On January 13, 2023, Costa Rica experienced a historic day in the cruise industry as nine ships anchored simultaneously in five different ports across the country. The ports of Limón, Puntarenas, Quepos, Playas del Coco, and the Gulf of Nicoya welcomed over 6,500 cruise passengers.
The arrival of these cruise ships marked a great moment for the country and signified the return of the cruise industry to Costa Rica after a difficult couple of years due to the pandemic.
300 Cruise Ships to Visit Costa Rica
Cruise ships that visit Costa Rica are a mix of traditional cruise ships, ultra-luxury cruise ships, and expedition cruise vessels. The nine ships that visited on January 13 included the Seabourn Sojourn, Silver Moon, Wind Star, World Voyager, National Geographic Quest, Amadea, Caribbean Princess, Zaandam, and MS Panorama.
These ships offer a variety of experiences for passengers, from luxury and personalized services to exclusive destinations and extended stays.
Two ships arrived in the port of Puntarenas, three in Limón, two luxury expedition ships in Quepos, one expedition cruise ship in Playas del Coco, and another luxury expedition ship visited the islands of the Gulf of Nicoya.
Between September 2022 and July 2023, more than 300 cruise ships will sail to the six official ports in the country: Puntarenas, Caldera, Quepos, Golfito, Playas del Coco, and Limón. This figure represents a 20% growth in relation to 2019. During the 2019-2020 season, 239,566 cruise ship guests visited the country; 113 cruise ships visited ports in the Pacific, while 84 ships visited the ports in the Caribbean.
“After two very difficult years for the cruise industry because of the pandemic, it is satisfactory to welcome nine cruise ships simultaneously with the consequent benefit that the visits of cruise passengers bring to the port communities, a situation that shows an improved season 2022 – 2023,” said Gustavo Alvarado, Director of Tourism Management of the ICT (Institute of Tourism).
While most cruise ships will only spend 8-12 hours in the country, some luxury expedition cruise ships will spend several days in the same ports or sail to various ports in Costa Rica. This offers guests a true overview of what there is to do in the country, which is becoming an increasingly popular tourist destination for various reasons.
Why Cruise to Costa Rica?
Cruise ships visit Costa Rica primarily due to the natural beauty of the country. Costa Rica is home to diverse ecosystems, including tropical rainforests, beaches, and mountains, and it has a rich cultural heritage. Cruises to Costa Rica are often combined with sailing through the Panama Canal.
While in the country, passengers can explore national parks, visit indigenous communities, and experience the country’s unique wildlife, all while enjoying the warm hospitality of the Costa Rican people. Another reason why Costa Rica ranks high on the bucket list of cruise passengers is the wide variety of adventure options available in the country.
Guests can opt to go white water rafting, hiking through the dense jungles, go surfing on the Pacific Coast, visiting Poás Volcano National Park, or snorkeling in the Caribbean Sea. Those young at heart can even go ziplining over the dense canopy of the jungle or even go cliff diving.