The Nosara Civic Association wants to share this information published by the Municipality of Nicoya, to reject the fake news that circulates on social media networks about the construction regulations for the buffer zone of the Ostional National Wildlife Refuge.

The Nosara Civic Association will continue to defend the regulation as it is necessary for the conservation of sea turtles and to ensure the well-being of present and future generations.


Therefore, we ask you to help us spread this corroborated information. An informed community is synonymous with an empowered community.

1. The construction regulations were prepared in secret and the community or the Development Associations were not consulted. (FALSE)

The process was open and participatory. The Municipality of Nicoya carried out the following activities to disseminate information about the regulations and receive suggestions for improvement.

  • Consultation sessions: Four consultation sessions were held at the Serapio Lopez Public School, the Kitson Library, the Santa Marta Community Hall and at the La Esperanza Public School, during the month of July 2019.
  • Invitation from ADIS: An invitation was sent to the development associations of the district requesting that they disseminate the information in their respective communities.
  • Communication: Consultations were held every Monday from 8 am to 3 pm, at the facilities of the Integral Development Association of Nosara, starting in May 2019 until December of the same year.
  • Dissemination: Flyers were posted in schools, EBAIS and local supermarkets, informing about the process and providing a telephone number and an email for inquiries. 220 inquiries were received.

2. The regulations impose measures that are impossible for the poorest inhabitants of Nosara to comply with. (FALSE)

None of the four points contemplated in the regulation imposes any additional expense for anyone interested in building. The regulation only asks:

-That a height greater than 9 meters in the area of ​​direct impact or 12 meters in height in the area of ​​indirect impact should not be built.

-That the septic tanks are sealed so that the black water does not leak into the aquifers, which is where the wells are where the water we drink comes from.

-That the lights do not point directly to the beach, but point downwards, so as not to affect the orientation of the sea turtles.

-That construction does not exceed 50% of the size of the lot, because there has to be a field for the drainage to be put in, and so that when it rains, the rain water can be absorbed into the soil, avoiding floods that affect the community so much .

3. The regulation does not allow people to have housing bonds. (FALSE)

There is a rumor that since the Construction Regulations for the buffer zone of the Refuge do not allow constructions that exceed 50% of the property, this would affect all people who have small lots and wish to request a Housing voucher.

This is false, there is nothing in the regulations that prevents a housing bond from being granted.

The houses of social interest measure on average between 40m2 and 50m2. according to the INVU regulations for Nosara the minimum lot size is 120m2. This is compatible with a 50% construction footprint. 

In other words, if a family has the conditions required by law and wants to apply for a housing bond, it can do so without any problem.

Source: Article 15. Regulation of Fractionation and Urbanizations.

4. The process to approve the regulations was illegal (FALSE)

Municipal Power: In accordance with article 50 of the Political Constitution, the municipality has the power to issue internal regulations that guarantee the protection of citizens and their right to a healthy and ecologically balanced environment.

Other examples in the country: In Costa Rica there are two more examples of regulations for the buffer area of ​​a protected wild area: one in the Camaronal National Wildlife Refuge (Nandayure) and another in the Las Baulas National Marine Park (Santa Cruz ). The Municipality of Nicoya acted in exercise of its constitutional regulatory authority.

5. The construction regulations have no scientific support. (FALSE)

The regulations were made based on scientific and technical documents such as:

-Diagnosis for the General Management Plan of the Ostional Refuge, which includes a series of scientific studies whose validity has not been questioned.

In addition, 60 scientists and environmental leaders from 16 countries sent a letter to the Municipality of Nicoya in October 2020 to endorse and support the regulation. Organizations include: Sea Turtle Conservancy, The Leatherback Trust, and Wildlife Conservation Association.

6. It is better to wait for a Regulatory Plan (FALSE).

Since 2018, the Municipality of Nicoya has been actively working on the development of a regulatory plan for the entire canton of Nicoya. This is a complex and expensive process that could take up to four more years.  From 2018 to 2019, construction in Nosara increased by 70%. Waiting until the regulatory plan is ready, without any type of construction regulation, could generate irreparable environmental damage.

7. Building regulations slow down development and investment in Nosara. (FALSE).

From February 2020 to June 2021, the period in which the construction regulations were being applied, the Municipality of Nicoya approved 283 construction permits for Nosara. The Muni only rejected 13 construction permit applications in Nosara that did not comply with the new regulations. However, 11 of those 13 adapted their projects and were given permission. In other words, only two construction projects did not obtain the endorsement of the Municipality.

The regulations, instead of slowing down development, attract more investors who want to live or work in harmony with nature and who understand the potential of an area in which its natural wealth is protected.

8. The regulations violate the Urban Planning Law, since the Municipality of Nicoya does not have a regulatory plan. (FALSE)

The absence of a regulatory plan does not preclude or restrict the Municipality from its constitutional and legal obligations to protect the natural resources present in the canton – mainly those in a vulnerable situation such as the RNVSO (Ostional Refuge).

Furthermore, this is not the only case where a construction regulation is implemented in the absence of a regulatory plan. The buffer zone of the Las Baulas National Marine Park has a construction regulation, created by SETENA (National Environmental Technical Secretariat) at the request of the Constitutional Chamber (judgment 2008-18592), despite the fact that the Municipality of Santa Cruz does not have a regulatory plan. Protecting the environment does not depend on red tape. It is an inescapable duty.

9. The regulations generate environmental vulnerability and legal insecurity. (FALSE)

This is false. The regulations establish clear norms for the granting of permits in the buffer zone. They are public rules and are the same for anyone who is going to build in that area.

It is also false and absurd that the regulations produce environmental vulnerability. Instead, it lays down some ground rules for the protection of Ostional. The alternative to this regulation and what the plaintiff is looking for, is that building can be done freely, regardless of the damage that can be done to the Ostional refuge.

10. Because of the regulations, if I have already built on half of my lot, I cannot segregate the other half for someone else to build. (FALSE).

With or without the regulation, it is not possible to segregate a lot that has 100% construction coverage in Nosara. The law in Costa Rica says that the maximum coverage that a building can have, in a place where there is no sanitary sewer system *, is 75% of the size of the lot.

The regulationS recognize the fragility of the aquifers in Nosara and the community’s risk of flooding. That is why it is a benefit for all the residents to maintain a construction coverage of 50%: to guarantee that the rainwater is absorbed and that there is enough space for the septic tanks of each house to process the sewage.

* The sanitary sewer system is a communal system that collects wastewater (black and gray) from all houses and buildings and takes it to a treatment plant for cleaning and discharge.

11. Without the construction regulations, construction will be allowed on the beach. (FALSE).

Guiones and Pelada beaches are part of the Ostional Refuge and Law  N° 9348  for the Ostional Wildlife Refuge protects the first 200 meters. The construction regulation is not for the area within the refuge; it is for a 5km buffer zone outside the refuge boundaries.