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Cartagena - Reports from Cruisers

By Sue Richards last modified Sep 10, 2015 09:05 PM

Published: 2015-09-10 07:05:00
Countries: Colombia

Cartagena - Club de Pesca
Sent to noonsite by Melinda Burnett - September 2015

We just spent 7 weeks at Club de Pesca. The cost was about 20% more than Club Nautico for our 48-ft, beamy Leopard 48. We felt it was worth it, as Club de Pesca is better protected from wind, and there are fewer noisy boat projects going on during the day. They have floating docks; no med mooring! Occasionally the winds can kick up to 50 kts for 15 minutes to hours at a time, and one night they sent yachts in the anchorage careening into boats at Club Nautico. We slept through it and noticed nothing out of place the next morning. We did, however, have to deal with frequent wakes from motorboats making their way to the fuel dock, especially during "rush hour."

They have apparently opened up more transient spots, so it's worth an email. Joanne at the office speaks passable English; no one else. We felt VERY SECURE here. We knew our security guards by name, and all were pleasant and helpful. It is very cool being inside an old fort.

You are farther away from the big grocery store, Carulla, than you would be at Club Nautico, but there is a Carulla Express not far outside the fort that has everything except fresh produce and meat. You are closer to the Historic City, and we spent many fun nights walking into town and hanging out in Plaza Trinidad and other places. Cartagena is a fabulous town to visit! Everyone comes out at night, and police are everywhere.

We had our laundry done by the marina with a 48 hour turnover time, about 40 mil pesos for 3-4 loads. We also hired Alberto from Club Nautico, 310-691-7073, to clean our boat bottom every 2 weeks. BARNACLES EVERYWHERE! We hired Alvarro of Caribe Boat Repair, 300-329-4168, to supervise our repairs. We had our scupper glassed, an anchor bridle spliced, an engine vibration diagnosed, and a dinghy cover made, all with good results.

Free Wi-Fi, however, is technically available but terribly overloaded and inconsistent. It seems all workers have the password, and reliable service only existed at midnight. We hear Club Nautico was even worse, so you might have to get by with SIM Cards.

Water: We filled our holding tanks with the marina-supplied water and drank it. We had three weeks of intermittent diarrhea, but who knows where that came from -- we ate a lot of street food. After that, no problem. Note that we have a UVC filter onboard, so use your best judgment if you do not. Others told us they thought the water was fine for us Yanks.

Power: They took US plugs. It wasn't cheap, but it was pretty consistent.

Report of a visit to Cartagena
Sent to noonsite by  Anthony Swanston of sv Wild Fox -
June 2012

The northerly entrance to the bay (Boco Grande) is well marked by port and starboard buoys – I don't know if the lights are working but the buoy positions were close to my Navionics positions. Approaching the harbour from the south you will see yachts anchored outside the marina called Club Nautico. Expect occasional severe squalls from the south and anchor in 10 metres or more in mud with plenty of scope. Holding closer to the marina in shallower water is variable and during my time many boats there dragged. Outside of the squalls expect to do a 360 each day.

The marina is being rebuilt. The work, scheduled for completion by the end of 2011, is now expected to be complete by the end of 2012 – optimistic in my view. As a result of the rebuilding there are no toilets and only primitive temporary showers and no resturaunt or bar. You can use the dinghy dock, rubbish disposal, wifi and showers (such as they are) for 40,000 pesos a week (about US$20). Nobody locked their dinghy here, day or night. The marina and town are generally very safe. There is an excellent supermarket with ATMs right by the marina. Before arriving go to www.clubnauticocartagena.com and download the sidebar “A cruiser's guide...”. This is a magnum opus with tons of information including the names an contact numbers of customs clearance agents. Expect to pay US$75. David Ayoz reported good, I used Cruising Services who were excellent and gave lots of other help.

If you decide to go into the marina be aware that it can be very rough, This is a harbour with a lot of speedboats and water taxis. Wakes are constant during daylight hours. The swell in the marina during the southerly squall was frightening to watch. You need very stretchy dock lines and you must make sure that your spreaders are not matched up to the boats beside you.

The radio net is not now operation.

Further Information - July 2012

Work on the dock at Cartagena continues but all work on the clubhouse, restaurant, showers etc has stopped due to a planning dispute. Informed local opinion tells me there is, at present, no resolution in sight.

Cartagena - 2 months at anchor
Sent to noonsite by Wilhelm Hepfer - May 2011

We have just cleared out after a 2 month stay at anchor outside Club Nautico.

We picked an excellent, honest agent, Cartagena Caribbean Marine Agency, Paola and Jessica, tel. 320 5451090, we got a lot of work done at less than half the cost in the US. Our general contractor, who spoke perfect English and was very honest and always on time, was Albaro from Sea Horse Boat Repair, tel. 317 432 1065 and 315 756 2818, email alvaroinfra@hotmail.com. He had a group of very good specialists on hand. All materials, like 2 component paints etc., were readily available.

