Costa Rica - Facts

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  • Costa Rica has coastlines on both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, the latter being the more attractive for cruising.
  • The hilly interior and attractive capital San José can be visited from either Puntarenas or Limón. There are active volcanos, cloud forests, hot springs and an abundance of national parks.
  • The marina which is part of the Los Suenos Resort, a luxury development at Herradura, in the eastern part of the Gulf of Nicoya, is a good base from which to explore the country.
  • Compared to Panama and Mexico, Costa Rica is expensive. Diesel, marina fees ($2 – 3 per foot) and provisions can be costly.
  • The beautiful Isla del Coco, situated 532 km from the Costa Rican coast in the Pacific Ocean, is a National Park and sought-after diving paradise. It must be noted however that no vessel coming from a foreign port can stop here (i.e. en-route Panama – Marquesas). Only vessels that have cleared in to Costa Rica with the Authorities including Immigration can apply for a permit to visit Isla del Coco. See this report for more details.

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Costa Rica was last updated 1 month ago.

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  1. April 21, 2022 at 9:59 PM
    ciezzoni says:

    Just checked into the country at Playa del Coco, Costa Rica, DIY style. Port captain sent us right to Migracion, about two blocks down the street. Back to Port Captain at 8am next morning (closed at 3). List of last 5 ports and dates required at both captania and migracion, but no zarpes needed but for previous port. After that, a trip to aduana was needed. 800 colones for a bus to the airport. The old Aduana office (1 mi past the airport) appears to be closed. With some persistence, we were able to find someone at the airport who as able to find an aduana representative to help us with the TIP.

    Return to Capitania required for a domestic zarpe if you’re looking to move along. 32000 colones for a van back to Del Coco from the airport. No fees from any of the officials otherwise. No ag inspection at the boat.

  2. January 18, 2022 at 8:57 PM
    ciezzoni says:

    Under Formalities, Pre-arrival mentions an insurance requirement, but insurance is not listed under the Documents section. Has anyone had recent experience suggesting that boat insurance is required for entry?

    Thanks!

  3. July 18, 2021 at 6:23 PM
    svkismet says:

    Do not use the Nautica agent in Coco, see my comments under their listing. Use the agent that Marina Papagayo recommends.

  4. January 16, 2021 at 8:17 PM
    sassafrass says:

    Just checked in via Golfito, anyone coming north highly recommend Gabriela at Banana Bay Marina. Was able to check-in and deal with vessel temp import all in about a couple hrs. Very smooth process.

  5. August 22, 2020 at 2:58 PM
    sassafrass says:

    Costa Rica Tourism website has updated showing a plan for accepting yachts starting Sept 1st. Details at visitcostarica.com

    1. August 23, 2020 at 1:44 PM
      profile photo
      Sue Richards says:

      Thanks so much for the update – it’s really appreciated! We’ve updated Noonsite.

  6. July 10, 2018 at 9:19 PM
    Data Entry5 says:

    Hi from Distant Drummer

    We’ve just been through the process of getting a permit for Isla del Coco and thought it was worth sharing the “latest” information.

    You can download the forms from www. isladelcoco.go.cr
    Fill in the application form for entry to PNIC and deliver it or send it to the Director of the ACMIC at the address below. Allow a minimum of 15 days prior to the date of expected arrival in PNIC.
    Área de Conservación Marina Cocos
    Parque Ecológico SINAC
    Santo Domingo de Heredia (antiguo Inbio Parque)

    The form must be sent with a cover letter giving the following additional information:
    1. Full name, gender, passport number, nationality, date of birth for each person
    2. Diving certification number of each diver
    3. Itinerary of the activities planned in PNIC for each day of the visit including the number of persons carrying out each activity

    Support documents:
    1. Certified copies of passports for each person
    2. Certified copy of the certification of seaworthiness or equivalent documents which specify the range of the vessel *
    3. Evidence of permission to operate in Costa Rican waters. We submitted copies of our Zarpe and our Certificate of Temporary Importation
    4. An affidavit stating that the vessel complies with the following requirements:

    a) effective systems for handling emergencies
    b) a holding tank for sanitary waste
    c) a radio with marine frequencies

    5. If you are planning on diving an affidavit stating that if the vessel meets the following requirements:

    a) a life vest for each passenger
    b) equipment necessary for a marine rescue

    * We did not have a “Certificate of Seaworthiness” so we included in the affidavit a statement outlining our sailing experience on board Distant Drummer. We included certified copies of our arrival documents in French Polynesia and Hawaii to demonstrate nautical miles covered.

    Notes:
    They ask for an address or fax number to receive notifications but you can use an email address if you prefer. If you deliver the documents to their office by hand they will want to see the original copies of all the support documents. If you are sending the application in by mail you will need to get all the support documents certified.

    Make sure you clearly understand the fees as they are pretty high and stack up quickly. The document explaining the tariffs is Decreto Tarifas ASP – No. 38295.pdf and is 25 pages of Spanish. Read the parts about Isla del Coco (PNIC). In summary for us:

    • Admission: $50 per person per day
    • Anchoring for vessel <15m: $40 per day
    • Snorkeling: $10 per person per day
    • Diving: sorry – not sure about this but there will be a fee

    A very good contact for information and questions is Johanning Corrales Vega ([email protected]). He answers emails promptly and completely and was very helpful to us.

    Hope this is useful
    Suzy Carmody
    S/V Distant Drummer
    http://www.carmody-clan.com

  7. December 14, 2017 at 10:51 AM
    Data Entry5 says:

    Cocos Island, Costa Rica
    Diver Killed by Tiger Shark

    As reported by https://scubadiverlife.com
    On Thursday, Nov. 30, a tiger shark at Cocos Island, Costa Rica bit and killed a diver and injured the instructor she was diving with while they were awaiting pickup from their liveaboard’s skiff. This is the first fatal attack to ever happen in the area.

  8. October 9, 2017 at 11:52 AM
    Data Entry5 says:

    Posted on Women Who Sail Facebook Page

    Re: Tropical Storm Nate – 5 October 2017
    Here in Costa Rica, we are being hit hard by Nate, and it’s all about the flooding. Mudslides, bridges out, roads closed, six confirmed dead so far, 600 reportedly homeless, 5000 in shelters, houses sliding off mountains.

    We have moored up a tidal estuary in Puntarenas, and when the tide and the river are going the same way, it’s pretty intense; lots of uprooted trees going by or sometimes getting hung up on us. Costa Rica will recover, but it’s going to be grim for Nicaragua.

  9. September 18, 2016 at 1:05 AM
    Data Entry5 says:

    Just to update Paul’s comment above. If you’re a CR resident and your boat isn’t registered in CR, the tax is not 85%. As of 2015, it’s 69%. An official telling you it’s a higher rate, it may have been changed, but as of 2016, it’s still 69%. Still outrageous, but mildly better.

  10. March 29, 2015 at 12:35 AM
    Data Entry5 says:

    Do not enter this country on your non-CR registered vessel if you are a CR resident (pensionado, rentista, etc.). CR Customs will hit you with the import tax at 85% of the value of the boat and the news that residents are not allowed cruising permits. I was ordered to pay up or leave immediately when I asked for a cruising permit at Golfito in March 2015. I left!