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.

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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...

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