Conceptual design and feasibility study for a tourist development with an integrated real estate component along the Caribbean coast of Central America.

Different local hubs are positioned along the coasts of Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama in order to create an intraregional chain of places for Nautical Tourism, including activities such as recreational boating, marinas, cruises, water sports, marine wildlife tourism in marine parks, maritime history and education as well as associated land based components such as hotels, resorts, cafes and restaurants.

The term Nautical Tourism is rapidly increasing in popularity, the Mexican Ministry of Tourism defines it as follows: “It is important to realize that a tourism activity is not isolated or specific, but a conglomerate of many branches of a particular type of activity, of public administrations, infrastructure, and general complementary services. Nautical Tourism is a tourist product whose main characteristic to offer is the ocean. It is related with entertainment activities in contact with bodies of water, where many different nautical activities can take place, always with an ecological outlook and respect for nature.”

The Caribou project responds to our definition of an integral sustainable development. The integration of local communities in the construction, maintenance, and management of the individual hubs creates social sustainability. Furthermore, the development of the project allows for an improved infrastructure in its target areas regarding basic services like water, electricity, transport and communication. Economic sustainability is created by the positioning of the hubs in rural areas that have not yet been able to benefit from tourist development in Central America. The inclusion of the local communities creates employment and builds up capacities; the critical mass of the combined hubs enables an intraregional exchange and educational value for maritime wildlife protection, creating a win-win-win situation for the local inhabitants, the visiting tourists and the environment.

Further environmental sustainability is created by building with locally available and certified materials as well as working with the principles of a bioclimatic building design that responds to the individual target sites and their local climate. The positioning of the buildings and their diamond shaped structures create equal protection against rain, wind and sun. The facades are designed with modular sliding elements to protect the inhabitants from the elements, regulate cross ventilation or to provide openings for the main views of the surrounding landscape. Harvesting natural resources like biogas, solar energy and rainwater completes a reduced energy footprint that characterizes the overall development.


A Company (Oliver Schütte, Marije van Lidth de Jeude and José Pablo González) for a private client

Location: Central America

Status: Concept Design and Feasibility Study

Year: 2011