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Motor Vehicle Restrictions on the Ostional Refuge
Law and Order: A Conflict Within

By Pinar Istek

Seeing people riding their motor vehicles on Guiones Beach is not news to anyone. The news is though, whoever, including civilians and officers, doing so is violating the transit law of Costa Rica as well as the regulations on the use of Ostional Wildlife Refuge.

Guiones Beach is part of Ostional Wildlife Refuge. According to the regulations by MINAE (Ministry of Energy and Telecommunications) for the use of this refuge, motor vehicles are prohibited from entering the beach. Also, the transit law of Costa Rica bans motor vehicles on the beaches, in general.

According to Biologist Laura Brenes, chief of MINAE Ostional office, "No vehicles are allowed on the beach, not even the police vehicles. We (MINAE officers) have to park our truck on the entrance of the Nosara river mouth and walk to the mangroves to check if there is any problem there." These regulations, which are intended to protect the wildlife in the area, are being violated almost every day by the motorcycles.

Limited access to insecure spots of the beach. Since the beginning of 2011, in less than three months, there have been 19 cases of robbery on Guiones Beach and around it. Four of these cases were reported to be on the beach.

Raul Obando Guademos, an officer from the Nosara Tourist Police, says that the point that is close to the creek before the crossing to Pelada Beach is considered to be an unsafe spot on Guiones. It is one of the remote spots, where there aren't many people. This part of the beach, where there are more paths going into the bushes, offers many ways for the offenders to escape.

Also the parking lots in front of Guiones, where many car break-ins take place, are two other locations that require extra attention to one's belongings.


On the other hand the problem isn't only with thieves. Officer Guademos said "It is also people are not very careful. Ideally people should not take valuable belongings to the beach but if they do, they should go in groups. While one swims, another one should take care of their stuff."

There are cases where people still get robbed even in the presence of a second person watching their stuff. What to do then?

Giving Tamarindo Beach lifeguards as an example, officer Guademos said that having lifeguards or implementing smaller stations on certain parts of the beach could be a great help. But not having enough personnel is always a problem for the Nosara Tourist Police.

Agnes Pinherio, the president of Nosara Security Association, commented, "There should be an agreement with MINAE or at a government level. It is a matter of security, but allowing police to enter the beach on their vehicle would cause more conflict. People probably wouldn't grasp the point that this decision that is for their own security even though it would violate the rules."

While three other visitors, George Canzoneri, Adam Dodge and Andrew Berlin came up with the idea of having police with bicycles, Natalie Kammer, another visitor, said "They can have police that walk the beach. I wouldn't say for them to have vehicles on the beach if it's a refuge. That's the beauty. Be a little more proactive instead of waiting for something to happen.''

Additionally, Marcel Schaerer, the President of Nosara Civic Association, said "I am supporting the idea to have this beach watched. I am really in favor."

Increasing the police presence without creating more conflict in relation to the refuge could be a solution. However, as visitor Andrew Berlin said "Crime happens when you don't see it. There is no confrontational theft. They will just wait for the cops to leave." Yet, having the beach watched would still be deterrent at least for some of the thieves.

Not being able to take their vehicle to reach the scene is a restriction on police action. And the officers get frustrated from these limitations that comes from the law itself. Victor Muñoz, an officer from Nosara Tourist Police, said "We are trying to do our job, which is maintaining the law and order. However, sometimes it is difficult."


More Regional News

Paving the Road to Nosara is Going at a Snail's Pace

In 2007 Karla González, then Minister of Transportation, made the commitment to pave the 28 Kilometers that separate Samara from Nosara road, On each July 25 since then, former President Oscar Arias and now current President Laura Chinchilla have come carrying the same commitment to Nicoya's park when celebrating the anniversary of the Anexión del Partido de Nicoya. More >

Found Surfboard of the Lost Surfer
All the searches will continue until eight days after the incident reported

The surfboard of Álvaro Durán Ribas has been found on Friday between 6 and 7 p.m, which was around the same time when Ribas went missing. It was found with a broken leach by a Nosara resident and delivered to the tourist police on Monday afternoon, April 25, 2011. Investigation about the time gap between the appearance of the board and its delivery to the tourist police still continues by the Judicial Investigation Organization. More >

Semana Santa Heats Up as Ticos and Foreigners head to Samara Beach
Controversial Jet Skis Come to the Rescue of Stranded Vacationers

The week started off slow, but by Wednesday afternoon tourists started to flood Samara, taking advantage of Semana Santa vacation time to enjoy the beach. Alejandra Flores, whose family owns Bungalow's Casa Valeria, said she was frightened at the beginning of the week but by Wednesday afternoon things picked up and then changed totally. Now the hotel is full of guests, about half of which are Ticos and half foreigners. More >

Ministry of Health Closed Nosara Police Station
Security Committee requests continued community support for police

The Nosara police suddenly found themselves with their hands tied on Thursday, April 14 when the Ministry of Health closed the entrance to the station and restricted them from receiving anyone in the building. Jose Mora Gomez, Nosara police chief, said they were given five working days to either appeal the decision or move out of the station completely. More >

Nicoya’s Ministry of Health will Close the Nosara Dump
Destination of the Trash Remains Unknown

After a long pause of silence during an interview about the future of the Nosara dump, Marco Jimenez, the mayor of Nicoya county said, “In Nicoya, all the districts are lead by a mayor. He is not God. He is a mayor. We don’t have all the solutions in hand, just like that. Only God has them.” More >

Teen Moms

Phone calls after phone calls for days…All anxiously made on both sides of the phone line. Talking to a neighbor first, talking to her parents, and then talking to another relative… Multiple phone calls with the same person... Each one of them suspiciously questions us, trying to understand if we were from the court or social services. Finally, a contact was set with a 15 year old girl who is a mother of a 4 month-old baby. More >

Business Patents Under Review in
Samara and Nosara

The Nicoya Municipality is slowly examining business patents in the canton, starting in the coastal areas of Samara and Nosara. More >

Mayor Shuts Down Artisan Market in Samara
Battle over Samara property's maritime zone concession resulted in aggression

Alongside the entrance to the beach in Samara, across from the police delegation and in front of the school, artisans sold their colorful crafts to tourists and passersby. However, that changed on Wednesday, March 23, when the new mayor, Marcos Jimenez, along with delegates from the Municipality arrived in the morning to shut down commercial activities in the maritime zone property, More >

Hopes Not Too High for Holy Week Tourism
Southern Guanacaste Receives Fewer Tourists Than Other Regions of Costa Rica

Traditionally each year the beaches fill with people during Holy Week, which this year begins April 17th. However, local hotel owners seem cautious in their expectations for any boost in tourism and very little is being done to market or promote local tourism along the coast of southern Guanacaste, which includes Nosara, Samara and Carrillo. More >

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