Thoughts on New International Airport in Costa Rica

Written by Nick Halverson / February 2017

My first trip to Costa Rica was in March 2005. During that initial trip, the local real estate agent told me about the “New international airport that will be built soon.” Here we are twelve years later and still not another international airport.

In my agent’s defense, there had been government publicity, an article in The Tico Times, with a map, about the airport and he was simply repeating what he had read. Again, in 2007, then-Costa Rica President Oscar Arias held a public relations event whereby he signed a decree to move forward with an international airport in Osa.

In the past 18 months there has been a lot of talk about a new international airport to be built in Orotina. From contacts I have, as

Orotina airport costa rica

Proposed design for airport in Orotina

recently as six months, after the formal announcement had been made, no wind studies or environmental studies had been conducted. I find it hard to believe that the Orotina airport is as much of a ‘slam-dunk’ as is being reported. The latest news is that we will all know more by the end of 2017.

Is the airport going to be built in Osa? I would guess no.

As much as I would love to have an international airport 30 minutes away from our development (believe me, prices would go up quickly!), based on what happened the past 10 years from Oscar Arias announcing it, to now = very little of anything has happened. Osa currently doesn’t have the infrastructure in place to handle a project that large. I could argue it is a bit of a chicken-and-egg problem. The large hotel chains haven’t built here yet because there isn’t a reason to without an international airport. The feasibility studies would show that the region isn’t equipped to handle an international airport since there aren’t any large hotels in the area. It’s a circular argument.

In addition, after the signing of the document by Arias, the people of Costa Rica voted on Costa Rica’s participation in CAFTA

Oscar Arias airport palmar norte

In 2008, then President Oscar Arias, signed documents in Palmar Norte announcing the new airport. It was never built.

(Central America Free Trade Agreement) or TLC as it was known in Costa Rica. The Osa region voted against the measure, and it has been speculated that in retaliation for not supporting him, President Arias pulled the project out of Osa. By contrast, Limon on the Caribbean side, voted “Si” (yes) for the TLC, and soon after the vote, the Limon Port expansion was announced (Limon Moin Container project).

Regardless of the real reason why the airport was never started in Osa is still up for debate today. I have spoken with Osa Mayor several times, and he is continuing to try and push the project forward. However, he understands the difficulty of getting the politicians in San Jose, four hours away, to listen.

Another option that has quickly, and quietly, been worked on is to build a new airport in the San Isidro de el General, Perez Zeledon. Although not technically in Osa, it would be a great advantage for owners in Las Villas de San Buenas. The reason why this would be great for Las Villas de San Buenas is that currently San Isidro is only 75 minutes away. I have it confirmed by several sources, that the Osa municipality and the municipality of San Isidro are in late planning stages for improving and paving the road from the southern area of San Isidro that leads into Uvita. When this road project is completed, the trip to San Isidro will be cut down to approximately 45 minutes.

Aeropuerto PZSan Isidro (Aeropuerto PZ) has numerous advantages over Osa for the airport. Several include:

  • Large population base (~150,000 people) that may use the airport for outbound flights.
  • With the large population base, there are dozens of hotels already available.
  • A very entrepreneurial region of Costa Rica. There are 1,000s of business owners in the region who support commerce and trade.
  • By building the airport in San Isidro, the Osa region would still benefit due to the Pan American Highway that is already in place connected Palmar Norte to San Isidro (by way of Buenos Aires).
  • Plenty of flat land is available.
  • The project is not just an airport. The local government is planning on a multi-faceted development plan, including tax incentives for business to move there and other project tied to the airport.

Here’s a video that shows the concepts:


Regardless of which location is chosen, it will be a benefit to us here in the Osa region. I can’t guarantee when or where exactly, although I would estimate that the timelines are at least five years away. The one thing I can guarantee, is depending on where the location is chosen, land prices will go up quickly or VERY quickly.

 

Our Newest Home is Complete

We recently completed our newest home in the Vistas portion of our project. This beautiful home was designed and constructed by our crew through a partnership with a local engineering and architectural firm who has built our last five homes. The home was completed on-time and on-budget and the clients are thrilled! Don’t take our word for it, here’s their testimonial.

costa rica customers traynor

Emmanuel, the engineer, and the clients on the day their house was started.

Other Canadians and some Americans warned us about using Tico builders but this crew came highly recommended by Nick Halverson and we couldn’t be happier. People go into these type of projects with great trepidation. We were in Canada while much of our Costa Rican home was being built. However, the engineer gave us progress reports weekly, sometimes more than that. The workers worked long and hard and did a fabulous job. We were surprised how quickly it went. The entire process went by so smoothly. Emmanuel (the engineer) has a great eye for detail, very professional, very creative and flexible making sure we got exactly what we wanted. I’d say Emmanuel and the entire crew have a great understanding and idea of what North Americans want. We feel like we made friends with these builders. Seriously, if you ask, do we recommend these guys, the answer is ‘absolutely.’ 