During our stay there were no security issues at all, we only had to lift the dinghy up every night. We felt safe walking the streets in old Cartagena and in Manga, where the Club Nautico is located.

The Wi-Fi from the Club worked very fast on our laptops on the boat and cost approx. 25$ a month. The dinghy dock at the club cost approx. 10$ a week and nobody ever locked their dinghy when left in the club, during day or night.

All over a very pleasant stay.

Recommendations for good workers in Cartagena
Sent to noonsite by Phil Kellett MD of s/v Moondancer - November 2010

While in Cartagena we had extensive work done on our Tayana 55, Moondancer. The following workers did excellent work at very reasonable prices, often 20-30% of US prices. However, best to buy paint, Sunbrella etc. in Panama or the US as Columbian prices are almost double Panamanian and US prices.

Renzon Herrera
Cell: 313 532 9894
Does very good sail and canvas work. He recut our jibs and made us a bimini, full enclosure, dodger and stackpack for 30-35% OF US prices. Sunbrella is very expensive in Cartagena, so if you can pick it up in Panama you will save 50% on the cost of the material.

Nilson Marcato
Cell: 315-323-5868
E-mail: nilcarpintiernautico@hotmail.com
Is an outstanding carpenter who built us a beautiful cockpit table and with his assistant Javier completely relaid, recaulked, refastened and replugged our teak deck. Our teak deck is now functionally new for 10% of the US cost of a new teak deck. Nilson is hard working and honest and would make an excellent project manager for large jobs. However, you would need Alvaro the painter to translate.

Javier Estrada Garcia
Cell: 312 685 1565
Alvaro de la Rosa
Cell: 315 479 5472
Alvaro speaks excellent New York English, both do excellent fiberglass and paint work.

Emigdio Gonzales
Cell: 313 587 2064
Speaks excellent English and does US quality electrical work and also services gas stoves and watermakers. He is also the person to get starters, generators, alternators serviced and rewound.

Felix Malo
Cell: 311 410 5647
E-mail: felbad@yahoo.com
Does excellent computer work and can turn your laptop into a world wide chart plotter.

Bianny Torres, the stainless steel worker, was weeks late with a project and did poor work at US prices.

Club Nautico is a good marina to get work done but is very rough with poor security. Although in 9 weeks we personally did not have any trouble, others did.

Storage on the Hard in Cartagena
Sent to noonsite by Dan and Yolanda Hellier of SY Jacana of Melbourne - July 2010

Many yachties are finding it difficult to obtain information about storage of boats on the hard in Cartagena. In fact we could not track down the info. until we arrived here.

We explored the options and chose to leave Jacana, our Northshore 46, on the hard at Manzanillo Marina Club while we flew home to Australia. In our opinion and experience, this is the standout yard.

This clean, well run marina is a family affair. Security is exceptional. The yard also offers two small air conditioned apartments at reasonable rates for those who do not wish to live aboard.

The marina has a new website that will make it easier for those following us.

The person to contact is Maurice Lemaitre. Maurice is talented, so helpful, and speaks excellent English.

His cell phone number is (+57)3135378723.
Email : gerentemmc@gmail.com

We have noticed that many of the references to this marina have out of date contact details. The above info is up to date as of 17th July 2010.

Don't Miss Cartagena!
Sent to noonsite by Daniel Villinger - April 2009

After a bad experience in Isla Margarita, we didn't want to sail to Cartagena, but friends persuaded us to go there! Well, what a good place to stop!

We had a friendly welcome at Club Nautico and received a guide printed by the manager John. Agents for check in and out are Manfred and David, who I recommend. We didn't use him but he was most helpful contrary to Manfred.

Alfonso Mendoza Villalba was recommended by our friends and we called him to organise antifouling, boom cover and stainless steel davits for solar panels as well. Alfonso was on time, delivered what he promised and the cost was very low.

The antifouling was done at Ferroalquimar in 3 days, Alfonsos was our pilot to get there as it is very shallow. We have a draught of 2.25 meters (7.5 feet) so it isn't easy to get there.

William Martinez made a boom cover and a dinghy cover, he isn't very experienced in that sort of work and we cannot recommend him but there are others there. Bianney Torres made the davits, great job and well done at a great price.

At Ferroalquimar contact Pura Ines Rey Santana if you need help. All other tel numbers are in the Club Nautico guide. We stayed 2 nights at Club de Pesca to install the davits, it is a safe and very nice place to stay with clean luxurious bathrooms.

Don't miss Cartagena, it is worth the detour!

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