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.

 

What is the Costa Rica Government Like?

Message from Nick Halverson

One of the first questions that is asked by prospective customers of ours is about the Costa Rican government. Typically one of the following is asked:

  • What type of government does Costa Rica have? Is Costa Rica a democracy? What is the Costa Rica government like?
  • Is the government stable?

The following information should give anyone who is interested in owning or investing in Costa Rica the peace of mind that it is a great place to own real estate, to visit or to retire in.

What type of government does Costa Rica have? Is it stable?  

costa rica flag

Costa Rica flag.

Costa Rica is a democracy. Their current form of government is based off the 1949 Costa Rica Constitution that was written in response to World War II and a small Civil War where 2,000 people died (or about the same number of shooting victims every year in Chicago, IL, USA). The Constitution of 1949 abolishes the military, provides public education, public healthcare and provides all the same rights to foreigners as citizens – including the ability to own fully titled property (unlike Mexico)!

In fact, because Costa Rica does not have a military (or air force), the government is free to spend more money on education. Costa Rican’s are some of the best educated people in the world with literacy rates over 95% and an increasing rate of bilingual (English and Spanish) citizens. I have noticed a big difference in the number of people who speak English over the past decade.

The people elect the President through a popular vote. This makes sense given the geographic size of Costa Rica (size of West Virginia) and its population ~ 5 million.

A piece of history: when the United States Constitution was signed in 1787, the population in the USA was around 4 million people.

Costa Rica is home to one of the longest lasting democracies in the world.  Costa Rica’s independence began in 1848 when Dr. Castro Madriz signed documents separating Costa Rica from the Central American Federation, and formed the Republic of Costa Rica.

The people of Costa Rica are proud of their democracy and their political party system is very fluid. Unlike the United States

Nick Halverson Rosibel Ramos Madrigal Hanz Cruz

Hanz Cruz, Diputada Rosibel Ramos Madrigal and Nick Halverson, inside Dpta Madrigal’s office at the Costa Rican Congress

where there is only two political parties that influence policy, in Costa Rica there are over a dozen. In fact, for the the 2018 federal elections, there are 16 political parties!!! This means that when the people of Costa Rica are frustrated with the policies being made, they don’t simply sit around and complain, they actively form new parties and then actively campaign for support.

Costa Rica has a unicameral Congress. This simply means they have one group of people in their Congress. By way of comparison, the United States of America has a bicameral Congress (two chambers in the legislative branch: Senate and the House of Representatives). Costa Rica’s Congress has 57 members (called ‘diputados’) and they are the highest ranking members of the legislative branch. I have visited the Congress several times and enjoy seeing democracy in action.

I have met two President’s of Costa Rica and the experiences were exactly what you might think they would be if you’ve spent any time in Costa Rica. Very relaxed, informal and pleasant. President Arias was at an inauguration ceremony where the government was opening a new water system for a community. I was invited by our Project Manager, Hanz Cruz, to the event who was there on official business as Vice-Mayor of the region. After the formalities, Hanz invited me to meet President Arias. I was nervous since I had never met a President of a country before, and I had seen plenty of videos of what it’s like simply shaking hands with the President of the United States in a public setting with all of the security in black suites keeping everyone away. In Costa Rica, it was just the opposite. President Arias was standing still, shaking

Nick Halverson Oscar Arias

Nick Halverson and President Oscar Arias when Arias was President.

hands and talking with constituents. There was one person next to him with a coiled wire leading to his ear (like you see in the movies) providing protection, but this one man couldn’t stop the hundreds of people that were there if something went wrong. Hanz moved me next to the President and introduced me in Spanish. They spoke for about 30 seconds and then President Arias turned to me and in perfect English asked, “What do you think of Costa Rica? Would you like a photo?”

We spoke for about 30 seconds, had a photo taken with him, and he moved on. I was amazed how accessible, easy going and friendly he and his team were. His English was perfect – he had taught at Oxford University after all.

The second experience I had was with a former President who I met at a restaurant during a private party. He didn’t have any security with him and if you didn’t know who he was, you would have thought he was just another patron. I love politics, so I took the opportunity to get a photo with him too!

