2012 New International Airport in Southern Osa Costa Rica
Recently there has been a lot of talk about the new international airport in the southern zone of Costa Rica. This has been going on since I first visited in March 2005 when the broker we used to purchase what is now Osa Mountain Village alluded to a new airport. It is one of the most talked about issues when dealing with prospective real estate clients. As a rule, I don’t bring up the airport unless a client specifically asks about it. I believe that the Osa region is absolutely gorgeous and amazing the way it currently is (beaches, wildlife, ziplines, etc) – any purchasing or not because of an airport doesn’t understand what Osa is about. Having said that, if the new airport is approved, and when the “Golden Shovel” ceremony takes place to break ground, I would guess prices for land will go up at least 20% overnight. This will be a real ‘game-changer’ in terms of development in Osa.
Here’s an update from Costa Rica’s business newspaper, El Financiero, translation by Google. It states that ICAO (Government Aviation Agency) will be accepting bids on a final environmental impact study in April 2012 for the $60 million project. The studies are to be completed by the end of this year. Once that is completed it will be a “Go or no-go” decision. The great news is that all of us will know within nine months what will happen in regards to the airport.
|The runway being proposed in Southern
Costa Rica will be able to accommodate
an Airbus 320 with approximately
The runway will be large enough to land an Airbus A320 which can fly between 1,700-6,500 nautical miles, depending on the model and carry approximately 150 passengers. With that range, most cities from North America (Miami, Atlanta, Los Angeles) will be able to fly direct to the new proposed airport. This will be a great benefit for those traveling to Osa. Currently travelers must usually take a day on the front end of a trip and a day on the back end of a trip to ensure they are in San Jose on time (3.5 hour drive from Palmar Sur).
I wanted to share with everyone what I’ve heard over the years so you can understand my opinion. Below is a brief, and probably not entire recap, of the rumors and information I’ve heard/gathered through the years:
|President Arias signing airport
declaration in 2008 in Palmar Norte
- March 2006: Tico Times article announcing the airport
- In mid-2008, then-President Oscar Arias announced in a ceremony in Palmar Norte that the airport was moving forward.
- After the October 2008 TLC/CAFTA vote took place, and it showed that Osa as whole voted against TLC, it is rumored President Arias (who was in favor the measure that passed) withheld his support of the airport and instead shifted his focus to helping those who helped him get TLC passed. Therefore, he worked to help secure the financing and permits for the Limon port expansion.
- July 2009, Panamanian President Martinelli and Costa Rica President Oscar write a press release stating the airport project is back on. Read here
- In early 2010, President Arias scrambles to complete major infrastructure projects so he can get credit for them (which was great because projects did indeed get done, including the Costanera Highway paving project. Here’s a video of that soon after it was completed near Dominical)
- 2010: Peninsula Sur newspaper writes an article about the airport
- August 2010: New Palmar Sur terminal opens
- 2010: Rumors begin spreading that the existing Palmar Sur location will be used and the runway lengthened to accommodate larger planes.
- In November 2010, Tropical Storm Tomas (see photo) hits Costa Rica causing over $150 million worth of damage in Osa. Funds that were reportedly set aside for infrastructure improvements for the airport are now used to fix the Pan-American and Costanera Highway.
A new airport will obviously bring many changes – some good – some not. The government is keenly aware of the pitfalls of what happened in Guanacaste and, previously, in the Jaco region of development (over development, unenforced laws, etc), and will be working closely to ensure the environment is impacted as minimally as possible.
As with most major infrastructure projects, this project has taken time – more than originally thought – however, I do believe we will see the airport project approved and ground to be broken in the next couple of years. Let’s all see what happens. I’ll keep you updated as I hear anything.
Owner/developer of Las Villas de San Buenas