December 21st, 2012 (InsideCostaRica.com) While residents and visitors to Costa Rica are still free to smoke on public beaches this holiday season, this year, for the first time, they can forget bringing a cooler of cold beers or having a refreshing cocktail on the beach.
Vice Minister of Health, Sissy Castillo, said there is no prohibition against smoking in most outdoor public places, including the beach.
Castillo explained that the law does not currently prohibit smoking in most outdoor public places, with the exception of hotel common grounds.
Individuals caught breaking the Anti-Tobacco Law face a fine of 36,600 colones (about $73 USD), while businesses caught permitting customers to smoke in restricted areas face a fine of 54,900 colones (about $110 USD).
For alcoholic beverages, though, the story is quite different. A law that was passed in October prohibits drinking in any public place, including the beach. Get caught with a cool mojito or cold beer on the beach, and you’ll be facing a fine of 180,000 colones (about $360 USD).
Jonathan Espinoza, a public affairs official, said: “The law does not allow consumption of alcohol in public locations, and the municipal police and inspectors will ensure compliance with the law. The municipalities, [under the law] can arrest the violator, confiscate the [alcoholic beverages], issue a fine and coordinate with the Fuerza Publica to transfer the person to the Court of Minor Offenses.”