Thursday, July 24, 2008

Eat, drink, stay in the pool

This photo shows a portion (about half) of the large, free-form pool at the Diria Resort in the center of Tamarindo. It is the largest pool in town, and it is part of the largest resort in town.

Guests of the hotel and the condos that are part of the Diria Resort may swim up and sit at the bar and have a drink, snack or lunch without leaving the pool. The pool has a beach-like gentle sloping entrance, and islands with bridges, tropical plants, and replicas of pre-Columbian statues. Children love this pool, and it is large enough that adults can find quiet places away from children if they wish.

For guests who want to venture beyond the pool or the adjacent beach, the hotel has an excellent activities desk that can book a variety of tours and excursions, such as flying through the forest on ZIP lines, ATV tours, snorkeling, deep sea fishing, golf, surfing lessons, horseback riding, the sail boat sunset cruise (shown in photos posted last weekend), guides who will take visitors out on hikes in some of the nearby national parks, (some of which I have shown in past photos on this website,) such as wildlife viewing boat cruises at Palo Verde National Park, the volcanic activity, waterfalls and forests in Rincon de la Vieja National Park, watching turtles nesting on the beach, and more.

One of our two condos in town is part of the Diria Resort and overlooks this pool, as well as the beach and ocean adjacent to the resort.


Hilda said...

I'd have a very hard time choosing between this lovely pool and the beach. I'd probably stay on the beach then when it's time for lunch, move to the pool so I wouldn't have to leave the water. ;)

babooshka said...

Is tourism a help or a hindrance?

David -- said...

Yours is a great question, and a somewhat controversial one. I will give a longer answer later, and will find ways to include a discussion of this subject in the future posts as well.

In brief, I should point out that tourism, specifically eco-tourism, is the number one industry in Costa Rica. It is a greater source of foreign currency than exports of cofee or bananas, the traditional export goods of the country. Tourism generates funds to improve the quality of life, particularly education and health care, for local residents, as well as to provide infrastructure improvements and to preserve the country's natural resources.

The infrastructure and education in the country has led to foreign investment in the form of high technology manufacturing plants in the San Jose area. That is a huge plus for the country.

The downside of the boom of tourism in recent years is that development has outpaced the infrastructure in some locations. Local governments ae playing catch-up with improvements such as roads, sewers, zoning, etc. when the development has gotten ahead of the planning process.

There are some in Tamarindo who want to limit the density of development, as some of the condos are now about 10 stories high. The President of Costa Rica recently issued an executive order that is the equivalent of imposing zoning on the entire coast of Guanacaste (northwest Costa Rica) that will limit the height of new buildings near the ocean and will require that about half of every parcel of land must be left in a natural state without being built upon or paved over.

Some of the tourism developments in the area have included large, master-planned communities. For example, just south of Tamarindo is a 4,500 acre Hacienda Pinilla project on which a new J.W. Marriott Hotel is under construction. Up the coast to the north is the Gulf of Papagayo with a Four Seasons Resort. I will show some photos of it in the future. Rooms there run about $400 USD per night, and up. There is a new Hilton Resort, and Hyatt and Ritz-Carlton are looking at local sites for development. There is a proposed marina with a cruise ship pier about 20 minutes north of Tamarindo that is in the planning stages.

So, yes tourism has been a big help to the economy, but the challenge is to manage it well. Costa Rica has already set aside 25% of its land as national parks and wildlife refuges, which is more than any other country.

Neva said...

What a lovely are certainly selling the beauty of Costa Rica to me!

Kris McCracken said...

First, my apologies for a bit of cut and paste commenting. I have been doing the rounds via Bloglines and looking at all the pictures from my favourite photo blogs, but haven’t been leaving comments. Generally, I try to comment as much as I can (I know how good it is for ‘morale’ to know that someone is out there appreciating them), but after the birth of my second son, I am a bit knackered to think up something witty and insightful on the hop. Thus the resort to Control+C and Control+P!

Kris from Hobart, Tasmania.

Fabrizio - ikol22 said...

David, I loved the caption and even more what you -here- wrote replying to Babooshka. You underline what I ever assumed about Costa Rica: they have to be very carefully to balance tourism (and everything it concerns) with nature that in Costa Rica as in some area of New Zealand *must* be absolutely unique. So unique that they also have to preserve.

Honestly surfing on your blog and reading what you write loving Costa Rica, I would like to leave just now ;-)

P.S. Thank you also for visiting my blog.

Hilda said...

I'm so glad I came back here and got to read your comment. Despite the problems it's encountering, Costa Rica seems to be going in the right direction with the management of its ecotourism industry. 25%? That's huge! And with the ban on tall buildings along the coastline too. Many countries can learn a lot from Costa Rica.

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