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 Puntarenas - Profile

Location

Puntarenas lies along a peninsula 5 miles long but only 600 metres at its widest point, narrowing to less than a 100 metres at some points. It projects into the Golfo de Nicoya on Costa Rica's Pacific coast.

The close proximity of several islands, uninhabited and teaming with wildlife (deer, birds, iguanas) makes this an interesting cruising ground.

This is primarily a fishing port, and as such can be a little rough, however a new resort/marina opened at the end of 2008 which has improved docking conditions considerably. There are good services here.

The estuary leading to the yacht club is continuing to silt up, and it is necessary to enter near high tide. Entry and exit even during high water springs are a challenge to vessels drawing more than six feet.

Position 09° 58'36"N, 84° 51'14"W (channel entrance)

Clearance

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

Call the International Port Authorities in Caldera on VHF Channel 16. Anchor or pick up a buoy in front of the fishing port, inside the mangroves. Wait to be boarded. After this international clearance, the zarpe can be obtained from the National Port Authorities whose office is behind the fishing port.

It is now not always possible to obtain clearance through the yacht club (CRY).

Docking

The current in the estuary runs at several knots, so take care docking and tie your boat securely. Long term anchoring is not recommended, there is really no good dinghy access and the shoreline is rough and dirty, with quite a few alligators.

Entry and exit into the marina, even during high water springs, are a challenge to vessels drawing more than six feet. The pontoons are very short in length and are subject to strong tidal flow. A number of slips are restricted in use by the positioning of steel pylons reducing stern to mooring availability. There is limited slip space for deeper keeled vessels.

This marina cannot legally provide long term accommodation to foreign flagged vessels with a Permisode Permanencia.

Last updated January 2013.

Puerto Azul Resort & Marina
El Cocal , Puntarenas , Costa Rica
Tel:011 506 2282-9204
Lat: 9° 58' 944" N, Lon: 84° 47' 916" W. 1.5 miles from the marina to the outlet into the gulf. 90 slips for boats up to 60 feet in length. Water, electricity, full facilities and Wi-Fi available. Protected with 8 ft of water at MLLW. Authorised bonding agent.

Yacht Clubs

Costa Rica Yacht Club
P.O. Box 151, Puntarenas, 5400, Costa Rica, , ( 09º58.8''N, 84º47.8'W)
Tel:011 (506) 2661-0784 Fax:011 (506) 2661-2518 ,VHF Channel 06
Opening hours: 07:00-17:00 except Wednesdays
In 2011 a new management team took over this yacht club following a number of complaints concerning the previous manager, Carlos Chinchilla. It is recommended not to use this yacht club as a bonding agent. The yacht club offers a range of repair facilities including a 20-ton travelift, as well as moorings, fuel and water on the dock, WiFi and 24-hour launch service. The cost of repairs carried out here has risen recently due to a fee now having to be paid by contractors who work at the club. Approach to the club is shallow and only possible at around HW.
Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Jun 30, 2014 02:39 PM

Posted on behalf of SY Wings (USA)
We went to Puntarenas to get some engine work done. We anchored overnight near the end of the spit and came into Puerto Azul on the last of the flood tide the next morning. We followed the wayponts in Sarana's guide, but the CM93 chart we had would have served as well. With our 8ft draft we went slow, (the estuary is not dredged) however we had at least 1.5 feet under our keel at all times, usually more, on a 2.5 meter tide.
Costa Rica Yacht Club had told us via telephone that they could not accommodate our draft, and anyhow, we needed power since we had an engine problem which precluded charging our batteries. Puerto Azul welcomed us and helped us into a berth with enough water for our draft. The rate at Puerto Azul was fair (if you buy a monthly berth) and water, power, and all hotel facilities were included.
The facility was clean, well cared or, and the staff excellent. The pool and bar are a luxury.
Puntarenas is a delightful little town, a working town, not a tourist town, and we found it to be inexpensive and friendly. You won't however, find western style beach bars and billibong surf clothing stores. You will find local restaurants with typical Costa Rican food at a fair price, cold beer, and many shops with inexpensive clothing and other items. It is a fishing town and there are great mechanics available and many parts available, but no west marine style stores. Provisioning is fine in Puntarenas with its several large super markets, but not as good as Panama.
The current in the estuary runs several knots, so take care docking and tie your boat securely. We don't recommend long term anchoring, there is really no good dingy access and the shoreline is rough and dirty, to say nothing about the alligator infestation (we saw them every time we went out in our dingy, big ones) and theft is reputed to be a problem.
We took bus trips to San Jose, Poas Volcano, Jaco, Quepos, and Manuel Antonio National Park. The buses are excellent and cheap, although not air conditioned.
Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Puntarenas

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