Checking into Costa Rica: Original US Documentation Required

Published 11 years ago, updated 5 years ago

Information obtained from

When we were checking into Costa Rica in Golfito, we ran into a problem at the Aduana office. They demanded that we produce the original of our U.S. documentation. We have in the past had our new document scanned and e-mailed to us from the U.S. This had never been a problem before, including in Costa Rica. However, the officials here in Golfito insisted this is the law in Costa Rica.

We were required to go to a marina and place our boat in “bond” until our document could be FedExed to us. The Marinas here are pricey, for example, a 42′ boat would cost $118 dollars a day at Banana Bay Marina. Michael, the manager at Fish Hook Marina, was sympathetic and gave us a very reasonable rate.

I do not know if this law is now being enforced throughout Costa Rica or not, but be forewarned. And no we did not do or say anything that might have caused us to be “singled out”. The Aduana officials were polite and businesslike, but very insistent.

Related content


Read and Post Related Comments

Related to following destinations:

You must Login or Register to submit comments.

  1. October 12, 2015 at 7:55 PM
    Data Entry5 says:

    The CFR requires the original COD to be onboard anytime the vessel is in operation. (Please see excerpt from CFR below.)

    In foreign ports, we supply a copy or copies to the officials and show the original. I am aware that a few countries, especially in South and Central America are lackadaisical and allow all sorts of things. This is especially true when using an agent.

    We are a global vessel delivery firm. We are not the owners of the vessels that we operate. Therefore we submit copies, show original COD and delivery contract along with our Merchants Marine Licenses. We have never had an issue clearing in or out.
    § 67.313 Requirement to have Certificate of Documentation onboard.

    (a) The person in command of a documented vessel must have on board that vessel the original Certificate of Documentation currently in effect for that vessel.
    (b) The requirement of paragraph (a) of this section does not apply:
    (1) To non-self-propelled vessels not engaged in foreign trade;
    (2) When the Certificate of Documentation has been submitted to the National Vessel Documentation Center for exchange in accordance with § 67.167 (d) or (e); or
    (3) When the vessel is in storage or out of the water.
    [CGD 89-007, CGD 89-007a, 58 FR 60266, Nov. 15, 1993; 58 FR 65131, Dec. 13, 1993, as amended by CGD 95-014, 60 FR 31605, June 15, 1995]