The mysterious Costa Rican UFO

They came from afar for gallo pinto.

Lake Cote is not among Costa Rica’s top tourist attractions — for humans, that is. For UFOs? Now that’s a different matter entirely.

In 1971, Costa Rica’s National Geographic Institute created an aerial map of the Arenal area, including Lake Cote, as part of surveying work for the Electricity Institute (ICE).

Later that decade, Costa Rica would dam a river and flood much of the region to create Lake Arenal, which supplies much of the country’s hydroelectric energy and has become a popular tourist attraction to boot.

As part of those preparations, Sergio Loaiza, Juan Bravo and Francisco Reyes climbed aboard a small plane with a map-making camera bolted to the floor. They flew at 10,000 feet, and the camera captured a new image every 13 seconds.

Some time later, the photographers developed and enlarged the images and noticed an unusual object in one of the photos of Lake Cote:

A UFO? The saucer-shaped, metallic-looking disk on the right side of the image had no obvious explanation. So, in that sense, it was — and remains — unidentified.

What’s more, the UFO’s existence couldn’t be easily disproven.

It didn’t appear on any prior (or subsequent) photos, meaning it likely wasn’t an artifact created by debris in the camera lens. Later analysis of the image showed it hadn’t been altered at all.

And the photo was taken with a high-quality professional camera by a professional crew, further supporting its veracity.

Fifty years after the photograph was taken, we may never know the origins of the strange, unidentified object above (or on) Lake Cote. Maybe it was a camera glitch, or perhaps it shows the wake of a boat in the water.

Or maybe it really was a flying saucer filled with extraterrestrials who were visiting Costa Rica to try the gallo pinto, drink a cold Imperial, and enjoy the Pura Vida lifestyle. That would be worth an intergalactic trip, if you ask us.


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