- Bring 2 photocopies of the front page of your passport for Port Authority use.
Cameras, Cell Phones, & Chargers
- We have GoPros! If you bring your own equipment, make sure to bring enough digital media or film; electronics are very expensive and film is unheard of.
- Bringing your own cell phone: You need a device that supports GSM (1800 Mhz) to use your own phone in Costa Rica. Contact your carrier prior to departure to make sure your plan supports international calling/data.
- Getting a local cell phone: Purchasing a cell phone from a local carrier is a good option, especially if you're planning to receive calls. Low end devices are available at the San Jose International Airport for around $30.
- Please note: If your data, photos or other necessary information is stored in the “cloud” you may not have access to it. Check your settings and adjust as necessary.
- Costa Rica uses 110 volt, 60 cycle electricity, and 2- or 3-pronged flat type outlets, the same as in the US. If you are visiting from outside of the US, you may need an adapter.
- WiFi is available at the port but not always reliable.
Bring all the medications you need. As well bring (or store in your phone) legible photos of your prescription bottles - we have a pharmacy in the event of loss. (Note that if your photos are stored in the “cloud” you may not have access to them.)
Golfito has excellent medical and dental services and a hospital should the need arise. We have standard first aid on board and the crew is CPR-trained. USCG medivac is available.
You are at latitude 8 in Golfito or 7 at the Banko. The weather is hot, powerfully sunny, and prone to afternoon downpours. The following gear is recommended:
- Shorts/swimsuits/long sleeve, cool dry shirts
- Deck shoes (loafer style is best)
- Good quality UV sunglasses
- Wide brim hat or baseball cap
- Light-weight rain gear (we have extra)
- Fishing gloves. Lightweight leather driving gloves or fingerless weight lifting gloves work. If your hands get sunburned you’re done.
- Bring SPF30+ sunscreen, insect repellent, and your customary toiletries. (We have extra sunscreen, bath soap, shampoo, and toothpaste should you forget, and we provide your towels and bed linens onboard).
Cash and Credit Cards
Call your card issuer prior to traveling and give them the dates you will be out of the country. ATMs are few and far-between; do not rely on the use of an ATM. Visa and MasterCard credit and debit cards are regularly accepted; Amex, Discover, Diners Club are not, though there are a few exceptions.
However, this is the third world and sometimes the CC systems are out of commission. Bring extra cash in new-style hundreds and standard/new-style 20's. American 50’s are "suspect" in CR and not regularly accepted. Exchanging dollars for colones is generally unnecessary. Dollars are accepted by most vendors; your change is often issued in colones so you will have pocket change. Rule of thumb: ₡600 CR Colones = $1 USD (i.e., 12,000 Colones = $10).
Travel tips and recommendations for getting here
From June 1st till December 15th
- Due to the weather and unavailability of commuter flights from San Jose to Golfito we recommend you travel to Golfito via Panama.
- Fly to Panama City and take the Copa Airline shuttle to David, Panama.
- We can arrange for our agent will pick you up at the airport, take you through customs and immigration at the Frontera, and cross the border on to Golfito.
- The trip is approximately 2 hours.
From December 15th through May
- Fly to San Jose CR.
- Take the Sansa Airline commuter plane to Golfito. We recommend arriving in SJO no later than 1:15 PM to get through customs in time for the afternoon commuter flight. Book this travel prior to your trip.
- Fishook Marina is 5 minutes from Golfito airport.
- We can arrange a pick-up if we are aware of your plans.
Why and alternatives
Golfito is a jungle airstrip with no lights or radar. If it’s raining too hard, planes can’t land. Should bad weather develop while in-flight, ask the pilot to take you in Puerto Jimenez (across the Golfo Dulce, a $6.00/30 minute water taxi trip to the marina) or else you will be flown back in San Jose for the night.
Some prefer the road-trip to Golfito from San Jose - especially if it’s their first time in the country. The 4/5 hour trip thru the mountains and along the Pacific coast is gorgeous yet long. Given 24+ hour notification, our agent can pick you up at the airport in San Jose and drive you to Golfito. Should you desire, stops at various sites/landmarks/restaurants can easily be accommodated. You can discuss this with our agent upon arrival.
If your trip is to be extended for Costa Rican touring and you intend to rent a car, your valid US or Canadian driver’s license is good for 90 days. You must also carry your passport (or a copy certified by a Costa RIcan lawyer) to show a traffic officer that your entry stamp in the passport is not beyond the 3 month period that allows you to drive as a tourist with a foreign driver’s license. We do NOT recommend renting a car. You would be better served hiring licensed bilingual drivers, which we can arrange.
Red is the official color for regular taxis around the country. Official Red Taxis have a yellow triangle with the cab registration number on the door and a photo ID of the driver inside the cab, usually on the sun visor.
Fares depend on whether the driver uses his meter called a “Maria” which is calibrated to the official tariffs for trips under 5km which results in a very economical fare. For distances over 5 km ask for quote before starting your trip. We have found that red ”pirate” taxis (without the yellow triangle) are acceptable for use in Golfito. A trip from the Golfito airport to the Marina is $2-4 depending on the number of occupants.
The official Airport Taxis in San Jose are orange in color and cost about $30 to $35 for the 12 mile trip into San Jose for 4 passengers in a 4-door sedan. Vans are available for larger groups/large amounts of luggage and cost about $45 for the same trip. USD are widely accepted. Tips are expected.
MODERATE B.Y.O.B. is acceptable. HOWEVER, it’s dangerous enough. Don’t make us babysit to maintain safety on the boat.
Meals and beverages
We will provision with enough store-bought food for the trip. However, the “catch” often serves us well. Fresh yellowfin sashimi or served grilled/sauteed, mahi-mahi ceviche and flash-fried or sauteed calamari are regular fare. We serve local fresh fruits and vegetables which are of enviable quality, and stocked beverages include plenty of bottled water, energy drinks, sodas, fruit juices, local beer, and our world-class Costa Rican coffee. If you have specific dietary restrictions please inform us prior to your trip.
Seasickness is rare in the calm Pacific however if you are prone, bring and use Dramamine. If you prefer a patch, bring them along as is in the US, patches are not available over the counter in CR. We carry fresh ginger on board.