Message from Management
Due to some health problems that are now under control I was unable to physically be in Costa Rica during the past 15 months. However, I am pleased to report that I have just returned from a nine day trip. Following are my thoughts, and observations and changes that have taken place since my last visit.
Like virtually all countries, Costa Rica has been affected by the challenging economic situation. Tourism, for example, is down 12%. Consequently, the pace of development projects has also slowed. Economically, however, the country is strong.
At the same time Costa Rica, the country, is changing rapidly. For example, since my previous visit:
A new hospital has been opened four miles from the Village of San Buenas. I visited the hospital (not as a patient – simply to learn more) and witnessed much activity taking place in a clean, organized manner.
The highway system, including bridges, is being upgraded. The quality of construction is good and it is much easier to travel by car than before.
There are many new attractive business/commercial buildings being built. For example, modern new grocery stores are now available in Uvita.
Environmental regulations have tightened and are being more strictly enforced. Costa Rica is totally committed to protecting its natural beauty. Although it welcomes change and development it is tightly regulating it. It will not be overrun by hotels, race tracks and big box/supercenters in the name of “progress”.
The country is wisely investing in its infrastructure. In addition to better roads and bridges the airport in San Jose, the nation’s largest, has been expanded. The Houston, Texas, airport management team is now in charge of managing the San Jose airport. When the planned expansion is completed in the next 24 months the airport will be very similar to an airport in any major city in the USA.
The possibility of an international airport in the south has been increased with the proposal of the President of Panama that Costa Rica and Panama jointly build the airport. This would greatly increase accessibility to southern Costa Rica and tourists to northern/western Panama.
A new hydro electric dam will be built in the southern zone. The dam will be operational in 2016. As a result of the dam a new, large lake/reservoir will be created in the southern zone.
New police cars, a new soccer stadium in San Jose and greatly expanded internet services are also changes that have taken place in the past 15 months.
The number of Costa Ricans who speak English continues to increase, particularly with the younger generation and with professional business people.
Although I saw many changes there were some things that did not change. Specifically:
The charm and lifestyle of the country is deeply entrenched. The friendliness of the people, the “Pura vida” outlook on life and the importance of family remains rock solid.
Respect for US, Canadians and Europeans is high. All are welcomed in Costa Rica.
Democracy is alive and well. With 120 years of democracy Costa Rica is well grounded. Freedom of speech, worship and assembly are birth rights that are part of the cornerstone of the country.
In summary, I saw a freedom loving country that is proud of its heritage, friendly people and many positive changes occurring while maintaining the true spirit and beauty of Costa Rica.