New International Airport in South Pacific – Editorial by Nick Halverson

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 Nick Halverson sittwelve 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, the real reason why the airport was never started in Osa is still up for debate today. I have spoken with the 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 del General, Perez Zeledon area. 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:

If the road is paved between Uvita (20 min away from Las Villas de San Buenas) and San Isidro, AND, IF, the airport is built in San Isidro, the entire southern coast will benefit tremendously.

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.

Manuel Antonio National Park Is One of Several Nearby National Parks

Manuel Antonio National Park

Manuel Antonio National Park is Costa Rica’s number one tourist attraction due to its incredible beauty and amazing wildlife. In fact, in Forbes listed Manuel Antonio National Park as one of the twelve most beautiful parks in the world.

The best news? The Park is only one hour from Las Villas de San Buenas!

manuel antonio national park mono

Incredible! Las Villas de San Buenas clients Steve and Alana Firlit took and shared this photograph from Manuel Antonio National Park.

In addition to being close, driving from Las Villas de San Buenas to Manuel Antonio is easy! Simply take a right, head north from San Buenaventura onto Highway 34/Costanera Highway, drive approximately one hour and take left into Quepos. From Quepos, it is a short drive to the actual entrance to Manuel Antonio National Park.

We often have guests and residents who will take a day trip to the park. It’s easy to leave by 7 am and be back at Las Villas de San Buenas by 1 pm.

Manuel Antonio National park was established in 1972 and is approximately 4,900 acres (1,984 hectares) in size.

Manuel Antonio National Park 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.

Quepos

Once you’re done with the tour of Manuel Antonio National Park, take some time to enjoy Quepos (the town adjacent to the park). Quepos has a large beach where you can enjoy the waves, go for a walk or simply relax. Adjacent to the beach you will find ‘non-pushy’ vendors (in fact, they’re typically very laid back – Pura Vida!) who have handmade jewelry, hammocks and t-shirts for sale.

Quepos beach

Enjoy the beach side kiosks adjacent to Manuel Antonio National Park and beach

Quepos also has a newly built marina and it’s a great place to end the day overlooking the bay and enjoying an Imperial or fruit juice.

Please contact us if you and/or your group would like more information about Manuel Antonio National Park or any other national parks close to Las Villas de San Buenas.

 

Affordable Costa Rica Healthcare Nearby

Affordable Costa Rica Health Care

Costa Rica is world renown for its high quality and affordable healthcare. Did you know that Costa Rican’s life expectancy is almost equal to that of the United States and of Canada? Additionally, 14% of all tourists receive some form of medical work done during their time in Costa Rica. The two most common types of health care that are performed are dental work and plastic surgery.

costa rica healthcare sign Hospital Osa Aerial View Halverson

Las Villas de San Buenas is located five minutes from one of the newest and most state of the art hospitals in Costa Rica.This allows our residents to easily take advantage of some of the best and most affordable Costa Rica healthcare. For all the details click here.

Many of the doctors, nurses and administrators are fully fluent in both Spanish and English, so communicating is never a problem.

Costa Rica healthcare osa

2012 New International Airport in Southern Osa Costa Rica

Costa Rica, Real Estate, News, Travel: 2012 New International Airport in Southern Osa Costa Rica.

2012 New International Airport in Southern Osa Costa Rica

 

Recently there has been a lot of talk about the new international airport in the southern zone of Costa Rica.  This has been going on since I first visited in March 2005 when the broker we used to purchase what is now Osa Mountain Village alluded to a new airport. It is one of the most talked about issues when dealing with prospective real estate clients. As a rule, I don’t bring up the airport unless a client specifically asks about it. I believe that the Osa region is absolutely gorgeous and amazing the way it currently is (beaches, wildlife, ziplines, etc) – any purchasing or not because of an airport doesn’t understand what Osa is about. Having said that, if the new airport is approved, and when the “Golden Shovel” ceremony takes place to break ground, I would guess prices for land will go up at least 20% overnight. This will be a real ‘game-changer’ in terms of development in Osa.

Here’s an update from Costa Rica’s business newspaper, El Financiero, translation by Google. It states that ICAO (Government Aviation Agency) will be accepting bids on a final environmental impact study in April 2012 for the $60 million project. The studies are to be completed by the end of this year. Once that is completed it will be a “Go or no-go” decision. The great news is that all of us will know within nine months what will happen in regards to the airport.

The runway being proposed in Southern
Costa Rica will be able to accommodate
an Airbus 320 with approximately
150 passengers.

