Monday, December 15, 2008

Gulf of Papagayo aerial photo

This is an aerial view of the mouth of the Gulf of Papagayo and the end of the Papagayo peninsula.

The Four Seasons Papagayo Resort complex occupies the entire peninsula on the far side of this photo. The golf course sprawls across the higher ground on the right side of the peninsula. The hotel is located at the narrowest and lowest point of the peninsula in the center. By straddling the narrow neck of the peninsula, the hotel takes advantage of its location by having nearby small beaches on both the ocean side and the gulf side and having views in both directions.

Tomorrow I will post an aerial photo looking directly down on the resort and give my comments on the tourist experience at Papagayo. Today, I will share some of my thoughts about the economic effects of the Papagayo project.

The Four Seasons Papagayo was an investment of major significance for Costa Rica. It has spawned other tourist investments. You can see an example of that in the foreground of this photo, as hotel, resort and housing developments have been constructed at various other places along the coast. Other international hotel chains have been attracted to the area undoubtedly in part by the presence, success and prestige of the Four Seasons.

For example, there is a brand new J.W. Marriott very close to Tamarindo. Hilton has this year located two hotels in the area, one an ocean resort and an airport hotel at Liberia. Other major international hotels, such as Hyatt, Ritz-Carlton, RIU, and others are under construction or in various stages of development in the region, although the economic downturn has placed $1.4 billion of development projects on hold, according to an article in the local newspaper last week.

There is a challenge for Costa Rica to control development and to ensure that development is compatible with the national commitment to environmental preservation. Last spring someone complained that a new hotel built by a Spanish-owned company in the Papagayo area was polluting the ocean water. The government authorities came in and did testing and found that the construction company did not hook up one of the sewer lines to the sewage treatment plant. The government shut down the hotel right in the middle of the high tourist season, causing hundreds of tourists to be relocated to other hotels. The tourists commented to the newspaper that they did not mind being relocated because they agreed that the hotel should not reopen until the problem was fixed, which it was very quickly.

In Tamarindo, the government has injected dye into the sewer systems for every hotel and restaurant to identify any threats to water quality to make sure that each sewage or septic system is working properly.

The President of Costa Rica, Nobel Peace Prize winner Oscar Arias, has imposed development controls to curtail the height and density of buildings on the country's northwest Pacific coast.

I apologize for the quality of today's photo, but I took this photo through the window of an airliner as we were flying in to the international airport in Liberia. (I recommend a window seat on the left side of the plane for the best view on the approach to the airport.)


Jilly said...

Such a lovely series. One I could do with visiting. We have endless rain, rain, rain, wind and fallen rocks.

glenda said...

Great shot. Nice over all look at this resort.

emerson Calderon said...

Great Blog, I just found about it a couple of days ago and I've been hooked to the awesome posts.

By the way do you have picture of middle class neighborhoods that you could share?

I would like to live there and what I have found on line are very high- end developments.

Thank you so much in advance, and for sure I 'll be a regular to your blog.


Jane Hards Photography said...

It does look like another world. It is interesting to see how Tourism and ecology can sit so well together if managed right.

Hilda said...

I think it's a wonderful shot. But more than that, I truly admire Costa Rica's discipline in ensuring the safety of the environment within its tourist development program. It's something that all countries should emulate, including the Philippines! said...

Thank you for your comment and for your question and request for photos of middle class rather than high-end housing. It is true that the websites that show new condos beingdeveloped are usually the high-end condos that can be more than a half-million USD.

Here's what I would suggest to get a feel for the local housing market and prices. If you Google local real estate agencies, such as Century 21 or Remax, you will find lots of listings and photos for condos and houses in all price ranges. In Tamarindo, so condos are less than $100,000 USD and some are close to a million dollars. It all depends on how far from the beach, whether there is an ocean view, the amenities of the project, the quality of construction, the quality of the road, etc.

Costa Rica is extremely popular for people from the USA and Canada for second homes, vacation homes, and retirement. There are communities of ex-pats in the San Jose/Central Valley area, as there is a year-round climate in the 70's (F) due to the higher elevation, and the Pacific coast areas such as Tamarindo and some other parts of Guanacaste province are also very popular with foreigners.

Imitrex said...

guanacaste costa rica real estate

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