From Jail to Wildlife Refuge


San Lucas Island is located in the Gulf of Nicoya, which despite the marine overexploitation and pollution, is a place of confluence and natural and cultural diversity with great tourist attraction.


The island, which is famous for having hosted one of the largest prisons of the country was declared in 2001 San Lucas Island National Wildlife Refuge.


This island is an important example of the ability that has the nature to regenerate when given a second chance. The island was deforested by the livestock activity carried out at the jail. Around 90% of the forest is secondary in the accelerated process of recovery, in it we can see some species of trees now very hard to find in other regions. On the coastlines of the island we find mangroves and forests on the banks of the streams.

Geographically it has 462 hectares and is located 1.5 kilometres from the city of Puntarenas.

It is a National Wildlife Refuge that form part of the tropical dry forest life zone.


The island is surrounded by several islets and islands such as Pan de Azucar, Bird Island and Cocinera Island where some birds such as herons breed. The animals of the island includes deer white tail, which were introduced on the island in the early 1970s, while in the maritime area, there are banks of Bivalves, known as Chuchecas, that are a part of the marine life of the Gulf that must be restored.

Nowadays many travel agencies offer tours to San Lucas Island, so it is possible to visit the prison, nature and history that houses this unique place of Costa Rica.

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Our Managing Director, Alon, has been to over 40 countries in his quest for the perfect adventure. He has biked the death road in Boiliva, trekked 500 miles across northern Spain on the Camino de Santiago, cycled from Brussels to Florence and hiked the five sacred mountains of China. Pygmy Elephant is how he spreads his love for adventure and self discovery in the world.

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