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Effect on Tourism in the Coast Should Be Minimal

By Arianna McKinney
with reports from Emiliana Garcia and Giordano Ciampini

Optimism abounds as people in Samara and Nosara have assessed damages caused by the 7.6 magnitude earthquake on Wednesday, September 5th with the epicenter in Cangrejal of Samara. Some have commented that it was fortunate that the earthquake happened during the day since injuries and structural damages were minimal. Add to that list that the earthquake happened during low season for tourism, minimizing potential economic losses for the tourism sector as well.

Recent arrivals to Nosara for a touristic visit, John Gillfillan and Lollie Solomon, were not terribly concerned about the situation.

In Samara, Marco Carmona, president of CASATUR, Samara's chamber of tourism, predicted that tourism will be affected this month but afterward everything will return to normal.  He pointed out that only constructions that weren’t well built were affected.  The hotel where he works only had damage to two porches of two of the villas and some tiles fell from the restaurant.

Marianela Araya Baltodano, assistant at Alamo Car Rental, confirmed that a few people have canceled car reservations for this month and tourists have shied away from the area during the few days after the earthquake; however the cancelations have been very few. 

On the other hand, Miguel Gomez, owner of a local restaurant and cabins, noted that some area business owners are not in an economic situation to be able to endure if tourism is low for four or five months.  Nevertheless, he acknowledged that it is fortunate that the earthquake happened during the day and during low season, minimizing the impact.      

While the quake shook Nosara town as well as tourist destinations in Pelada and Guiones beaches, the effects of Wednesday's quake on local businesses and hotels has also been minimal.

Marine turtles keep coming to Ostional

Local resto, The Gilded Iguana, is actually hard up for space in the height of the low season. “I've had a load of previous guests email to make sure we're okay, but I don't know if it's just a coincidence, but we're receiving more reservations now than in August,” said owner Joellen Hughes.

Reports from the Giardino Tropicale Hotel, Mango Properties Rentals, Hotel L’acqua Viva and Harmony Hotel said that everything was okay in their buildings and not cancellation has been made

“The building where we are is fine and in good condition,” said Diana Solano, administrator of Nosara Travel. “Considering that it's low season, people who are coming over Christmas are asking how things are, but we're not experiencing any reservations being cancelled.”

“We need to realize that it's nature and there's not much we can do about it,” she advised.

Things with the surf photography company Nosara Shack seem to be returning to normal, as they posted on their Facebook page that the “sand bars in Guiones look great! Maybe due to the entire beach now located a little higher off the ground but we're not complaining.”

Recent arrivals to Nosara for a touristic visit, John Gillfillan and Lollie Solomon, were not terribly concerned about the situation. Gillfillan, a former Los Angeles native has previously experienced severe earthquakes.

“As long as your house doesn't fall down, I feel like things go back to normal very quickly,” he said.

“We were actually getting on our plane when the news of the earthquake broke,” said Solomon. “All these TV's had 'Nosara' on the headlines, we had no idea what it was like but we looked at each other and said 'isn't that where we're going to be in three days?'”

Although the couple received some mixed opinions about coming to the area, they opted not to get sidelined, and instead trust in the situation, in a true show of the Pura Vida mentality. “We called our hotel to make sure everything was alright, and they said they didn't have any problems. I feel like it's fine now,” Solomon said. “Apart from the road being closed from Nicoya to Samara, having to detour through Santa Cruz, we didn't have many issues getting here.”

Their advice to wary travellers? “Once you get here, it's worth it.”

Yoga enthusiasts will be happy to know that the Nosara Yoga Institute will be accepting students scheduled to come for November training, Jeannette Vargas Ramirez, in charge of reservations, told VON.

Blue Spirit's yoga retreat also came through the earthquake, albeit with minor damage, according to their management assistant, Eduard Aviles.

“On Saturday (September 8th), engineers from the National Institute of Safety came and told us that the damage was superficial,” he said. “They told us that the foundation did not suffer damage. Blue Spirit will not be changing our opening from November 3rd.”

The National Chamber of Tourism (Canatur) indicated that all access roads to tourist zones have been reopened, that 99% of hotels in the country are functioning normally and that only 10% reported some type of minimal damage from seismic activity. 

The president of Canatur, Juan Carlos Ramos, is encouraging tourists not to cancel their hotel reservations, since “the Costa Rican tourist sector is working without any problem.”


More Regional News

Fined Foreigners Face Re-entry Ban

According to the new Ley de Transito (traffic law), foreigners who do not pay a traffic ticket before leaving Costa Rica will be denied re-entry into the country on their next visit – whether by land or air.

