The town’s name was derived from the indigenous Quepoa, a subgroup of the Boruca (Brunka), who inhabited the area at the time of the Spanish conquest. As with many indigenous populations across the region, the Quepoa were quickly decimated by newly introduced European diseases. By the end of the 19th century no unmixed Quepoa were left, and the area proceeded to be colonized by farmers from the highlands.
Quepos first came to prominence as a banana-exporting port in the early 20th century, though a huge bout of banana blight in the mid-20th century obliterated the industry. African oil palms, which currently stretch toward the horizon in dizzying rows around Quepos, soon replaced bananas as the major local crop, though unfortunately they generated a lot less employment for the locals.
The future, on the other hand, is looking bright for locals, as foreign visitors are coming to the Manuel Antonio area by the boatload, and more people means more jobs in the area’s thriving tourism industry. The opening of the Marina Pez Vela may also have profound effects on this humble town, though questions of sustainability and the need for balanced growth continue to be fiercely debated in the local media.