Costa Rica Turns its Prison Island into a National Park

Costa Rica Turns its Prison Island into a National Park
The former brutal prison is now a heritage site , Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Inhabited by howler monkeys and pheasants, one can indulge in the history of a former prison island at this place, and be surrounded by rich wildlife

OT Staff
September 19 , 2020
01 Min Read

The picturesque San Lucas island has been designated Costa Rica’s 30th national park. Once home to a notoriously brutal prison, the island located off the Pacific Coast of the Gulf of Nicoya is now a wildlife refuge.

The newly recognised national park covers 4.6 sq. km of both land and coastal areas. As per the newest of services available, visitors can find freshly minted hiking trails, toilets, 24-hour surveillance, and systems for electricity and water, unlike in its earlier days.


The wild inhabitants of the island include howler monkeys, spiders, snakes, deer, and pheasants. All is not forgotten here, as visitors can also explore former prison buildings which have been preserved with over 50 trained guides to help guests learn about the island and the history of the prison founded by the dictator Tomás Miguel Guardia Gutiérrez.

“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," Gustavo Segura Sancho, Costa Rica’s tourism ministers says. "It will greatly surprise visitors looking for quieter spots when on holiday.”

San Lucas Island National Park lies a 40-minute boat ride away from the city of Puntarenas, located 96 km from San José. With Puntarenas hosting Coco Island National Park, San Lucas will be the second largest park in the region.

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