Costa Rica's high season off to a good start
Thousands of holidaymakers will flock to Costa Rica in the first quarter of the year to escape the bitter cold. The swarms of international arrivals are a testament to the popularity of Costa Rica holidays, however industry insiders are aware that high costs may be driving travellers, particularly those from the US, to up and coming destinations like Nicaragua and Cuba.
After the usual lull in December, high season has officially hit Costa Rica with thousands of travellers from everywhere but specially from North America and Europe travelling to Costa Rica to escape the harsh winters.
In a very recent interview one observer noted to the Tico Times about the sudden influx of holidaymakers in the small costal town of Nosara, he commented full of surprise:
"It was ridiculous, One day you're walking on the beach, and there's nobody. The next day, you're like, Where did all these people come from?"
Most Costa Ricans will confess that crowds of holidaymakers are a good problem to have. A local taco shop in Nosara named Taco Taco sold hundreds of tacos in a single day, and even being forced to close 45 minutes early with nothing left to sell. Hotels, most of which are sold out during this time, also look forward to the peak season especially in high end areas like Nosara where rooms can average at $100 a night.
For most travellers Costa Rica is not just another sunny destination to escape the winter cold. Costa Rica's unique combination of beautiful beaches and diverse flora and fauna has given the country a reputation as one of the leading eco tourism destinations in the world with eco tours in Costa Rica contributing a vital part of the local tourism sector's revenues. However, holidaymakers are noting that Costa Rica's pristine beauty comes at a price with many stating that the South American destination was not as affordable as they would have hoped.
One traveller John Cross stated:
"We came to Costa Rica for the nature. It's quite popular in England right now. It's similar to prices back home, so we kind of realized that it wasn't cheap".
Mr Cross also noted his surprise at the steep prices, especially in comparison to holiday destinations he had visited in Asia; when asked, he stated that he was doubtful that he would have chosen Costa Rica again had he known of the high costs.
Holidaymakers are not the only ones concerned about the high prices, with locals also concerned that their $2.2 billion industry is at risk especially with nearby countries like Nicaragua rising up the ranks of recommended holiday destinations.
In a recent interview with The Tico Times, the executive director of the Costa Rican Chamber of Hotels, Flora Ayub, expressed her concerns that both Nicaragua and Cuba posed a threat to Costa Rica's standing as the destination of choice for American holidaymakers particularly because of Costa Rica's higher costs.
Despite the challenges that Costa Rica's faces to secure its position in the long term, the recent start to the high season is an indication that Costa Rica is still one of the world's best loved destinations.
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