The Daniel Oduber Airport in Guanacaste recently announced that in the last two years, they have seized more than 2,000 kilos (4,400 pounds) of sea shells. Travelers take them from the country’s beaches, causing damage to marine ecosystems since the shells provide food and a home for some animals and plants. In addition, they help control soil erosion.
We wondered what other seizures have caught the attention of airport authorities? The captain of the Air Surveillance Service Administration, Otto Arrieta, welcomed us at the airport and showed us some of the most curious ones. Here are four:
On one occasion, security checkpoint X-rays revealed moving cloth bags. Opening the luggage, they found several reptiles, including lizards, Madagascar ground boas (Acrantophis madagascariensis) and tree boas (Corallus ruschenbergerii).
Sets of teeth
Can you imagine a tooth the size of a sheet of notebook paper? That’s how big one of the teeth was that they confiscated from a person who was going to leave the country. The pieces were from a megalodon, an extinct shark. What the Air Surveillance Service (Spanish acronym: SVA) couldn’t confirm is if they were extracted from Costa Rica or if they were brought from another country.
It’s unusual to think that lipstick, a brush, or what looks like handcrafted artwork could cause death. For some travelers, this is a way of hiding their weapons.
Some people fall in love with Guanacaste’s culture and history. Out of ignorance or malice, they may try to illegally take indigenous pieces that are part of regional history, such as this ancient metate.