Legislators Approve Moratorium on Evictions in Coastal Communities
“Decision of the President is Only a Postponement of the Evictions, Not a Solution” Gerardo Chaves Cordero (CIMACO)

The Legislative Assembly has approved in both the first and second debates a law that establishes a 24-month moratorium to halt evictions of inhabitants of special zones, including the maritime land zone.

Samara Discusses Disaster Preparedness

Although, the red alert was lowered to yellow and shelters were shut down, many remain nervous with so many aftershocks – over 1700 by Tuesday 11- and the possibility of another big quake.

Psychologists Visit Nosara and Samara to Calm People’s Nerves

On Monday, September 10, a group of 10 psychologists from the University of Costa Rica (UCR) and the College of Psychologists arrived in the communities of Samara and Nosara to meet with the populace and school teachers with the goal of giving them post-earthquake therapy.

This Was the Anticipated Earthquake for Nicoya, but Seismic Potential Remains

The September 5, 2012 earthquake in Cangrejal of Samara had a magnitude and location in the place foreseen by the scientific work published by OVSICORI during the last fifteen years. 

Was This the Big One?

Three days after the 7.6 magnitude earthquake shook the country, a lot of information has been received  and processed by the Costa Rican Sismology and Volcanology Observatory (OVSICORI); nonetheless conclusions are few and progressive. 

Nicoya Requests Collaboration of Civil Engineers to Facilitate Home Inspections
240 Homes Affected

The Municipality of Nicoya requested the voluntary help of associated civil engineers to evaluate the damages suffered by houses and buildings alter the earthquake on Wednesday morning. 

Bridges over Rio Montaña and Nosara Not Seriously Damaged
RAASA Will Begin Work on Route 160 on Saturday, the 8th

After the 7.6 magnitude earthquake on September 5th, the National Roadway Council (CONAVI) assured that the bridges over Río Montaña and Nosara River not only withstood the strong shaking of the quake and aftershocks, but additionally the structures don’t show severe damages.

Not Everyone Can Return to Daily Life After Earthquake

Although aftershocks continue to be felt constantly—now numbering more than 1,000—people are returning to their normal lives. For many, this is easy to do since their homes and businesses didn’t sustain damage or the damage was minimum after the earthquake on Wednesday, September 5th.

Video of 7.6 Earthquake in Nosara

Samara Remains Under Red Alert After Earthquake
Medical Services Are Limited

Still under red alert, 236 men, women and children are sleeping and eating in three designated shelters in the district of Samara, the epicenter of the 7.6 magnitude earthquake that shook and shocked many on Wednesday morning, September 5th. 

President Chinchilla Came to Nicoya to Evaluate Situation
-Vice-Minister of Housing inspected damage in Nosara

Thursday morning, September 6th, President of the Republic Laura Chinchilla toured various parts of the canton in order to evaluate the situation 24 hours alter the earthquake with epicenter in Samara Beach

Engineers Survey Nosara Damage

Two engineers from the Architects and Engineer Federal College were present in Nosara this Thursday, September 6th, observing homes and surveying the damage resulting from the 7.6 magnitude earthquake, which struck in the morning hours of September 5th, 2012.

7.6 Earthquake in Cangrejal of Samara
Information from the National Seismological Network (UCR)

8 km to the northeast of Samara
15 kilometers deep
7.6 intensity on the Richter scale
Felt as far away as Nicaragua

7.6 Earthquake in Cangrejal of Samara
7.6 Magnitude Earthquake Damages Several Structures in Nicoya

This Wednesday, September 5th a powerful, magnitude-7.6 earthquake struck approximately 8 kilometers northeast from the town of Samara, generating a strong quake whose force was felt throughout the country, but mostly on the Nicoya Peninsula.

7.6 Earthquake in Cangrejal of Samara
Municipality of Nicoya and National Emergency Commission Assessing Damages in Nosara

At around 2 p.m. a meeting was held with representatives of the Municipality of Nicoya, who arrived in Nosara to evaluate structural damages in the town in order to report to the National Emergency Commission (CNE). 

46% of Ticos Lack Faith in the Police
Opinions in Nosara and Samara are Mixed

The absolute trust that the majority of Costa Ricans once had in the officers of the Public Force has been diminishing through the years, giving way to an increase in the perception of greater insecurity in the country, according to reports from the United Nations Development Program (PNUD).

Nosara Center Asphalt Project Still in the Works

The project to pave two kilometers in the center of Nosara is being held up due to a funding issue in the municipality, so it might be a couple more months before the project can be completed. 

Municipality Looks to Recover Green Zones and Public Areas

The municipality is trying to sort out registries of lands in Garza, Nosara and Samara that are improperly registered. The lands include green zones, public property and streets in Samara and Nosara, as well as concessionable lands in the maritime zone of Garza.

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