The runway will be large enough to land an Airbus A320 which can fly between 1,700-6,500 nautical miles, depending on the model and carry approximately 150 passengers. With that range, most cities from North America (Miami, Atlanta, Los Angeles) will be able to fly direct to the new proposed airport. This will be a great benefit for those traveling to Osa. Currently travelers must usually take a day on the front end of a trip and a day on the back end of a trip to ensure they are in San Jose on time (3.5 hour drive from Palmar Sur).

I wanted to share with everyone what I’ve heard over the years so you can understand my opinion.  Below is a brief, and probably not entire recap, of the rumors and information I’ve heard/gathered through the years:

President Arias signing airport
declaration in 2008 in Palmar Norte

 

  • March 2006: Tico Times article announcing the airport
  • In mid-2008, then-President Oscar Arias announced in a ceremony in Palmar Norte that the airport was moving forward.
  • After the October 2008 TLC/CAFTA vote took place, and it showed that Osa as whole voted against TLC, it is rumored President Arias (who was in favor the measure that passed) withheld his support of the airport and instead shifted his focus to helping those who helped him get TLC passed. Therefore, he worked to help secure the financing and permits for the Limon port expansion.
  • July 2009, Panamanian President Martinelli and Costa Rica President Oscar write a press release stating the airport project is back on. Read here
  • In early 2010, President Arias scrambles to complete major infrastructure projects so he can get credit for them (which was great because projects did indeed get done, including the Costanera Highway paving project. Here’s a video of that soon after it was completed near Dominical)
  • 2010: Peninsula Sur newspaper writes an article about the airport
  • August 2010: New Palmar Sur terminal opens 
  • 2010: Rumors begin spreading that the existing Palmar Sur location will be used and the runway lengthened to accommodate larger planes.
  • In November 2010, Tropical Storm Tomas (see photo) hits Costa Rica causing over $150 million worth of damage in Osa. Funds that were reportedly set aside for infrastructure improvements for the airport are now used to fix the Pan-American and Costanera Highway.

A new airport will obviously bring many changes – some good – some not. The government is keenly aware of the pitfalls of what happened in Guanacaste and, previously, in the Jaco region of development (over development, unenforced laws, etc), and will be working closely to ensure the environment is impacted as minimally as possible.

As with most major infrastructure projects, this project has taken time – more than originally thought – however, I do believe we will see the airport project approved and ground to be broken in the next couple of years. Let’s all see what happens. I’ll keep you updated as I hear anything.

Pura vida!
Nick Halverson
Owner/developer of Las Villas de San Buenas

https://twitter.com/#!/costaricanick

Costa Rica’s Southern International Airport Update

Original: www.amcostarica.com


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

International flights will be coming to the Southern zone. Exact time is unkown.

The project to build an international airport in the southern zone got a boost over the weekend when President Laura Chinchilla declared the concept to be in the public interest.

That technical designation put a high priority on the $35 million project, which will start in 2012 to put in the bare bones of an international airport. Until then there are more studies and surveys.

Significant planning and environmental work already has been done. For example, officials can say with certainty that the land proposed for the airport does not contain any of the famous pre-Columbian stone spheres of other important sites. An archaeological survey already has been completed.

According to plans reviewed Saturday, the airport will have a runway from 2,000 to 2,600 meters, some 6,560 to 8,530 feet. The site already has been selected. It is fincas 9 and 10 in the Valle de Diquis in Sierpe de Osa. Officials also plan on getting two adjacent fincas for eventual expansion.

Finca 9 is the property of the Instituto Nacional de Fomento Cooperativo, a public agency. It contains 233 hectares (about 576 acres). Finca 10 contains 261 hectares (645 acres). This is enough land for the runway, ramps, taxiways, a passenger terminal, parking and space for a fixed base operator to handle private aviation. Also needed will be a fire station, a control tower, navigation and landing systems and space for customs and immigration.

The money for this project will come from the Dirección General de Aviación Civil, the national budget and an allocation the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes received from the International Civil Aviation Organization, officials said.

Ms. Chinchilla said that the airport is important to generate employment and combat poverty. Real estate operators and tourism agencies are solidly in favor of the project.

Ms. Chinchilla made a tour of the southern zone over the weekend and attended a meeting of the Golfito municipal council. There central government officials agreed to help the city with its tourism promotion.

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NOTE: When the project is complete, owners in The Village of San Buenas will only be 30 minutes from their home.  Now is a great time to purchase.

This is the first official update regarding the international airport since former President Oscar Arias discussed it in July 2009.