San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Marina Pez Vela to Change Tourism in Region

The Marina Pez Vela is set to open in the central Pacific coast town of Quepos by this time next year, but it’s already making waves in Costa Rica. The marina’s symbolic first stone was laid in early July, coming from Casa Presidencial in San José and put down by President Oscar Arias himself.

“That was a real big deal,” said project creator Harold Lovelady, who began pursuing the marina project more than seven years ago.

The marina has been under construction for the past four months, and Lovelady said tourists and Costa Ricans are already realizing that once the marina is completed, it will create enough opportunities to “change everything” for the better.

Marina Pez Vela will be one of the biggest structures in Central America, according to Lovelady, and will be the only marina of its size and quality in the region.

Covering an area equivalent to 25 football fields over water and 12 on land, the facility will feature 300 boat slips as well as dry rack storage, and will offer a full-service boatyard by late 2009. The marina will also feature a 150-ton travel lift, high-speed fuel pumps, free septic pump-out and dockside concierge services.

Lovelady said plans for land development at the marina are still being considered, but will likely include retail stores for tourists and fishermen, as well as restaurants.He said there is also the possibility for residential space being made for boaters, but said it’s too early in the planning process to call anything definite. About 250,000 square feet are available for retail services.

Altogether, the marina will generate about 1,000 jobs, Lovelady said, adding that the tourism interest and infrastructure it will bring to Quepos could generate thousands of additional jobs in the area.He said there is still untapped marine tourism in Costa Rica that will strengthen and expand after Pez Vela is complete, and because most boaters are good businessmen, the marina will bring “the right investors” to Costa Rica.

Lovelady said the country’s need for foreign technology and expertise will be further met thanks to the draw of the marina.

“They’ll look at the opportunities in Costa Rica, see that, and want to invest in the country,” he said.

That’s not all that promises to be unique about Marina Pez Vela. The marina will use cofferdams as the breakwater, the structure that extends from the shore out into the water to keep the boats and shoreline protected from large ocean swells. A cofferdam, normally used in major ports, is a cylinder-like structure made from steel sheets, filled with sand and capped with concrete, that allows a protective underwater foundation to be built in the dry.

“To my knowledge, this is the only marina in the world using cofferdams as a breakwater,” Lovelady said.

Slips can be bought through option agreements or buying preferred shares in the corporation.

People who sign option agreements must make a 50% down payment and provide the rest when they receive the slip.

Share buyers hold the rights to a slip through the duration of their concession. A 35-foot slip costs $160,000, and they increase in size and price up to 85-foot slips for $530,000. Side ties are $7,000 per foot, and dry rack storage of up to 35 feet costs $125,000.

For more information about the marina, including construction updates and how to purchase a slip, call 777-4141 or visit


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