Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

The Ultimate Cruisers' Planning Tool

Navigation

You are here: Home / Countries / Costa Rica / Golfito

 Golfito - Profile

Location

Description:

Located just 330 nm north of the Panama Canal, Golfito Bay is a well-protected harbour inside the Gulfo Dulce. Golfito is a port town built along on a narrow strip of land between the bay and a jungle hill. It consists of two parts; the shopping area to the south, and a residential area near the port. There are ample places to anchor and a marina with helpful staff.

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.

Cruiser highlights:

Clearance in and out of the country; domestic airport; hospital; duty free area; marinas; basic provisioning; fuel; water; banks; restaurants and access to tourism.

Position 8°36.7'N, 83°11.0'W (Bay entrance)

Clearance

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

International Clearance:

Prepare four sets of paperwork which include passports, boat registration, documentation, crew list and Zarpe. Land the dinghy at one of the marinas and visit the following offices:

Immigration: Oficina de Migracion y Extrangeria.

Port Captain: Capitania de Puerto Golfito.

Customs Office: Puesto Aduanero. Customs may also want to see proof of serial number of boat engine and dinghy engine which will be listed in the cruising permit (valid for 3 months). Pictures of the name plates satisfied the need.

Quarantine: This office requires payment during checkin. This money needs to be deposited at a bank and once you have a receipt a visit can be scheduled by phone. One solution is to have Banana Bay Marina do the money transfer and scheduling. The quarantine officer will then come to the marina and will have to be brought to the boat to inspect your fridge/freezers/stores and ask for possible pets.

Domestic Clearance:

Visit Port Captain's office to present Zarpe.

Last updated: March 2019

Customs: Puesto Aduanero
Calle 8 in the Duty Free Zone
Immigration: Oficina de Migracion y Extrangeria
Avenida 14 and the main road.
Port Captain: Capitania de Puerto Golfito
Calle 4, Provincia de Puntarenas, Golfito
Tel:506 2775 0487
Opening hours: Monday - Friday 7:00 to 15:00

Docking

Anchorage:

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

Moorings:

The Land and Sea Cruisers Club, situated between Banana Bay and Fish Hook marinas, offers moorings and internet.

Dinghy Landing:

Check with the three marinas for dinghy landing.

Security:

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

Marinas:

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) was slated to open in 2017.

Last updated: March 2019

Arena Alta K&B Marina
Aptdo 202, Playa Zancudo , Golfito, Puntarenas 8021 , Costa Rica
Tel:011 506 775 0741
Banana Bay Marina
Km2 Casa Amarilla, Golfito , Costa Rica 60701-192
Tel:+(506) 2775 0255 Fax:+(506) 2775 0735 ,VHF Channel 16/12
08°37'N 83°09'W
Full service licensed marina, customs office and sport fishing center. Marina services include dockage up to 120 feet, diesel fuel, repairs and cleaning services, 24 hour security, WiFi, restaurant, laundry and accommodation.
Services also extend to two-year cruising permits, Port Clearance and Bonding Services.
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 - An IGY Destination
Golfito, Costa Rica
Tel:+ (506) 2775-3000 Rest.: + (506) 8575-3000
Marina of 50 berths catering to vessels up to 107m (350’). Super yacht & Sport-fishing Marina. Restaurants and shops.
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.
Diane Selkirk
Diane Selkirk says:
Mar 27, 2019 08:11 PM

Posted on behalf of Dirk Lison
To check in prepare 4 bundles with copies of passports, boat registration/documentation, crew list, Zarpe.
Land the dinghy at one of the marinas.
• walk/taxi/bus to immigration, on google maps "Oficina de Migracion y Extrangeria"
• walk/taxi/bus to the port captain, on google maps "Capitania de Puerto Golfito"
• walk/taxi/bus to the Golfito Free Zone, the customs office is there, ask for directions once in the free zone. Customs may want to see proof of serial number of boat engine and dinghy engine which will be listed in the cruising permit (valid for 3 months). Pictures of the name plates satisfied the need.
• Quarantine is a bit more difficult. The only office that requires payment during checkin, and that needs to be deposited at a bank, then with the receipt a visit can be scheduled by phone. An easy solution is to have Banana Bay Marina do the money transfer and scheduling. They were happy to do so in March 2019. The quarantine officer will then come to the marina and will have to be brought to the boat, and will inspect fridge/freezers/stores and ask for possible pets.
Boats that have already cleared into Costa Rica at another port must visit the port captain's office to present their zarpe.
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 (free) or international zarpe (~$50).
Other services: Banana Bay Marina has a mail forwarding service, with an address in Doral/Florida/USA, from which flat mail should take ~3 days to arrive at the marina.
Cheers
Dirk

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Nov 20, 2018 04:09 PM

Reported by Neil Schneider:
15 November, 2018
On our recent arrival to the port of Golfito, Costa Rica, my wife and I chose to check in to the Banana Bay Marina, despite the fact that we usually anchor out. However, the staff we were talking with made us a very good deal and she seemed eager to have us in one of their berths. Once we were tied up, she came down to the boat bearing two large glasses of iced lemonade as a welcome. The docks are substantial and in good repair but lack any protection from the carriage bolt heads so if your fenders kick up as you’re pulling in, it could create some damage. The marina has diesel, power and water to the dock. When we fuelled up, I used a 3-stage ‘Baja’ filter but there was no sign of any water or dirt in the fuel. The restaurant at the marina is very good but don’t expect to be served quickly.

