Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools
THE Ultimate Cruisers' Planning Tool
You are here: Home / Users / sue / Not All Bad News in Venezuela

Not All Bad News in Venezuela

By Sue Richards last modified Jul 15, 2008 02:30 PM

Published: 2008-07-15 14:30:15
Countries: Venezuela

This report was sent to us by Kris & Sandra Hartford of S/V "Nomotos" who spent two and a half years in Venezuela, most of it in Porlamar.

Venezuela took a couple of bad hits recently as far as cruiser crime is concerned. More cruisers will undoubtedly opt to go elsewhere as a result.

There was the first pirate attack documented in Islas Los Testigos. One of the victims shot twice had to be rushed to Isla Margarita for emergency treatment. The bad guys got away.

The sixth pirate attack to our knowledge in Porlamar since 2003 had American flagged Nomad as victim. With a shotgun and pistols in their faces the boat’s crew was robbed. A local businessman heard the emergency call on VHF and telephoned the Police. The Police never showed up. The bad guys got away.

It is not all bad news however.

The Venezuelan government has simplified and centralised the bureaucracy for visiting cruisers. It is no longer necessary to use so-called agents to do cruiser Check Ins and Check Outs.

The INEA office (Port Captain) is conveniently located in front of the Guardia Nacional station in Porlamar. This office has been expanded to include both Immigration and Customs. The officials now buy the required stamps for you at the local banks so that it is no longer necessary for you to do that yourself. It is quick one stop shopping with no need to go elsewhere.

Senor Jose Casal is the Immigration official and he speaks good English. Senor Manuel Guerra is the Customs official and he also speaks good English. The Port Captain Senor Arquemedes Bolivar and his secretary both speak enough English to get the job done. If they spoke no English at all there would still be no problem, as they have done the paperwork hundreds and hundreds of times and know just what to do.

The bottom line is that language is not a problem getting your paperwork done. The paperwork is professionally done all on computer. Everyone is friendly, efficient and could not be more helpful. Trinidad could take note.

There has just been an increase in the price of the required stamps. The stamp prices are linked to the rate of inflation. These are the new service rates:

International Check In:
Immigration: No Charge
Customs: 69 BF
Port Captain: 139 BF

International Check Out:
Immigration: No Charge
Customs: 69 BF
Port Captain: 1 BF

There is more good news. Jackie’s Restaurant, the longtime base of so many cruisers visiting Porlamar, is again open for lunch, dinner and the ever popular Happy Hour. Under new management it has the new name Sunset Bar & Grill. The restaurant has been expanded and renovated and given a new expanded menu. The food is good and plentiful and supported by good service.

Another feature of the restaurant is free WiFi. If you are close enough with a good antenna you can even get it on your boat. Depending on your location and your antenna there are a number of other free WiFi services that you can access from your boat at anchor in Porlamar.

Porlamar is one of our favourite stops. Regrettably there is the risk of boarding, robbery and piracy. However, with the proper precautions it is possible to visit Porlamar unscathed as most do every year. Forewarned is forearmed!