IAAPA News - Event Preview - March 2018


The theme of IAAPA Latin American Summit 2018 is "Entertainment, naturally," and this year will be the first time the event is hosted by Central America.

IAAPA Latin American Summit Makes Its Way to Costa Rica

by Juanita Chavarro Arias

For the first time, IAAPA Latin American Summit travels to Central America, bringing together attractions industry leaders to explore the vibrant attractions and exciting entertainment offerings in San Jose, Costa Rica, April 17-19.

A popular tourist destination in the region, Costa Rica offers visitors colorful landscapes, exotic jungles, dynamic amusement parks, inspiring museums, and historical sites. During this annual education and networking event, attendees will come across these features while connecting with Latin American leaders, exchanging ideas with industry colleagues, and discovering best practices from attractions and entertainment locations unique to San Jose.

Representing its theme “Entertainment, naturally,” the three-day event fuses presentations from senior attractions executives with facility tours for a holistic experience that immerses attendees in Costa Rican culture and showcases the operations and history behind thriving area attractions.

During the summit’s opening ceremony, attendees will be welcomed by Costa Rica Minister of Tourism Mauricio Ventura, who will speak on what makes Costa Rica unique and how it presents itself to the world, specifically through Esencial Costa Rica, the brand to promote the country’s tourism, exports, culture, and more. The event will also feature a celebration of IAAPA’s centennial, presenting a retrospective of the association’s first 100 years and the role the Latin American industry and its leaders have played in its evolution. Additionally, the summit’s first day includes a networking lunch and a presentation from Hernán Martínez, CEO of the Oxígeno Project.

Here is a look at some of the facilities IAAPA Latin American Summit 2018 will visit:


Founded in December 1981, Parque Diversiones maintains its mission of providing a world of fantasy, fun, and excellence in service to its guests, while generating revenue to support the National Children’s Hospital. The park is owned by the Asociación Pro-Hospital Nacional de Niños, a private nonprofit organization, and has 24 rides, four water attractions, two trains, a playground area, a gaming area, restaurants, and shops. The facility tour will end with a traditional dinner in Pueblo Antiguo, a themed area full of history and tradition with replicas of San Jose buildings from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.


Simón Bolívar Zoo and Botanical Gardens

With 101 years of history, the Simón Bolívar Zoo and Botanical Gardens continues its support of environmental education and research programs, preservation of flora and fauna species, and the rescue of wildlife. Since 1994, it has been managed by the Pro Zoological Foundation (FUNDAZOO), which has established programs of veterinary medicine, animal nutrition, biology, botany, and conservation. One of its main features is being the only forest in the center of San Jose with about 350 individuals from 40 different species living in the park. Dozens of animal species use the forest ecosystem and lagoon as their home or migration stop. The visit will begin with a luncheon, where attendees can network with fellow industry members.


Café Britt

Almost 1 million coffee lovers from around the world have embarked on the Café Britt Coffee Tour since 1991. Through a colorful journey that takes visitors from a sustainable coffee plantation to a roastery, guests enjoy a presentation about the history and culture of coffee in Costa Rica. Grupo Britt’s history has been one made up of constant innovation in its business and products that range from its coffee tour tourist attraction to airport concept stores.

The Children's Museum offers interactive exhibits and activities focused on special topics, such as culture, animals, electricity, and recycling. (Credit: MUSEO DE LOS NIÑOS 
The Children’s Museum and Penitentiary Museum

The Children’s Museum is not a traditional museum; rather, it encourages children and their families to learn by playing and interacting with exhibits. The museum is part of the Costa Rican Center of Science and Culture and is located in the “Castle of Dreams,” formerly the Central Penitentiary of San Jose. The site covers an area of ​​more than 4,000 square meters and houses the National Auditorium and the Penitentiary Museum, which showcases more than 100 years of the iconic building’s history. The Children’s Museum was the first of its kind in Central America when it was established in 1994, and it is currently the only 100 percent interactive museum in the country. It welcomes more than 300,000 visitors annually, making it the most visited museum in Costa Rica.

La Paz Waterfall Gardens

La Paz Waterfall Gardens is home to some of the best trails near San Jose and the most famous waterfalls in Costa Rica. Complete with an animal sanctuary and private wildlife reserve with more than 100 species of animals, it is Costa Rica’s most visited private ecological attraction. The gardens’ attractions include five waterfalls, a cloud forest, a rainforest, a butterfly observatory and laboratory, a hummingbird garden, and the chance to see two-toed sloths, capuchin monkeys, jaguars, frogs, and more. The summit program will conclude at the gardens with a lunch on-site.

1803_assn_la_summit18_sidebarSummit Experience Continues on the Post Tour

Following IAAPA Latin American Summit 2018, attendees can take part in the summit’s Post Tour, April 19-21. There will be plenty of sightseeing, activities, and adventure, as tour stops include zip lining at Costa Rica Sky Adventures and rowing on the Peñas Blancas River.