San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Police evict squatters from U.S. investor's property in Esterillos Oeste

Officials from various public agencies have evicted a group of squatters who occupied a private property for over a year and a half in Esterillos Oeste, a coastal area in the central Pacific canton of Parrita.

Parrita Mayor Freddy Garro Arias told The Tico Times that officers from the National Police and Judicial Police conducted the eviction of some 30 families Thursday. Officials from the Child Welfare Office, the National Animal Health Service and the municipality helped move the families.

Garro said the eviction request was received last year from the legal representatives in Costa Rica of David Aven, a U.S. citizen who acquired the property to develop a beach community project known as Las Olas.

The mayor said that after meeting with a group of the squatters he concluded that they are not residents of Parrita. “Most of them come from other areas like Jacó and Herradura, and there are also Colombian and Haitian migrants,” he said.

Business opportunity

Municipal staff demolished a total of 17 shanties, some of which were empty. Garro said they know that some of the squatters don’t actually live on the site.

The Public Security Ministry’s press office confirmed that several of the shacks were empty and that none of them had drinking water or electricity.

“We’ve witnessed some of these people arriving in cars, some of them expensive cars, just to spend the weekend or clean their part of the land, so we concluded that not all of them are here because they need a place to live,” the mayor said.

Garro also said some of the squatters told municipal officials that more people were planning to occupy the property in coming weeks, but mostly looking to get possession rights in order to be able to sell the land later. “It’s a very attractive land located just two or three minutes from the beach,” he noted.

He added that National Police officers told them that some of the evicted people also had occupied a public property in Parrita last year. “We believe they moved here after they were evicted from Parrita in February 2015,” he said.

Garro said there was not any kind of construction activity taking place on the property at the time the squatters entered the lands.

He said the owner is currently amid an arbitration claim against Costa Rica after his project was shut down in 2011. “Allegedly the land, or part of it, is within a protected wetland,” he said.

The project, according to its website, would include a hotel, a beach club, a complex of villas, recreational areas and shops.

Recommended: Esterillos Oeste: Squatter invasion, sex assaults and robbery on Costa Rica’s central Pacific coast

Contact L. Arias at

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Colin Brownlee

“currently amid an arbitration claim against Costa Rica” — Now there is a gloss over. This is the really important part of the story. This is in world court, THE HAGUE. Costa Rica is part of CAFTA now and they are going to find out what happens when you sign agreements and don’t intend on honouring them. The only reason the government is removing people now is because the first hearing is coming up and they sure don’t want it to look like they did nothing about it.

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Paul Meacham


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