November 13, 2017 at 11:16 pm EST | by Michael K. Lavers
LGBT-friendly resort area undamaged by Costa Rica earthquake

Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica is in an area that is popular with gay tourists. A magnitude 6.5 earthquake struck the area on Nov. 12, 2017. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

QUEPOS, Costa Rica — There are no reports of damage in an LGBT-friendly resort area in Costa Rica after a magnitude 6.5 earthquake struck the country on Sunday.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the epicenter was less than 30 miles north-northwest of Manuel Antonio National Park on the country’s Pacific coast. The epicenter was near the town of Jacó that is slightly more than an hour’s drive from Quepos.

Several gay-owned or gay-friendly hotels, restaurants, bars and clubs are located between the park and the nearby town of Quepos. The area is also popular among surfers and expats from the U.S. and other countries.

Costa Rican media reports indicate two people who suffered heart attacks during the earthquake died.

There were power outages and reports of scattered damage — primarily items falling from store shelves and cracks in buildings — in Jacó, Quepos and surrounding areas.

Gerald Rovera, an employee at Hotel Villa Roca, a gay-owned hotel between Manuel Antonio National Park and Quepos, told the Washington Blade on Monday during a telephone interview the power was out for about half an hour after the earthquake. Rovera said there was no damage to the hotel or to any other businesses in the area.

“Everything’s still standing,” he told the Blade.

San José, the country’s capital, is located about 60 miles northeast of the earthquake’s epicenter.

The ground swayed violently for more than 20 seconds, including at a restaurant in downtown San José where this reporter was when the earthquake struck. Media reports indicate a mall may have been damaged, but there were no other reports of serious damage in San José.

The earthquake struck less than six weeks after Tropical Storm Nate caused widespread flooding throughout Costa Rica. Rovera told the Blade the flooding destroyed a garden and a Jacuzzi at the hotel, which is located on a steep hillside that overlooks the Pacific Ocean.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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