Client stories

JLL delivers destination planning, feasibility for new Costa Rican green resort

International developer hires JLL to assess potential for sustainable resort


3,000 acre holding


Preserving the untouched, natural coastline and jungle while elevating the Costa Rican pura vida lifestyle experience


Guanacaste Province of Costa Rica

JLL was retained by a private client for their site at Costa Elena in the Guanacaste Province of Costa Rica to assess the potential of an integrated green resort on their 3,000 acre holding. The client had worked on this parcel for 15 years to assemble and bring this rare untouched, authentic Costa Rican opportunity to the market. JLL’s role was to assess the market and determine current and future positioning for the development. In addition, JLL completed market demand work and financial feasibility with full pro forma development and potential investment models to seek investor partners for the ownership group.

Client Vision

To develop a once in a lifetime integrated luxury experience that embodied the Costa Rican setting and lifestyle in a protected and preserved setting. The client desired all of this while ensuring the essence of the raw Costa Rican jungle stayed preserved. JLL’s work ensured that this development could be achieved with the vast majority of the land (90+%) remaining untouched and preserved as a valuable natural resource.

Market Research

JLL worked with the client to understand the aspirations of the project and completed a comprehensive assessment of the potential market for the development. This included market research on:

- International travel trends

- Costa Rica’s tourism positioning

- High Net Worth and Luxury travel segment trends and growth forecasts

- Adventure travel segment and growth trends

- Cultural travel segment and growth trends

- Second home purchasing trends and demographics of resort residence buyers

- Luxury hotel brand comparable projects

- Luxury hotel residences integration in resort development

- Spending capacity and interests of potential buyer markets

JLL’s team conducted this research to understand the market potential and refine the potential product recommendations for development. Additionally, as part of the market research effort, JLL conducted interviews with luxury travel buyers and planners to assess trends and get qualitative feedback on the opportunity. Further, JLL conducted interviews with luxury hotel brand representatives to gauge interest and understand their perspective on the Costa Rican market.

Stakeholder Engagement

Part of the work included ensuring input for Costa Rican officials and partners. JLL interviewed representatives from the Costa Rican Tourism Ministry, Guanacaste Airport officials, Costa Rican Investment Promotion Agency, and many more in this process to insight on country and regional priorities for consideration. This included conversations on infrastructure investment, airlift and promotion strategies to ensure alignment with the potential development.

Additionally, JLL conducted site visits and interviews with other major developments in the country to gauge their feedback on the market, ensure distinction in positioning and gain from their past learnings on market maturation.

Resort Positioning

Based on this work, JLL made recommendations on the size, scale and positioning of the potential development. This included multiple hotels, residences and experiences. Our recommendations were incredibly well received by the client due to the significant market research effort. Our team’s recommendations were turned into revenue generating business case in the next phase of work.

Financial Modeling

Leveraging the research and competitive insights, JLL created a comprehensive financial model for revenue generation and expense of the operation. Our pro forma development was dynamic as several models created for the client’s review and consideration based on a series of operational and investment strategies. Our financial modeling while layered, was seamless to guide the client to consider the best strategic option for them and make recommendations about the return on investment and subsequently determined market strategy. Our research and financial modeling ensured the client’s investment was not only a secure one, but delivered 25% returns and insulted them from further risk.

Market Strategy

JLL made recommendations to the client for a go to market strategy to secure a JV partner based on our relationships with key investors, developers and brands. The client endorsed these recommendations and was highly satisfied with the direction.


This work was done immediately post pandemic and before interest rates began to rise significantly. The client’s implementation phase is still underway. The client was highly satisfied with JLL’s comprehensive work on this complex project. 

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