Costa Rica clears way for foreign-flagged yachts to charter

Oct 28, 2021 by Jim Bronstien

Many people are well-aware of the beauty of Costa Rica’s Pacific coast and the country’s ability to attract tourists from near and far, but up until this summer, foreign flagged charter yachts were not appreciated. The country’s laws simply wouldn’t allow those yachts to enter without an abundance of restriction and limitations.

Costa Rica clears way for foreign-flagged yachts to charter

Fraser Yachts COO Mike Busacca, left, and Jeff Duchesneau, Costa Rica Marina Association president and general director of Marina Pez Vela.

That has all changed, thanks to the team at Fraser Yachts led by COO Mike Busacca, and the newly formed Costa Rica Marina Association, led by its president, Jeff Duchesneau, who is also general director of Marina Pez Vela.

At a press event held Thursday morning at Fraser’s FLIBS hospitality base, a robust presentation outlined changes made by the government of Costa Rica to create a win-win situation for the charter yacht industry and the country.

What changed? Foreign flagged charter yachts over 24 meters can now legally charter in Costa Rica’s waters by simply obtaining a renewable license each year, providing proper documentation, and paying a modest rate of 2.5% of the charter fee.

In addition, spares for the charter yachts can now be imported duty free.

“Once we demonstrated the amount of new money and new opportunities that would flow into Costa Rica by allowing charter yachts, it became obvious to some individuals in the government that this was a smart initiative to pursue,” said Duchesneau. “The initiative was started in 2018, and by a 47-0 vote of the Costa Rican government, the law was passed this past April.”

Costa Rica’s Pacific coast makes claim to more than 800 slips in six marinas, with all the primary marinas capable of handling superyachts. The national motto is “Pura Vida,” or the pure life, and the country has much to offer: world-class sportfishing; amazing rainforests, beaches and volcanoes; world-renowned whale watching and dolphin pod sighting; warm-water, high-energy white-water rafting; exotic wonders of nature everywhere; and so much more.

Anyone who has ever been there, either by land or by water, knows it is an amazing experience that will impress everyone, even those not easily impressed. So, if you want a new destination for the next charter season, or just for your owner’s enjoyment, Central America is now an easy choice.

Photos by Jim Bronstien