In Costa Rica, the gloomy prison island of San Lucas was changed into tourist heaven with a natural playground and crazy beaches.
Not far from the shore of the Gulf of Nicoya, on the Pacific coast, the island of San Lucas was before today infamous for its prison that operated from 1873 till 1991.
The prison had been categorized as a national legacy in 1995, and also the island declared a nature reserve in 2001.
This season, San Lucas has discovered a new fate by opening tourists.
The prison island was rehabilitated with avenues allowing hikers to detect its exquisite flora and fauna, although the older penitentiary was fitted out to welcome people.
Costa Rican First Lady, Claudia Dobles was at the forefront of this undertaking, with an entire budget of two million euros.
“San Lucas is a stunning, cultural, historic, architectural location (with) shores, biodiversity… It’s the best-kept treasure at the Pacific,” states Rican.
At the beginning of its 117-years as a prison center, San Lucas was utilized to prison politicians deemed”undesirable” by the then military government of President Tomas Guardia (1870-1876 and 1877-1882).
The institution then became a high-security prison in which the most violent offenders in the country were also held.
Among its famous offenders, that the Costa Rican author José Leon Sanchez, was held at the prison for ten years in which he wrote the autobiographical book, “The Isle of postwar Men”, published in 1963.
Prisoners frequently left unattended on the walls. 1 inmate demonstrated his enthusiasm for soccer by drawing on a participant wearing the Brazilian yellow jersey.
Due to their similar histories, the Costa Rican government intends to hit a twinning deal with Alcatraz Prison Island, whose menacing shape stands out from San Francisco Bay, California.
In the bend of those trails which run throughout the 500 hectares of San Lucas, you may observe the remains of their very first prison quarters at the center of the woods, that’s the home to numerous creatures.
“Here we find excellent biodiversity”, states Giovany Mora, a forest ranger who has worked on the island for 14 decades.
For the time being, tourism around the older island-prison is restricted to weekends and for just 3 rotations daily.
Despite those limitations, 920 individuals visited the island in August, nearly all Costa Ricans.