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 Los Roques - Profile

Location

This group of islands lie about 120NM off the coast, due north of Caracus. Much of it is a National park and its pristine coral reefs attract many international visitors. It is a nice place for cruising boats to stop on passage from the Windward Islands to the ABC-Islands.

Gran Roque, the capital, is the most easily accessible spot for tourists from the mainland. Consequently, all types of planes come and go at all hours, so it is not the totally quiet, remote island you might have expected.

However, other parts of the group are rarely visited and provide many quiet and peaceful anchorages.

Security

Yachts should take care visiting Venezuela at this troubled time in Venezuela history. Cruisers reported visiting Los Roques in 2016 and 2017 with no problems (see comments at bottom of page), however an alert was received from an agent in Los Roques in June 2017 warning yachts to stay away.

Position 11°57′00″N, 66°40′36″W (Gran Roque island location)

Clearance

This is not an official port of entry, but yachts may visit here for a maximum of 15 days if not visiting the mainland.  Clearance must be completed (both in and out) at Roque Grande, which will probably mean an unpleasant beat back against the wind to clear out.

Some yachts try to prolong their stay by taking several days to reach Roque Grande where one has to do the clearance and also take time on departure after outward clearance. Take note that the penalty for illegally entering a country can be very tough.

Clearing in

Most importantly to start you will need Bolivars and plenty of them. See Banks for further information on how to get Bolivars.

To clear in, the skipper must visit 4 authorities located in 5 different locations (see map showing approximate locations provided by S/Y Korrigan who visited in October 2016).

Note: All officials only speak Spanish and most offices close at 4/4.30pm.

Offices must be visited in the following order:

1. ANAYA must be visited first. They are located in a mobile transport trailer with a blue plastic awning, next to the dive shop dock at the northern end of town (which is also a few buildings south of the Coast Guard building - the next place to visit). ANAYA will take your clearance from your last port and manually write your boat information into a book. No fee. They will send you on to the Coast Guard Station.

2. The Coast Guard Station (Guardacosta) is on the far western side of the village a few buildings north of ANAYA. They will manually write the same boat information into another book and issue you with a document that will need to be filled in and stamped by all required administrations (Coast Guard, Immigration, National Guard & Park Administration). There is no fee for this document.

3. Then to the National Park office (Inparques or Parque Nacional), located in a small one room house a few buildings south of ANAYA on the same side of the road (across the street from Immigration). They fill in their portion of the form, stamp it and put more information in another book. No payment.

They will explain the rules of the park and provide a small map of the archipelago showing the authorized and forbidden areas.

4. Next go back across the village along the main street to the National Guards office (Guarda Nacional). This office is in front of the school on the left and can't be missed with a huge portrait of Bolivar and "National Guards" written in big letters. They will simply stamp the Coast Guard document (and might put your boat details in another book too).

5. Next go to the Immigration (SAIME) office, near the airport. You will need to go back across the village to the east and you will find the immigration office (red door) just before the small airstrip. They will enter the boat and crew information into a computer, then stamp your passports and issue you with a park/cruising permit to be paid for at the cashier booth outside. There is a small “processing fee” for this.

6. Go to the cashier booth outside to pay for your park permit. This will vary depending on the size of your boat and how many people you have on board. See Fees below. You will be issued with a receipt. Keep this safe as it needs to be shown to ANAYA and also when you clear out.

7. Return to ANAYA to show the paid cruising/park permit receipt.

Once you have visited all offices and have paid your park entry fees, you are legitimately checked into Los Roques.

Note; Clearing in here will take some time. Cruisers in June 2017 reported it taking 6 hours to complete the port, immigration, customs and cruising permit paperwork and more than 6 km of walking.

FEES

Clearance Fees

Customs and Immigration (SAIME) tax: 10,000 Bolivars per person.

Park Fees

Inform the Park official where you intend to go, as special permission is needed for some areas of the Park and some areas are prohibited.

National Park Fee Examples:

July 2017: 495,000 Bolivars (for a 40ft cat with 2 people on board - includes the cost of water, where available).

August 2017: 800,000 Bolivars for 14 day (max) permit for 47’ Catamaran with 4 persons aboard - approx. $110 US

There is a small fee for a diving permit if wishing to dive.
No spear fishing is allowed.

Clearing Out

When leaving Los Roques you have to return to El Gran Roque to clear out with the following officials. Note, that checking out is easier and much faster than clearing in.

1. Return to Cashier to cancel the cruising/park permit (that’s why you need the receipt) - no payment.
2.
Proceed to ANAYA to be issued clearance Zarpe - no payment.
3. Check out with Immigration (more stamps in passport) - no payment. They will not stamp your passports without the zarpe.

Last updated August 2017.

Alejandro Linares (Yacht Services Roques)
Tel:+1-849-4537503
A useful contact for dealing with officials and can arrange many other services including fresh supplies and money. Has lived on the island for 15 years. See his latest notice to yachts in comments at bottom of page re. how safe it is to cruise here.

Docking

Anchoring at Gran Roque

At Gran Roque, anchor off the western end of the village to avoid being in the way of landing planes; also when approaching be aware that aircraft fly extremely low over the beach to reach the runway.

The anchorage is rolly and windy at times and the holding not always the best.

The Francisqui (Francis Cay) anchorage - just east of G. Roque - is a lovely, large and well protected anchorage from all directions. There is a small beach bar/restaurant in the NE corner of the anchorage which serves excellent food. Only 1-2 miles from G. Roque. Note however that whilst this Cay is beautiful, there is a lagoon near by and after rain showers the mosquitoes will arrive in droves (September is high season for mosquitos).

Other Anchorages

Nordisqui (Nordis Cay) anchorage is not as scenic and not as well protected as many of the others. However, there is a good anchoring basin.

Carenero anchorage (11°52′93″N, 66°50′98″W) is a beautiful and peaceful place, very well protected and a favourite stop for fishing boats from whom fish can be purchased.

A quiet place to anchor is tucked in behind the reef at the southernmost tip near to Sebastapol.

The Herradurra anchorage at Tortuga is the most scenic and protected one mentioned in the Doyle Guide and excellent lobsters can be purchased from the fishermen's settlement there.

The west side of Isla Pelona is a calm anchorage and allows visiting the turtle research centre.

Cruisers recommend the anchorage at the Island of Crasqui (Cras Cay). The bay is protected by the shallows on the northern side and smaller islands on the south. There is a stunning beach and superb snorkelling.

With all the anchorages, the sketches and charts provided by various sources should only be regarded as a rough guide. Eyeball navigation in the correct light conditions is essential. Even official charts cannot be regarded as accurate.

Last updated July 2017.

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