The island of San Lucas houses the remains of one of the most notorious prisons in the history of Costa Rica, and now it has been turned into a national park and tourist attraction.
Located in the Gulf of Nicoya, San Lucas functioned as a detention center between 1873 and 1991. Abandoned for several years since the prison closed, the island was opened last August for the visit of tourists.
“San Lucas is a spectacular destination; it has culture, history, architecture, beaches, biodiversity. It is the best-kept treasure in the Pacific”, declared the first lady, Claudia Dobles.
In the 117 years that it served as a prison, San Lucas was initially a place to confine “undesirable politicians” for the government of the then military ruler, Tomás Guardia. When walking the trails that cross the 500 hectares of the place, the remains of the first buildings to confine inmates can be seen in the middle of the forest.
San Lucas only receives visitors on weekends, which enter in three shifts of a maximum of 40 people, for now without the possibility of overnight.