Q COSTA RICA – In a, if you can’t have the province, take its tourists attitude, tourism operators in Nicaragua believe that the construction of the Costanera (Pacific coastal highway) will allow European and North American tourists arriving at Costa Rica’s Liberia, Guanacaste airport (LIR) to head to their country
A report by Today Nicaragua explains that Nicaragua’s National Chamber of Tourism (Cámara Nacional de Turismo de Nicaragua – Canatur) says a tourist land border crossing in the El Naranjo, would increase the flow of vacationers from Costa Rica to Nicaragua.
The Liberia airport is about 90 minutes from El Naranjo, about the same time it takes to reach Tamarindo and Flamingo, for example. If the El Naranjo border post is created, it would be less than 30 minutes from La Cruz on Ruta 1, on the Salinas Bay where the Nicaraguan developer Pella has already built the upscale Dreams Las Mareas Costa Rica resort.
“We have proposed setting up a border (El Naranjo) post for all the problems in Peñas Blancas,” said Canatur President Lucy Valenti. “Very close to El Naranjo is the Liberia airport, which receives about one million tourists a year.”
For his part, the president of Nicaragua’s Superior Council of Private Enterprise (Cosep),José Adán Aguerri, a proposal is being made to the Nicaragua National Tourism Commission (Cantur) to develop the road project.
Aguerri added that the Costanera will also boost the tourism sector in the region. According to Aguerri, the El Naranjo border post will be proposed at the meeting between Costa Rica and Nicaragua officials.
“It is a project that will not only bring investments but will provide opportunities for (Nicaragua’s) coastal areas to develop and grow, because small businesses are going to be created that will provide services to other investments,” said Valenti.
The implementation of the Costanera and El Naranjo border is expected to consolidate Nicaragua’s efforts “to strengthen the country as an important tourist destination.”
“There was a time when there was a lot of emigration, however, in recent years we have been able to confirm that there has been an improvement in the family structure in Tola (Rivas) and in San Juan del Sur, because many people have found work in construction and in new hotels,” said Raúl Calvet, general manager of Calvet y Asociados, a firm specializing in investment advice to Nicaragua’s tourism industry.
Experts in Nicaragua believe the construction of the Pacific coastal highway to be a catalyst for the tourism industry, perhaps in the same way the completion of the Costanera along Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, from Puntarenas to the Panama border, boosted tourism to the country’s southern zone.