Bahía Culebra (Culebra Bay) is a semi-closed and protected geomorphological unit, which has a wide diversity of natural resources, encouraging the settlement of human populations and consequent coastal development. Bahía Culebra has been an important place from the historical, political, cultural and economic perspective, according to the literature search which included documents dating from the mid nineteenth century until 2011, from the National Archive of Costa Rica, the National Library, the Historical Research Center in Central America and some private collections. Its beauty, road networks, and the proximity to an international airport has made easier for it to become an intensive tourism development center. Coastal development was accelerated by the creation of the Polo Turístico Golfo de Papagayo (Papagayo Gulf Tourist Destination project). It should strengthen the legal framework and implementation of actions to promote the welfare of local populations and the proper management of natural resources, taking into account all factors and actors involved.
Keywords: culebra bay, history, Costa Rica, coastal development