Whose place in the sun?Residential tourism and its implications for equitable and sustainable development in Guanacaste, Costa Rica Femke van Noorloos


The ‘global land rush’ has been firmly on the development agenda for some years now: large-scale land acquisitions by external actors are causing much concern in the global South. This book is about residential tourism, a phenomenon that is closely related to foreign and domestic investments in land. Residential tourism is the temporary or permanent mobility of relatively well-to-do citizens from mostly western countries to a variety of tourist destinations, where they buy property. The number of residential tourists has grown substantially during the past ten years in various countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia.

This book provides a deeper insight into residential tourism and its implications in the context of debates on large-scale land acquisitions, globalisation and mobility. It is based on research in an important coastal destination in Costa Rica: Guanacaste province. Costa Rica’s fame as an ecotourism destination has been complemented by the image of a country ‘for sale’, a real estate frontier and relocation paradise for increasing groups of North Americans. What does this mean in terms of equitable and sustainable development? What are the social, economic and environmental consequences of residential tourism in a local destination such as Guanacaste?