If you want to gauge attitudes about Costa Rica’s tourism industry,
ask Luis Argote, general manager of the Four Seasons Resort Costa
Rica at Peninsula Papagayo, which is set to open in February.
“Costa Rica has a tremendous amount of potential,” Argote said.
“It’s a country that is very proud of itself, and it has a lot to
“And what I hear from tour operators is that tourism projections
are going up 20 percent to 30 percent this year.”
For the first two months of this year, the government said that
11,000 more tourists arrived than during the same period last year.
And in May, more than 280 suppliers attended Expotur, an annual
convention organized by the Costa Rican Association of Tourism
The Four Seasons being built on the Papagayo Peninsula is just
one example of the latest wave of tourism development under way in
the country, particularly in the northern province of
The Four Seasons property will have 153 guestrooms and suites,
20 residential villas, almost 7,000 square feet of meeting space, a
business center, restaurants, spa and health club, swimming pool
and tennis courts.
The resort will also have an 18-hole golf course designed by
Arnold Palmer, a children’s program and play pool, and a
Rack rates will start at $395, double occupancy, during the high
season, and $290 for the low season, according to Argote.
Also set for expansion on Guanacaste’s coast is Hacienda
Pinilla, a 4,500-acre development that already has villas, a hotel
and beach houses, as well as an 18-hole golf course designed by
Negotiations are under way to construct two more hotel
facilities and condominiums, which would bring the Hacienda
Pinilla’s total room count to over 3,000.
Costa Rica has already expanded its capacity to receive cruises;
on the Caribbean coast, Puerto Limon inaugurated a new terminal
last December that allows simultaneous docking of two cruise
Upgrades are also under way in the capital city of San Jose.
Juan Santamaria International Airport is in the final stages of a
construction and renovation project.
Downtown, San Jose’s city council and the Department of Culture,
Youth and Sports have started an initiative to improve the
appearance of the area around Second Avenue by upgrading walkways;
local storekeepers are also expected to participate by maintaining
or upgrading their facades.
The government hopes to expand the program to other
The Bandera Azul Ecologica (Ecological Blue Flag) program this
year has been extended to the interior of the country.
Nearly 50 towns and beaches have received the designation,
including the first inland towns that are all near rivers or other
bodies of water.
Under the program, an area’s water quality and waste treatment
is monitored and must meet tough criteria.
The Costa Rican Tourism Institute has information about the
status of specific destinations.