Foreign vs Local Ownership

Foreign vs Local Ownership

Farmers who were struggling to make ends meet saw the tourism boom around them, and often decided to sell their farms in order to get funds to build tourist lodging, or to sell to foreigners who were paying exaggerated prices for land. While some campesino families were successful with tourism, many found themselves left high and dry economically once they sold their farms.

In contrast, foreigners knew how to establish and publicize nature tourism to people in North America and Europe, making for successful businesses. Setting up a B&B or an ecolodge became a dream for many foreigners who migrated here.

Costa Rican families with large tracts of land also set up reserves to preserve wildlife habitats and gain government protection against squatters. Conservationists, farmers, and loggers often found themselves in a bitter race to gain control of the country's remaining unprotected forests.

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