New Airport Brings Tourism Hopes to Southeastern Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s newest international airport, scheduled to open in 2010, may be the key to unlocking the tourism resources in Costa Rica’s southeastern corner. The airport is planned …

Costa Rica’s newest international airport, scheduled to open in 2010, may be the key to unlocking the tourism resources in Costa Rica’s southeastern corner. The airport is planned to be built roughly five kilometers south of the city of Palmar Sur in the Sierpe Valley. With its pristine beachfront property and sprawling mountains, this added infrastructure should create the kind of tourism demand that could make the surrounding area a real estate hot spot.

The airport is planned to open in stages; the first, in 2010, will be able to service up to 50-passenger international flights, according to CostaRicanRealEstate.com. It will eventually have a runway capable of accommodating even the world’s largest passenger plane, the Airbus A-380, according to LiveInCostaRica.com.

The first stage of the airport is still more than two years away from completion, so investors could look to jump in early to acquire real estate at low cost. The airport’s completion will likely usher in a wave of tourism; developers eager to cash in could send property values skyrocketing.

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Liberia, a city in northern Costa Rica, can serve as a guide for real estate investors about the opportunities an international airport can create. Liberia’s Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport helped usher in a sharp rise in tourism and investments after major American airlines began to offer flights there from New York, Miami and Atlanta. Roughly 300,000 people were arriving annually by 2005, compared to previous years’ totals of 50,000, according to The New York Times.

Liberia, in the Guanacaste Region, has seen property values quadruple during the last three years and has also welcomed million-dollar condominium complexes and luxurious hotel offerings from the likes of the Four Seasons and Hilton.

Southeastern Costa Rica will have to wait to welcome the expected mass of tourists, as one of the only ways to reach its sandy beaches is a four to five hour drive from San Jose, the capital city.

Investors interested in Costa Rica should be reassured by its status as one of the most stable countries in Central America. It boasts a democratic government that encourages foreign investment and gives foreign investors the same purchasing rights as residents. Unlike countries fraught with war or guerilla sects, Costa Rica abolished its military in 1948.

While land in Costa Rica is generally significantly less expensive than similar domestic properties would be, property values have been on the rise, and fast. International airports tend to have significant impacts on the country; expect prices to rise and developers to get even hungrier for land.

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