- San Lucas Island- There is something special about visiting historic and abandoned towns or buildings. But going to a white, sandy, sunny beach is so much fun! So how about combining the two?
After a short 40 min ride from the coast of Puntarenas you will arrive at San Lucas Island. The island has an area of approximately 4.6 km² and it is actually part of the Puntarenas province. San Lucas Island is unique and one of a kind as it has a set of attractions like no other. This tropical island was a former prison to the roughest and most dangerous criminals in the country. In recent years it has become a National Wildlife Refuge and one of the country's best-kept secrets. An abandoned prison on an island with 9 of the most beautiful beaches you can imagine? - Now that is remarkable!
The San Lucas penitentiary was originally built in 1873 in order to keep criminals far from the city. The island was entirely built for the prison inmates to live and be self-sustainable. The prisoners were held in underground prisons and were required to fish and farm for their own food. The prison closed in 1991.
Once you arrive at the San Lucas Island, you may get a guided tour through the area and the prison. Amazingly, much of the prison is still preserved. Through the tour you will be able to see a dock, the holding cells, infirmary, prisoner’s barracks, a church and an administrative office. Sound’s a bit spooky doesn’t it?
San Lucas Island is one of the only two islands in the Pacific Gulf of Nicoya that has natural fresh water sources. Which is the reason why in 2001, the island was declared a National Wildlife Refuge due to its amazing biological diversity. On the way to the island you may be able to see turtles, rays, dolphins and even shark. On land you may find everything from moneys and deer, to bats and snakes.
Convinced yet? San Lucas Island is the perfect mix of historic adventure and deliciously sunny white sandy beaches. It’s the ideal spot for a mini-holiday!
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