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 Golfito - Profile

Location

Located just north of the Panama canal, Golfito is a convenient and very attractive port at which to clear in or out of Costa Rica. The Banana Bay Marina are very welcoming, can organise clearance, has a fuel dock with very easy access and helpful staff.

Outboard and dinghy theft is a problem in Golfito however and cruisers should take maximum precautions to secure their hardware. Be extra vigilant with security, even in daylight whilst on board the boat.

It is one of the wettest places in Costa Rica, with over 300 inches of rain a year. However, because of the rain it has some of the highest jungle canopies in Costa Rica and a wealth of animal life.

Position 8°38.16'N, 83°10.0'W.

Clearance

See Costa Rica Fomalities for full details on clearing into and out of Costa Rica.

Arrival

On arrival, hoist the Q flag and call Base Naval (Naval Base) on Channel 16. The captain will be required to give his name and passport number, the vessel's name and registration number, the name of the last port, and zarpe number.

Normally boats are directed to the quarantine area, near the commercial dock. Immigration, customs, quarantine and port officials normally visit the boat, or the captain has to go ashore to complete formalities.

Latest reports from cruisers are that officials in the commercial port are not particularly welcoming to yachts and insist an agent is used at a very high fee. It is therefore recommended that cruisers proceed directly to Banana Bay Marina for clearance.

Call Banana Bay Marina on VHF Channel 12 or 16; the marina staff will arrange for the officials to come to the marina.

Boats that have already cleared into Costa Rica at another port must visit the port captain's office to present their zarpe.

Clearance Offices Ashore

It is no longer necessary to visit Quarantine (located down the road from Immigration).

Immigration is a few blocks towards town. They will copy every document for you and tell you what to do.

Then go to Customs near the duty free area with your next bundle of papers, and recieve your cruising permit. Note that there is a new strict supervisor here who insists on reviewing your ORIGINAL vessel registration. She does not accept fax copies or downloaded/printed copies, even if they are certified originals. Be sure to have all your papers in order.

Next go to the Port Captains Office and show your Zarpe to clear with them.

Clearance should only take a couple of hours and costs approx. US$6 in taxi fare.

Port Authorities are closed on Saturday and Sunday, and Customs is closed on Monday. Check-in can still be done on a Monday but keep this in mind for your departure schedule. Official hours for these offices are Monday through Friday, 0800-1600 hours. Overtime charges apply outside of these hours.

On departure visit the Capitania for a national or international zarpe (both are US$20). Cruisers report no problems with the authorities here.

Last updated March 2016.

Docking

This is a useful port of call and good for repairs and provisioning. There are no haul-out facilities here. The nearest are in Punta Arenas in Gulfo Nicoya.

In Golfito the Land and Sea Cruisers Club, situated between Banana Bay and Fish Hook marinas, is a good alternative to marina berthing. They charge $8 per day for moorings and $1 per day for internet. All 3 marinas are close together and reported to be very friendly and helpful.

The Fish Hook Marina offers special reduced rates to visiting yachts.

Banana Bay Marina has a very good restaurant and offers a range of facilities, such as floating docks with water and electricity, as well as duty-free fuel for boats in transit.

A new superyacht marina - The Golfito Marina Village (12m to 107m) - continues to be "under construction", now well past its planned 2014 opening date.

The safest places to anchor are close in front of Banana Bay Marina, Land and Sea or Fishhook Marina.

Security: Be extra carefull in Golfito to lock you motor and dinghy and do so with extra due dilligence. Use a big chain so thieves cannot just cut the cables and pry things off with crowbars. Never leave your hardware unsecured even if you are on board during the day. Theft is a problem here - see reports adjacent and comments at bottom of page.

Last updated September 2016.

Arena Alta K&B Marina
Aptdo 202, Playa Zancudo , Golfito, Puntarenas 8021 , Costa Rica
Tel:011 506 775 0741
Banana Bay Marina
Golfito , Costa Rica 60701-192
Tel:011 506 2775 0838 Fax:011 506 2775 0735 ,VHF Channel 16
08°37'N 83°09'W
Full service marina and sport fishing centre. Facilities include Diesel Fuel, Electricity, Pressurized Water, Restaurant, Hotel Rooms, WiFi, Port Clearance & Bonding Services, Travel Agency, 24 hour security, Laundry services, etc.
Fish Hook marina
Golfito Bay , Golfito
Tel:+ (506) 2775-1624 Rest.: + (506) 2775-0592
Latitude 8° 37' 17" - Longitude -83° 9' 6"
Marina can accommodate boats up to 165 feet. Surrounded by mountains, Golfito bay is protected from surge and tropical storms all year around. Facilities include shore power, pressurized water, WiFi, cable TV, 24-hour security, boat maintenance, laundry service, storage, and much more.
Golfito Marina Village
Construction due to begin in December 2013 - opening planned for September 2014 however as of September 2016 this still looks a long way off: Luxury marina will consist of 140 berths measuring from 12m (40’) to 107m (350’). Will also offer deep water mooring in the Bay for transient Yachts and use of the 300m (1000') Commercial pier for yachts greater than 100m. Will be divided in 2 parts: Superyacht marina & Sport Fish/Yacht Marina. Fully equipped service yard with 15 ton travel lift planned.
Marina Somoa del Sur
P.O. Box 55-8201, Golfito, , Puntarenas, CR
Tel:011 (506) 2775-0233 Fax:011 (506) 2775-0573
A small marina offering full marina and boat facilities with Customs authorization, laundry, hotel and restaurant. Authorised bonding agent.

