Last week, the port town of Quepos on the central Pacific coast saw the arrival of its first large cruise ship in 20 years. With 800 tourists on board, the Pacific Princess stopped for the day in Quepos last Saturday.
Cruise ships never really stopped arriving at the small coastal town near the Manuel Antonio National Park, but in recent years the biggest ships to dock there brought 150 to 300 tourists.
The town is scheduled to receive 29 cruise ships between the period of September 2011 and May 2012.
“Quepos is an incredibly attractive destination for cruise-ship tourists, and also for executives who previously visited to create new cruise itineraries,” said Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT) General Manager Juan Carlos Borbón.
The town of Quepos offers a wide variety of alternative activities for cruise passengers. The town is only 7 kilometers from the Manuel Antonio National Park, 18 km from Palo Seco beach and 30 km from Matapalo beach.
The ICT’s Susana Orozco told the daily La Nación that Princess Cruises executives were satisfied with hotel offerings and attractions in the Quepos area. Cruise personnel visited the area previously in order to decide whether or not to include Quepos in their itineraries.
During the 2012 cruise season, which lasts eight months starting at the end of 2011, the Costa Rica will receive 345 cruise ships. Although passengers are not counted as tourists due to the short duration of their stay in a country, in 2010, Costa Rica received 385,362 visits from cruise passengers. According to ICT statistics, those visits accounted for $15.9 million in revenue.
According to the ICT, four companies are offering cruise ships with stops in Costa Rican territory: Grupo Humberto Álvarez, Smyth International, Scan ILG and Transocean.