Golfito, in the rapidly growing Southern Zone, promises to be an area where undiscovered opportunities await investors. Golfito’s future and potential hold a promise far different from the days when it was a “company town” known as “Banana City”.
Golfito has become known for the many diverse lifestyle choices and living options available. From high-end luxury resorts to rustic rainforest lots, investors have a vast selection to consider the perfect location of their tropical paradise. Often referred to as the “final frontier” in Costa Rica, life in Golfito is undergoing a transformation. With a new infusion of investment dollars and development, Golfito, Costa Rica is poised to be a major hub both for visiting and long-term investors.
The Colorful History of Golfito
The Southern Zone has played an often overlooked role in the country’s growth. Golfito is an essential part of this story. Golfito’s history is intertwined with that of Costa Rica.
Home to the indigenous Boruca people, it was here in 1519 that Spaniards entered from Panama to begin the conquest of the country. During the Colonial era, Golfito was a quiet fishing village and remained so until late in the 19th century.
An American exporter, Minor Keith, formed United Fruit Company in 1899. Keith had a special relationship with Costa Rica having married the daughter of the former president, Jose Maria Castro.
End of One Era, Beginning of Another
The years of prosperity in Golfito came to an abrupt end in 1985. Labor unrest and rising export taxes caused United Fruit to close its banana operation and leave Golfito.
The resulting upheaval left Golfito in a state of poverty and general collapse. After five years of decline and decay, the Costa Rican government decided to try and reinvigorate the area by establishing the Deposito Libre Commercial de Golfito (Duty-Free Zone) to attract shoppers and visitors from other parts of the country.
The large collection of stores offers electronics, appliances, and housewares at much lower prices than elsewhere in Costa Rica. This marked the gradual start of Golfito’s rebirth as a vibrant community filled with untapped potential.
Golfito, Costa Rica – Moving Ahead in the 21stCentury
Golfito’s revival from the collapse of the banana import business is a great opportunity for potential investors. The Costa Rican government has opened the door for other projects and a different perspective on Golfito’s future growth. Building on this beginning, the region has the opportunity to flourish once more
Golfito’s Marina Project – Progress and Growth a Decade in the Making
Since the early 1990s, plans for a new and vibrant marina at Golfito had been in the works. Hacienda El Dorado, presented a proposal, the Marina Village on November 21, 2013.
With a proven track record of successful developments in Costa Rica, approval was granted and, on June 28, 2014, the ground was finally broken for the new marina and village. This ambitious project will, in many ways, resemble other high-end properties such as Los Suenos Marina.
When completed, the Marina will have 130 slips, including those suitable for super yachts and a special section for private superyachts. Access for cruise ships is also planned.
The luxury accommodations will include bungalows, guest residences, and villas. All properties will be furnished with the kind of amenities that one would expect from a world-class resort community.
Importantly, this ambitious design also includes the infrastructure of Golfito itself. Plans call for a renovation of the main street that connects Golfito to the regional airport, a new central city plaza, artisans and craft boutiques, a museum and other tourist-friendly services and businesses.
Cruise Lines Discover Golfito and Add Ocean Access
One of the major enhancements to Golfito is that cruise lines have now added this location as a stop for unique, one-of-a-kind experiences. Major lines such as Paul Gaugin, Windstar, and Azamara Club Cruises now make Golfito a port of call and add access by sea to the ways to visit this former banana exporting center.
Golfito As an Eco-Tourism Hub
As the largest port town in the Golfo Dulce region, Golfito has become a jumping off point for individuals seeking to explore Costa Rica’s rich biodiversity in a more primal setting.
The Corcovado National Park on the Osa Peninsula is a short ferry ride from Golfito’s docks. As the habitat conserving the largest primary forest on the Pacific coastline, Corcovado has one of the remaining sizable stands of lowland tropical rainforest. National Geographic magazine refers to Corcovado as “ the most biologically intense place on Earth in terms of biodiversity”.
North of the town, the Piedras Blancas National Park has seen the establishment of a number of Eco-lodges. These rustic camps provide the ideal environment for those seeking to get up close and personal with the natural setting around them.
Surfing and Sports Fishing Thrives
The area in and around Golfito has long been known for its aquatic offerings. World-class sports fishing and surfing beckon followers of both sports to the Southern zone to try their hands against the elements.
Pavone and Zancudo are two of the most prominent surf breaks in Costa Rica and are only a short bus ride from the Golfito airport. Pavones has the second-longest left-hand surf break in the world and is a must for any hardcore seeker of that “endless summer”.
With numerous fishing charters available, avid deep sea anglers visit the area in search of landing “the big one”. Marlin (Blue and Black), Yellowfin Tuna, Sailfish and Dorado all can be found in around the Golfo Dulce areas in all seasons.
Location, Location, Location
Golfito’s proximity to Panama provides a potential market as tourism and development begin to grow in the region. Much like Golfito’s early days when the Spanish migrated from Panama and began to colonize the land of Pura Vida, a new wave of visitors and investors from the South may bring a new wave of economic growth to the region.