Public access to Playa Conchal now restricted

Playa Conchal is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica.

The beach is made up of tiny seashells and crystal clear blue water for most of the year, but things are about to change when it come the public accessing the beach.

On March 21 the Tribunal Contencioso Administrativo issued a ruling that the popular beach will no longer be accessible to cars due to the maritime laws.

This change in how the public can access Playa Conchal does not mean that the famous beach in front of the Westin Golf Resort & Spa is becoming privatized, but rather that the beach will be closed to vehicle traffic.

The Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía (MINAE) and the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo (ICT) were both involved in drafting this new legislation in order to preserve the beach.

Reserva Conchal, the owner of the property bordering Playa Conchal, is in the final phases of installing a parking zone in Brasilito with bathroom and shower facilities, as well as providing transportation to and from Playa Conchal.

Residents of Reserva Conchal received the following email with more details:

Conchal Beach Protection and access:
YES to community and tourists, NO to cars

On March 21st, the Administrative Court “Tribunal Contencioso Administrativo” issued a preliminary injunctive relief which, “…orders the Municipality of Santa Cruz, to immediately close the vehicular access and prevent the transit and parking of vehicles, within the Maritime Zone of Playa Conchal…” located in the district of Santa Cruz in Guanacaste.

It is important to clarify that this prohibition does not affect or limit in any way the entry of individuals (neighbors, tourists) to the beach, that is, this restriction cannot be interpreted in any way as a “privatization” of the beach. This injunctive relief, which was supported by the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE), and the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT) – aims to protect the environment of the affected area (as verified by an environmental impact study and the MINAE), as well as to guarantee the safety of visitors/tourists.

To facilitate and guarantee access to the beach, Reserva Conchal is in the final phase of construction of ecotourism facilities in Brasilito, with enough parking for visitors, which is intended to be managed by a community organization. In this facility, the visitors can park their vehicle in an area equipped for these purposes, including bathrooms and showers, and then a shuttle will take them to the Brasilito beach area.

No word yet on if the shuttle and parking are free, and who will be in charge of running them once construction is over.

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