La Chonta Eco-Adventure Park in Parrita clears a hurdle

Parrita is on the central Pacific coast. A.M. Costa Rica graphic

A theme park planned for Parrita has won approval from the plenary commission of the Secretaria Tecnica National Ambiental, the environmental watchdog for the Ministerio de Ambiente, Energia y Telecomunicaciones.

This is a major hurdle for the project that was announced in March 2009.

The park will be called La Chonta Nature & Eco Adventure Park and will be the world’s first ecological theme park conceived with a 100 percent sustainable philosophy, said Jorge Segura, president of 100-SD, the company in charge of the project’s planning and development since its initiation. The park is based on what he called the 3P principles: people, planet and profits.

The firm said that the project entered the environmental evaluation stage in late 2009 and that developers will present a sworn statement of environmental commitment soon. The project is owned by a Costa Rican company, Eco Logic Developers International, which has North American financing, 100SD said.

For central Pacific residents, the park will represent an economic boost. 100SD listed the benefits as the creation of more than 150 permanent direct jobs and 500 indirect jobs, the generation of opportunities for local entrepreneurs, the implementation of revitalization programs for nearby communities, the use of fair trade and employment practices, improvements to public service infrastructure, and the launch of Parrita as a tourist destination which will be promoted on the international level. The firm said the park was declared a project of municipal interest by the Municipalidad de Parrita in April 2010.

The park is focused on the themes of forest protection and enjoyment of nature, said Segura, president in a release. “La Chonta is a theme park which will offer attractions for tourists of all ages, both local and foreign, who want to enjoy eco-adventure activities and learn about environmental conservation and the Costa Rican culture,” he said. “Tourists of this type, who represent the most important market segment among visitors to Costa Rica, want to see that the money they spend in our country contributes to the development of the region they are visiting, as well as to protecting the environment.”

With this project, Eco Logic Developers International and 100-SD seek to exercise a positive influence on the business development model followed by the Costa Rican tourist industry, demonstrating that it is possible to include ongoing investments in environmental protection and community development as intrinsic and fundamental elements of a company’s business strategies, said the developer.

“We want to stand for action and change, and to demonstrate that there is no need to destroy the environment or local communities in order to achieve business success,: said Teresa Bueno, who represents investors. “Credibility is fundamental for our investors, and because of this we are seeking to achieve the highest level of certification in sustainable tourism with the ICT, as well as obtaining international certifications in carbon neutrality and fair trade. Sustainability is our commitment to the investors, Costa Rica and the people of Parrita, and we are determined not to let them down.” The ICT is the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo.

La Chonta was designed and will be built by 100 percent Costa Rican companies, mainly independent professionals and small or medium-sized enterprises, said 100SD.

“Sustainability is in the blood of Costa Ricans, and for this reason finding people who value and are committed to this vision is fundamental when we are contracting suppliers,” said Segura. “As a consulting business, our creed is sustainable development, and in this activity it is crucial to have the commitment of suppliers, clients and the personnel of the companies or projects involved in order to have success.”

Eco Logic Developers and 100-SD are in the process of negotiating the financial structure which will allow them to begin construction work in mid-2012; on this schedule, the park will open its gates in late 2013, said 100SD.

When he announced the project more than two years ago, Segura said that it would be on 302 hectares (about 746 acres) and would cost about $40 million. He said the project had acquired initial financing at that time.

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