THE MEDIA VOICE OF THE GLOBAL MARINA INDUSTRY

Luring megayachts to Golfito

Marina Bahia Golfito, a redeveloped marina on the Pacific coast of the Central American country of Costa Rica, is an impressive example of how floating dock systems can be installed for superyacht berthing in idyllic environments.

Redeveloped Marina Bahia Golfito is set in a gulf within a gulf framed by the lush mangroves of two national parks. The marina is well-sheltered and located close to the amenities of the town of Golfito and its domestic airport.

Redeveloped Marina Bahia Golfito is set in a gulf within a gulf framed by the lush mangroves of two national parks. The marina is well-sheltered and located close to the amenities of the town of Golfito and its domestic airport.

Owner and developer Enjoy Group has taken full advantage of the marina’s deep water and sheltered position to reinvent the facility, and not only double its superyacht capacity but do so in style by extending the offering to yachts up to 100m (330ft) in length.
The developers opted to complement an existing aluminium pontoon system with a floating concrete dock arrangement from SF Marina, and to secure the docks with environmentally friendly Seaflex mooring hawsers. Marina Bahia Golfito is no stranger to Seaflex as the company was involved back in 2016 when the marina was first built.
“When it was time to expand and, given our stress and maintenance free experience with the existing marina, it was natural for us to renew our trust with Seaflex and its elastic mooring,” said marina director Pedro Abdalla Slon. Seaflex CEO, Lars Brandt, is equally positive. “We are thankful Marina Bahia Golfito chose Seaflex again for its well-designed expansion. Seaflex, coupled with SF Marina Systems’ concrete docks is a state-of-the-art solution for superyachts.”
Super-spec docks
The new SF docks run perpendicular to a 36ft (11m) walkway and comprises three piers measuring 295ft (90m) long x 20ft (6m) wide; 197ft (60m) long x 16ft (5m) wide; and 147ft (45m) long x 16ft (5m) wide. This allows the marina to host two 300ft (91m) superyachts, two 200ft (61m) vessels and two 150ft (46m) yachts. The docks are equipped with aluminium bull bollards of 40 tonnes breaking load, large utility boxes for electrical conduits and pedestals, and are connected using SF W400 flexible connectors which have a breaking load of 2 x 99 tons per joint. The Seaflex mooring hawsers – inherently elastic – can withstand a substantial drag force.
oped Marina Bahia Golfito

oped Marina Bahia Golfito

Although the marina is well-sheltered, the SF docking pontoons are built to withstand hard commercial use and extreme weather conditions. By virtue of their substantial mass, they offer sufficient stability for vehicle use. Maintenance-free and virtually unsinkable, the docks have a 2ft (0.6m) freeboard and are equipped with 400A/400V electric outlets, potable water and other utilities in concealed ducts. A separate high-capacity fuel dock offering the fastest fuel pumps in the country – in fact the fastest between Cabo San Lucas in Mexico and Chile – can service two superyachts simultaneously.
Infrastructure in an eco paradise
“Marina Bahia Golfito is a secluded tropical gem,” said SF Marina international project director Peter Santesson. “During the design phase of the project, we worked extensively with Enjoy Group to ensure the new docks would complement the quality and aesthetic of the extensive upscaling they were undertaking.” The “upscale” aim has been to expand the marina and create an intimate, village-style destination, not only for yachts to berth but for avid sport fishermen, tourists, international home owners and Costa Rican residents to enjoy.
SF floating concrete pontoons, moored by Seaflex, withstand hard commercial use and extreme weather conditions.

SF floating concrete pontoons, moored by Seaflex, withstand hard commercial use and extreme weather conditions.

The marina setting is unashamedly idyllic. Golfito itself is a port town of some note, located on the Golfo Dulce opposite the Osa Peninsula in the southern region of Costa Rica. It is a gulf within a gulf framed by the lush mangroves of Corcovado and Piedras Blancas National Parks and home to some of the world’s richest biodiversity.
The town benefits from being a small community but offers wide-ranging attractions, such as whale watching, hiking in the tropical rainforest, snorkelling, horseback riding, scuba diving, kayaking and surfing. And, while offering a level of privacy and seclusion that sets it apart from the average tourist spot, it is also easily accessible – especially by plane. The marina is very close to the town of Golfito’s domestic airport and flights connect to San José, the nation’s capital.
At least six superyachts in the 300ft  (91m) to 150ft (46m) range can moor up at the new dock arrangement which complements the smaller boat berths.

At least six superyachts in the 300ft (91m) to 150ft (46m) range can moor up at the new dock arrangement which complements the smaller boat berths.

Plans to extend and expand Marina Bahia Golfito have been influenced by the rise of eco-tourism and careful thought is being given to preserving the environment at every level. The first steps include the development of 11 waterfront villas, 40 condominiums, six restaurants and 20 boutique shops to complement an existing boutique hotel and restaurant. A high percentage (perhaps around 85%) of residential property buyers are expected to come from the USA and the target demographic includes vacation home owners looking for adventurous destinations.
Year-round superyachts
Another big push for Marina Bahia Golfito is the knock-on effect of the introduction of a new marina law in 2021. This gave marinas fairer concession periods and opened up charter opportunities for foreign superyachts of 24m (79ft) and above. With appropriate permits, such vessels can now be chartered legally and remain in the country for potentially two years. The law, in part the result of lobbying by the Costa Rica Marina Association, was implemented in a bid to boost the economy of coastal zones and attract investors.
Enjoy Group, which is an experienced developer and manager of tourism-based projects in Costa Rica and other Central American countries, expands the appeal of Marina Bahia Golfito via its partnership with IGY whose international marina management and ownership portfolio is high-end. It will also be able to benefit from the fruits of investment in safe, secure docks carefully configured within a deepwater basin; and the upside of being the closest deepwater marina in Costa Rica to the Pacific exit of the Panama Canal.

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