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By No owner — last modified Jun 14, 2016 12:23 PM

 Ecuador - Formalities


Agents are required for all foreign-flagged boats clearing into all ports and have been since 2007. Puerto Amistad is allowed to represent the yachts without actually being a ship's agent, but all boats have to be represented by someone.

Authorities here speak Spanish only. The agent will advise all the authorities (Port Captain / Customs / Migration / Sanitary Doctor) of your arrival, arrange transport, issue clearance, send the SITRAME information to the Coast Guard, coordinate with Customs the issuing of a special document called the Affidavit, (which must be signed/stamped by the yacht captain, kept on board and returned to Customs when moving from port to port), and pay the government arrival tax, which requires a local bank account.

Even if your stop in Ecuador is simply for technical reasons (Transito Escala Tecnica), an agent is required. Agents fees therefore add up. See Fees below.

It is advisable to enter at Puerto Amistad, Puerto Lucia YC, Salinas YC or Guayaquil YC, as they are more used to foreign visitors and there are less likely to be problems with officials.

Yachts making clearance at other ports will also need an agent, however these companies are reluctant to help private yachts, and are expensive.

An agent fee must be paid for each clearance whether domestic or international. It is understood that this procedure must be followed at every port visited when it comes under the juristiction of a different Port Authority. Be sure to ask the agent to write down every charge and itemize what it is for. Get an official Factura (Government receipt) for everything.

Yachts sailing from one Ecuadorean port to another must obtain a domestic zarpe, while yachts leaving the country will require an international zarpe.

On arrival, the port captain should be contacted on VHF Channels 6 or 12, as Channel 16 is rarely used except as a general calling channel. The port captain will advise on where to berth the yacht for clearance.

Yachts intending to visit the Galapagos from Ecuador do not need an autographo in advance if they are only planning on visiting one port. The usual procedure is to obtain outward clearance (an international zarpe) for the Marquesas (or another offshore destination) and not to mention the intended stop in Galapagos to the officials. It must be mentioned, though, each port tends to have its own rules! See Galapagos for more details.

Last updated March 2017.


Passports must be valid for at least 6 months.

Nationals of the following countries require a visa in advance to enter Ecuador:- Algeria, Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, India, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Lybia, Nicaragua, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Palestine Authority, Panama, People's Republic of China, Sri Lanka, Syria, Tunisia, and Vietnam.

All other nationals will be granted a "12-X" visa on arrival, valid for 90 days. A further 90 days extension is possible at a cost of US$200 plus a $30 application fee. If a couple can prove they're married (requires a marriage certificate with apostille - an international certification - from the issuing country) then the dependent is added for an additional $50. The same would apply for children in which case they'll need birth certificates with apostille.

The maximum stay is 6 months in every year.

Any extension to the 12-X visa must be applied for prior to its expiry. There is an automatic $200 fine (with an upper limit of $2000) for an expired visa.

Ensure that your passport is stamped on entry.

Visa requirements are not strictly enforced for those arriving by boat and short stays are granted on arrival even to nationalities that normally need visas.

It is a legal requirement to carry ID. You should keep a photocopy of your passport pages including your photograph and Ecuadorean immigration entry stamp with you at all times.

Last updated January 2016.


Since May 2011, foreign visiting sailboats are allowed to remain in Ecuador for up to a year, if the main purpose is tourism. 90 days will be granted on entry and an extension (up to 1 year) will be allowed once, at no cost. Do however bear in mind that an agent will charge a fee for securing the extension (for example Puerto Amistad charge $100).

Note, that Puerto Amistad are able to secure extensions of one year each for a total of three years, but then the boat has to leave the country.

On arrival in Ecuador, the agent will coordinate with Customs the issuing of a special document named an Affidavit, which must be signed/stamped by the Captain of the Yacht and kept on board whilst in Ecuador at all times. Prior to sailing from port to port, the Affidavit must be returned to Customs, usually via the Agent.

Firearms must be declared.

The Ecuadorian Customs (Corporación Aduanera Ecuatoriana) now requires that all international merchant commercial ships and tourist yachts in transit, must be registered in the Customs computerized system called Sistema Interactivo de Comercio Exterior (SICE). Your agent will coordinate the registration of the vessel in the SICE, as well as in the MaritimeTraffic Information System (SITRAME).

Any involvement with illegal drugs is a serious crime. The penalties are harsh and prison conditions are extremely grim.

Last updated January 2016.


Malaria and dengue fever are health risks in all coastal and jungle provinces.

Amoebic dysentery is endemic in some parts of the country.

Vaccination against yellow fever, as well as malaria, is is recommended.

There is some risk of cholera. Do not drink untreated water.

