Tag Archives: Nick Halverson

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Aeropuerto PZ

Thoughts on New International Airport in Costa Rica

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Written by Nick Halverson / February 2017

My first trip to Costa Rica was in March 2005. During that initial trip, the local real estate agent told me about the “New international airport that will be built soon.” Here we are twelve years later and still not another international airport.

In my agent’s defense, there had been government publicity, an article in The Tico Times, with a map, about the airport and he was simply repeating what he had read. Again, in 2007, then-Costa Rica President Oscar Arias held a public relations event whereby he signed a decree to move forward with an international airport in Osa.

In the past 18 months there has been a lot of talk about a new international airport to be built in Orotina. From contacts I have, as

Orotina airport costa rica

Proposed design for airport in Orotina

recently as six months, after the formal announcement had been made, no wind studies or environmental studies had been conducted. I find it hard to believe that the Orotina airport is as much of a ‘slam-dunk’ as is being reported. The latest news is that we will all know more by the end of 2017.

Is the airport going to be built in Osa? I would guess no.

As much as I would love to have an international airport 30 minutes away from our development (believe me, prices would go up quickly!), based on what happened the past 10 years from Oscar Arias announcing it, to now = very little of anything has happened. Osa currently doesn’t have the infrastructure in place to handle a project that large. I could argue it is a bit of a chicken-and-egg problem. The large hotel chains haven’t built here yet because there isn’t a reason to without an international airport. The feasibility studies would show that the region isn’t equipped to handle an international airport since there aren’t any large hotels in the area. It’s a circular argument.

In addition, after the signing of the document by Arias, the people of Costa Rica voted on Costa Rica’s participation in CAFTA

Oscar Arias airport palmar norte

In 2008, then President Oscar Arias, signed documents in Palmar Norte announcing the new airport. It was never built.

(Central America Free Trade Agreement) or TLC as it was known in Costa Rica. The Osa region voted against the measure, and it has been speculated that in retaliation for not supporting him, President Arias pulled the project out of Osa. By contrast, Limon on the Caribbean side, voted “Si” (yes) for the TLC, and soon after the vote, the Limon Port expansion was announced (Limon Moin Container project).

Regardless of the real reason why the airport was never started in Osa is still up for debate today. I have spoken with Osa Mayor several times, and he is continuing to try and push the project forward. However, he understands the difficulty of getting the politicians in San Jose, four hours away, to listen.

Another option that has quickly, and quietly, been worked on is to build a new airport in the San Isidro de el General, Perez Zeledon. Although not technically in Osa, it would be a great advantage for owners in Las Villas de San Buenas. The reason why this would be great for Las Villas de San Buenas is that currently San Isidro is only 75 minutes away. I have it confirmed by several sources, that the Osa municipality and the municipality of San Isidro are in late planning stages for improving and paving the road from the southern area of San Isidro that leads into Uvita. When this road project is completed, the trip to San Isidro will be cut down to approximately 45 minutes.

Aeropuerto PZSan Isidro (Aeropuerto PZ) has numerous advantages over Osa for the airport. Several include:

  • Large population base (~150,000 people) that may use the airport for outbound flights.
  • With the large population base, there are dozens of hotels already available.
  • A very entrepreneurial region of Costa Rica. There are 1,000s of business owners in the region who support commerce and trade.
  • By building the airport in San Isidro, the Osa region would still benefit due to the Pan American Highway that is already in place connected Palmar Norte to San Isidro (by way of Buenos Aires).
  • Plenty of flat land is available.
  • The project is not just an airport. The local government is planning on a multi-faceted development plan, including tax incentives for business to move there and other project tied to the airport.

Here’s a video that shows the concepts:


Regardless of which location is chosen, it will be a benefit to us here in the Osa region. I can’t guarantee when or where exactly, although I would estimate that the timelines are at least five years away. The one thing I can guarantee, is depending on where the location is chosen, land prices will go up quickly or VERY quickly.

 


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costa rica flag

What is the Costa Rica Government Like?

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Message from Nick Halverson

One of the first questions that is asked by prospective customers of ours is about the Costa Rican government. Typically one of the following is asked:

  • What type of government does Costa Rica have? Is Costa Rica a democracy? What is the Costa Rica government like?
  • Is the government stable?

The following information should give anyone who is interested in owning or investing in Costa Rica the peace of mind that it is a great place to own real estate, to visit or to retire in.

What type of government does Costa Rica have? Is it stable?  

costa rica flag

Costa Rica flag.