Check in was straight forward and handled professionally. However, we hadn’t expected to have to pay CRC53,885 (about US$81) to have the boat inspected by a man from SENASA - Servicio Nacional de Salud Animal. We had to pay the money at the bank and have the receipt for him when he showed up to do the inspection. He asked to see our frozen meat and we showed him our empty freezer. He left shortly after that.

The staff at the marina were very friendly and accommodating. No matter how obscure our requests were, they bent over backwards to accommodate us.

Check out was as straight forward as the check in except we had to go back to the bank and get another receipt (this one for the Capitanía del Puerto for US$20 plus US$5 for bank fees) for our international zarpe.

We had no security issues and generally felt safe although we were here for just a few days. The area is beautiful and very hot. There’s plenty of room for anchoring, the 10’ tides notwithstanding. We saw a flock of brilliantly colored macaws fly by the marina - spectacular!

-Chainplate

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)

Costa Rica
Atlantic Coast
Pacific Coast
Golfito
Marina Papagayo
Playa Herradura
Playas del Coco
Puntarenas
Quepos
Profile
Location
Clearance
Docking
Yacht Clubs
Repair Facilities
Boatyards
Engine Repair
Mechanical Repair
Electrics & Electronics
Carpentry
Rigs & Sails
Canvas Work
Metalwork
Hull & GRP Repair
Refrigeration
Air Conditioning
Liferafts & Inflatables
Marine Services
Marine Supplies
Fuel
Water
LPG (gas)
Diving/Fishing
Charts & Marine Publications
General Services
Yacht Charters
Yacht Brokers
Guardinage
Yacht Surveyors
Shore Services
Communications
Banks
Laundry
Provisions
Transport & Travel
Computer/Photo/Video
Medical/Health
Accommodation
Activities
Shopping
Attractions
Restaurants & Bars
Update History
Update History
Countries
Albania
Algeria
American Samoa
Angola
Anguilla
Antarctica
Antigua & Barbuda
Argentina
Aruba
Ascension Island
Australia
Azores
BIOT (Chagos)
Bahamas
Bahrain
Barbados
Belgium
Belize
Bermuda
Bonaire
Bosnia
Bouvetoya
Brazil
British Virgin Islands
Brunei
Bulgaria
Cambodia
Canada
Canary Islands
Cape Verdes
Cayman Islands
Channel Islands
Chile
China
Christmas Island
Cocos Keeling
Colombia
Comoros
Cook Islands
Costa Rica
Croatia
Cuba
Curacao
Cyprus
Denmark
Djibouti
Dominica
Dominican Republic
East Timor (Timor Leste)
Easter Island
Ecuador
Egypt
El Salvador
Eritrea
Estonia
Falkland Islands
Faroe Islands
Federated States of Micronesia
Fiji
Finland
France
French Guiana
French Polynesia
French Subantarctic Territory
Galapagos
Gambia
Georgia
Germany
Gibraltar
Greece
Greenland
Grenada
Guadeloupe
Guam
Guatemala
Guinea-Bissau
Guyana
Haiti
Hawaii
Heard, McDonald & Macquarie Islands
Honduras
Hong Kong
Iceland
India
Indonesia
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Ivory Coast
Jamaica
Japan
Jordan
Juan Fernandez Islands
Kenya
Kiribati
Kuwait
Latvia
Lebanon
Libya
Lithuania
Macau
Madagascar
Madeira
Malaysia
Maldives
Malta
Marion & Prince Edward Island
Marshall Islands
Martinique
Mauritania
Mauritius
Mayotte
Mexico
Monaco
Montenegro
Montserrat
Morocco
Mozambique
Myanmar (Burma)
Namibia
Nauru
Netherlands
New Caledonia
New Zealand
New Zealand's Subantarctic Islands
Nicaragua
Niue
Norfolk Island
Northern Marianas
Norway
Oman
Palau (Belau)
Panama
Papua New Guinea
Peru
Philippines
Pitcairn Island
Poland
Portugal
Puerto Rico
Qatar
Reunion Island
Romania
Russia
Saba
Samoa
Sao Tome and Principe
Saudi Arabia
Senegal
Seychelles
Sierra Leone
Singapore
Sint Maarten
Slovenia
Solomon Islands
Somalia
South Africa
South Georgia & South Sandwich Islands
South Korea
Spain
Spanish Virgin Islands
Sri Lanka
St Barts
St Helena
St Kitts & Nevis
St Lucia
St Martin
St Pierre & Miquelon
St Vincent & the Grenadines
Statia
Subantarctic & Southern Ocean Islands
Sudan
Suriname
Sweden
Syria
Taiwan
Tanzania
Thailand
Tokelau
Tonga
Trinidad & Tobago
Tristan da Cunha
Tunisia
Turkey
Turks & Caicos
Tuvalu
US Virgin Islands
USA
Ukraine
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom
Uruguay
Vanuatu
Venezuela
Vietnam
Wallis and Futuna
Yemen