ZIKA VIRUS ALERT: (September 2016) There have been recent safety alerts from the US State Department, UK Foreign Office, and Center for Disease Control (CDC) regarding travel to parts of Central and South America, Africa, southern Asia, the Caribbean, and the South Pacific islands. Ecuador is an area of interest with multiple reported cases and active virus transmission. There is growing concern about the rapid spread of the ZIKA Virus and the impact of the virus on pregnant women and babies. ZIKA is transmitted by mosquitos in tropical and sub-tropical climates, and there is currently no cure or vaccine. This situation is evolving rapidly, so please refer to the CDC’s dedicated website if you are intending to cruise in one of the effected areas.


Owner and crew must have a valid passport, crew list, last zarpe and vessel original registration form. Have legible copies of all the above documents at hand.

Yachts must be registered with the computerised Customs system (SICE) as well as the Maritime Traffic Information System (SITRAME). The Agent will deal with this registration.

On departure from port, each yacht must provide a Sail Plan with details of waypoints on the intended route to the next port or out of territorial waters, along with predicted date and time of arrival. Again, the agent will organise this. Officially, the authorities (DIRNEA - must be informed if you deviate more than 25 miles from your intended route or change your port of destination, however in practice this is not required.

Last updated January 2012.

(Direccion Nacional de Espacios Aquaticos)
Tel:+593-4-2321602 Fax:+593-4-2324714
DIRNEA has information on SITRAME in Spanish and English on its website. SITRAME (Sistema de Información de Tráfico Marítimo) is a computer tracking system that has been set up to oversee the movements of all maritime shipping in Ecuadorean territorial waters. It has been implemented by the Ecuadorean Navy and managed by DIRNEA, the authority for the merchant navy.
The area of jurisdiction is: West until 095° 23 00 W, from 01° 28' 54" N to 03° 23' 33.96" S; and, 200 NM around the Galápagos Islands.
NOTE: There is a warning that the DIRNEA website is not secure.


A tax for light dues ("faros y boyas") of US$3 per gross ton for Galapagos cruising or US$0.73 for Ecuador cruising, must be paid to the port captain on arrival (or via the agent). One should get a receipt for this payment or one will have to pay it again in the next port.

There are also immigration charges, a clearance fee and agent's fees. A charge is also made for the zarpe. Apparently some yachts have been overcharged and others have had to pay overtime, because they were leaving the harbour outside office hours, even when the formalities had been completed during office hours. This seems to be less of a problem in the ports of Puerto Lucia, Salinas and Guayaquil, where foreign yachts are more common.

Yachts should also avoid mooring in commercial harbours as yachts are charged the same rates as large ships, which are very high. There are not usually fees for anchoring in fishing harbours.

Sample Fees

Clearing in at Salinas, fees for 2015 are as follows:
US$ 250.00 - Agency Fee (Lump Sum)
US$ 50.00 - Mobilization
US$ 20.00 - Forms
Additional amounts (payable to Port Authorities):
US$ 30.00 - Migration Dues (clearance in/out)
US$ 50.00 (approx.) - Captaincy of Port Dues (clearance in/out,
pollution control/use of frequency)

Clearing in at Bahia, using Puerto Amistad as an agent, fees in June 2014 were:
US$ 50.00 - Agent Fee
US$ 20.00 - Immigration
US$ 40.00 - Taxi fee for paperwork
US$ 45.00 - Capitania
Approx. Total Cost - US$ 155.00

In Puerto Lucia, the 2012 agents fee was approx. US$250, plus additional fees for Immigration and Customs, amounting to a total of around US$400.

Tasa por Derechos de Timbres Consulares

The “tasa por derechos de timbres consulares” (arrivals tax amounting to US$310) has been applied since 1976. Intended for large commercial vessels, this tax is also applied to cruising yachts in many ports. Puerto Lucia stopped charging this tax in June 2011 due to uproar from the cruising fleet, however it may still be applied in other ports. Be sure to check with your agent as to the best place to clear into Ecuador to avoid paying this tax.

Transito Escala Tecnica (technical stop)

If you have to make an emergency stop in Ecuador due to technical reasons/for repairs, an application in advance can be made via an agent which negates all fees payable, as long as the stop is no longer than 2 weeks.

Last updated March 2015.

Clearance Agents

The following agents are representing cruisers at the present time in Puerto Lucia (May 2014):

Mr Napoleon Cadena:

Julia Yturralde NOE SHIPPING

We recommend you request quotes in advance.


Animals must be declared.

CAT requirements
- Certificate of Vaccination within 60 days before travel against panleukopenia felina and rabies.
- Have been treated externally and internally against parasites at least 30 days before embarkation.
- Have been inspected at embarkation by Veterinarian and found to be healthy, without tumours, fresh wounds or in the process of healing, without any quarantined transferable diseases or the presence of ectoparasites.
- Are placed in special cage/box cleaned out and disinfected.

