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HomeNewsCosta Rica Tackles Illegal Entry into National Parks and Protected Areas

Costa Rica Tackles Illegal Entry into National Parks and Protected Areas

The Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE) requests the population to engage in responsible tourism and avoid entering Protected Wildlife Areas through restricted areas and places not authorized for public use. The announcement comes after the Red Cross managed to rescue seven people and confirmed the tragic death of a young man, who got lost in Braulio Carrillo National Park, in the Zurquí area. The Costa Rican Red Cross maintained an operation in the area to locate these people.

Personnel from Braulio Carrillo National Park of the Central Conservation Area of SINAC-MINAE joined the operation to help in the search for the missing people. Additionally, the group’s guide received an administrative warning for illegal entry into unauthorized areas.

These incidents have occurred in other mountainous areas with abrupt topography and steep slopes, as well as in National Parks with volcanoes, where such entry represents a severe risk to the safety of individuals. Visitors are exposed to dangers such as fumaroles, phreatic eruptions of moderate intensity, and inhalation of gases.

Throughout this year, SINAC has detected the entry of 558 people through unofficial sites in national parks and other protected wildlife areas. However, due to the difficulty of controlling this problem, SINAC authorities acknowledge that the actual number of entries is much higher.

“Within the protected areas, there are sectors with different hazards such as precipices, problems of hypothermia, ash fall, acid rain, ballistic impacts, and mudflows,” said Franz Tattenbach, Minister of Environment and Energy.

SINAC has presented a bill that imposes economic fines for entry into non-permitted areas and the rescue of lost persons inside National Parks and other protected wildlife areas. It is will be discussed by Congress in the coming days.  

“Given the increase of illegal access to protected wildlife areas through clandestine or illegal trails, MINAE calls on the population to refrain from these practices, not only because of the penalties they may receive but also because they’re risking their lives,” the Minister added.

SINAC requests the public to report, through 1192 or SITADA (, any companies or individuals conducting tours to unauthorized sites within the National Parks, since these are areas of high ecological and geological fragility.

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