Costa Rica Blog

Rains from Hurricane Thomas Cause Significant Damage in Costa Rica

Posted by Steve Linder on Sun, Nov, 07, 2010

Though the hurricane was nowhere near Costa Rica, the bands of rain spinning off this tropical low pelted Costa Rica for nearly 5 days.  There was a significant landslide in Barrio El Carmen in San Antonio de Escazu that buried victims with a death toll now of 23.  Most victims were buried as they slept.  The storm caused record damage to many roads and bridges in Costa Rica with the most extensive damage along the Pacific Coast in the southern region.  Nicoya Peninsula was not spared and the Cerro De La Muerte inland route from San Isidro and Perez Zeledon and down the Palmar was badly damaged and remains closed.

In the central and southern Pacific regions, damage was also widespread.  The town of Parrita was hard hit with major flooding, damage to the old bridge and enough water to make travel on the Costanera highway impossible.  A dam in Parrita threatens collapse according to local news sources.


The town of Manuel Antonio suffered damage on the main road into town near Mimos and geologists are concerned about a major slide by Hotel Mono Feliz and Villas Teca.  The road collapsed in one section making accessibility only possible on the old road into Manuel Antonio.  A geologist reported that a large hillside section between the Mono Feliz Hotel and Villas Tecas Hotels was unstable and at risk of sliding.  Business owners were advised to evacuate the area and the area below as well.


In Dominicalito, the road was compromised by Playa Hermosa where a culvert under the road washed out and the road bed collapsed.  Further south a section of road was completely washed away by the Ventanas plaza as another culvert came loose.  The water then washed away the soil under the road bed until the pavement eventually gave way.  Power lines and some water lines were also compromised when the slide took place.


There was also a major slide from the ocean side of the road, bwetween the Costanera and the beach.  This slide dumped hundreds of cubic yards of soil onto the road and stretches for more than the length of a football field to a depth of 4 to 5 feet deep.  A bus was shuttling people from inside the slide area. 


In the town of Cortez, just south of Ojochal, major flooding plagues the central district.  There have been a number of mud slides along the Costanera that are blocking the road. 

In the photo to your left you are looking at the Terraba River which has jumped the banks and has flooded much of the flood plain on either side.  The Terraba is one of the longest navigable rivers in Costa Rica and a lot of water was coming down from the mountainous areas above.

In the town of Ojochal, there have been a few slides causing damage to homes in town as well as in pinuela.  The water system is down and electricity to many in the area is down as well.  The cell towers and phone lines have also been damaged disrupting communication to the area.  Road conditions are hampering repairs. 


Here is the Terraba River at Palmar Sur.  The river is usually about 10 feet below this height at the bridge.

We had a tour running November 5 - 8 that was canceled and we are monitoring the situation for the tour running November 9 - 12.  The rains have stopped as Hurricane Thomas moved north east past Haiti yesterday, fortunately passing to the west of Hispanola and sparing significant damage to Haiti.  The cleanup is now underway but the damage was the worst on record, with rain fall totals exceeding historical data.

photos by Tico Times,  Eddie Benavidas Morena and others  

Tags: Dominical, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica Flooding, San Antonio de Escazu, Terraba River, Parrita, Nicoya, Escazu, Flooding