A Christmas tree in December turns into an eyesore in February

February 24, 2012

Souvenir vendor Francisco Salas called the creation a “complete mess.”

Ice cream seller Pedro Reyes saw it as a “nuisance.”

A security guard at the National Museum said he thought the tree looked pretty and festive when the metal behemoth first appeared. Now it looked dead.

In December, the National Power and Light Company (CNFL) received permission from the San José Municipality to construct an enormous metallic Christmas tree in the center of Plaza de la Democracia, in the capital’s center. Telecom enterprise Claro sponsored the glowing 10-meter tree. The holiday season came and went, and the Claro Christmas tree stayed. 

Raquel Caravaca, the municipality’s comptroller of services, said that last year the CNFL reached an agreement with the city to take charge of the lighting project. Construction company CAVICA was contracted to build the tree. 

On Wednesday, after being contacted by The Tico Times, Caravaca said the municipality Public Works Department sent a written order to CAVICA demanding the organization remove the structure. 

Caravaca added in an email that she has tried to reach a representative from CAVICA, but nobody has answered her. The Tico Times also placed multiple calls to the construction company to no avail.  

Meanwhile, the befuddling eyesore rests mightily and uselessly in a plaza space. The once-popular spot for outdoor concerts and other activities now serves as an odd relic to Costa Ricans and tourists alike.

The tree showed brightly through Christmas. Then, the new year arrived. The lights switched off, and it seemed Santa had deposited an immense metal carcass in the middle of San José. 

Salomón Rivera resides inside that hollow space on most days. He said he was hired by CAVICA as the tree’s cuidador, or caretaker. Rivera organizes stray pieces of metal in the construction, and presumably keeps out vagrants and vermin. From time to time, he also explains to police officers why he’s spending his afternoons dwelling inside a fake Christmas tree in February. 

On Tuesday, Rivera said that CAVICA told him workers would arrive to begin taking apart the Christmas tree. Nobody showed up. 

“Christmas is over,” Rivera said. “But this tree could stay here for the next one.”

Laianer Arias contributed to this story.

You may be interested

Adaptive surfing, part III: Riding the waves with Noah
sports
100 views
sports
100 views

Adaptive surfing, part III: Riding the waves with Noah

Ellen Zoe Golden - May 25, 2018

Part III in a series on adaptive surfing in Costa Rica. Read Part I, about the country's association for disabled…

It’s frog orgy season
Environment and Wildlife
1202 views
Environment and Wildlife
1202 views

It’s frog orgy season

Lindsay Fendt - May 25, 2018

The rainy season is upon us. For many of us that means hiding indoors for the next few months, but for Costa…

Costa Rica’s guilty voters
No Sugar Please
168 views
No Sugar Please
168 views

Costa Rica’s guilty voters

Álvaro Murillo - May 25, 2018

By what I have done, and by what I have left undone. A relative of mine is 70 years old…