of time. I only brought my iPad, vs laptop, and sometimes the wifi signals are weak. I've also been socializing. I've met some really lovely people now that I've been here a couple weeks, so I've been a bit distracted by that. It's really cool to share stories. It must be the Universe bringing us all together, as I find that we have similar stories. I learn a lesson from each conversation, which further inspires me to both forge ahead and go with the flow.
So maybe I'm not blogging as much, but I'm feeling uber focused and inspired to get my ideas, goals, and plans into a formalized business plan format. I found an article talking about business plan apps and I settled on a business plan template called Business Plan Premier ($23). I downloaded the bundle, which included a marketing plan, plus social media and PR plan. It also has an option to go straight to potential investors. It's amazing what you can find just by googling "boutique hotel business plan example". I pulled up this article from inc.com called "How to start a boutique hotel" and another blog from the founder of xotel, which also outlines "How to write a persuasive hotel business plan". All the info gives me a good head start to write that shit down (not in sand). Thanks Internet 👍🏻
I had always planned to write a business plan, but I figured I had more time to put it together. However, I met up with Kevin Young a few days ago to talk real estate in Santa Teresa and look at some properties and it made me realize the gaps in my plan. I need to get clearer as I go forth in this process, so it makes sense to get the business plan drafted sooner rather than later. I want to be crystal clear on the strategy.
Kevin, his wife Joanne with their 2 sons have been calling Santa Teresa home since 2008. Kevin is an ex-snowboarder now surfer doing the real estate thing (Kevin Young's Sweet Surf Real Estate). While Joanne is a Chef, operating her whole organic food business called The Healing Cuisine. Little did I know that I had been eating her healthy, yummy creations all week at the Zwart Cafe, where I've been frequenting every day for my Americano. I'd met Kevin and Joanne last time I was in ST about 4 years ago, when I was there for Jobbie's surf camp. We have a ton of mutual friends back in the Sea-to-Sky, so it made sense to get in touch. Anyways, it was really great to chat with both of them about how they'd made the Canada to Costa Rica transition and what it was like to permanently live "pura vida". It was reassuring that they had no regrets in making the move. Unfortunately timing didn't work out to physically look at properties, but I'll be back this way in January. My gut says that Santa Teresa is not the place.
This area has really grown, properties are continuing to climb in price. Santa Teresa could be a good investment, as there are a few things happening here in the next few years that will affect development and property values: a small airport going into Manzanillo to the North, a water pipe refit that will improve water delivery, and paving of the main road. If Santa Teresa is truly where I want to land, my $150k would only get me a personal property to live on, not enough land to build a boutique hotel. That would mean that I'd need to sort something else out to make a living. I know that I'll need to secure investment or a business partnership for this venture regardless - another reason to get the business plan completed - but the investment required to start here vs somewhere else would be in the millions. Aargh. I'll start to put together a chart, weighing the pros and cons of each town, as I encounter them.
Figuring this out is all part of the process and journey for me and I'm okay with whatever it leads me to.
Wednesday was my last day full-day in Santa Teresa. I walked 40 minutes up the dusty road to Pranamar for a yoga class with the owner, Nancy. If you ever find yourself in Santa Teresa, you have to come here and do a class. It's a yoga and surf retreat "resort". I'd like to stay there a few nights to fully experience it, but sadly it's not in my backpacker budget this trip. The grounds are stunning - lush and tropical. The villas face in to the middle, where a canal-like pool flows down to the ocean. There's a full service restaurant and a beautiful expansive yoga platform that greets you as you wind your way on to the grounds.
They've done a good job with Pranamar, having only been open 5 years. In terms of places I'd like to model my own lodge after, Pranamar would be in the top 10. The Balinese-like design aesthetic is different than what I would choose, but as a package, I think it works.
Thankfully, I was able to thumb a ride back on a quad, so I didn't have to hoof it in the blazing sun.
I woke up this morning in a comfy bed at Megan's place, right on the main drag in Dominical, steps to the beach. I got here by taking a shuttle to Montezuma to catch a boat to Jaco, a bus to Quepos and then opted for a taxi the rest of the way to Dominical.
There was a moment of "what the fuck am I doing here" while waiting for the bus in Jaco, wishing I had spent the extra dollars to fly. Here I was, sitting on my backpack at the side of the road, the sun beating down on the pavement made it feel like I was siting in a clay oven. A constant stream of sweat dripped from my face. It wasn't pretty. I took a selfie (with my selfstick!) and laughed when I looked at, because my face told the story. Just like that, the laugh made those negative thoughts disappear.
The retreat, Chasing Waterfalls, doesn't start until Sunday and we're still waiting for all the girls to arrive. It is nice to get a few days here with Megan to experience her town and get introduced to people in the community.
More to come on the retreat and Dominical. This week is going to be AMAZING!