Tourism chamber blames bad roads for decline in north

A bad road has cut tourism in half or by as much as 75 percent in the vicinity of Volcán Poás and in Sarapiquí, according to the national tourism chamber.

The organization called upon the central government to complete the repairs of Ruta 126. This is the highway that was heavily damaged by the Jan. 8, 2009, Cinchona earthquake. The Cámara Nacional de Turismo said that two years and two months is too long to wait to have the road fixed. The road joins Vara Blanca with Saripiquí and goes north from Heredia. It provides access to La Fortuna and San Carlos.

Affected are tourism operations above Río Angel and the Hotel La Paz Waterfall Garden, said the chamber.
Of course, residents and those who must travel in that area also are affected.

The chamber said that neighbors joined in, contracted heavy machinery and made some repairs on the highway.
They spent about 100 million colons in personal funds restoring the highway, said the chamber. That is about $200,000 that was spent for fuel, rental of heavy machinery and other needs to make the road passable for some vehicles, said the chamber. Still the road cannot be used by passenger cars and delivery trucks, it said.

The reducing in tourism estimated by the chamber comes from the Cámara de Turismo del Volcán Poás and the Cámara de Turismo de Sarapiquí, said the national chamber.

Motorists can still use a route through Zurquí, Bajos del Toro and the San Carlos-San José highway, but these, too, are in bad shape, said the chamber.

The chamber officials are seeking the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transporte and the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad, the highway agency, to set a date for the start of repairs.

La Fortuna is the community nearest the popular Volcán Arenal.

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