Costa Rica has recently welcomed its 30th national park: San Lucas Island, located off the Pacific coast of the Gulf of Nicoya. The purpose of the new park is to develop sustainable tourism as well as contributing to the socio-economic development of the area. Costa Rica’s protected areas now encompass more than 28% of its land mass.

Previously a Wildlife Refuge, San Lucas Island National Park is made up of both land and coastal areas and covers 1.8 square miles. Howler monkeys, spiders, snakes, deer and pheasants are some of the wildlife that can be found on the island.

With an investment of over £224,000, the new national park now features new trails, toilets, water and electricity systems and 24-hour surveillance. Over 50 tourist guides have been trained to show the historical island, which served as a prison until 1991.

San Lucas Island is easily accessible by a 40-minute boat ride from the city of Puntarenas, located 60 miles away from San José, Costa Rica’s capital city.

A joint effort between the public and private sectors, San Lucas Island National Park is part of the objectives of the Costa Rica Tourism Board (ICT) of developing new tourism products to encourage visitors to discover the country’s hidden gems.

Gustavo Segura Sancho, Costa Rica’s Tourism Minister, said: “San Lucas Island is part of Costa Rica’s history and heritage, so we are very pleased to re-open it as the country’s 30th national park. It will greatly surprise visitors looking for quieter spots when on holiday”.

San Lucas Island is the second national park in the region of Puntarenas - the first being Coco Island National Park. The last protected area that was declared a national park was in July 2019, when Miravalles Volcano National Park-Jorge Manuel Dengo became Costa Rica’s 29th national park.