Yacht Clubs

Land and Sea Cruisers Club
Golfito Bay , Run by Tim and Katie
Tel:011 (506) 2775-1614 Fax:011 (506) 2775-1300
"The place" hosting sailors in Golfito for more than a decade. Very limited med-tie space at the dingy dock plus moorings. Comprehensive range of services, including WiFi (reported to be the cheapest in Costa Rica), clean showers, laundry service, huge book exchange and a cosy honour bar/cafe. Also offer boat sitting and bottom cleaning services. For the self-sufficient cruising sailor who prefers to be on the hook or an economical mooring.
mintalan
mintalan says:
Oct 09, 2017 02:46 PM

Just to re-enforce that when visiting Golfito lock everything up. Thieves have no problem coming up to your boat while at anchor and stealing dingies, sheets, and whatever they may get there hands on. Also, be aware there is a high drug problem in this town, mostly with crack. I have seen them do this openly in public. Overall this little town was ok. A few nice people there, Clovis at Latitude 8 is one of them.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Nov 30, 2016 04:28 PM

Message from Chris Tucciarone, SY Mr. Golfito:
The problem with tenders seems to be a few isolated incidents and happened while boats were anchored out in the bay. I suggest that you anchor on a buoy or dock at one of the marinas.

SailingSirena
SailingSirena says:
Sep 06, 2016 05:47 PM

Banana Bay, Land and Sea, and Fish Hook are all clustered together and all were helpful and friendly. We anchored out and negotiated a price with Fish Hook for a week while traveling inland. They have very helpful staff and the dock is monitored. Land and Sea owners have great local knowledge and are willing to assist with whatever you need. They hosted a pot luck dinner for all the cruisers while we were there. If you have cats you will want to anchor out or get a mooring bouy because they have a pack of guard dogs.

The bay is very calm but has heavy tidal flow with lots of debris, including trees in water, especially during rainy season. Theft is a problem here, both on the water and on land so be aware and keep to marina areas by night and travel in groups. Reports of local home invasions had us locking up at night. Locals are not as friendly as in the tourist towns and drugs are a problem.

Golfito Marina Village has yet to be completed as of September 2016 and looks to be a long way from opening. Not much in the way of facilities here except a good wood working shop and metal shop. Marina store is nearly empty. Diesel oil prices are very expensive ($34USD/gal) so bring your own or head down to the border to pick some up for half the price. Alcohol is cheap at the border as well. Beware local police will wave over rental cars and look for passengers without seat belts ($200USD fine for each) while taxi cabs don't even have seat belts installed in many instances. Duty free area in town center is mostly for larger appliances and you must register one day prior to shopping. Border town of Paso Canoas is worth the trip if you need anything. An option to the bus is a Collectivo, or group taxi, that often stops by the bus stop just prior to the bus itself. Avoid a rental car as parking at the border would be a problem.

Overall Golfito is an ok place to stop but not a place we would stay for any longer than necessary.

Papillon
Papillon says:
Apr 18, 2016 11:05 PM

Could not have enjoyed a visit to immigration more than here in Golfito, outstanding customer service and a very cool air-conditioned office to boot! Be aware that the water temperature is very warm and that translates to a very warm boat as well.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Jun 30, 2014 02:24 PM

Posted on behalf of Fredrick Roswold & Judy Jensen (May 2014)
We arrived in Golfito about 2:00PM local time, after a great sail into the Gulfo Dulce from Panama, called Land and Sea on the radio, and were directed to either anchor or pick up one of their buoys. The channel is well marked. Checking in that same day was easy, we took a cab to Immigration, who made copies for us (although we already had them) and sent us to Customs (in the duty free area) and then the Port Captain's office in town. Everyone was helpful and no fees or charges were levied. Buses can be used but the taxis were fast and cheap.
Land and Sea is a friendly and reasonably priced haven in a normally expensive country and we enjoyed our stay there. We refueled at Banana Marina (when the Clipper Fleet was finished) and shopped in town and at the Panama border (bus ride).
Checking out was even easier, one stop, Port Captain, and again, no fees.
Oh, it rained a lot.
Fred Roswold, SV Wings (USA)

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