This home has amazing 180 degree, unobstructed, Pacific Ocean views, views of the next door San Buenas Golf Resort and tantalizing views of the mountains to the north.

costa rica blue home san buenas

Meet our Customers

Las Villas de San Buenas has a diverse set of owners from around the world (eight countries and counting). Come join us in paradise!! More information here

Customers San Buenas

Our customers come from around the world and have a variety of backgrounds.

Las Villas de San Buenas to Plant 2,000 trees in Partnership Agreement

Las Villas de San Buenas to Plant 2,000 Trees

Las Villas de San Buenas recently purchased 2,000 trees from a non-profit division of Sembrada Agua logo2ICE (electricity provider) called Sembrada Agua. This project connects high schools and local communities to organizations looking to repopulate damage done decades ago by cattle farmers whom cleared some of the jungles in Costa Rica. The goal of Sembrada Agua is to plant one million trees by 2030 – and we wanted to do our part in helping out.

“We are committed to designing and planning our development in an eco-friendly manner and integrating native trees into the landscapes,” explained Hanz Cruz, General Manager of Las Villas de San Buenas.

Sembrado Agua ICE 1

Some of the 2,000 trees that have been delivered to Las Villas de San Buenas.

Las Villas de San Buenas will be spending the next month planting these trees. When we purchased the land that is now Las Villas de San Buenas there were thousands of gmelina trees that had been planted in the 1960s by local farmers. Gmelina is a non-indigenous, invasive species that chokes out the native trees. After several years, and approximately $85,000, we successfully cleared out the majority of the gmelina trees. We are now actively replanting the same area with fourteen tree species that are native to the Osa Peninsula, which will help bring the land back to its more natural state from 100 years ago.

“We will be planting a variety of fruit trees, hard woods and ornamental trees which will show our owners the beautiful mix of the wonderful bio-diversity found in this region of Costa Rica,” said Las Villas de San Buenas CEO Nick Halverson.

 

Donation to LILA Non-Profit Organization

LILA Lakes International Language AcademyDonation to LILA Non-profit

For the 5th year in a row, Las Villas de San Buenas donated a week of Casa Lapas to Lakes International Language Academy (LILA) foundation. Casa Lapas generated over $2,500 for the non-profit organization with 100% of the funds going directly to LILA.

LILA Parents Jeanine Halverson and Annie Moorman enjoying the evening.

LILA Parents Jeanine Halverson and Annie Moorman enjoying the evening.

Mr. Chuck Phillips from Forest Lake, Minnesota, had the winning bid. Mr. Phillips owns a karate dojo and is looking forward to visiting Las Villas de San Buenas with his family later in 2015.

The funds will be used to further educate a classroom for an entire year with a licensed teacher from outside the USA who will bring their own experience, and language skills, into the classroom.

LILA 2015

Over 150 people attended the fund raiser.

Las Villas de San Buenas CEO Nick Halverson said, “We are proud to continue our commitment to helping LILA, and their International Baccalaureate program, which not only educates students in immersion learning (Spanish and Mandarin Chinese at LILA) but also provides students learning from a global perspective.”

The LILA fund raiser had over 150 in attendance, including Miguel Ramos, from

LILA Miguel Ramos Minnesota Twins

Minnesota Twins’ Miguel Ramos donating a banner for LILA

Major League Baseball’s (MLB) Minnesota Twins’ front office who donated a banner to be hung in LILA’s office and also facilitate several game-ticket packages that were used for a silent auction. The function was attended primarily by parents of students at LILA and several local business owners.

Las Villas de San Buenas is proud to have customers from eight countries (and counting) who speak at least six languages, and continues to attract customers from around the world.

Mr. Halverson stated at the event, “Costa Rica and in particular, Las Villas de San IMG_7536Buenas, appeals to people from around the world due to its amazing wildlife, the spectacular views throughout the property and its diverse customer base. Add to that the world-class amenities nearby and it’s understandable why we continue to attract customers from around the globe.”

 

Our Beautiful New Rancho

We’ve been busy the last month here in Las Villas de San Buenas. We’ve added some new roads, fixed up some of the old ones, added a few more ocean view lots (more on that later) and built a beautiful new rancho.

