Tourists’ Length of Stay and Spending Decreased in Guanacaste

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Coming to Guanacaste is almost becoming a luxury, even for travelers from developed nations. This is shown by figures from the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT- Instituto Costarricense de Turismo), which show a marked decline both in the length of stay of tourists as well as in the average consumption during the days they spend in the province.

For example, in 2011 a tourist stayed in the country an average of almost 12 nights and during that time spent $1200. However, so far in 2014 this trend changed and now the average stay is eight nights and spending is about $800.

Priscila Solano, president of the Guanacaste Chamber of Tourism (CATURGUA), said it is increasingly common for foreigners to begin to have the perception that Guanacaste is an expensive destination.

Likewise, a market verification study published this year in October by the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Commerce (MEIC- Ministerio de Economia, Industria y Comercio) pointed out that when it comes to buying basic items for daily sustenance, Guanacaste is the most expensive province in the country.

For example, according to MEIC, the cost of the 53 items considered average basic staples in Guanacaste is ¢113,825 (about $214.75), while those same items cost ¢105,746 (about $199.50) in Puntarenas, in other words they come out ¢8,079 (about $15.25) cheaper.

In response to the variation in prices of basic staples, some officials from MEIC’s office of consumer support and market analysis consulted by The Voice who preferred not to be named, indicated that they have not been able to determine exactly why Guanacaste is the most expensive province in the country. However, many agree that factors such as shipping products from the Central Valley to Guanacaste could be an influential factor in determining the difference in these prices.

Decreasing Investments

Another point to consider in the real estate sector is the so-called “housing bubble”, which some experts believe has already burst in this area.

Andres Zamora Flores, president of the Costa Rican Chamber of Real Estate Agents, explained that although real estate prices have dropped, Guanacaste remains an expensive destination for investment.

“Although the prices have indeed dropped in general, Guanacaste continues to be an expensive destination because it’s beautiful,” affirmed Zamora Flores.

In addition, he mentioned that although market conditions have changed compared to previous years, many investors see the province as an expensive place to invest.
However, according to the ICT report, not all of the numbers are negative for the province since it currently ranks as the second most visited region in the country