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By No owner — last modified Feb 14, 2015 07:00 PM

 Colombia - Formalities

Clearance

In Colombia, yacht must clear in and out between major ports (i.e. separate port authorities such as Santa Marta & Cartagena), and will be given an outward clearance (zarpe) for the next port. Visiting yachts must clear in with the Port Captain in each port (via an agent who is authorised to deal with the Port Captain). Customs and Immigration formalities are completed only in the first and last ports visited.

An Agent is required for Clearance

Yachts clearing in or out of Colombia, or moving between port authorities, must use an approved agent to complete the formalities for Customs, Immigration, Port Captain and Health. The Port Captain can legally only deal with an agent. Whilst other officials can deal directly with yacht owners, it is not recommended to do the remaining clearance by yourself as it is very complicated.

Be sure that the Colombian port of entry you have stated on your zarpe, is the one you are clearing in at. Officials will be very suspicious as to why you have gone somewhere else than what was on your paperwork.

International clearance can take between 5-7 days in some Colombian ports and it can be slow and frustrating having to wait for your paperwork to be in order. Immigration and Port Captain must issue their paperwork first, before Customs can be visited to arrange for temporary import, hence the slow process.

Marina Santa Marta now has authorisation to act as a clearance agent, and are reported to be very efficient with paperwork taking only 24 hours to organise. They also absorb all costs except that of the cruising permit.

Temporary Import Permit (TIP)

If staying less than 5 days, a Temporary Import Permit is not required.

If staying more than 5 days, then a Temporary Import Permit is required. There is no charge for the TIP – but lots of paperwork. As the TIP only applies to boats that stay more than 5 days, application for a TIP are not started until the 5th day. Once paperwork has been submitted by the agent, receipt of the TIP can take anything between 48 hours and 20+ days.

In 2015 the period of validity of temporary importation increased from 6 to 12 months, with renewal available for a further 12 months.

Be sure to check with your agent if moving on to another port that import papers can be finalised in your next port of call.

Clearance Costs

A Cruising Permit is required by all visiting yachts that stay more than 5 days in Colombia, whether they stay in one port/marina/anchorage or plan to cruise around. The permit is valid for the whole country for 2 months, renewable for a further 10 months.

See Fees for full details.

Note that clearance costs went up in January 2015, due to the transport cost of officials to the harbour/yacht now being the responsibility of the yacht owner. If entering Colombia at a port where officials are all situated in different offices, it might be advisable to arrange clearance with a group of several yachts using the same agent so that costs can be shared.

Alternatively, make clearance at a marina where officials are all on-site.

Departure

Clearing out of Colombia can take at least 24 hours. When you decide to leave, you must contact your agent to get the clearance to sail out of Colombia. You should request the zarpe 2 days before leaving.

It is important that the zarpe lists your next port of call - as stopping at a port not listed (or missing out on one) can cause severe difficulties. This applies even when entering the country.

Remember that if moving to a port in a new port authority, you will need to use an agent again to complete the port arrival procedures. When you leave Colombia you can anchor off the coast or islands en route to your next destination providing that you do not go ashore.

Float Plan

In order to improve the security for yachts cruising this coast, the Port Captains have requested that a voluntary float plan be lodged with the Captain when a zarpe is issued, by email to navesmcp05@dimar.mil.co This can be updated on route if necessary.

Anchoring in Colombia before clearing-in

It is no longer possible to anchor along the Colombian coast prior to clearing into Colombia. Five Bays and the Tayrona Park are now open to cruisers, however a permit is required and there are associated fees, all easily acquired via an agent (see restrictions for further details).

Last updated February 2015.

Editor's Note: As we understand it, based on research to date these formalities are now up to date. We are however checking all points with the Colombian authorities via the government agency ProColombia, and will advise once all has been confirmed/amended by them.

Guardacostas
Coast Guard
Tel:+57 (5) 655 0315 ,VHF Channel 16
This email address is a confidential one for reporting any suspicious activity or concerns.

Immigration

A valid passport is required valid for 6 months from date of entry..

Visas are not required for visitors from most countries whose stay does not exceed 90 days. Extensions may be issued by the DAS (Security Police), up to a maximum of a further three months. Such extensions must be applied for before the previous visa expires.

