Known to be a world-class sportfishing port, Quepos is a small town located in the Central Pacific Region of Costa Rica. Downtown Quepos is a charming six-block town of restaurants, bars,hotels, bakeries, art galleries and gift shops, surrounded by tropical forest on one side and the new Pez Vela Marina and the Pacific Ocean on the other side.
The town’s name derives from the name of the pre-colonial indigenous tribe that inhabited the area before colonization, the Quepoas. Little is known about the Quepoa natives, but according to historians, their population was around 1000 individuals (some sources state it was actually 1000 families) when the Spaniard Don Gil Gonzalez Davila first explored the area in 1522, and they survival was based in agriculture and fishing. In 1563, the Spanish conquistador Juan Vazquez de Coronado was able to make an alliance with the tribe’s ruler at the time, the cacique (chief) Corrohore, and helped him rescue her sister Dulcehe, who had been abducted by a neighboring indigenous tribe called the Coctos. This alliance created a good relationship between the natives and the Spanish conquerors.
A Franciscan mission was later established in 1570 near the Naranjo River, to evangelize the Quepoas. During the colony the natives where concentrated in an area called “San Bernardino de Quepo” which was a Spanish “corregimiento” or district. The Spanish governors exploited and abused the natives, also spreading unknown diseases, thus abruptly reducing the Quepoa population. By 1600, there were only 250 Quepoas left in the area; and by 1659 there were only 18 of them.
The first costarrican settlers reached the area in the late 1800. There were no roads at the time, and the only way to travel to Quepos was by sea, from the port of Puntarenas, or by horse from the Perez Zeledon area. Around 1930, the United Fruit Company began purchasing land in the Central Pacific for mass banana plantations. They built a railroad, roads, offices, hospitals and workshops in the area, finally settling their main quarters and building a dock and breakwater in the town of Quepos around 1940. All this development drew in many more settlers and Quepos became a port city.
In 1950 the Panama Disease wiped out most of the banana plantations. The land is from that time and to date dedicated to African Palm plantations used to produce oil and its byproducts. Used to work for and communicating with American and European employers, local settlers soon found another opportunity for economical development, as more and more international tourists discovered the natural beauty of the area. Hotels, restaurants and all kinds of tourism-oriented businesses began sprouting all over town, especially after the foundation of the Manuel Antonio National Park in 1972. Since then,tourism is the main economical activity in Quepos and Manuel Antonio.
The banana exporting history also helped boost another commercial activity in Quepos, as the port facilities once used to send the bananas across the world where also useful to service an ever growing sportfishing fleet. In 2010 the brand new, world class Marina Pez Vela began operating, making this an even more complete destination for sportfishing enthusiasts.
Quepos is quite cosmopolitan for such a small town. Visitors from all over the world have fallen in love with the area over the years, many of them have decided to stay and give yet more color and flavor to the local population. Many local businesses are owned an operated by expats; which allows you to find food, music and costumes from all cultural backgrounds; anything from an Italian deli to a sushi bar.
The best way to enjoy the picturesque town of Quepos and its beautiful surroundings is from your very own private vacation rental home. Take a look at the many options available in our Properties page.