- Arenal Volcano SINAC archive photo -

Published on Thursday, September 9, 2021
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Agents from the Judicial Investigation Organization, of the Fortuna delegation in San Carlos, Alajuela Province, found 18 people who had entered the Arenal Volcano National Park illegally.

According to the agents' report, the trespassers were detected during an operation carried out with the support of tourist police officers and park rangers. The joint effort was part of the program to protect those wild areas.

The people were not detained, but they did receive a prevention notice as a warning. If they repeat their actions and are found again in the area, they could be arrested and charged with the accusation of disobeying authority. The names of the tourists were not released by the police.

According to the report, among the people were four international tourists. One of them was a U.S. citizen who required assistance returning to the park, since "he had health problems and couldn't walk.”

Agents call on the public not to hire illegitimate tours in any national park or protected wild zones.

The only way to enter the park is by purchasing park entrance tickets, available at the park box office. In addition, visitors must only walk on the official trails that were enabled by park rangers.

The Arenal volcano has not been the only protected area where people entered by unauthorized trails. According to authorities of the National System of Conservation Areas, Sinac, in two patrolling operations carried out on Aug. 21 and 22, they found 29 people had entered Poás Volcano National Park through unauthorized areas.

The names of the tourists were not provided by the police either. As part of the guidelines in these cases, the people received a warning notice and were taken out of the park.

In May, authorities reported 21 tourists were found walking around an unauthorized area near the crater of Rincón de la Vieja Volcano.

Authorities call on tourists to follow the guidelines ordered by park rangers to practice responsible tourism, such as: 

» Always travel with a tour operator or guide certified by the Institute of Tourism.

» Always walk in the authorized routes.

» Never enter parks through unauthorized zones.

» Always follow sanitary protocols such as hand washing, 6-foot social distancing and wearing a facemask.

» Always follow the recommendations of the Park Ranger.

» Bring suitable clothing for long walks.

» Do not drink alcoholic liquors or do drugs inside the parks.

Currently, the authorities are analyzing a bill to present to Congress to apply jail and fines to people entering National Parks and Protected Wild Areas through non-authorized access.

What else should park rangers do to stop tourists from illegally entering wild protected areas?  We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to news@amcostarica.com

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