Visas, if required, can be obtained on arrival, and, especially for those who have retained the services of an agent, there seems to be no difficulty in obtaining one.

An exit stamp from the DAS must be obtained on departure.

Identification must always be carried; as a precaution against theft, authorised copies are acceptable, and the Security Police will witness and photocopy passports and other documents for US$20.

A Colombian cruising permit and visas can be obtained from any Colombian embassy or consulate in one of the countries in the vicinity, such as Venezuela or Panama. There is a Colombian consulate in Colón in Panama, which is used to dealing with yachts intending to visit Colombia.

Last updated January 2015.

Customs

Temporary Import of vessel within Colombian Territory

This is required if you plan to stay more than 5 days in Colombia.

The Customs process for this can take some time. Some cruisers report 48 hours, others five working days and others 20+ days! Bear in mind however that in general agents will not submit the paperwork for a TIP until you have been in the country five days, so be sure to organise in advance with the agent if you plan to move on and collect your paperwork elsewhere once completed.

As soon as your agent gets the Visa from Immigration and "Permit of Official Visit" Certificate from the Port Captain, the agent will then proceed with the application for Temporary Importation of your Vessel.

After the application has been delivered and registered in the customs office a Customs Officer will come within the following 48 hours to verify the vessel.

There is no charge for temporary importation – but lots of paperwork. The period of validity of temporary importation has now increased from 6 to 12 months, with renewal available for a further 12 months.

Note: If you already plan on staying more time than your visa (i.e. extending your visa), it’s a good idea to let your agent know so he can make everything clear with customs and it won’t take extra effort, time and money at a later date.

Other Customs Rules

Yacht parts can, theoretically, be imported free of taxes if marked "Yacht in Transit", but it seems, in practice, this does not happen and a duty of 28%, plus various fees, is charged.

Firearms must be declared.

Vegetables, plants or plant material; meat and food products of animal origin are prohibited.

Last updated February 2015.

Health

An Ebola check is now required so expect a visit from the ICA (Ministry of Agriculture).

Vaccination against yellow fever is recommended and malaria prophylaxis for the coastal and eastern jungle regions. Cholera is a risk in certain areas. Hepatitis is common.

Last updated February 2015.

Documents

The document required for clearance are:-

Passport
Current Boat Registration Document
Zarpe or previous port exit document
Name of Owner
Address of Owner
A letter of permission will be required should the owner not be present on board

Fees

Note: In January 2015 we understand fees were increased (see comment at bottom of page). Noonsite is awaiting confirmation of the details.

Cruising Permit: (approx. US$95) 
This permit is valid for two months, renewable for a further 10 months at the same charge. It is valid for the whole country.

Agent Fee: (approx. US$100)

Last updated February 2015

Restrictions

Cruising Permits around Santa Marta including Tayrona Natural National Park

If you want to cruise around the Park (including 5 bays) you should ask your agent for a permit when first clearing into Colombia. It is not permitted to anchor in the park if you do not have a permit, even if you are heading to Santa Marta and want to just stop-off.

The permit costs 175.700 Pesos Colombianos (around U$95.00) and includes cruising both day and night with a sailboat in the park, anchoring within the park and the local clearance you must have to move your boat around Colombia.

Last updated May 2012.

Wider Caribbean's Marine Protected Areas (CaMPAM)
A useful database of MPAs in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean region. All Marine Parks are MPAs, and therefore if wanting to find out about any marine parks in the islands you are visiting, details and location can be sourced via this website.

