San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Lawmakers propose tax cut for cruise ships docking at Caldera port

A special legislative commission evaluating problems in the coastal province of Puntarenas wants to cut in half the tax charged to tourists arriving on cruise ships to the central Pacific’s Caldera port. On Thursday the commission approved the drafting of a bill that would reduce the tax from $3 to $1.50.

The $3 tax has sparked complaints from many tourists, National Liberation lawmaker Karla Prendas Matarrita said.

The proposed bill aims to attract more tourists and therefore boost income for the tourism industry in the central Pacific area, Prendas said.

Currently, the nearby Puntarenas dock and cruise ship docks in the Caribbean province of Limón charge $1.50. That’s also the standard in other Central American and Caribbean ports, Prendas noted.

“The $3 tax is the main thing discouraging tourists from docking at Caldera,” Prendas said. The legislator also believes the high fee is the reason why many cruise companies are choosing ports in Panama and Nicaragua.

In 2014, 20 cruise ships docked at Caldera port “and most of them arrived only because other ports were busy,” Prendas said.

The draft bill now will be sent for discussion and approval by the full Assembly.

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Laurie Johnson

This tax should not be different from one port to the other. The local tourism companies depend on these cruise ships to help support their income. Please pass this bill quickly and help keep the tourism growth alive in Costa Rica.

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