Since last weekend, Isla San Lucas opened up to receive visits from national and foreign tourists. Shops and tour operators have implemented the “Healthy Puntarenas Shield”, a badge given to tourists so they comply with hygiene and safety protocols against COVID-19, dengue, Zika and Chikungunya.
San Lucas Island opened its doors this weekend for tourist visits of cultural, historical and natural interest, through the San Lucas Island Reactivation Route.
Since Saturday, August 22, 2020, in strict adherence to health protocols, the starting signal was given to the first boat that set sail with the first group of tourists bound for the island.
The Government of the Republic defined the San Lucas Island Reactivation Route with the aim of generating a tourist destination that, in addition to enhancing the Puntarenas tourism industry, protects the natural characteristics of the island located in the Gulf of Nicoya.
The approximate investment of ¢ 324 million colones, by various institutions of the Government of the Republic, allowed the construction of trails, new sanitary services, a collection center, water pumping system, structural intervention of the priority heritage area and rehabilitation of the building of the old medical dispensary.
“We are very happy with the opening of San Lucas Island, which will add to the rehabilitation of the Gulf of Nicoya and the Port as a tourist destination. This project allows a better and more efficient development of the area and a generation of opportunities for its people, at the same time that we recover the cultural and historical heritage of one of the best-kept secrets of the Gulf of Nicoya,”said Claudia Dobles, First Lady of the Republic, and coordinator of the San Lucas Island Reactivation Route.
Promoting this project
Giving all the necessary material and logistical support are, among others, the ministries of Environment and Energy, Culture and Youth, National Planning and Economic Policy, as well as the Costa Rican Tourism Institute, the Costa Rican Institute of Pacific Ports, the Costa Rican Electricity Institute, Aqueducts and Sewers and the Puntarenas Tourism Promotion Board and the Puntarenas Chamber of Tourism.
Sylvie Durán, Minister of Culture and Youth, affirmed that “we are excited about the opening of the tourist visits to Isla San Lucas on the eve of the celebration of our bicentennial independence, as it will contribute to the reactivation of the port of Puntarenas and to take an experiential interest in our history with its lights and shadows.
National and foreign tourists can come to take a break and in addition to enjoying the traditional good ceviche and Churchill, and dishes from the new cuisine of San Luis, they can take a boat to San Lucas to know, explore, and experience different elements of our history “.
For his part, Juan Ramón Rivera, executive president of INCOP, emphasized that “the entire tourist sector in Puntarenas has consciously organized and prepared to comply with strict health protocols in each of its activities. Due to its proximity and economy, we know that San Lucas is the ideal destination for the Costa Rican family and that here in the Port, tourists can also always enjoy a wide range of experiences and destinations that, today more than ever, are so necessary for our welfare in the middle of the crisis”.
Unique tourist destination
The island, which is located in the Pacific, off the coast from the city of Puntarenas, functioned between 1873 and 1991 as a prison. One of the main tourist attractions on the island is hundreds of writings on the cell walls, as well as large drawings.
“The island of San Lucas is unique; there is no other in Costa Rica with its attributes: former prison colony, historical memory, archaeological and natural wealth, all a short distance from the coast. Tourism goes hand in hand with culture, for this reason we celebrate its opening”, said the Minister of Tourism, Gustavo Segura.
The island, declared a Wildlife Refuge since 2001, has beaches where at some point there was interest in building hotel complexes. San Lucas has a spectacular fauna: howler monkeys, spiders, squirrels, armadillos, pheasants, deer, bats, raccoons, anteaters, snakes, crocodiles, and many other species of reptiles and birds, in addition to hammerhead sharks, stingrays and turtles that live in the waters.
“We have always been convinced that San Lucas Island has all the potential to become the main tourist development pole in Puntarenas, due to its natural, cultural and historical wealth. Today we are seeing a dream come true, which was a struggle of many years and will mark a before and after,”said Marcela Muñoz, president of the Puntarenas Chamber of Tourism.
Information in QR code
San Lucas Island has sixteen points of QR codes, this makes it the first tourist destination with this technology in the country. Users, by scanning the code with their smartphones, will be able to find information on the history, flora, and fauna of each of the trails or architectural or natural sites on the island, and with this, they can have the option of a self-guided tour, as well photos and videos of the place.