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Real Estate Development Destroying CR?

Costa Rica News – Many Americans visit Costa Rica and quite a few decide that a week in this paradise is not enough! Before you find the perfect house and put your life savings into buying it there are some stories about real estate troubles that you should hear.  After doing research about pitfalls to avoid you will most likely have a much better outcome in this country referred to as a Mecca, a Promised Land, and an Eco-Paradise.

Papagayo Project 1A few decades back, the government has partnered with private investors to create a multi-million dollar development in Guanacaste called the “Papagayo Project.” Ecotourism began to flourish. Not long after there was a change in government  that led to  a building surge without any ethics or legal boundaries. The president of the time, Calderon, is in and out of jail for various dishonest actions. Under his leadership important bodies of water were drained to create hotels and golf courses. Illegal logging was not stopped by any authority which produced large hotel chains on top of national parkland. International environmental laws were completely disregarded.

The Centre for Responsible Travel did studies that showed fresh-water shortages in the country were due to the above illegal actions. Endangered animals were forced to live in polluted waters. This group accused the government that allowed this of ruining Costa Rica’s appeal as a green country and destroying coastal communities.

Pretty marinas are not worth destroying coral reef. The University of Costa Rica is examining changes in the wildlife that are happening along with the build up of the Papagayo Project and other similar developments. They found that the monkey population is down by 50% because of this extreme development.

Hotels in Playas del Coco were raided by police two years ago and were shut down because it was found that they were trucking raw sewage to dump into the ocean and rivers nearby! Costa Rica has laws regarding sewage but they have not always been enforced.

Similarly, there are laws regarding taxes and loans that haven’t been enforced. It always catches up at some point, as in the case of the Grupo Mapache. They owed so much money that they were forced to end the development. Everyone who had invested in buying a condo with them never got to see it and lost their money. Those who lived in their finished condos were evicted without refund.

In the Tamarindo area there are condos being sold illegally to tourists! These condos will be demolished one day because there were no permits or licenses to build them, they do not have proper sewage treatment facilities, and their ‘owners’ have never paid taxes. The beach in this popular town has been shut down for days at a time because of high pollution levels in the water.

A group called the Responsible Development Front meets and creates a newsletter regarding conservation practices in building. It’s owner has received death threats. We need to look into the history of how a property was built before buying it because its history determines its true present condition and the future of the surrounding environment.

 By Kerry La

 

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