“Looking back, it was the experience of a lifetime. Jumping in the water with a megapod of dolphins and ziplining through the canopy forests was absolutely awe-inspiring. It was the kind of adventure which dreams are made of!”
So says Kellie Shoemaker, Head of Charter Management USA at Fraser Yachts in Florida. Kellie was one of a select handful of charter brokers invited to attend a fam trip in March hosted by IGY’s Marina Bahía Golfito.
With meticulous planning, Marina Director Pedro Abdalla joined forces with Oscar Alfaro, marketing director from Enjoy Group, to showcase the very best of Costa Rica and give brokers and charter managers the opportunity to experience it for themselves. The lucky participants stayed at the eco-friendly Amaka Ocean Living Lodge and took part in daily adrenaline-packed excursions organised by the team at Origen Escapes.
Open for foreign-flagged vessels since 2021, we caught up with the intrepid travellers to get their firsthand accounts on what makes Costa Rica the ultimate adventure destination for superyacht charters.
Convenient location, A-list service
Although there are five marinas in Costa Rica, just two of these are equipped to welcome superyachts, with Marina Bahía Golfito being one of them. Located on the southern Pacific side of the country, Marina Bahía Golfito is also the closest marina to the Panama Canal and acts as the entry port to Costa Rica as a whole.
“As a charter broker, I was very interested just to get a feel for distances – and this was all very straightforward,” said June Montagne of IYC. “We flew into the capital San José, and then it was only a 40-minute flight in a small aircraft to get to Golfito Airport, which is located only a few minutes from the marina and hotel.”
June was also keen to highlight the excellent service provided by the marina team on the ground. “When we arrived at the airport, transportation was organised, they helped us with our luggage, took us on the five-minute drive down to the hotel in lovely cars, and then delivered our luggage to the rooms. The service was great – truly first class!” she enthused. “The restaurant and hotel rooms were also of a much better quality than I expected; everything was super comfortable and modern.”
Not just for adrenaline junkies
Although for some the prospect of abseiling/rappelling and ziplining in a Costa Rican jungle was a little daunting at first, the personal assistance provided by the marina and the local experts from Origen Escapes ensured that everyone felt comfortable and ready to take part in a whole range of activities which they were not necessarily expecting.
As Kellie Shoemaker explains: “Our hosts were amazing. They were so engaging and did a fantastic job managing our diverse group when it came to the adventure activities. Their passion for what they do is obvious and having them with us throughout made for a truly immersive experience.”
June concurs: “As far as my experience in Costa Rica is concerned, the local people were so friendly, and we were made to feel extremely welcome by our hosts. It really helped to put us at ease, and meant we were able to relax and throw ourselves into what had been organised for us.”
The fam trip was full to the brim with fantastic activities – including kayaking, an exhilarating zip-line tour, sea swimming, paddle boarding, abseiling in the jungle, boat trips through the mangroves and more – but for Kellie and June, swimming with a megapod of spinner dolphins was a “once-in-a-lifetime” experience.
“There was so much wildlife to see throughout our trip. The water was full of turtles and there was this huge population of thousands of dolphins which we encountered first-hand. It was incredible seeing all of these animals in the ocean and it was an experience which is hard to put into words,” explains June.
A Starter for charter
In short, although Costa Rica is already well known as one of the world’s most exciting outdoor and eco-tourism destinations, what Marina Bahía Golfito was able to demonstrate is their ability to meet an impulse to get out and explore. And with charter clients in mind, the brokers were blown away by the exceptional service, facilities and amenities on site, including the top notch local cuisine served at the marina’s outstanding La Playa restaurant.
The final word must go to Pedro Abdalla who summed it up best of all: “Everybody knows about the Bahamas, the Mediterranean and the Caribbean, but we are so happy to be promoting both our marina and Costa Rica as a new and fantastic destination for charter. People would never imagine before they came that they’d be ziplining through the jungles and swimming with dolphins – you have to come and experience it for yourself. I can also promise you that the beauty of Costa Rica truly has no comparison elsewhere in the world.”
To discover more about Marina Bahía Golfito and Costa Rica for yourself, please visit the website.