“Proyecto Camarón,” (shrimp project) on Venado Island, in the Gulf of Nicoya, is a floating restaurant that promises a unique experience for all visitors. Guests can taste delicious seafood, shrimp, and a variety of fish and enjoy a boat ride.
It was born during the Covid-19 pandemic when the fishermen were left with cages full of cultivated shrimp and could not sell them. Given the situation, they decided to set up the restaurant.
Visitors from Liberia, Osa, Limón, Cartago, and Pérez Zeledón, as well as foreigners, have visited the floating restaurant and have loved this unforgettable experience.
“The idea was very well accepted; visitors no longer only ate shrimp or ceviche with rice or garlic, but they began to try pianguas, lobster, fish, sea bass, and snapper, and that helped us to produce (shrimp) and sell (product) to artisanal fishermen to use as bait, as part of sustainable fishing,” explained Allan Barrios, who is currently managing the establishment.
Restaurant owners are very pleased with their business, as it has benefited more than 1500 people on the island and those who live in the Nicoya Peninsula. It employs four cooks, an assistant, and three servers from Isla Venado. They have been trained by the National Learning Institute (INA).
In addition, two boat captains take tourists from La Penca dock in Playa Naranjo to the restaurant.
Barrios is extremely pleased with the growth of the business and the large number of people that visit it.
With the profits obtained in the first year, they acquired materials such as fiberglass, bags, and wood, among other products, to expand the project. They are almost ready to build a second platform that will also serve as a restaurant in front of the current one.
“The government has helped us a lot with the cages (where the shrimp are raised) and the new platform. When we started, we had to do raffles and soccer activities. We had a lot of support from the Ministry of Labor and Social Security; the Marine Park helped us with a subsidy so that we could work on it fully,” he added.
According to the Costa Rican Tourism Institute, this project is highly valuable and contributes significantly to the area’s development.
“With this project, one of the main objectives of tourism is fulfilled. It creates more jobs and social progress in communities throughout the country,” said Ireth Rodriguez.
The restaurant is open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. Further information can be found at CocosPuntarenas or by contacting Allan Barrios at (506) 5008 9444.