Cuba & Costa Rica Blog
About this blog
Written by Cuba and Costa Rica expert Christopher P. Baker, this blog will update readers on life in these two diverse and exciting countries.
- Last blog post on Costa Rica and Cuba
- First-ever group motorcycle tours of Cuba successful
- Cuba’s Mariel port readying for Panama Canal expansion
- Musings on wildlife encounters on Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula
- Cuba’s Steam Trains puffing their last gasp
- My top five thrilling activities in Costa Rica
- Cuba’s fun February festivals include Harleys, Books, Cigars
- Five top volcano viewing experiences in Costa Rica
- New road along Costa Rica / Nicaraguan border mired
- Cuba’s Hotel Campoamor at Cojímar to be restored?
- Cuban revolutionary Celia Sánchez honored in new book
- Christmas challenge for Costa Rica’s sexually abused girls
- Costa Rica opens Chinatown in downtown San José
- David Soul films Hemingway’s car restoration in Cuba
- National Geographic Expeditions receives license for Cuba tours
International Court of Justice rules on Costa Rica's rights to use the Rio San Juan
Despite the end to Contra conflicts two decades ago, tensions between Costa Rica and Nicaragua have run high. Nicaragua has disputed Costa Rica's territorial rights to free use of the Río San Juan, while Costa Rica disputes Nicaragua's claim that the river is entirely Nicaraguan territory.
The 205-kilometer-long river, which flows from Lake Nicaragua to the Caribbean, marks most of their border. When you are on the water you are inside Nicaragua.
Costa Ricans have had right of commercial use of the Río San Juan, but since 2001 Nicaraguan authorities have boarded Costa Rican boats and fined foreigners aboard ($25) for using the river without Nicaraguan visas. This has primarily affected sportfishing boats from Costa Rican lodges in Barra del Colorado, and tour boats and water-taxis operating from Los Chiles.
Last Monday, the International Court of Justice, in The Hague, Netherlands, adjudicated on access rights to the river. Essentially it reaffirmed a 1858 treaty that acknowledged Nicaragua's ownership of the river while guaranteeing Costa Ricans free access. The important proviso was that tourist-passengers aboard Costa Rican vessels using the river are not required to obtain Nicaraguan visas. Both countries accepted the verdict.
However, Costa Rica's militarized police force will no longer be permitted to patrol the river, which is also an avenue for drug trafficking. The two nations actually came to blows over this issue in 1998!
The ruling paves the way for increased tourism along the river, which is bordered by the Refugio de Vida Silvestre Corredor Fronterizo (Frontier Biologoical Corridor Wildlife Refuge)