Residents in Monteverde, one of Costa Rica’s most prominent tourism destinations, will meet on Friday in the capital with government officials at Casa Presidencial to demand the construction of an asphalt road to that community.
They also will meet on Monday with officials from the Comptroller General’s Office to assess infrastructure needs in the region.
Monteverde is a Quaker community and cloud forest preserve in the Tilarán Mountains in north-central Costa Rica, and the road to get there is unpaved and often difficult to navigate. Despite the rugged terrain, it is one of the gems of Costa Rica tourism.
But local business owners say they have seen a significant decrease in revenue because the gravel road is in poor condition, leading to a significant drop in tourist visits to the area in the past year.
Several hotels, restaurants and other business have closed in recent months, residents say.
In addition to decay, the road to Monteverde also lacks proper signage, and some stretches are very narrow and only allow one car at a time to pass. The road becomes especially dangerous during the rainy season months of May to November.
The National Roadway Council (CONAVI) has asked the Comptroller General’s Office to expand a plan that initially set out to repair the gravel road. Now, CONAVI wants a new asphalt road to the region, which they say would more adequately withstand the rainy season.
In February, President Laura Chinchilla and Public Works and Transport Minister Pedro Castro promised Monteverde residents her administration would prioritize the construction of a new road, saying the project only awaited authorization from the Comptroller General’s Office.
The area’s most prominent landmark is Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, some 10,500 hectares of tropical rain forest and cloud forest that is visited by more than 100,000 tourists a year.