A $1 billion Discovery park in Liberia … a $100 million makeover of Peninsula Papagayo … a new W hotel at Reserva Conchal … new luxury condos on Flamingo’s highest hill … just above the world-class marina everyone is waiting for … and the biggest hotel in town is becoming a Margaritaville — all of those tourists covered with oil!
Is there a boom going on in Guanacaste, or are we imagining things?
“There is a mini-boom, let’s call it,” said Robert “Blu” Stewart, a real estate agent in Playa Hermosa with decades of experience in Costa Rica. “The first half of ’17 we did more sales than we did in all of ’16. And it kept getting better — ’16 was better than ’15 and so on and so on.”
The international airport in Liberia, which breaks its own passenger records every year, is currently undergoing a $10 million expansion. A new freeway through this regional capital has been completed, and a $1.5 million Walmart that just opened is now the largest supermarket in Guanacaste. A new gas station is being built across from the airport, and another is under construction in Huacas.
Meanwhile, at the construction workers’ unemployment office, the staff is about as busy as the Maytag repairman. New projects aside, construction at existing developments is happening all over Guanacaste, fueling confidence that the good times are here again.
Some experts quibble with the word “boom,” recalling the real estate bubble of the mid-2000s that led to the catastrophic collapse of 2008. But everyone seems to agree that the real estate, hospitality and retail markets are more robust and more consistent this year than they have been in a long time.
“I think that the market is the healthiest it’s been in 10 years,” said Dave Corredor, 47, owner of Grande Real Estate and the Ripjack Inn in Playa Grande. “I think that there’s more transactions than there have been in 10 years. I think that it’s almost all cash, whereas in the real estate boom there was a ton of different types of financing that were in play, and now there really aren’t.”