Marc Pontbriant, a pillar of the Jaco nightclub, entertainment and real estate scene has passed away, much to the surprise of the many friends and family members who knew and loved him. His death is being considered a suicide unofficially; the American Embassy and the OIJ are withholding confirmation until his family has been notified. Pontbriant’s business associates and close friends are stunned by the news. Jaco is grieving.
News of Pontbriant’s disappearance began to trickle out on social media two days ago. Friends began calling each other looking for him, a notice went out on Facebook, friends drove along the road to his house looking to see if he had driven off the road. Some stood on the beach he loved, staring out at the ocean, wondering if he had been caught up by a riptide and taken out to sea. The truth of his demise is sadder – it seems he could just not find the strength to go on any longer.
Pontbriant, nicknamed “Gringo Feo” by his friends, grew up in Plymouth, MA. He was a big, muscular guy with tattoos, and a warm and infectious smile. He attended Fordham University in New York City on a football scholarship, graduating in 1995. After college, he started his own corporate service business in Central Massachusetts. The company “Pro-Tec” developed quickly and successfully. Pontbriant eventually sold the company to a Fortune 500 company operating in some 36 countries across the globe.
In 2005, Pontbriant came to Costa Rica on a two-week vacation. He fell in love with the country – as have so many young entrepreneurs – and the vacation extended to six weeks, then two months later he relocated to Jaco. He rolled out several successful and high-energy businesses in Costa Rica: Costa Rica Choppers, Jungle Creek of Manuel Antonio, Monkey Bar in Jaco, and his best-known, Costa Rica Gurus. The slogan for Costa Rica Gurus is “It’s time to change your latitude”, and Pontbriant helped people change both their latitude and attitude with his enthusiasm for Costa Rica and the Tico lifestyle.
Columnist of The Costa Rica Star Britt Nelson, a longtime friend of Pontbriant commented, “Marc was one of those guys that people looked up to. He was one of Jaco’s most colorful individuals. He was a good businessman, friend to all and animal lover. He was the only guy I knew that actually climbed Costa Rica’s tallest mountain (Chirripo). Anyone that knew Marc will never forget this big gentle man. We will never know the reasons why Marc left us but we will honor his memory with quiet dignity and much respect.”
There has been an uptick in suicides in Costa Rica in recent years. 2018 saw a 7.9 per 100k suicide rate, placing Costa Rica in 84th place for suicides globally. This is for a country often dubbed The Happiest Country on Earth.
The Jaco community is meeting over the weekend to discuss plans for a memorial service for their beloved Gringo Feo. RIP.
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