I have lived on the ‘Island of Nicoya’ for over 26 years. Located on the bottom of the peninsula of Nicoya, you will find one of the most beautiful parts of Costa Rica, with an abundance of nature and minimum commercial development. Not technically an island, the access to this area over the years has been by boat or by plane, as is true with all islands. Before the Barceló company began the ferry service here, there were only a few boats that carried people, crops, and livestock to the markets of Puntarenas and back. During the years the ferry service has been improving, adding more boats with bigger capacity. Nowadays, there is a third ferry that carries 160 cars back an forth on 7 different trips daily. This service alleviated the problem of commerce and travel between the Lower Peninsula and the Costa Rican mainland.
Each additional ferry helped every time a little more, increasing tourism as well as commerce and the development of the area. There is an actual road to the north of us that connects the Lower Peninsula to the Guanacaste Upper Peninsula, but that road has been a nightmare to travel on for 50 years. It is a road that technically exists but it is only used as a last resource. The road was poorly designed and maintained, the washboard sections lead to deep holes, constant landslides, hills of soft silt and sections that have fallen into deep ravines dangerously cutting into half of the road. It is an uncomfortable and dangerous road, mostly during the rainy season. Locals would rather pay the $25 ferry fare to inspect their cars in Puntarenas than travel to Nicoya on this road. The government has promised to pave the road for over 25 years without any action. Each administration has been very good at ‘kicking the can down the road’ to the next administration.
When Highway 27 was completed from San Jose to Puntarenas, there was real hope that the government would fulfill their promise. In July 2015 the demonstrations became serious as residents took to the streets, and complained about the unpaved road. This time, the government got the message and negotiations began, promising a road for 2016. It is now, on May 2018, when machinery has finally arrived at the area. The negotiation of building a new road from Naranjo to Paquera ended last year.
There is a budget of US $27.5 million for 21.6 kilometers that needs to be done totally new, including 3 bridges that will be redesigned and rebuilt to have two lanes. In addition, the maintenance will be part of this budget as well as the correct signals along the road and security measures. An important aspect of this needed investment consists of building land and aerial wildlife corridors, to benefit the wildlife of the area as well. This road will increase tourism, commerce and improve the lifestyle of the towns around since dust will be reduced with the new pavement.