Manuel Antonio National Park has been officially reopened by the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Telecommunications after a successful week of hard work to clear the debris left after last Tuesdays storm.
In a statement released Monday, Carlos Vinico Cordero, the Regional Director of ACOPAC, (Area de Conservacion Pacifico Central) announced the national park will be in operation as of 7 a.m. Tuesday. The main access to the park, via Sendero Perezoso is open and access points 2 and 3 to the beach have also been secured.
This is welcomed news for hotels and businesses in the area. A week after many tourists vacated Manuel Antonio after the severe weather warnings, the reopening of the national park is an indication of the beginning of a return to normality for the popular tourist hotspot.
Though a significant amount of trees were uprooted and properties were damaged, no fatalities were reported.
With winds reaching up to 100 kilometers per hour, the storm hit Manuel Antonio and Quepos late Tuesday, knocking out the electricity supply to most of the area and leaving 7000 local residents and hotels without power. Over the past week, an estimated 200 strong crew from ICE were brought in to return power to the area including the Manuel Antonio National Park.
Vinicio also thanked the support given by the association of local guides who helped to clear footpaths. Over twenty five local guides and tour operators have put in lengthy ten hour shifts over a period of five days.
Government experts from SINAC (Sistema Nacional de Areas y Conservacion) visited the park on Monday to assess the feasibility of reopening. An official report is due to be released from SINAC detailing the current conditions of the footpaths.
Vinicio noted that the weather damage has been considerable with other footpaths requiring more extensive and specialized reparation. Access to these areas in the national park have been restricted and are only permitted with a national park ranger. “As there are less tourists arriving during this season, it will give us an opportunity to complete the necessary works,” Vinicio added.
Additionally, The Aguirre Chamber of Commerce thanked the local community and government institutions for their participation in the extensive cleanup efforts. Over the past week the community has worked hard to clear the area of debris with much of their efforts being focused on the Manuel Antonio National Park which bore the brunt of the destruction.With over 300,000 visitors a year the Manuel Antonio National Park is the most visited in Costa Rica. The community depends greatly on the revenue generated from tourism. Recognizing the importance of an accessible and secure access to the national park, local businesses and residents have united in a joint effort to clear the area.