Bob and Jill - Owner / Operators of Amatierra Retreat & Wellness Center
“Bridges,” answers Jill Ruttenberg of the Amatierra Yoga and Wellness Center near the village of San Pablo de Turrubares, “and the people here can ill afford to be cut off from working in Orotina or Turu Ba Ri Park. No buses can pass from the tiny towns on this side of the river to Orotina, and workers in Orotina going to the tour park can’t get there, either. Have the people not suffered enough, losing 5 residents in the tragic accident in October 2009? “
In a double dose quirk of fate, the floods of last November took out the temporary Bailey bridge that was put across the river to replace the suspension bridge that collapsed a year earlier, until a permanent, two lane bridge can be built. Meanwhile, a small boat takes people across the swiftly flowing river, although it cannot transport goods of any kind. This has killed the once thriving day tour business of the Turu Ba Ri Park, eliminating 110 jobs from this small community and millions of dollars of revenue for the park alone. Tourists from San Jose would frequent the thousand acre park, as well as hundreds of tourists from cruise ships each time one would dock in Puntarenas.
“Our friend, Oscar Saborio, owner of the Turu Ba Ri Adventure Park, desperately worked with us to try to convince the government to fix the bridge to save his very livelihood and life long investment, and to save the jobs of more than 110 people who worked at the park, all local ticos. We attended meetings, wrote letters, and were told there were other priorities in more touristy areas, and that they wanted to wait and make a 2-lane, solid bridge this time. Well, fortunately, now MOPT scrambles to complete another one lane Bailey Bridge by this Sunday, as the new highway will be closed for repairs. We’re keeping our fingers crossed,” continues Jill.