Costa Rica passes a major milestone in opening the country to foreign superyacht operations

Landmark ruling comes after longstanding lobbying by the Costa Rica Marina Association working with Fraser


Following the recent sitting of the Costa Rica Legislative Assembly (Congress), Fraser working alongside the Costa Rica Marina Association is proud to share a landmark vote 47-0 in favour of wide-reaching reform of the existing marina law to facilitate easier and more flexible entry and access by foreign large yacht operations to and within the country’s waters.


The reform, which will allow luxury charter vessels over 24m (79’) to charter legally and remain in Costa Rica for up to one year, is the result of longstanding, committed and passionate work undertaken by the Costa Rica Marina Association in collaboration with Fraser.

Following the vote, the law was signed on Monday 5th April 2021, by President Carlos Alvarado Quesada of Costa Rica, with the presence of Fraser's Chief Operating Officer Mike Busacca, and Jeff Duchesneau from the Costa Rica Marina Association.
“This legal reform introduces new characteristics for marina concessionaires and for foreign vessels that dock in their spaces, thereby facilitating and strengthening the dynamics of nautical tourism in Costa Rica.” President Carlos Alvarado is quoted as saying.

The Association, together with the core Fraser advisory team, made up of Senior Charter Brokers Diane Fraser and Debra Blackburn and Yacht Services Manager Peter Selivanoff,  are now on hand to work with Government legislators as required to codify the regulations and procedures. This is expected to be finalised and put into operation by September 2021.

Fraser and the Marina Association will be making further announcements as the process advances.

Costa Rica is already set up to welcome superyachts, with world-class marina facilities having been built in Papagayo, Herradura, Quepos and Golfito, with more set to open in the next 12 months. The new law will enable more charterers to fulfil their dream of exploring the 800 miles of coastline and unique biodiversity of the country.

Start planning your charter now with three Costa Rica cruising and charter anchorages you need to visit.


President Carlos Alvarado Quesada of Costa Rica signs the Act for the Impulse of Maritime Docks and Coastal Development on Monday 5th April 2021 which includes the reform of Foreign Flag Charter Activity in Costa Rica.

(Left image -Mike Busacca COO Fraser (centre), Jeff Duchesneau Costa Rica Marina Association (left)  with President Carlos Alvarado  Quesada (right)
Right image-President Carlos Alvarado Quesada with the Act- Photo credits Kevin Heslin
Below-highlights of the day Photo credits RobertoCarlos Sanchez  @rosanchezphoto and Kevin Heslin)

"Costa Rica has long been on the wish list of so many of our charter clients in search of the exceptional. As indeed it has been for the Owners of many of the yachts we represent for charter worldwide. The initiative, energy and drive shown over the last year by both the Costa Rica Marina Association and our advisory team at Fraser, not to mention the openness and vision being shown by the Government of Costa Rica is, to my point of view, exemplary, exciting and proof that when great minds with a vision get together, anything is possible. Costa Rica has so much to offer, we cannot wait to be able to facilitate clients from around the world having the chance to explore it with a yacht as their base.”
Mark Duncan
Director of Marketing and Business Development, Fraser
“This was indeed a momentous occasion and one we are very proud to have played a part in helping bring about. The determination and vision of the Costa Marina Association and Jeff Dushesneau is exemplary. They have worked long and hard to get to this point and our strong relationship with the Association grows further as our advisory team continue to share our expertise throughout the next steps of codification of the law. We very much look forward to the day, coming soon, when this beautiful country and all that it has to offer will be open for foreign yachts and their charter guests to explore and enjoy.”
Mike Busacca
COO, Fraser
"An historic day for Costa Rica - its marina and yachting industry. After three years of intense lobbying by the Costa Rica Marina Association, the Presidential signing now paves the way for exciting new developments for Costa Rica and its rapidly growing marina tourism."
Jeff Duchesneau
Costa Rica Marina Association
"When this bill was in its initial stages last year, the Marina Association called upon Fraser’s charter veterans, to help provide them with situations and successful policies used by other countries. What we’re seeing today is a resounding milestone, not only because it is an attractive, strong law, but it opens up an amazing, year-round, West Coast North American cruising area. I am very proud to be a part of the teams that are contributing so much to this major reform for Costa Rica!”
Diane Fraser
Charter Broker, Fraser
We were able to advise from both a Charterer’s standpoint and an Owner’s standpoint on how legal yacht charters are handled elsewhere. The results of our work together will soon be there for all to see. This opens up a new and beautiful cruising ground for our clients who have travelled so much in the Caribbean and are ready for a new adventure - and that’s just what they’ll find in Costa Rica."
Debra Blackburn
Charter Broker, Fraser
“Our Yacht Management and Owner Services support was called upon to provide insight and guidance concerning the various flag commercial charter certification requirements as well as crew Minimum Safe Manning in accordance with STCW. There is lots more still to cover as the legislation becomes codified, but it is incredible to see what we have been able to achieve together in opening up a country I know very well and have many great memories of.”
Peter Selivanoff
Yacht Services Manager, Fraser

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