Clearance Agents

Agencia Serrana
Isla de San Andres
Tel:578 512 4628 ,VHF Channel 16
Contact Rene.
Agenport
Barrio La Loma Sector PerryHill , n 9-93 Piso 1 , San Andres Island
Tel:0985133481 / Cell: 3204899772 ,VHF Channel 16
Contact: Julian Watson
Anna Celilia Abello Lacouture
Santa Marta
Reported to co-ordinate well with the IGY Marina in Santa Marta.
Bush Agency
Isla de Providencia
Contact: Bernardo. Directions to office: from the dingy dock (next to the commercial dock) turn right and go to the only intersection, make a left and walk a couple of hundred yards. Bernardo's office is above the store on the right side of the street.
C.S.C. Santa Marta Shipping Agency S.A.S
Dino Shipping Agent , Santa Marta
Will also organise cruising permit for Tayrona Park and 5 Bays.
Cartagena De Indias Shipping Agency
Tel:575 6433766 ,VHF Channel 13,14,16
Cruising Services Marine S.A.S
POC: Paola Matson & Gladis Ramos , Manga Cra 25 , Calle 25-62, Cartagena
Tel:3138944641/3157562818
Shipping Agency for Clearance. Good English spoken.
Dino Alfonso Nelo Campo
Caribbean Sea of Colombia , Santa Marta
Tel:(57) 300-639-2640 / (57) 301-430-8166 / Cell:(57) 300-716-4689
Clearance agent in Santa Marta. Speaks excellent English. Clear fees
Recommended by cruisers.
Juan Carlos Soto
Clearance Agent Bahia Solano
Tel:313-746-8124 / 314-606-2670
Located next to the Port Captain's office. Will deal with all the paperwork for one fee.
Manfred Alwarelt
of Mundo Mar/ Defina Express/ White Light , Cartagena
Tel:5 666 3230 / 317 729 7367 or 301 222 1255 (mob.)
English speaking clearance agent.
Romovela ltda
(Edgar Romero's agency) , Santa Marta and Cartagena
Tel:+57-312-659-9223
Edgar been helping cruisers for many years with clearance, and zarpes and every situation imaginable. His agency has been found to be competent, reliable and very helpful. Highly recommended.

Pets

PET REGULATIONS - Dogs and cats must be vaccinated against rabies at least 30 days prior to travel to Colombia. Rabies Vaccination Certificate not required for pets coming from rabies free country (US is not rabies free) Pets must be vaccinated agains Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis and Pavovirus A Health Certificate is needed from recognised Veterinarian to confirm pet is healthy, free of parasites and there is no evidence of communicable diseases to humans and it is highly recommended that pets are on a flea and tick prevention program when entering Colombia. Certificate should have been issued as close as possible to date of travel but not more than 14 days. Further details can be obtained from www.pettravelstore.com - forms from www.pettravelstore.com/store-pet-immigration-forms1-html

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peterdstokes
peterdstokes says:
Feb 17, 2014 02:25 PM

Arrived at IGY marina in Santa Marta on Nov 1st 2013 and stayed until mid January 2014 whilst we travelled extensively in Columbia and Ecuador. We had the marina highly recommended to us and we also had our agent Dino also highly recommended and both were absolutely right. The staff at the marina were courteous, friendly and very helpful at all times, and facilities were excellent with showers, laundry, lounge and clean toilets.
Dino was superb. He handled all the customs and immigration requirements efficiently and effectively, keeping us informed throughout, and even attempted to teach us Spanish! Sorry we weren't such good pupils Dino!
Santa Marta is a great base to travel from in this corner of SA. Cartegena is one of the prettiest cities you could imagine, but make sure to stay in the old town. Bogota is a 'must', very cosmopolitan, with many museums (particularly the Gold Museum), opera house and much more - get a guide, it's a good investment.
Barichara is a short flight and taxi ride from Bogota but is another 'must see' place. Stay in one of the fabulous little boutique guest houses, and do the walk from there to Guane - fantastic!
We moved on to Ecuador to do Quito, Cotopaxi, and a week in the Yasuni National Park experiencing pristine Amazonian rainforest - stupendous! Then easy trip back to Santa Marta via Bogota.

