Golfito - General Info

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This port is a known hurricane hole. Located 330 nm north of the Panama Canal, Golfito Bay is a well-protected harbor 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.

This is the most southerly port of entry on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. There are several marinas here with authorities on site, so clearance is straightforward.

Cruiser Highlights:

Port of Entry; domestic airport; hospital; duty-free area; marinas; basic provisioning; fuel; water; banks; restaurants and access to tourism.


8°36.7’N, 83°11.0’W (Bay entrance)


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Golfito was last updated 3 months ago.

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  1. December 27, 2019 at 4:36 PM
    Svspitzer says:

    Land and Sea has closed, Tim and Katie have retired from the cruising world. Their moorings are gone, the cruisers here now ( December 2019) anchor out and go to Banana Bay Marina for dingy dock. If you anchor close you can get WiFi…but the WiFi signal from Fish Hook Marina is Strong everywhere ! Little has changed in Golfito from my first visit 9 years ago…its pretty, tranquilo..but expensive compared to Panama.

  2. March 27, 2019 at 8:11 PM
    Lynda Lim says:

    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.

  3. November 20, 2018 at 4:09 PM
    Data Entry5 says:

    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!


  4. October 9, 2017 at 2:46 PM
    Data Entry5 says:

    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.

  5. November 30, 2016 at 4:28 PM
    Data Entry5 says:

    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.

  6. September 6, 2016 at 5:47 PM
    Data Entry5 says:

    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 travelling 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 buoy 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 woodworking 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.

  7. April 18, 2016 at 11:05 PM
    Data Entry5 says:

    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.

  8. June 30, 2014 at 2:24 PM
    Data Entry5 says:

    Posted on behalf of Fredrick Roswold & Judy Jensen (May 2014)

    We arrived in Golfito about 2:00 PM 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 refuelled 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)