Monday 25 September 2023

Thousands of tourists will enjoy the ferry between Costa Rica and El Salvador in six months

The boat has 73 cabins for tourism that have between two and four berths

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23 September 2023 - At The Banks - Source: BCCR

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QCOSTARICA – After many years of waiting, Costa Rica and El Salvador, will finally be connected by sea. On August 10, the first cargo ferry will go into operation, bypassing the land crossing through Nicaragua.

The service will begin initially by making two trips per week between Puerto La Unión in El Salvador and Puerto Caldera in Costa Rica, with a maximum capacity of 100 trucks per ship, reducing travel time from five to six days by land to just 18 hours.

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However, there is also another important plan that could materialize in six months, the a second stage of the ferry, which would be the tourist transport that would allow the transit of people between Costa Rica and El Salvador.

In an interview with LA REPÚBLICA, the representatives of Transmares Costa Rica confirmed that tourism services are contemplated in a second part, once cargo transportation has been consolidated.

More Q: Ferry between Costa Rica and El Salvador will begin operations in August

“Why don’t we start at once? Because both governments asked us that, since it is a new service, that we first organize ourselves with what is cargo, which is what is most complicated and new for carriers, and that we later include the tourism service,” said Mario Rodríguez, manager General of Transmares Costa Rica.

According to Transmares, the ship has a capacity of 73 cabins for tourists, which include between two and four berths (double beds) for passengers, which could reach a capacity of approximately 200 people per trip. Services would include bathrooms and showers, common areas, bar and restaurants, and internet services, among others.

This would represent moving up to 2,400 people per month, with the ferry making three trips per week.

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The cost per person for the tourism service has not yet been estimated. The cargo service needs to be consolidated and the cost of transporting 200 passengers needs to be determined.

Rodríguez explained that an entire family could come on a tourist bus, which would be like a cruise ship bringing passengers in, and no extra documentation would be needed compared to when a tourist arrives on a cruise ship.

“There would be no additional change in terms of the statutes or documentation that is requested today when a tourist arrives via cruise ship,” explained Rodríguez.

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Apparently, both the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo (ICT) – Costa Rican tourism board and the Instituto Salvadoreño de Turismo (ISTU) – Salvadoran tourism board – have high expectations of offering this service in the medium term, according to Transmares Costa Rica.

“According to both tourism institutes, there is a good influx of tourists between both countries, but there is no exact estimated number. At least here in Costa Rica, the ICT is very happy, waiting for the second phase to arrive so that it can fully integrate into the project,” Rodríguez added.


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