Costa Rica is a democracy. Their current form of government is based off the 1949 Costa Rica Constitution that was written in response to World War II and a small Civil War where 2,000 people died (or about the same number of shooting victims every year in Chicago, IL, USA). The Constitution of 1949 abolishes the military, provides public education, public healthcare and provides all the same rights to foreigners as citizens – including the ability to own fully titled property (unlike Mexico)!

In fact, because Costa Rica does not have a military (or air force), the government is free to spend more money on education. Costa Rican’s are some of the best educated people in the world with literacy rates over 95% and an increasing rate of bilingual (English and Spanish) citizens. I have noticed a big difference in the number of people who speak English over the past decade.

The people elect the President through a popular vote. This makes sense given the geographic size of Costa Rica (size of West Virginia) and its population ~ 5 million.

A piece of history: when the United States Constitution was signed in 1787, the population in the USA was around 4 million people.

Costa Rica is home to one of the longest lasting democracies in the world.  Costa Rica’s independence began in 1848 when Dr. Castro Madriz signed documents separating Costa Rica from the Central American Federation, and formed the Republic of Costa Rica.

The people of Costa Rica are proud of their democracy and their political party system is very fluid. Unlike the United States

Nick Halverson Rosibel Ramos Madrigal Hanz Cruz

Hanz Cruz, Diputada Rosibel Ramos Madrigal and Nick Halverson, inside Dpta Madrigal’s office at the Costa Rican Congress

where there is only two political parties that influence policy, in Costa Rica there are over a dozen. In fact, for the the 2018 federal elections, there are 16 political parties!!! This means that when the people of Costa Rica are frustrated with the policies being made, they don’t simply sit around and complain, they actively form new parties and then actively campaign for support.

Costa Rica has a unicameral Congress. This simply means they have one group of people in their Congress. By way of comparison, the United States of America has a bicameral Congress (two chambers in the legislative branch: Senate and the House of Representatives). Costa Rica’s Congress has 57 members (called ‘diputados’) and they are the highest ranking members of the legislative branch. I have visited the Congress several times and enjoy seeing democracy in action.

I have met two President’s of Costa Rica and the experiences were exactly what you might think they would be if you’ve spent any time in Costa Rica. Very relaxed, informal and pleasant. President Arias was at an inauguration ceremony where the government was opening a new water system for a community. I was invited by our Project Manager, Hanz Cruz, to the event who was there on official business as Vice-Mayor of the region. After the formalities, Hanz invited me to meet President Arias. I was nervous since I had never met a President of a country before, and I had seen plenty of videos of what it’s like simply shaking hands with the President of the United States in a public setting with all of the security in black suites keeping everyone away. In Costa Rica, it was just the opposite. President Arias was standing still, shaking

Nick Halverson Oscar Arias

Nick Halverson and President Oscar Arias when Arias was President.

hands and talking with constituents. There was one person next to him with a coiled wire leading to his ear (like you see in the movies) providing protection, but this one man couldn’t stop the hundreds of people that were there if something went wrong. Hanz moved me next to the President and introduced me in Spanish. They spoke for about 30 seconds and then President Arias turned to me and in perfect English asked, “What do you think of Costa Rica? Would you like a photo?”

We spoke for about 30 seconds, had a photo taken with him, and he moved on. I was amazed how accessible, easy going and friendly he and his team were. His English was perfect – he had taught at Oxford University after all.

The second experience I had was with a former President who I met at a restaurant during a private party. He didn’t have any security with him and if you didn’t know who he was, you would have thought he was just another patron. I love politics, so I took the opportunity to get a photo with him too!

Hanz Cruz Luis Guillermo Solis

Hanz Cruz (left), Costa Rica President Luis Guillermo Solis and Perez Zeledon Mayor Jefry Montoya meet to discuss growth plans for the region (2017)

Our Project Manager Hanz Cruz is currently (2017) the President of San Isidro del General, Perez Zeledon, San Jose, Costa Rica, ‘Consejo’ (City Council). In this capacity he routinely has meetings with high-ranking officials, and recently had a meeting with the current President of Costa Rica, Luis Guillermo Solis. During the meeting they discussed numerous topics, including tourism in the area.

Costa Rica is a wonderful place to live, with an extremely strong democracy, making a perfect place to own real estate.


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Donation to Reserva Playa Tortuga

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Las Villas de San Buenas proudly donated over 10 headlamps to Reserva Playa sand turtle playa tortugaTortuga (RPT) recently. RPT is located approximately 10 minutes from Las Villas de San Buenas and they provide our residents and visitors an amazing opportunity to help protect Costa Rica’s Osa wildlife.

Tortuga is Spanish for turtle, and they focus a lot of their time, energy and financial resources on protecting migrating turtles. However, they also study a variety of wildlife in the area.