DOG requirements
- Must have been vaccinated within 60 days of travel against distemper, canine hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus, influenza and rabies (proof of dates and products used needed).
- Have been treated against parasites, externally and internally at least 30 days before travel.
- Have been inspected and identified at the moment of embarkation by official Veterinarian, and found to be in good condition, without tumours, flesh wounds or in process of healing, and without quarantined transferable diseases or presence of ectoparasites.

Further details from:
Ecuador Office, Ministeris de Turismo, Avenida Eloy Alfaro No. 32-300 and Carlos Tobar Quito, Ecuador - Tel: (2) 507 562 or 228 204/5, e-mail
Ecuador Office Camara Provincial de Turismos (Captur), Avenida 6 de Dicembre 1424 y Carrion Qito, Ecuador - Tel: (2) 224 074 or 509 860

Share |
herzberg says:
Jun 10, 2016 01:09 AM

I came with my OVNI 395 at the beginning of November 2015 to Puerto Libertad from Puerto Amistad, because I had to haul out my boat. On entering the marina I had to first give my credit card and I was disappointed at the welcome this exclusive marina gave me.

A day later I met Jeremy from Steward Yates & Servicios and I was skeptical about the shipyard after the reception the day before. What a surprise! I met a competent and helpful guy and I gave him a work list because I wanted to go home for the next 5 months. In May 2016 I came back to the boat and now the 2nd surprise - 90% of the work was well done!

Marisol at Steward Yates & Servicios is an extremely helpful person. She organized for me 2 workers for 1 Week so that I could put the boat into the water at the exact date that we programed. Once in the water, the motor didn't run! A Yanmar specialist checked and found that all the tubes were very dirty. We decided the day before leaving to clean the tank with 100 gallons of diesel in. Marisol organized this in a half day! Also she did the paperwork for clearing in the Galápagos Islands together with the agent Bolivar Pesantes in Galápagos, a very helpful person too.

If you are in need of any boat work, I would strongly recommend Stewart Yates & Servicios. The business is owned by Marisol Stewart and Jeremy Whalen and has been in operation for over 14 years. Their work is top quality, very reasonably priced and on schedule. There doesn’t seem to be anything they can’t handle. Their services include stainless, paint, carpentry, canvas, rigging, fiberglass, electrical and mechanical. They also run a small chandlery and are licensed importers in Ecuador.
Puerta Lucia Yacht Club in Salinas Ecuador, is a very convenient stop before crossing the Pacific or heading south. The climate is perfect for vessel storage with light rains only a few times a year, low humidity and zero lightning strikes. For pullout the marina has a 50 ton travel lift. The location is also a great place to restock. With a ten minute taxi ride you will find large grocery and hardware stores. Even a good sized marine chandlery and mall with a movie theatre. In an ocean of boatyards Stewart Yates & Servicios is heads above the rest.

Georg Herzberg
SY Galatea II

vibesparre says:
Aug 20, 2015 04:50 PM

Recommendation for boat repairing facilities in Galapagos

On July 13. 2015 we left Galapagos Islands on our boat, Danish Blue, to go to Marquesas. About 1000 nm out, we hit something - most likely a whale. The rudder was pushed backwards and the fibreglass broke where the ruddershaft was attached. Luckily we did not loose the rudder, but we had to bolt it tightly with bolts and pieces of wood we had on board. Also, we could not steer. To be safe, we had to return to Galapagos.

At Galapagos we got in touch with Martin Schreyerg, a German guy who lives and works at Puerto Ayora at Santa Cruz Island. He was a great help. He speaks English fluently, and he was capable of making any kind of repair on the boat such as fibreglass, welding, etc. We needed to continue to Ecuador mainland (Stewart Yates, Puerto Lucia) to get the boat hauled out, which is not possible at Galapagos. Martin was effective and thorough - in one week he had our rudder taken out, repaired enough to work for the trip to the mainland (650 nm), put back in and fastened with stainless steel. We were afraid we would be stuck at Galapagos for at least a month, but Martins great work made it possible for us to leave again after exactly one week.

We are so grateful for Martins help, effectiveness and expertise and wish to recommend him and his workers to anyone who needs repair done at or around the Galapagos Islands.