Hanz Cruz Luis Guillermo Solis

Hanz Cruz (left), Costa Rica President Luis Guillermo Solis and Perez Zeledon Mayor Jefry Montoya meet to discuss growth plans for the region (2017)

Our Project Manager Hanz Cruz is currently (2017) the President of San Isidro del General, Perez Zeledon, San Jose, Costa Rica, ‘Consejo’ (City Council). In this capacity he routinely has meetings with high-ranking officials, and recently had a meeting with the current President of Costa Rica, Luis Guillermo Solis. During the meeting they discussed numerous topics, including tourism in the area.

Costa Rica is a wonderful place to live, with an extremely strong democracy, making a perfect place to own real estate.

Corcovado National Park adds stations to attract tourism

NOTE: Original article is from The Tico Times |

The following article is great news for everyone who owns and/or visits Las Villas de San Buenas. Corcovado National Park is approximately a 2 hour 45 minute drives from Las Villas de San Buenas (map).

Corcovado National Park is home to 2.5% of the entire world’s bio-diversity, making the park the most biologically diverse place on earth.


MICHAEL KRUMHOLTZ | FEBRUARY 17, 2017

The Costa Rican government unveiled new installments in Corcovado National Park as part of a $2.4 million investment that officials say should help increase tourism numbers to the biodiverse jungle in the country’s Osa Peninsula.

President Luis Guillermo Solís traveled to Corcovado on Friday to officially inaugurate new infrastructures located in the park’s three main sectors: San Pedrillo, La Sirena and La Leona.

Workers are building a new visitor’s center in the southernmost station of Leona. In addition, there will be new bathroom stalls, showers and water treatment tanks. Leona will also be equipped with picnic areas and an electric generator as part of the latest investment.

corcovado park upgrades

In addition to some of the new installments already mentioned, the Sirena station in the central coast section of Corcovado has received a camping platform and a common area for cooking and eating.

Authorities said the improved infrastructure should not only boost the number of tourists and help facilitate the work of park rangers, but it should also give more economic benefits to locals living around the national park.

“All of these works have to do with the efforts made by the Environment Ministry (MINAE) to better the conditions in our national parks,” said MINAE chief Edgar Gutiérrez. “We’re looking to increase the visitation and supply extra help to the people who live around these parks by bringing more tourism and more opportunities to their communities.”

Solís pointed out that his administration has continually emphasized the importance of Costa Rica’s national parks and especially Corcovado, which he said has received more than 5 billion colones ($8.9 million) in investments since Solís’ election in 2014. They are part of the Bank of International Development’s Sustainable Tourism Program, which has given some $25 million to various national parks in Costa Rica.

“When this administration took office the resources from the Bank of International Development that allow us to have these new installations today in Corcovado National Park were almost taken away from us because they basically hadn’t been used at all,” Solís said. “We then took up that commitment and have made great changes to benefit our conservation areas in order to bring in more international and national tourists, which can then improve conditions for the surrounding communities.”

Though Corcovado is made up of just under 48,000 hectares (about 185 square miles) of land and marine area combined, this gem in Costa Rica’s southwest corner accounts for 2.5 percent of the world’s biodiversity.

Among the wildlife found in Corcovado are jaguars, tapirs, pumas, giant anteaters, monkeys and macaws.

Contact Michael Krumholtz at mkrumholtz@ticotimes.net

If You Love Somebody, Bring Them to Paradise

Dusk san buenas dusk2 san buenas full moon san buenas Mountain san buenasI’m lonely in paradise.

Naively, I thought 3 months in Costa Rica would be like Hemingway’s ‘A Movable Feast’ or like any of the Beat Generation writers living in Mexico City or Morocco. Instead it was like ‘Walden’ by Henry David Thoreau.

I’ve spent an incredible amount of time alone in communication with nature. Often I awake at sunrise or moments before, and always, without fail, I make sure I am outside during sunset.

I’ve never been an outdoorsy person and yet I love Costa Rica’s countryside. Everything is so beautiful here, the mountains, the jungles and the sky, sometimes I swear when I look up, the clouds are perfect, perfect sizes and perfect shapes, during the day when they’re white and puffy and at sunset when they reflect gold and pink.