Las Villas de San Buenas is looking to increase its support of Reserva Playa Tortuga turtle nests ojochal tortugaand preliminary discussions have started to finalize a program that benefits both organizations.

To donate please purchase these headlamps on Amazon, and ship to:

Nick HalversonTortugaHeadlamp
1759 Valerie Lane
New Brighton, MN 55112

Be sure to include your name in the order and/or send us an email to notify us that they are on the way and we can send you a thank-you card.

Reserva playa tortuga donation

Las Villas de San Buenas (LVSB) recently donated headlamps to RPT Juan Manuel Salazar (RPT),  Nick Halverson (LVSB), Melissa Jimenez Kardentey (RPT).

Mr. Juan Salazar, from RPT, said that “these headlamps will help our volunteers work throughout the night in protecting the mothers who are laying their eggs, and for the hatchlings to successfully make it to the ocean.”

headlamps

Some of the donated headlamps from Las Villas de San Buenas to Reserva Playa Tortuga

Please contact us if you’d like to make a financial or product donation to Reserva Playa Tortuga.

From RPT’s website, their objectives are:

  • To develop positive communication with populations and communities associated with study areas focusing on protection of coastal marine resources and the development of responsible ecological tourism.
  • To establish strategic alliances with governmental and non-governmental entities working towards conservation and management of natural resources at local, national and international levels.
  • To educate and enable local population, via programs and opportunities, to live in environmentally sustainable ways.
  • To identify populations of coastal animals in danger of local, regional, or global extinction.
  • To maintain and rehabilitate the land in order to create/re-create an intact coastal zone that protects the Osa’s incredible wealth of biodiversity while supporting and facilitating sustainable development and living for the immediate coastal populations from Cortés to Dominical.
  • To provide opportunities to the scientists and researchers from Costa Rica to work with senior researchers and faculty members of US and other international universities and research facilities in order to further develop their research skills in the scientific fields related to Conservation Ecology and Biogeochemistry of Tropical Coastal Marine Systems.
  • To facilitate scientists and researchers to use the equipment and facility of Playa Tortuga Marine Conservation and Research Center for their own research activities involving biological investigation of tropical marine environments in regions where such research has not been carried out in recent times.

Turtle Logo


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Wildlife Author Carrol L Henderson meets with Nick Halverson

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Earlier this week, Las Villas de San Buenas CEO, Nick Halverson, met with Carrol L Henderson, to exchange

Carrol Henderson Nick Halverson

Nick Halverson (L) and Carrol L Henderson enjoyed meeting and discussing Costa Rica earlier this week.

their experiences and stories about Costa Rica. Mr. Henderson is a wildlife biologist for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and has written four books about Costa Rica’s mammals, birds and wildlife.

During the 75 minute meeting, Carrol shared many stories of his travels around the world and his success in raising awareness of wildlife in Costa Rica. In fact, Carrol was instrumental in getting the Ballena National Park designated as a national park by using photographs he took of migrating whales, and having those compared to photos on file at the Cousteau Institute.

Prolific Writing

Carrol’s four books about Costa Rica are: Costa Rica Wildlife, Mammals, Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica, Butterflies, Moths, and Other Invertebrates of Costa Rica, Birds of Costa Rica

Carrol has spent a lifetime studying wildlife in both Costa Rica and in Minnesota, USA. He made his first visit to Costa Rica in the late 1960’s, where he met and married his wife of 40 years+. Over the past 45 years, Carrol has documented every trip and every animal sighting he’s had in Costa Rica. Armed with this data, he went on to write his books about wildlife in Costa Rica. He is constantly looking for updates and photographic proof of sightings so each new edition of his books is kept up-to-date. In fact, after the meeting Mr. Halverson sent Mr. Henderson some photos so that Carrol could identify the bird species in the photos.

Las Villas de San Buenas is committed to protecting the environment and due to this commitment, birds that were not seen 10 years ago in San Buenaventura are now common. Through working with professional horticultures, local experts and actively searching out other professionals (such as Carrol Henderson), Las Villas de San Buenas is continuing to improve the environmental diversity of Osa.

Small Town, Common Roots

It turns out that Carrol and the Chairman of the Board of Las Villas de San Buenas, Duane Halverson, both were born in Iowa and both were students at Iowa State University at the same time in the late 1960’s.

Nick Halverson was also born in Iowa, and interestingly, both Nick and Carrol have a strong belief that to truly appreciate and enjoy Costa Rica, one must immerse oneself into the local culture and customs.

Costa Rica Birding Tours

Since 1987, Mr. Henderson has lead private birding tours for small groups of people. Every trip is unique and different from any other previous trips. If anyone is interested in learning more about his past trips, or the January 2016 trip, please send us a note.

