San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Group Says Hotel Riu Hinders Public Beach Access

Complaints against the newly opened Hotel Riu in Matapalo de Sardinal, in the northwestern province of Guanacaste, keep piling up.

Last Friday, Dec. 18, the Confraternidad Guanacasteca, a local environmental group, charged that the Spanish-owned, 701-room resort is attempting to close a public entrance to a beach near the hotel.

The group added the charge against the mammoth development to a laundry list of complaints it has presented to the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court.

The group has photos of eight workers installing posts and signs in front of a pathway it claims “has been traditionally open to the public.” The complaint states that “the barriers and obstacles are intended to keep common people off the beach and give the hotel exclusive access to land that is meant to be enjoyed by everyone.”

The environmental group has criticized the hotel for building without the required water permits, destroying mangrove trees and encroaching on the beach’s 50-meter public zone.

Phone calls and e-mails from The Tico Times to the Spanish company throughout the past month-and-a half have not yielded a response.

–Mike McDonald

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