Strangely, I grew up in Florida drinking orange juice and ice tea and yet, the best ice tea and orange juice I’ve ever had is in Costa Rica. Their milk shakes are great, too as is their ice cream. Coffee here is potent and delicious and their chocolate rivals the best in the world.

Like the quest of the Transcendentalist, I’ve ‘found myself’ in this beauty and solitude. I’m happy, and see my life with a newfound clarity. I’ve accepted every aspect of my past, happy with my present and have renewed enthusiasm for my future.

While here, I’ve meditated, I’ve prayed and I’ve written a novel. I’ve also lost weight and genuinely look the best I’ve looked in years.

Life is transformative in Las Villas de San Buenas de Osa and whatever it is that you are seeking, you will find in its natural beauty and pace of life. And I want you to come here and have the same experiences I have in regards to ‘finding yourself’ and being one with the world around you. (If that’s what you’re seeking.) (You can come here if you simply want to relax and have good time, too.)

However, there’s something I’ve lacked down here that I don’t want anyone to suffer from. Lack of companionship. All this beauty would be enhanced if I was here with somebody I love.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve had a great time here and have enjoyed my solitude but there have beenezekiel tyrus headphone so many moments that would’ve romantic with the right company.

A few nights ago, we had a full moon that hung over the villa, just a few clouds in the sky, even the dark, stone-filled dirt roads that are generally black as midnight by 7, were now illuminated by grey light bright enough to not use my flashlight, a necessity in a part of the country where there are very few street lights and the jungle’s protected by the government.

It felt like I was walking through a black & white movie. You can see everything clearly but it’s all dark and grey.

Walking into the beautiful night I thought first of Erskine Caldwell who once wrote, “At night, I saw how beautiful the day could never be,” and I thought about love.

I would’ve done anything to share that night with somebody I love.

To share the sunsets, the sunrise, the perfect clouds, the coffee, the chocolate, the food, the nearby beaches, the waterfall, and the multiple swimming pools here in the villas, with somebody you love, would make my here as romantic as it would be perfect.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy and think this time here has been exactly what the doctor ordered and I know you can have the same great, enriched, transformative experience that I have.

However, you can do one better than me by simply bringing somebody with you whom you love. And loves you back. Be it a spouse or a lover.

Come here alone, -I’m having a great time, or bring somebody you love and hold hands while walking during the full moon and pretend you’re in a black and white movie and kiss. Lay in the fresh cut fields pointing out which cloud is most perfect, admire the other’s skin when the sun sets, and open the bedroom windows, pull the curtains aside and snuggle when the sun rises.

My name is Ezekiel Tyrus. I am the gatekeeper to paradise. Contact me. Come down here. You’ll have an amazing time. Bring somebody you love and make it romantic.

My Christmas Eve in Paradise

I am house-sitting where you belong. This place belongs to you, dear Reader. ezekiel tyrus dec 2015

Do you understand? I’m merely the gatekeeper, the house-sitter of YOUR paradise and I’m in bliss.

Again, I repeat. It is Christmas Eve in Costa Rica and I’m in bliss. And this experience, belongs to you.

Made some lemon ice tea last night. It’s some of the best I’ve ever had and I’m originally from Florida so I know my lemon ice tea.

It’s sunny. I’m hanging by the swimming pool, got the house open, the windows, the doors, and have the TV on the classic MTV channel playing music from the 1980s, my generation. the good songs and the bad, which are good now, too, if only for nostalgia’s sake.

It’s hot, very hot and the sun is baking but I’m wearing suntan lotion and there’s a breeze coming through the trees from over the mountains. Whenever I get too sweaty, I jump into the pool, always the right amount of chill, refreshing, invigorating.

I’m reading Hemingway’s A Movable Feast, though I’ve read it before, I often reread books I love to rediscover certain gems you may have missed the first time:

“When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be the happiest.”

-Great line Hemingway, and though I know you were writing about Paris in the 1920s, the same is true about Costa Rica today.

You may want to read another book or listen to another music channel but this experience belongs to you, you deserve it, let’s make it happen.

