South Pacific Costa Rica Popular Vacation Destinations This Year

By Matt Levin
Tico Times Staff | mlevin@ticotimes.net
http://www.ticotimes.net/daily_paid/dailynewsarchive/2010_07/073010.htm#story5
Costa Rica’s summer break vacation period saw many travelers heading toward the Central Pacific coast or to Monteverde, while fewer vacationers made the trip to Guanacaste, a traditional vacation hotspot for Ticos.

Ballena National Park, Uvita, Osa, Costa Rica

Photo: Nick Halverson. Ballena National Park, Uvita, Osa, Costa Rica

A survey conducted by the National Tourism Chamber (CANATUR) tracked the level of occupancy of hotels in nine different areas of Costa Rica during the last month.

The area with the greatest percentage of occupancy overall was the Central Pacific (65.4 percent), followed closely by Monteverde (64.6 percent) and the Southern Pacific (63.7 percent).

CANATUR said overall occupancy was a middling 56.1 percent.

Guanacaste, specifically its southern part (36.4 percent), saw the least growth. According to CANATUR, South Pacific hoteliers believed that opening the road to Caldera and the Costanera Sur highway from Quepos, attracted travelers to the area.

“We are very pleased because the occupation in the first half of July exceeded our expectations,” said Ulises Ramirez, manager of the Cristal Ballena Hotel in the Southern Pacific region. “Employers believe that hotels in this area benefited the opening of (the new roads), as this saved time for tourists travelling to the region.”

The northern parts of the country took in the most foreign tourists, with 76.9 percent of the total. The highest percentage of domestic tourists (45 percent) visited the Southern Pacific region.

Hotels in other regions attributed growth to mid-year promotions that pitched deals as last-minute options.

“The mid-year holiday season is important for the sector. However, this year was atypical because the promotions that the hotels offered served as last resorts in many cases. Poor weather also scared off tourists to the area,” said Luis Villegas, of the Hotel Montaña de Fuego, located in La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Average Occupancy by region during mid-year vacations:
Mid-Pacific 65.4%
Monteverde 64.6%
South Pacific 63.7%
Central Valley 56%
Northern Plains 56%
Caribbean 54.8%
North Guanacaste 52.9%
Puntarenas and Islands 51,7%
South Guanacaste 36.4%
Total: 56.1%