Martin Schreyerg's mail is:

Christians Arp-Hansen
Danish Blue, Denmark

sandandfoam says:
Apr 20, 2015 04:45 PM

I have just spent 10 months in Puerto Lucia Yacht Club (it is about $800 USD a month to keep your boat ashore) after sailing there from El Salvador. First. when we arrived last year (April 2014) we were forced to anchor off for 3 days of "Quarantine". Next we had to have an agent and we were given "Napoleon" who seemed OK. Then a Julia Delgado arrived alongside of NOE shipping agency and said we HAD to have her. We gave her her fee of 500 USD and we dutifully changed. I was assured by her and a custom agent who has since retired that we would have no problem in leaving my 36 foot yacht there ashore for 10 months while I went back to the UK providing that, after 3 months, I filled in a form that they would e-mail me for an Extension. This I dutifully did. However Julia Delgado the agent then in July 2014 e-mailed and said I had to return to Ecuador as "there was a problem". As it happened I couldn't as I had broken some ribs and I sent her a medical certificate saying I was unfit to travel.When I was fit enough to travel I arrived there in early February 2015 and Julia took me to the customs office in Las Salinas who said I owed $70,000 USD.No idea what for!! However as I had been unable to travel and had medical certificates which I had all previously sent to Julia my fine was reduced to $3,800 USD!! No-one would explain to my why I was being fined.

In the meantime I was working with Marisol Stewart the owner of Stewart Yates & Servicios to repair my yacht. Marisol was amazing. She phoned the customs and said this was incredible and that I should not have to pay ANY fine. And thanks to her I didn't!!

Moreover the Services of her company were outstanding and very reasonable. I had a lot of excellent work done by Pancho and Nicky which ranged over new VHF ariels, new window, oil seals, skilled woodwork, liferaft servicing, cutlass bearing repair, chain galvanising etc.

Another French yacht which had spent the same amount of time there and used Napoleon as the agent had absolutely no problems despite the owner being away in France for a year.

So either NOE shipping agency and Julia was totally incompetent or there was some very strange things going on. Thanks Marisol for great work on the yacht and all your help. We left for Chile in mid February 2015 along the coastal route.

Michael Marshall

Sand and Foam

Hans-Rudolf Lehmann
Hans-Rudolf Lehmann says:
Sep 02, 2014 03:28 PM

This is to all cruisers who want to travel to Ecuador and not to be confused by the announcement of Marina Operations:

By Ecuadorian Law it is required to clear internalization of a boat through custom office through an agent. If the operator of the Marina says it is not required, this means he assumes the function of the agent or - in other words - he has an associated agent. Any irregularity of the ships documentation will then lead to different costs than advertized. This, is to be taken seriously as it leads to increased prices. Be aware, no hooks behind the bushes!

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Aug 13, 2014 08:35 AM

Posted on behalf of Hans-Rudolf Lehmann, SY IBIS
I have just recently arrived in Ecuador and as Ecuadorian citizen I am in the process of re-establishing myself in the country. Up to now, Ecuador has a very reduced oportunity to cruisers to stay and we are very concerned at this point to change the infrastructure for cruisers.

This is what we have achieved at this point:
1. The new city administration of Salinas has almost finished the public access to the beach in Salinas.
2. The new city administration of Salinas is very open to discuss a project for a Marina with city administration for about 48 vessels between 25 and 60 feet.
3. The new administration of Salinas in cooperation with the National office for tourism will review the procedures to document the boat for tourism and suggest the national administration a different procedure to facilitate a less expensive and more efficient way to visit the country by boating.

In the meantime we are setting 10 mooring buoys in Salinas just outside the yacht club, which can be reserved at the email at a cost of USD 15 a day, or USD 350 monthly. We also provide water service to the boat, electricity provided by 110 V generator and fuel provision to the boat. Our agent will service the boat permit with the custom office, immigration and port clearing. Communication to the e-mail
Best regards and fair winds

heatherreimer says:
Jun 24, 2014 04:52 PM

Another great spot to leave your boat is at Bahia de Caraquez, at the mouth of the Rio Chone. Approach (from north): 00º 36.6' S 080º 28.2' W - this keeps you away from shoals
"Waiting Room": 00º 35.8' S 080º 26.8' W - anchor or wait for pilot here for entry over bar.
The anchorage is very calm, and boats are able to either get on a mooring ball (Puerto Amistad: $370/month, includes hot showers, dinghy dock, wifi, and nighttime security. The town of "Bahia" is an easily walkable village, which has a fresh fruit/vegie mercado, and several smaller tiendas for provisioning. For more major shopping, Portoviejo is an hour away ($2) and Manta is 2 hours away, ($3) and will have most everything you want. Bahia is a more affordable option for people than Salinas, due to the costs involved. As well, Salinas has quite a surge, so anchoring is more difficult. Should you wish to anchor in Bahia, the cost is $240/month, which includes all the above services. We have left our boat on anchor for months at a time, without issue. The only thing to be aware of is the barnacle growth on the chain.
Costs for arrival into Ecuador at Bahia, using Puerto Amistad as an agent.
$50 - agent fee
$20 - immigration
$40 - taxi fee for paperwork
$45 - Capitania
Total cost - $155

Should you wish to know anything else, contact Heather Reimer on sv Sundancer at

Open roadstead but relatively calm at most times of year.

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