Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Allegro Papagayo hotel to be shut down today

Some 600 guests of the Hotel Occidental Allegro Papagayo may be forced to find other accommodations today as the Health Ministry is preparing to shut down the hotel following complaints of sewage water being dumped directly into the nearby river.

According to health minister, Maria Luisa Avila, the hotel had been duly notified and had a chance to clean up its act, but nothing was done.

Health officials had originally set yesterday as the deadline, but will be out this morning to ensure that the order is complied with. Hotel guests, once notified, will have 24 hours to vacate the hotel.

Area residents have been complaining of the foul smell for some time and an investigation led official to the Allegro hotel as the source.

Last Wednesday, the 300-room Guanacaste hotel – which houses almost 600 guests – was ordered closed in 24 hours by officials from the Health Ministry, who had discovered clandestine pipes dumping sewage into an adjoining estuary, which leads to the Pacific Ocean.

The hotel appealed, stalling closure for almost five days, but yesterday Health Minister MarĂ­a Luisa Avila confirmed the order and said appeals had been denied.

The hotel, part of the government-sponsored Papagayo Tourism Project in the northwestern corner of Costa Rica has long been hailed as “eco-friendly” by government officials and Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT) promotion.

Health Ministry officials first discovered the hotel dumping sewage into the neighboring estuary via hidden pipes in April. Two weeks later, hotel manager Guillermo Guerra assured them in a written letter that the problem had been “definitely solved.”

However, over the next few months residents and government officials discovered the hotel was trucking its sewage to overburdened and often illegal dumpsites throughout Guanacaste, transferring the contamination from its own estuary to neighboring towns.

Last week, after months of foot-dragging, the Health Ministry called for the hotel's closure until the hotel could prove operation of a functioning sewage treatment plant, a stipulation required in its original contract with the government.

Occidental Resorts are not accepting any new reservations until after March 2, 2008. If you have a vacation booked with Occidental Resorts in Costa Rica and have concerns about your reservations call 1-800-858-2258.

1 comment:

Michael Scott said...

Great blog! Very informative and professional! Definitely a good read.

Related posts