First cruise ship of season docks at Puntarenas

Cruise season has officially hit Costa Rica’s Pacific shores. The Instituto Costarricense de Turismo has marked the season’s beginning with the arrival of Carnival Legend Sunday, which brought nearly 3,000 tourists to Puntarenas.

Tourism Minister Wilhelm von Breymann said sector leaders have tried to make improvements across the board to have Costa Rica be a focal destination on cruise liner’s maps.

“With the arrival of this prestigious ship we begin cruise season on the Pearl of the Pacific,” he said. “Now begin the actions that we’ve implemented to ensure the country’s position as a cruise destination with high-quality service.”

Last week, von Breymann announced the creation of a committee that would tweak infrastructure problems and train local tourism businesses with the ultimate goal of heightening the number of cruise arrivals in coming years. Compared to 2010, institute numbers show there were 200,000 fewer travelers who arrived into the country via cruise ships last year.

As part of their strategy, von Breymann and fellow tourism leaders have put an emphasis on cultural projects that show off the port town’s unique gastronomy, art, and music, among other focuses. A tourism institute report said that these

projects that reflect Costa Rica’s identity can provide an immediate economical payoff to local businesses and workers.

Data from the tourism institute shows that the vast majority of cruise passengers arrive in pairs and each spend an average of $63 in Puntarenas.

Most come from the United States and Canada.

The Carnival Legend came from Cartagena, Colombia, and will make its way towards San Lucas, Mexico, after departing Puntarenas. The 960-foot ship is carrying 2,680 passengers and 930 crew members.

Legend passengers arrive.

Legend passengers arrive.

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