The proposed international airport project in Osa, located in the southern region of Costa Rica, has become a subject of intense debate due to its potential environmental, social, and cultural impact. Local communities are also expressing concerns about the uncertainty surrounding possible eviction or relocation.
This megaproject has been under discussion for several years and has gained renewed attention during the administration of Rodrigo Chaves. Initially proposed in 2010 during Oscar Arias’ presidency, the project’s chosen location poses challenges as it is situated near the Térraba Sierpe National Wetland and an archaeological site housing pre-Columbian spheres and other significant artifacts.
During a tour of the southern zone in February, President Rodrigo Chaves emphasized the importance of constructing this megaproject, highlighting its potential benefits for the tourism industry. The Minister of Tourism also expressed the belief that the new airport would stimulate tourism in the Brunca region and facilitate international trade.
However, the local communities in the Osa area affected by the airport’s construction have raised concerns about the economic implications and the lack of institutional support. These concerns have been echoed by various sectors, including the University of Costa Rica, which has identified numerous issues with the environmental and socioeconomic impact study conducted by the consulting firm.
From an archaeological perspective, experts from the University of Costa Rica have emphasized that the airport’s development would directly impact historical sites like Batambal, Grijalba, and El Silencio. This raises significant concerns about the preservation of these important cultural and historical landmarks.
Environmentalists have also criticized the project, expressing worries that the “mega tourism” model associated with the airport could have detrimental effects on the ecologically fragile region. They argue that replicating this model could lead to increased pressure on natural resources and potentially harm the delicate balance of the local ecosystem.
To address the region’s economic needs, experts have suggested alternative solutions. They propose focusing on the expansion of Route 27 and the road network in the Southern Zone, which would enhance connectivity and stimulate economic growth. Additionally, they believe that improving existing airfields such as Palmar Sur, Golfito, and Puerto Jimenez could be a viable and effective alternative to the construction of a new international airport.
The international airport project in Osa, Costa Rica, is facing significant criticism due to its potential negative impact on the environment, local communities, and cultural heritage. The concerns raised by various stakeholders highlight the need for a thorough evaluation of the project’s consequences and exploration of alternative solutions that can boost the region’s economy without compromising its natural and cultural treasures.