Costa Rica Rancho

First, a little background information. A rancho, or ranchito, is an outdoor structure used for gatherings, picnics and/or relaxing. The designs and quality vary greatly throughout Costa Rica, but the one key component of all of them is that there are no walls. This design feature ensures constant fresh air is flowing through at all times.

Our most recent rancho is our third one in Las Villas de San Buenas. We previously built one on a private lot and another one just past our bridge near the driving range of San Buenas Golf Resort.

Rancho Herradura is the largest one yet. The dimensions are 4 meters by 4 meters (16 square meters), which equates to 172 square feet! We used the same roofing material TejaReal and added designed a vent at the top which allows all of the hot air (from the air and cooking – not the fish tales being shared!) to easily leave.

Hand made table by a local carpenter in San Buenaventura.

Hand made table by a local carpenter in San Buenaventura.

One of the design elements that our clients love is how we took leaves from native trees, all of which are found in the development, and pressed them into the floor while the cements was still wet. This left a permanent imprint on the floor.

Rancho Costa Rica Floor

Unlike our other ranchos, Rancho Herradura has electricity with lights, allowing for all day and evening use. Additionally, there are two electrical outlets, internet service, a full grill and a sink.

Costa Rica rancho

 

 

 

 

BBQ costa Rica

Costa Rica Most Popular National Parks

Costa Rica Most Popular National Parks

There are currently 50 national parks in Costa Rica, spread across the country, on both coasts and are varying in type as in the number of national parks. Some have volcanoes, others mountain peaks,  while many are located on the coasts housing amazing wildlife, marine life and plants.  For owners (and visitors) of Las Villas de San Buenas, the great news is that two of the six most popular national parks are quite close. In fact, Ballena National Marine Park is only 20 minutes away! According to an article by The Tico Times, Costa Rica most popular National Parks based on number of visitors provided by the Costa Rica Tourism Board (ICT), are as follows:

1. Poas Volcano National Park

Poas volcano costa rica

The crater at Poas volcano, in Poas National Park, is eerily colored due to the sulfur in the water.

Poas National Park is located near Cartago, one of the largest cities in Costa Rica, and now an extension of the San Jose metropolitan area. The volcano is still active and has an elevation of nearly 9,000 feet. It is easy to see the large, deep crater, and is a great place for photographers. They recently have added a visitors center, complete with a cafe.

2. Manuel Antonio National Park

Manuel Antonio National Park, is an easy 60 minute drive from Las Villas de San Buenas. Simply head north onto the Costanera Highway (Hwy 34) and in about one hour the turn off for Quepos/Manuel Antonio National Park will be on your left.

manuel antonio national park mono

Manuel Antonio is a popular destination for both visitors as well as Costa Ricans. It is one of the largest and most beautiful beaches in all of Costa Rica. With the Caldera Highway opening up in 2008, a trip from San Jose to Manuel Antonio is only 2.5 hours,.

Manuel Antonio National park was established in 1972 and is approximately 4,900 acres (1,984 hectares) in size.  It is one of the jewels of Costa Rica’s eco-tourism. The best way to see and experience the park is to hire a trained guide at the park’s entrance, and they’ll try and find sloths, monkeys and dozens of birds to show you.

From The Tico Times:

Foreigners flock here for a chance to live a day in a postcard-like setting. Manuel Antonio National Park’s beaches are the epitome of tropical perfection, the kind of place where the only distractions from the crashing surf come from monkeys swinging in the palm trees.

Morning is the best time, for sunny skies and to avoid crowds (only 600 people are admitted during weekdays; 800 on weekends). Hike to the third beach within the park; it may be the most spectacular beach in Costa Rica, with verdant, coconut palm-lined white-sand shores. Check out the tombolo, which is a deposit of sand built up by millenniums of crashing waves, connecting an island with the mainland. A trail will take you to the top of Cathedral Point, offering spectacular vistas of surrounding beaches and cliffs. The trail is steep and muddy; take care and go with a partner.

Snorkeling is excellent, as is observation of sea life. Sponges, corals, various crustaceans, algae and fish all share the coast. Dolphins and whales sometimes frolic off the islands, and at low tide you can see ancient turtle traps set by the local indigenous population over a thousand years ago.

3. Irazu Volcano National Park

Irazu is an active volcano located near San Jose (15 miles east) and during the 1960’s erupted for four years straight. There are plenty of tour operators that offer day trips to the volcano, although if you have a rental car, it is much more affordable to drive yourself. Be sure to wear warm clothes as Irazu is above the frost line and temperatures hover around freezing. Additionally, constant cold winds and saturating humidity, typically make this visit a short one (unless you’re used to the cold and have packed for it).

