San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Government Demolishes Popular Beach Restaurant

The owners of Mar y Sombra, a familyowned beachside restaurant in the Central Pacific tourist hotspot Manuel Antonio, are calling the demolition of half of their 37-year-old business by municipal authorities illegal.

The demolition took place two weeks ago in accordance with the 1977 Maritime Zone Law, which reserves for public use the 50-meter coastal strip where part of the restaurant was located.

Co-owner Víctor Hugo Ramírez said the restaurant was built eight years before the law was passed.

Mar y Sombra has been the subject of contradictory rulings from various courts in recent months. In June, an administrative contention judge from San José ruled that the demolition should be suspended. However, the Criminal Court of Quepos ruled in favor of the demolition.

Municipal authorities attempted a demolition in January, but it was thwarted by tourists and residents who support Mar y Sombra (TT, Feb. 10).

Ramírez said his lawyer is preparing to seek justice for the demolition, which left the restaurant in shambles. Inspectors from the National Insurance Institute (INS) declared the restaurant unfit for use and ordered it closed.


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