Many locals are excited about plans for the Golfito Marina because it will bring new residents, tourism, and commerce to the area. While the project stalled, it was not because of its size or cost but because banks tightened lending due to the recession. Today, the Golfito Marina project is moving forward, although plans have changed slightly.
All of the plans, permits, and money have been secured by Golfito Marina Village. With construction going so well, Phase I is scheduled to open this November. When complete, the marina will have 50 slips, a fuel dock, service yard, sewage treatment plant, and even a 1,312-square-foot commercial area known as Fisherman’s Village. When all three phases are done, the marina will have 132 slips, as well as a hotel with 54 rooms and 57 villas.
The only marina that compares is the Crocodile Bay Marina in Puerto Jimenez, which is planned for just across the gulf. After both Golfito Marina and Crocodile Bay Marina are 100 percent complete, Golfo Dulce will transform from a sleepy fishing community to a billionaire’s playground.
Pedro Abdalla Slon, the project architect, explained that since the Golfito Marina needed to coordinate better with the current global market, changes were necessary. For instance, the cost associated with the first phase dropped from $30 million.
Phases I, II, and III
- Phase I – Scheduled for completion by November 2016, this $9.9 million phase includes 50 boat slips, dry storage for 13 boats, a sewage treatment plant, 1,312-square-foot commercial area, a fueling dock, and parking for 26 vehicles.
- Phase II – Anticipated by December 2017, this $16.3 million phase includes 132 boat slips, a 3,600-square-foot floating restaurant, 54-room hotel, dry storage for 34 boats, parking for 68 vehicles, and a 4,921-square-foot commercial area.
- Phase III – To be finished in 2019 for around $15.7 million, this phase includes 57 villas, a spa, souvenir shop, dry storage for 41 boats, and parking for 35 vehicles.
Abdalla stressed that if demand increases, there is additional space to accommodate.
The only real competition comes from Crocodile Bay, only 30 minutes away by ferry. This marina will feature a 115-boat slip marina, 50 private residences, and a 74-room hotel. There is also Pavones Point, a top surfing destination and gorgeous condominium complex under construction.
Reportedly, approval to complete both the Crocodile Bay Marina and Pavones Point are in hand in spite of vocal opposition. Abdalla explained that because dedicated environmentalists have little knowledge specific to these types of projects, an initial fight is common. As for Golfito Marina, people believe in the project because of the jobs it will create.
Phase I of Golfito Marina involves 100 workers; of those, 80 are from Golfito. When finished in 2019, the project will provide direct jobs for 400 people and indirect jobs for about 800 people.
There were earlier discussions about closing the duty-free zone, referred to as “deposito,” in Golfito while opening one in Limon on the Caribbean coast. When a banana company left, the deposito opened. If that had not occurred, this area of Costa Rica would have no economic activity other than fishing. Today, there are many small restaurants, cabanas, and other businesses that depend on local tourism.
Initially, people were concerned about congested traffic, damage to the roadways from oversized equipment, and environmental problems. Fortunately, all of those concerns have been put to rest. There were also worries that the Golfito Marina was too architecturally modern for the area. However, because a full-service marina will bring new life to the area, locals support the project.
The Maritime Zone allows people to own property within 656 feet of the ocean. However, with no such zone in Golfito, there are no restrictions regarding beach ownership. People who live outside of the five towns where the Maritime Zone is nonexistent can get a concession to run a business on the beach, but only for a specified number of years.
In 2005, a 35-year concession was granted to the Golfito Marina, which has to be renewed in the year 2040 and every 10 years following. That means when someone purchases a villa in Golfito, he or she is actually buying a membership to the private residential club.
The Perfect Advantage
Abdalla stated that Golfito Bay is ideal for this new marina because the water is only 33 feet deep and there are no waves. For superyachts measuring 350 feet long, no special maneuvering is required for pulling up to the dock. In comparison, the location of the Crocodile Bay Marina has more open water, requiring a breakwater.
When complete, the Golfito Marina will accommodate the largest yachts in the world, including the Double Century that measures 656 feet long, the Azzam at 590 feet, and the Rising Sun at 452 feet. In fact, this marina will be just one of a few in the world where docking large yachts is possible. For individuals who prefer to fly in on private jets, the Golfito airport is nearby.