It is at the start of the first decade of the twentieth century that a citizen of Nicaraguan origin surnamed Jarquin started clearing the mountains in what is today known as La Fortuna. Progressively other Costa Rican citizens from Naranjo, Zarcero and Ciudad Quesada started moving to the area to clear mountainous terrain and take part in the rubber industry with which they produced capes for the local farmers of the northern region.
In 1932 other inhabitants arrived among them Elias Koper, Alberto Quesada, Juana Vargas Ricardo Quiros, Jose Garro, Rufino and Isolina Quesada, Juan Ledesma, Red Porfirio, Julio Murillo and others that little by little left seating, product of the fame the lands acquired.
Initially this community was a village of the District of The Angeles of San Ramon and it was until the year 1950 when along with La Tigra, was concreted a movement that concludes with a plesvicito where for their will the inhabitants decide to belong in the future to San Carlos' Canton.
Tamarindo is a town and distrito located on the Nicoya Peninsula on the Northern Pacific coast of Costa Rica in the Province of Guanacaste. The district has a population of 3,525, although the town itself is about 500. But it can swell to 5,000 people or more during the tourist season and during special holidays. The main attractions are surfing and eco-tourism. Towns belonging to the district besides Tamarindo are Villarreal, Santa Rosa, Garita Nueva, Hernández and San José de Pinilla
Playa Tamarindo is a long beach, with excellent waves near the mouth of the estuary. Currents can be strong, especially on a falling tide. Tamarindo has two main breaks for advanced surfers: Pico Pequeño a rocky point in front of the Hotel Tamarindo Diriá and the excellent river mouth break across from Cabinas Tsunami called El Estero. The rest of the beach breaks are perfect for learning. The biggest waves can get up to 12 feet, although only during November and December
The 1940s and 1950s saw a huge real estate boom in California, and developers soon began looking for the next great place in the sun. Bush pilots flew up and down the coasts of Mexico and Central America, searching for paradise. A 1962 study named the North Pacific coast of Costa Rica as the ideal place for the largest resort project in Central America. The Costa Rican government began laying plans to provide the infrastructure to accommodate an international resort, creating the Papagayo Project. In 1974, Daniel Oduber, President of Costa Rica, bought the land for Liberia Airport, (originally named Tomas Guardia airport and now called Daniel Oduber International Airport), although the airport did not really get going until 2002 when Delta began providing regular service between Atlanta and Liberia.
Don Pepe Figueres was elected to a third term in office in 1970, promising to bring more foreign investment to the country. He saw the potential in attracting retired foreigners to the country, and in 1971, Law 4812 was passed. The law established the Pensionado and Rentista Programs, providing tax incentives to retirees who were willing to relocate to Costa Rica. Retirees were not allowed to work, but the financial requirements were minimal, and the incentives generous - such as the right to import household goods and a vehicle duty free. Don Pepe established the ICT or Costa Rican Tourism Institute which ran the residency program and took on the task of attracting visitors to beautiful Costa Rica.
Until the 1970s the Nicoya Peninsula was an outpost of Costa Rica, mostly ignored by the central government and left to fend for itself. The coastlines were mostly uninhabited and what is now prime beachfront property was considered fairly useless, good only for grazing cattle. The incentives passed in 1973 to encourage foreigners to retire in Costa Rica created a market for beach development, and foreigners soon discovered the beautiful coastline of Guanacaste.
In 1977, the Maritime Terrestrial Zone was established in order to establish ownership of the first 200 meters of coastline. The first 50 meters from the high tide line was declared public property, and untitled property in the next 150 meters reverted to the state. The law allows the government to grant concessions for the occupation and use of the 150 meters Restricted Zone. With the ownership of these beachfront properties established, the stage was set for a major real estate boom.
For a long time, the Nicoya Peninsula was an isolated outpost, better known to foreigners than to Costa Ricans from the Central Valley. Boats from many countries moored in our bay: yachts and sailboats, cargo ships, long-line fishing boats, shrimp boats, even submarines. People still talk about the huge wooden sailboats from Europe, Colombia, Guatemala and Peru that visited our shores in the years between the opening of the Panama Canal and World War I - La Guerra del Kaiser Aleman. The boats were too large to moor in the shallow bay, so they dropped anchor out beyond the island.
Isla del Capitan is the name of the island just north of the point, at the entrance to Tamarindo Bay. The small island glistens in the sun; light reflecting off the shards of conch shells covering the sand beach. Legend has it that a shipwrecked captain swam here from his ship. They say the Captain’s ghost stalks the island, so no one dares to spend the night there. Strangely, the haunted island became the place to get married a few years back.
Guanacaste is often called the Chorotega region, named for the original inhabitants of this region. The Chorotega, whose name means “people surrounded by enemies” were driven by warfare from Mexico to the southern boundary of Central America’s dry Pacific lowland tropical forests, settling in Southern Nicaragua, Liberia and the Nicoya Peninsula. The Chorotega spoke a dialect of Nahuatl, an Uto-Aztecan language from Central Mexico. Many of the place names in our area, including “Guanacaste” (which means ear tree for the seed´s resemblance to a human ear) are Chorotegan. At the time of the conquest, the Chorotega were the largest and most technologically advanced tribe in the entire territory of Costa Rica.
The Chorotega lived in towns, some small and some as large as 20,000 inhabitants, all built around a central plaza. Their houses were rectangular, built of wood, with straw roofs. Towns also included religious temples and the Chorotega maintained a strong and influential caste of priests who presided at religious rituals as well as being competent astronomers and mathematicians. The Chorotega religion included human sacrifice, especially of enemies captured in battle, and they also practiced ritual cannibalism. The Chorotega had books made of deerskin, where they recorded the most important aspects of their way of life. Unfortunately none of these documents has been passed down to us; we know about them from the Spanish chronicles of the conquest.
Gil Gonzales Davila discovered the Nicoya Peninsula in 1522. He was the first Spaniard to visit the beautiful valley ruled by the Chorotegan Chief Diria. At the time of the conquest, the site of present-day Santa Cruz was one of the most populated areas in the region and remained large throughout the colonial period. (When the Nicoya Peninsula was annexed to Costa Rica in 1824, Santa Cruz had a bigger population than Nicoya or Liberia.)
January 1520. González presented his royal commission to the governor of Panama, authorizing him to examine the tax records of the colony of Panama and prepare the expedition for exploration of the Pacific coast of Central America. The governor, known as Pedrarias, was a cruel man who resented anyone else entering his territory. He inhibited Gonzalez's efforts to obtain seaworthy ships, supplies, and men for the expedition. Unable to acquire ships, González and his partner Niño constructed their own. They finally set sail on January 26, 1522, but were forced to land in western Panama after four days because of leaking ships. González disembarked with the main body of the army, and marched northwest along the coast. Niño, after making repairs, sailed along the coast until he reached a gulf along the Nicaraguan coast.
Near the Honduran border in southeastern Guatemala is the small market town of Esquipulas, an unlikely location for one of the finest colonial churches in America. The basilica houses a black Christ carved by Quirio Catano in 1594. The wooden statue miraculously survived a huge fire that destroyed the parish church, and devotion to the statue spread when prayers directed to Esquipulas were answered. Every January 15th, the town fills with pilgrims from all over Latin America, there to honor the Black Christ of Esquipulas on its feast day.
Devotion to the Black Christ unites Central America, and President Oscar Arias chose Esquipulas for the meeting of the 5 Central American presidents which began the peace process to end all the civil wars in our region. The Arias Peace Plan, signed in August of 1987, is also known as Esquipulas II (or the Guatemala accords).