It has been more than five years since public officials from the National Tourism Board in Costa Rica (known by the initials ICT in Spanish) traveled to Playas del Coco in Guanacaste to give their approval for an ambitious development project that will bring a massive luxury marina with enough dock space to accommodate almost 300 yachts and host of administrative and business facilities.
The Marina de Playas del Coco project, which is also known as Coco Marina in English, has been on the drawing board for nearly a decade. When the ICT public officials left the Punta Centinela area, the investors and developers of the most ambitious marina in Costa Rica hoped that bureaucracy would not get in their way, and it didn’t: The ICT gave a green light to the project in just a couple of months.
That was, however, in 2008. While the officials of the ICT’s Interoffice Commission on Tourist Docks and Marinas evaluated the Marina de Playas del Coco project, the housing market in the United States was coming to the end of its inflationary bubble period and beginning its painful burst. Months after the ICT told the developers of Coco Marina to go ahead with their project, the subprime mortgage meltdown and the credit crunch almost collapsed Wall Street. The Great Recession set upon the U.S. and the European Debt Crisis loomed.
Costa Rica, like other countries in Latin America, fared better than expected during the global financial crisis, but the key tourism sector took a major hit since the flow of dollars was fueled by the misguided economic optimism that the housing bubble in the U.S. would never end. As a result, projects such as Coco Marina were shelved until conditions improved. That time seems to be now.
Sources familiar with the Marina de Playas del Coco project and Guanacaste realtors who work in the area have recently noticed some activity, and they seem to think that construction will begin in earnest later this year. The Coco Marina will be a boon to tourism in the area; Playas del Coco is already a magnet for visitors, and the marina is expected to generate business and employment both directly and indirectly.
The Municipality of Carrillo will be in charge of issuing business permits and contracts while the El Coco Marina Development Association (ASODEMAC in Spanish) will be responsible for construction and adherence to environmentally-friendly policies and requirements.