Tourists and vendors take advantage of the rest area near the Puente Amistad on the Río Tempisque.
The Puente Tempisque Amistad Taiwan or Tempisque Friendship Taiwan Bridge is much more than just that.
The viewing area is a place for tourists to take pictures, and motorists can see hundreds of people gazing at the structure as if it was one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
Over the weekend, vendors were everywhere selling local goodies like snow cones, fruit slices, barbequed meats and the like. Little tour boats were taking loads of people on the river to look under the span. The bridge is beautiful but is not gigantic in comparison to other bridges of the world.
A bus had broken down on the Nicoya Peninsula side of the Río Tempique, and some local people were quick to hitchhike and talk about the bridge.
All agreed on how happy they were that the link to San José was open and how it had changed their lives. Before the bridge opened, work was hard to find and many people were said to be having a hard time making ends meet. A ferry connected the east and west bank of the river, but the trip sometimes took several hours when traffic was heavy.
Now it all made sense, the super-structure over the river is much more than just a passageway. It is like Marco Polo opening the trade routes on the Silk Road to the orient or Christopher Columbus conquering the seas to establish new markets in the West Indies.
This simple connection donated by Taiwan is changing Guanacaste. There is all kinds of new construction in Nicoya. The streets are as if they were in an old gold rush western town. The beach communities of Sámara and Nosara are revitalized after a downturn in real estate sales in the area. The bridge cost ¢10.1 billion ($26.1 million) and was a gift from the Taiwanese government. This amount of money is nothing compared to the new commerce and increase in property values this shortcut brings.
Some people obviously have done their homework, probably the benefactors of this wonderful present. The Chinese and especially the Taiwanese have been extensive investors in Costa Rica for many years. Their foresight, learned from thousands of years of history, allow them to plan generations into the future and they must know this 100-year bridge will provide for an explosion of growth for years to come.
As San José has turned from a little city into almost a metropolitan area with many new malls opening in the past few years, Guanacaste too is now about to burst into something a lot of old timers do not want to see: Crowded beaches, too much construction and higher prices. The 50-year-old writer of this article remembers when he was 18 and could go to a beach that had not been walked on for months by another.
On the other hand, many more tourists and Costa Ricans will be able to enjoy the natural beauty of the country, and businesses will thrive, giving more people work and the country economic success.
If you are in Costa Rica or planning to visit soon, the trip from San José to Guanacaste via the new Tempisque Friendship Taiwan Bridge is recommended. Tourists can take lots of pictures so someday they can reflect back on the time when they went to Costa Rica’s Pacific Region before progress took over.