Golfito Goes Big
Marina Village in the naturally protected, deepwater harbor of Golfito, Costa Rica, is open and ready to receive yachts up to 400 feet.
In March, phase one of construction finished at Golfito Marina Village on the southwest shore of Costa Rica. The main 700-foot pier is in, along with 55 slips from 40 to 150 feet.
Yachts as large as 400 feet in length now have a prime, naturally protected location to tie up in the southern half of the country, with 30 feet of controlled depth and a 268foot fuel dock that, the developers say, has the fastest-speed pump in all of Costa Rica.
“We have opened up the entire southern region of Costa Rica to superyachts with this amazing destination,” says David Johnson, marina sales director. “This is the only place on the west coast, from Panama all the way up to Mexico, where transport ships load and unload. It’s the most protected spot on the west coast of Central America.”
By September 1, a chandlery along with 23 boutique shops, restaurants and a beachfront bar at Golfito Marina Village will be open, he says.
Phase two of construction will add slips for yachts up to 185 feet in length overall, plus additional side-to dockage for yachts 200 feet long. That dockage, along with two oceanfront villas and the hotel, should be completed by February, Johnson says. Phase three is expected to bring more villas, condominiums, shops and a floating restaurant by 2019.
”What’s cool about this marina is one, it’s floating, and two, there’s no pilings,” Johnson says. “It’s all done with a flexible product that anchors it to the ground. It makes for a beautiful view when you’re looking out from the yacht or from the shore.”
The draw is not only the natural protection from wind and surge, Johnson says, but also the remoteness and rugged beauty of the area.
“There’s zero white noise,” he says. “You can hear every single thing coming from the jungle all day. You hear the birds, the monkeys, sometimes the insects all humming along at the same time. It would be the perfect place in the world if it didn’t have such good cellphone reception.”
Despite the remote location, Johnson says, modern electrical wiring in the town of Golfito means access to communications is surprisingly strong.
“We offer 4K internet in the marina,” he says. “Our wireless is incredible. If a boat needs something better than 4K, we can hardwire them in and get it.” —K.K.
“My strategy is, let’s get the owners down here and show them the destination, so they’ll be comfortable leaving their boats here,” he says.
And crew will get comfortable understanding how easy it can be to show guests a good time, Ofer says. Compared with other destinations he has visited, he says, Costa Rica offers easy access to everything.
“Stepping off your boat anywhere along the coast is an amazing experience,” he says. “You can do all the land activities without having to go on a three-hour tour. It’s awesome. You can sea kayak from your boat to a jungle and see wildlife, or do horseback riding on the beach, or see turtles nesting. It’s accessible. It’s easy.”
One of the signature experiences that Ofer shows yacht owners (and hopes to someday show charter clients, too) is an encounter with mega-pods of spinner dolphins. Even for him, after all he’s seen around the world, this Costa Rica opportunity remains a favorite.
“These are thousands of dolphins in one pod, many pods at once,” he says. “They’re the most playful thing you can find. So we park the yachts right there in the middle of the ocean, and the guests are swimming with thousands of dolphins. You can do it snorkeling or with Seabobs or scuba gear or just hanging behind a tender. You can sit on a tender and watch as they jump out of the water. It feels like a circus. They’re jumping up and down and making noises, and you can sometimes see them all the way to the horizon. People say, Wow! And they laugh and they scream and they take pictures and they want to jump in the water as quickly as they can. It’s sheer, raw, natural excitement.”
Above right: With 30 feet of controlled depth, the floating docks at Golfito Marina Village can accommodate yachts up to 400 feet, making the natural splendor of Costa Rica easily accessible to a larger range of superyachts.
Top: Diving off Costa Rica is nothing short of spectacular. The underwater volcanic rock formations and corals are a magnet for sea life. above: Large stingrays are a common sight in the waters of Costa Rica. righT: Rising to 5,437 feet—high above the rest of the countryside— the almost perfectly symmetrical Arenal Volcano is a sightseer’s dream, with an abundance of outdoor activities to check off on your Costa Rica ‘must-do’ list.