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By No owner — last modified Jul 21, 2014 02:29 PM

 Colombia - Formalities

Clearance

Yachts must clear in and out between major ports, and will be given an outward clearance (zarpe) for the next port. Visiting yachts must clear in with the Port Captain in each port. Customs and Immigration formalities are completed only in the first and last ports.

Yachts clearing in or out of Colombia must use an approved agent to complete the formalities for Customs, Immigration, Port Captain and Health. On departure, the agent will take the papers and return them with a zarpe.

Clearance can take between 5-7 days in Colombia 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. If staying less than 5 days however, a Temporary Import Permit is not required. If staying between 5 and 15 days (this amount of time can differ from port to port), then a Permanent Permit is required which can take up to 20+ days to acquire. 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. See cruiser's report 2012 on Colombian Formalities and Procedures for further details.

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.

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.

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).

Clearing out of Colombia can take 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 one day and a half before leaving.

Last updated October 2014.

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 60 days; 15 day extensions may be issued by the DAS (Security Police), up to a maximum of a further three months. An exit stamp from the DAS must be obtained on departure.

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.

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 October 2014.

Customs

Temporary Import of vessel within Colombian Territory

The Customs process for this can take up to five working days and must be done on initial entry into the country. 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. The temporary importation will be given for the same amount of days as the visa you were granted.

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.

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 October 2014.

Health

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.

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

Colombia has again recently changed their charges for private vessels and foreign cruisers. See 2011 report: Fees for Formalities in Colombia

The following charges are being applied in Cartagena from October 2011, but those in other ports may vary.

Vessel staying less than 8 Days: US$90

Vessel staying longer than 8 Days but less than 2 Months: US$205

Vessel staying longer than 2 Months: US$290 + US$40 (Monthly Immigration fee per passport).

Last updated December 2011.

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

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www.pantaenius.com

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