NOTE: All of Carrol’s books are available at national book sellers and Amazon.


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Donation to LILA Non-Profit Organization

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LILA Lakes International Language AcademyDonation to LILA Non-profit

For the 5th year in a row, Las Villas de San Buenas donated a week of Casa Lapas to Lakes International Language Academy (LILA) foundation. Casa Lapas generated over $2,500 for the non-profit organization with 100% of the funds going directly to LILA.

LILA Parents Jeanine Halverson and Annie Moorman enjoying the evening.

LILA Parents Jeanine Halverson and Annie Moorman enjoying the evening.

Mr. Chuck Phillips from Forest Lake, Minnesota, had the winning bid. Mr. Phillips owns a karate dojo and is looking forward to visiting Las Villas de San Buenas with his family later in 2015.

The funds will be used to further educate a classroom for an entire year with a licensed teacher from outside the USA who will bring their own experience, and language skills, into the classroom.

LILA 2015

Over 150 people attended the fund raiser.

Las Villas de San Buenas CEO Nick Halverson said, “We are proud to continue our commitment to helping LILA, and their International Baccalaureate program, which not only educates students in immersion learning (Spanish and Mandarin Chinese at LILA) but also provides students learning from a global perspective.”

The LILA fund raiser had over 150 in attendance, including Miguel Ramos, from

LILA Miguel Ramos Minnesota Twins

Minnesota Twins’ Miguel Ramos donating a banner for LILA

Major League Baseball’s (MLB) Minnesota Twins’ front office who donated a banner to be hung in LILA’s office and also facilitate several game-ticket packages that were used for a silent auction. The function was attended primarily by parents of students at LILA and several local business owners.

Las Villas de San Buenas is proud to have customers from eight countries (and counting) who speak at least six languages, and continues to attract customers from around the world.

Mr. Halverson stated at the event, “Costa Rica and in particular, Las Villas de San IMG_7536Buenas, appeals to people from around the world due to its amazing wildlife, the spectacular views throughout the property and its diverse customer base. Add to that the world-class amenities nearby and it’s understandable why we continue to attract customers from around the globe.”

 


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Nick Halverson Costa Rica Video Series p1

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Nick Halverson Costa Rica Video Series

Part I in a new video series

Nick Halverson, the CEO of Las Villas de San Buenas, was recently interviewed by Brad Gudim where they briefly discussed Costa Rica real estate. This is the first of the Nick Halverson Costa Rica Video Series. He will be recording more videos each month and will share great information about owning and investing in Costa Rica real estate. This short video (about 10 minutes) provides some background information about Nick Halverson and why he has chosen to develop land in Costa Rica. (LinkedIn profile).

Nick has over nine years of buying, selling and developing land in Costa Rica’s Southern Pacific zone and will be putting on Costa Rica real estate seminars in 2015. If you are interested in joining us for our first seminar in Costa Rica in 2015, or simply want information about visiting Costa Rica, please contact us today.

Stay tuned for the next in the Nick Halverson Costa Rica video series.


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Message from Management

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July 2012

We have had a wonderful first two quarters of 2012 with plenty of finalizing of infrastructure and rough cuts being installed and new construction going on.

During the first week of June we started construction on our second home for a client from the USA. It is ahead of

Home under construction on 110 Las Villas de San Buenas

Our newest home under construction. It is ahead of schedule and should be completed by November 2012.

schedule and should be completed within six months of breaking ground. Our goal is to have it ready for rent for Thanksgiving 2012 – we will keep everyone updated with the status of the house and the potential availability for November.

We have rough cut in our curvy roads on our 40 acre flat area with sweeping mountain views. As you may recall, all of these lots have incredible ocean views and almost all of the lots back up to a park or green space. These parks are for the exclusive use of our owners.

We also have started cutting the first set of trails through our 18 acre jungle which is located at the upper most part of the property at approximately 1,000 feet of elevations. The views are incredible and we will be working with the local municipality and federal environmental agencies to put in a permanent environmental study work station there. During my most recent hike

Poison Dart Frog

Me holding a poison dart frog found in our 18 acre jungle

up to the top of the property we found two green poison dart frogs, a wild orchid growing and saw and heard numerous animals and wildlife.

We are now offering up to $1,000 of fly-and-buy travel credits/refunds for anyone who purchases in Las Villas de San Buenas. In addition, we will include two zipline tickets and complementary use of one of our homes for up to four days and three nights. This offer may be discontinued at anytime so act soon!

Let us know when you are planning your trip and we can help you with all the details.

Pura vida!

Nick Halverson
nick@villassanbuenas.com


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