I’m happy here and this morning I had a moment walking into the sunny, spacious backyard where I had to stop, stretch my arms towards the sky and shout, “I’M IN COSTA RICA!!”

Come to Villas de San Buenas de Osa. This place is beautiful and magical. The land gets inside your soul and changes you in a positive way.

With all this beauty and happiness happening in the daytime, I don’t know how I will contain myself at 4:30 when the sun sets turning the earth and the sky into pink and gold, my favorite time of day in San Buenas.

Regardless how giddy or silly I’ll be, surely you’ll see me back in the same spacious backyard taking pictures of the sunset like I have every evening since coming down to Costa Rica a little over a month ago.

The Sunsets of Costa Rica Are An Even Greater Phenomenon than Aurora Borealis

I’m not discrediting the Northern Lights. If you are like me, seeing the Aurora Borealis, a collisions between gaseous particles in the Earth’s atmosphere, is on your Bucket List.

However, I don’t believe the Northern Lights will have anything on the sunsets of Costa Rica.

Sunset villas san buenas

Another day, another beautiful sunset here in Las Villas de San Buenas

There are 5 specific reasons why I feel this way, the first 3 are practical, the other 2 are special like Costa Rica itself.

First, to get to the Aurora Borealis, you’ve got to travel to the far North. The closer you get to the Arctic Circle, the more prominent the Northern Lights are. For the sunsets, all you’ve got to do is come to Costa Rica.

Second, because it’s the far North, you’ve got to wear layers upon layers just to stay warm. It’s cold!

Here, in Costa Rica, I usually wear nothing but a tank top and running shorts, only throwing on shoes when I’ve got to go somewhere.

Go ahead and keep your layers, when I’m through writing this, I taking off my tank top and going for a swim.

Third, you’ve got to look up towards the sky to see The Northern Lights. Even though it’s lovely, who needs that neck-strain? Seriously.

I’m in Villas de San Buenas de Osa in the Southern Zone, and all one has to do is look straight towards the Pacific Ocean beyond the horizon.

There’s no Daylight Savings Time in Costa Rica like there is in The States, screwing up Americans emotionally and mentally for days and weeks on end.

This is why you always make sure you’re outside at 4:30pm every day all year long, and you can stand or walk or sit in a chair and just look straight ahead to where the sun’s setting. No neck-strain.

This leads to the fourth reason. The Aurora Borealis is up in the sky, beyond your reach. A Costa Rica Sunset envelops you. You watch the sun set, then at 4:45, almost 5, you look around you as the entire country turns into gold.
There’s a sheen everywhere. Everybody’s skin is glowing, including yours.

The incredible light, the soft golden hue is reflecting in all the vegetation, the mountains, the jungle, reflecting back against the houses, and you can walk around letting the light embrace you, or spin around like when you were a kid in a field. You are part of this natural wonder. It’s of the Earth, the air and sky. You don’t need to look upwards but around, or rather straight-ahead and side-to-side. You are inside the Costa Rica sunset from your bare feet to the top of your head.

If you are a spiritual person you will see and feel your God. This may be true regarding the Aurora Borealis but it’s different when you are inside your God, and can feel and see God all around you, not just up in the sky.

And lastly, if you are an artistic person, like myself, and we each have an art inside us, the sunsets of Costa Rica will make you want to create art.

Mine has always been the written word, but each sunset I experience, inspires me to go beyond words, enabling me to draw, to paint, and even take photographs than I ever have before.

Your skin will never look better than it will during a Costa Rican sunset, so take lots of pictures and nobody will need to tell you to smile because you’ll already be there.

The Northern Lights certainly inspired artists, folksinger Nick Drake wrote beautiful songs about it but when you’re inside a Costa Rican sunset, if makes everybody feel like an artist and you’ll feel like a piece of art for just being there.

My name is Ezekiel Tyrus. People call me Zeke. I am the gatekeeper to Paradise. Come see me.

zeke@villassanbuenas.com

#‎EzekielTyrusCostaRica‬

‪#‎LasVillasdeSanBuenasdeOsa‬

Las Villas de San Buenas de Osa

12/17/2015