In this author's opinion, the new marina in Golfito has made a significant
contribution to our environmental awareness of the Golfo Dulce Region,
before construction begins. By going through the proper legal channels,
consuming and expensive ordeal, this new marina has ensured that the
region will now be more stringently overseen by the appropriate
In the past, the Golfito Bay and Golfo Dulce region has been relatively
remote, and environmental regulation and permitting has not been
blatantly ignored by some developers - without fear of reprisal.
The King and Bartlett, pictured above, is the only
tourism dock and marina
in Golfito currently operating with a concession in compliance with
Law 7744. Of the fourteen other marinas currently operating without
most were already in business before the law took effect seven years
but still have not received concessions. Some have continued
without permits, even though the 1998 law specifically prohibited
and tourism docks in mangrove areas.
watchdog organizations are urged to continue to disseminate information
the environmental impact of development in the area, and to expose past
and destruction of vital marine species, endangered mangroves and
rivers around Golfito Bay and the Golfo Dulce.
Business owners who have flagrantly ignored these regulations in the
should be held responsible and financially accountable for reparation
these fragile ecosystems, in order to stop the destruction and
those businesses that demonstrate compliance with the law and awareness
Constructions within protected areas such as mangroves should be
dismantled and removed - gasoline tanks, metal and concrete pilings,
piers, and hotels - and the land restored as much as possible to
condition, so that the ecosystem can begin the long process of recovery
Source: The Tico Times, print edition July
... The proposed construction of a new, enormous
marina on the (Golfito) bay is giving hope to many in the community for
chance at their lost glory days, but the regulations around existing,
marinas are causing conflict.
The only existing docking business in Golfito with a
on the water, King and Bartlett Marina, is crying foul over alleged
that have allowed several others to remain in business without the
permits for seven years.
Marinas, and the tourism they support, represent
to the struggling community (of Golfito). For that reason, according to
officials, the more than a dozen tourism docks and marinas in Golfito
been allowed to continue doing business without the concessions
by a 1998 law governing marinas and docks...
Famed for its bountiful sportfishing and
surrounded by some
of the most untamed and bio-diverse forests in the country, including
legendary Corcovado National Park across the gulf, Golfito's relative
is one reason why the zone has not seen the same level of development
areas such as the country's northern and central Pacific coasts...
... tourism looks to get a major boost with the
construction of the Golfito Marina, slated to begin this year.
The first $50 million phase of the $400 million project
the construction of a 217-slip marina and a 100-150 room hotel. The
of the project, Marvin Jaén, says the marina, which has a
would provide 1,000 new jobs to the community of 36,000 (TT, June24,
The owners of several other docks in Golfito told the Tico Times they
forward to the business that could come with the added exposure the new
- being developed by the Costa Rican company Hacienda Dorado, S.A., and
financed with U.S. capital - is expected bring to the area.
The 1998 Law 7744 for the Concession and Operation of
and Tourism Docks, meant to regulate the industry, required all
with docks on the water for tourism use to get a concession through a
of presenting proposals and environmental impact studies to different
agencies and the municipal government.
Regulations accompanying the law ordered all exisitng
to comply within six months or face closure. However, of the facilities
Golfito that were in operation when the law passed, not one has
This infuriates Steve Leen, owner of King and Bartlett,
sportfishing outfit he opened three years ago... "Why is King and
the only business that has to adhere?"...."This makes it more difficult
compete," Leen said, "Our overhead goes up, while other businesses
have to pay their taxes."
"I look forward to paying these taxes when I can
the process," said Bruce Blevins, who runs Banana Bay (a marina that
a few hundred meters north along the coast from King and Bartlett)...
interpretations of the law, as well as bureaucratic inefficiency, he
are the reasons why it has taken his business so long to get a
Katie Duncan, owner of the small tourism dock Tierra Mar
Sea Services), neighboring Banana Bay, echoed some of Blevins'
The job of enforcing the law falls on the municipality.
current mayor, Aída Soto, took the position three months ago
the previous mayor was removed from office and jailed briefly for
failing to comply with orders from the Comptroller General's Office.
acknowledged that the law has not been enforced for seven years.
"But now, all are in the process of getting their
concessions," she said.
According to CIMAT (Inter-Institutional Commission on
and Tourism Docks), this is true of those operating along the shoreline
the city of Golfito, but of the 14 marinas and tourism docks in the
bay, not all are on their way to legality.
Tourism docks Golfito Sailfish Ranch, Siete Mares,
Playa Cacao and Dock 2038 are all operating without concessions and are
in process to receive one...
Roy's Zancudo Lodge approached CIMAT about getting its
Villalobos continued, but it, along with the Arena Alta tourism dock
the municipal dock of Playa Zancudo, a small coastal town south of
all are located within mangroves. The 1998 law prohibits marinas and
docks in mangrove areas, making it impossible for them to receive a
unless they move...
The Isla Grande Marina and Hotel Gaviotas are also in
process of getting their concessions... The owners of Mar and Luna dock
Golfito have informed CIMAT that they are not interested in getting a
and will not be conducting tourism business.
Villalobos explained a certain "tolerance" has existed
these businesses, in part because there is a "political pressure" to
them open. "The spirit of CIMAT is to promote the operation of marinas
docks in the Golfito area," Villalobos said, "Enforcement hasn't been
and they have been given many opportunities."
adapted from the Tico Times print
edition, July 8, 2005