San Lucas Island in Costa Rica once had the reputation for its notoriously brutal prison, as well as a wildlife refuge. After a huge makeover and rebranding, the island has a brand new identity as a a national park, the 30th of the country’s total parks.
San Lucas Island can be found off the Pacific coast of the gulf of Nicoya. It covers 1.8 miles and made up of coastal and land areas. The new amenities that visitors can enjoy include hiking trails, restrooms, electricity and running water systems, and 24-hour surveillance.
As reported by Lonely Planet, while visiting the island, visitors can expect to see a wide range of wildlife creatures including howler monkeys, deer, pheasants, as well as spiders and snakes. The former prison buildings are still there and can be visited as cultural heritage sites.
There are now 50 guides that are well-verse in the island’s history along with the history of the prison, which was actually founded by dictator Tomás Miguel Guardia Gutiérrez.
Costa Rica’s tourism minister Gustavo Segura Sancho shared with Lonely Planet: “San Lucas Island is part of Costa Rica’s history and heritage, so we are very pleased to reopen it as the country’s 30th national park. It will greatly surprise visitors looking for quieter spots when on holiday.”
The island can be reached via a boat ride that is about 40 minutes long and begins in the city of Puntarenas, which is about 60 miles from capital San José. San Lucas Island is the second biggest national park in the region, second only to Coco Island National Park.
The new park was created in order to help bring visitors and help them discover the many hidden gems to be found there. It also creates an opportunity for sustainable tourism and helping improve socioeconomic development of the region.