Peter and Helen
S/V Common Crossing
Tatyana 48cc

kairos48
kairos48 says:
May 02, 2014 11:05 PM

When arriving in Colombia you must use an agent to clear in and out. You cannot do this on your own. I cleared in at Providencia and I would like to take the opportunity to recommend Bernardo from the "Bush Agency" email: bushagency2012@gmail.com or go directly to his office in town after you anchor in the bay. He is easy to find, from the dingy dock (next to the commercial dock) turn right and go to the only intersection, make a left and walk a couple of hundred yards...his office is above his store on the right side of the street. Mr. Bush provided me with a friendly, professional and easy clearances. Not only did he handle my entry into Colombia and my exit for San Andreas but he was most helpful with my Temporary Import Permit. He did not charge me for the TIP and made arrangements for me to pick it up in San Andreas with Mr. Rene who was also quite helpful. Mr. Bush speaks English excellently and his fees were totally transparent. Mr Bush does a great job and gets it done quickly. The reports of long waiting times were not what I experienced at all. If you go to Provedencia, Mr. Bush is the agent to see.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Jul 07, 2014 03:06 PM

Just to let you know we are now hosting both the Colombia Tourism's Cruising Guide Book as well as our Pacific Lesser Known Coast of Colombia cruising guides on our website:
http://www.svsarana.com/free_guides.php#COL
The tourism's book is a massive 300Mb so we encourage only people who really plan on cruising there to download it. Otherwise it costs us a lot to host such a big file.
Eric & Sherrell - SV Sarana

wiphepfer
wiphepfer says:
Jul 21, 2014 12:45 AM

contractor recommendation
we had recently 3 month refit of a 85 ft motor yacht, all new paintsyainless steelwork , new teak decks , hydraulic piping , anchor and chain galvanizing
work was very satisfactory done by " Cartagena Caribbean Boat Repair",
alvaro@cartagenaboatrepair.com
tel0057 318 272 2458
Alvaro is an american trained manager , fluent in english, always on time , and gets the impossible done , reliable and honest
i was there 3 years ago and got already some good work done
all prices are app. one third of the USA standard
300ton new travel lift available
wip hepfer
m/y contina

Gerard  Van der Horst
Gerard Van der Horst says:
Jan 20, 2015 03:31 AM

Prices has gone up for "clearance" in januari 2015 due to transportcosts of the officials to visit the harbour or your yacht to be payed by the yachtowner(new 1/1/2015). And there is an Ebola check now so also ICA (ministery of agriculture) is involved now. Totalprice (up to 2 month stay) has gone up to us$280-$350 ( jan 2015) Agent costs are just about $100. It really is a lot of work.(23 forms) White Light agency (Manfred +57 311 400 6394) in Cartagena did his work well. You have to show up several times( different days) to sign papers If you are with a group of several yachts you can negotiate as "travelcost" and " propinia" can be shared.
We sailed from Aruba with next port of call "Cartagena". We stopped 4 to 5 times in Colombia and even were visited by the coastguard for " inspection" No trouble at all". Do not say "your motor broke down" or they order a mechanic for repairs. Only the captain can decide or he is too tired or it is blowing too hard) We were 3 weeks on route to Cartagena. We did not stop in Santa Marta but just anchored in Taganga 2 miles north and went by public bus. If you cleare in in Santa Marta (Marina is also Agency to clear you in now) you have to pay again in Cartagena only for the Port registry and Agent fee in Cartagena).(Cartagena portcontrol have an AIS receiver and sent you a request to contact them) . Nb The port captain legally only deal with agents. Other officials can be done by yourselves but i certainly do NOT recommend this as is see how time consuming this is (days) even for a proffesional as your agent
!!! White light Acency gave us a sound bill with all costs specified). Nb the noonsit info " New Fees" dates from november 2011 so is not up to date anymore!)

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Feb 05, 2015 01:36 PM

Colombia Cruising Guide: A PDF copy of the Colombia Cruising Guide in Spanish and English can be downloaded from the following link: http://we.tl/2RaEnQGclW - note this is a large file (300MB).

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Feb 14, 2015 06:58 PM

Posted on behalf of Frank VIrgintino from Marina Zarpar, DR:
13 February 2015
We have received a few boats, the most recent today, Canadian flagged, that sailed directly from Cartagena to Ile a Vache Haiti. I have never heard of boats being boarded by the authorities in Haiti, but in this case, the Haitian Coast Guard assisted by what appears to be United Nations military or police, boarded the boat and retained the owner and crew a number of days while the boat endured extensive checking.
I would recommend that boats coming from Colombia to Haiti, clear first at Jamaica at Port Antonio before proceeding east to Haiti.

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www.pantaenius.com

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