4. Tortuguero National Park

Located on Costa Rica’s Northern Caribbean coast, Tortuguero National Park, is best seen by boat. There are plenty of locations to rent canoes and kayaks so most and areas to hire local guides. tortuguero national park turtleThe name ‘tortuguero’ means ‘turtle catcher’ in Spanish. As you would imagine, based on the name, turtles are the main attraction here. Numerous species of turtles including green sea, leatherback and Hawksbill nest each year on the beaches here. If you are planning a trip to the Caribbean coast you could visit both Tortuguero and Cahuita in a couple of days.

There is an extensive network of freshwater creeks and lagoons where endangered West Indian Manatees can sometimes be seen.

5. Cahuita National Park

Cahuita National Park is located on Costa Rica’s Southern Caribbean coast. It is best known for the coral reefs near the shore. During the dry season some of the world’s best beach snorkeling will provide views of light yellow brain, elkhorn and blue staghorn corals, sea fans and gorgonians, in addition to more than 500 species of fish.

Off the shore approximately 300 meters is a living underwater habitat that is home to over 100 species of fish and 35 species of coral.

6. Ballena National Marine Park

Ballena National Park is close to Las Villas de San Buenas. The main entrance point is in Uvita, although there are other access points north of the Uvita entrance that also are available. Regardless of which entrance point used, the park is beautiful!

Ballena National Park uvita Whales Tail

 

This beautiful landmark, best seen from the air while flying to Palmar Sur regional airport, encompasses miles of protected beaches. During the while watching season migrating whales can be seen from the beach, or if you’d like, hire a local company to take you out on a boat to get closer.

We made a terrific choice!

We made a terrific choice!

The Madrigal family from San Jose, Costa Rica, recently spent a week in Las Villas de San Buenas. After their stay they wrote the following review of their stay.

————

We decided to go south Costa Rica for our year end vacation. We’re from San Jose and we all decided to skip the road to Guanacaste as this time of the year is hectic.

We rented this house for the final week of December and first days of January and we really had a great time here. First of all the road is in in great condition. Directions to the house are also really easy to follow. We were a group of 7 people, 3 couples and a friend. The house has 3 bedrooms, all with their private bathroom. Hot water of course and even a Jacuzzi in the master suite.Costa Rica home rental
Kitchen is in perfect condition, large refrigerator, dishwasher, stove and microwave. Laundry room with washer and dryer. Living room with Sky TV and all others with a DVD player.

The gardens and pool area are exceptional, the ocean view is amazing and we really spent our days there! With a cool breeze and birds singing everywhere.
The property is located in San Buenaventura town, close to beaches, national parks and waterfalls

Now, we really didn’t find any cons, however I must say that the house is listed for 8 people and the house has only 3 bedrooms with 3 beds (for 6 people comfortably accommodated). The other two must sleep in mattresses in the floor so you have to make some room for them in the bedrooms. Not a big issue for us.
Booking process was excellent and Nick the owner, replied every single email in no time.
If you’re thinking for a vacation in south Costa Rica, this is a great choice, you’ll have a wonderful time here!

Casa Cusinga Video

Casa Cusinga Video

Casa Cusinga is one of our newest homes built in Las Villas de San Buenas. The home is located on the edge of the jungle, fifty-feet above a year-round-flowing creek. The home’s modern design, and 16 foot ceilings, provide all-day breezes and fresh air. The proximity to the jungle and the creek are a perfect backdrop to the outdoor, private, Jacuzzi.

If you’re interested in renting this home during your visit to Las Villas de San Buenas and/or your visit to the Osa region, contact us today!

 

High Speed Internet Now Available

High Speed Internet Now Available!

It took several years, and lots of meetings and negotiations, but Las Villas de San Buenas now has DSL high-speed internet available!

Internet San Buenas costa rica

ICE installing the internet and phone lines to Las Villas de San Buenas

We have always wanted to be able to offer this to our full-time

customers and our vacation renters, however, the fiber optic network never extended close enough to our entrance to make this a reality. Due to the small population of San Buenaventura (population ~ 400), neither ICE or CableTica were originally interested in connecting the town. However, the nearby elementary school was recently connected and given our proximity to the school we were able to extend the telephony network to our property. The speeds are great!

For those who enjoy streaming movies on Netflix you will be happy to know that Netflix Costa Rica has been available for over three years. In fact, Netflix Costa Rica has its own Facebook page! If you already have a Netflix account outside of Costa Rica it will probably not work in Costa Rica. You will need to sign up for an additional account with Netflix. However, for the price of an netflix costa rica logoinexpensive meal, you will have access to 10,000s of movies, documentaries and specials.