This paper studies a unique Costa Rican coastal protected area called Las Baulas Marine National Park (BMNP). Here the conflictive interaction between strategies of neoliberalization of sea turtles and land through ecotourism and real estate speculation, territorialization of protected area and species management by conservationists and local communal uses of nature have resulted in three different outcomes in three different sectors: 1) attempts of urban growth by affluent private residential property owners and tourism resorts have been frustrated by conservation efforts; 2) property owners and resorts have appropriated the park using it as an ecotourism attraction with the support of conservationists; 3) finally, at sea, environmentally distorting ecotourism and fishing uses have frustrated species conservation there. In reflecting on these differences, this paper will attempt to address the claim of an overwhelming and coherent neoliberalization of nature, by showing it as an inherently contradictory process. This paper highlights the need of understanding neoliberalism path-dependent and uneven process of social change. Instead of building new coherent socio-institutional landscapes that regulate access to and use of nature by obliterating the ones that preceded it; neoliberalism is only capable of obscuring those, imposing new ways of accessing and using nature which reflect what existed before.

Additional Metadata
Keywords protected area, neoliberalism, ecotourism, Costa Rica, environmental conservation, environment, state, leatherback turtle, sustainable development, NGO
Thesis Advisor Buscher, Bram
Persistent URL
Series Development Research (DRES)
Ramírez Cover, Alonso. (2011, December 15). NEOLIBERALISM AND TERRITORIALIZATION AT LAS BAULAS MARINE NATIONAL PARK, COSTA RICA. Development Research (DRES). Retrieved from