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Interview Series: Fascinating Engel & Völkers Colleagues from Around the World

Virginia Pastor

Paul & Vince would like to welcome to the conversation Virginia Pastor from Engel & Völkers Costa Rica.
…that feeling has a name here: it’s called pura vida…which means everything is cool and laid back. And this is true; I mean, everything here really is laid back! No one here is aggressive. People are very calm. We don’t even have an army!

Paul & Vince would like to welcome Virginia Pastor from E&V Costa Rica. Virginia was born in Chile and moved to Costa Rica with her family when she was 9 years old. In Costa Rica, she studied business administration and interior design. With over 18 years of real estate experience, she’s built a trusted partner network to guide clients through everything from legal, visas, and opening bank accounts to school recommendations and in-depth community information.


Paul & Vince: What are the best things about living and working in your market?

Virginia: Well, when people visit from other parts of the world, they say that in Costa Rica, there’s a beautiful vibe that’s hard to explain. But that feeling has a name here: it’s called pura vida…which means everything is cool and laid back. And this is true; I mean, everything here really is laid back! No one here is aggressive. People are very calm. We don’t even have an army! [Laughs]

Paul & Vince: Oh, that’s definitely different.

Virginia: Yes…and that’s part of the culture. Costa Ricans are very peaceful, but they’re also open to foreigners and new cultures. They’re curious yet quite humble. And I can say this because I was born in Chile. My family’s background gives me two perspectives, and I find that helpful when working with newcomers.


Paul & Vince: What did you do before coming into real estate?

Virginia: I studied business administration, and at the same time, I completed an executive bilingual program, which helped me to become fluent in English regarding contracts and business documents. I also studied interior design. I didn’t get into real estate until 2005 when I had to look for my own home. I contacted realtors, but they were so bad! [Laughs] I would tell them what I wanted, but they wouldn’t listen and take me anywhere. I saw that potential and decided to become a broker myself.

Paul & Vince: Wow, and you have become very successful.

Virginia: Yes, after 18 years, people know me here. This is a small country. I know the best brokers, so I can quickly find anything I need for a buyer. At first, I wasn’t looking for a company like Engel & Voelkers, but everything clicked when I met with them—even the brand’s image. I love the clean aesthetic.


Paul & Vince: So, what’s happening in your real estate market now?

Virginia: We’re definitely getting many more people interested in moving to Costa Rica. The government is issuing digital nomad visas, which are good for up to two years. So people from all over the world can move here and then work remotely. Then there are French, Italians, and Canadians coming down in the winter… We ran out of inventory in 2020 and 2021 on the Pacific Coast. Everything was selling. So, now we’re building new things…new homes, new condos, and the market has stabilized slightly. But now is the time to build.


Paul & Vince: What do you like most about your career in real estate?

Virginia: For me, real estate is a way of living. It comes naturally to me. I have learned how to read people through the years, so I’m very good at it. I don’t waste any time. I sit down and have a coffee with a buyer. It’s very common that I find what they are looking for right away; often by the second time we go out.

But now the challenge is exclusive listings…We are increasingly getting multi-million-dollar exclusives, which is relatively new in this market. It’s a big responsibility. Especially in Costa Rica, the million-dollar listings don’t move that fast; they take time. So, sellers get anxious, and it’s tough. You have to keep them motivated. It’s a big responsibility, but I’m excited to see where it takes us.

…and one more, Just For Fun

Paul & Vince: Ok, now it’s time for our Just For Fun question. If you could design the ultimate getaway resort, what would it be like?

Virginia: Well, the first thing that comes to mind, is a private island with a beach club. A whole private island. But then, for interest, rivers would go everywhere through the island…Here, we call that “sweetwater” when it’s not salt water. So, I’m thinking the way you get from place to place on this island is through the rivers. Everyone has a boat.

Paul & Vince: What would you call it?

Virginia: Well…hmmm… why not Sweetwater? [Laughs]

Original artwork by Jolisa Robinson, Gavriani-Falcone Team Marketing

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