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Latest Cruising Report from Galapagos & French Polynesia

By doina — last modified Jun 23, 2003 05:02 PM

Published: 2003-06-23 17:02:57
Countries: French Polynesia , Galapagos


If you have not applied for a permit at the Ecuadorian consulate in Panama, or in Ecuador on the mainland, you will then be granted a 20 day maximum stay and you are not permitted to travel without a paid guide on your own yacht between the islands.

There have been several reports of mild corruption in Wreck Bay, San Cristobal. This is the Naval HQ in the Galapagos & they will visit your yacht by launch, if they find what they consider to be too much alcohol or tobacco, it has been reported that they will ask for cash to allow you to keep your contraband. Fuel and Vegetables are easily available, diesel can be arranged to be delivered to your boat at the gas station + 40% price ($1.30 in 2003). We visited the island of Isabella as well as the above. We visited the port captain on arrival, who gave us 3 days. We consider this the best anchorage & best island in the Galapagos..... its a little more hassle getting fuel and vegetables but it is still very unspoiled compared to the other islands.


Fatu Hiva is one of the most beautiful anchorages in the world. We had been told of possible fines stopping there 1st before official check in, we found the gendermarie and he let us stay 5 days. It is the best place to buy tapa prints and carvings straight from the farm. They want to trade for alcohol but it is strictly forbidden to do so.

Atuona,Hiva Oa can be a very swelly anchorage, lots of stern anchor problems, pulling out or digging in too good were experienced. This is the best place to reprovision in the Marquesas.

Taiohae Bay, Nuku Hiva can be very very rolly, fuel is readily available from the dock, there is a good 0600 Sat veg market at the dock. Butane can be refilled at Magasin Bigot up the big hill.

Rose Corser at the Pearl Lodge, Keikahanui hotel, will still receive packages, Fed Ex works very well to there.


Keep an eye on the weather at all times. Lots of yachts (incl. us) had miserable nights with 40kts from the south creating dangerous lee shore anchorages. Be prepared to move WITH GOOD LIGHT to the south east side of the atolls where it is very safe. The best value black pearls we found were in Makemo ($20 each). Our favorite atoll was Tahanea (100ft viz). The north end of Toua (Anse Amyot) is a fantastic false pass anchorage. The locals have put moorings out and are very friendly. They have a good small restaurant ashore.


USA passport holders, if they have not obtained a 3 month visa beforehand will be granted a 1 month entry once they have shown a valid return airline ticket to their own country or a bond deposit of the equivalent value. Contrary to previous reports, this is extendable for another 60 days (a quick trip to Easter island will give you another 90 days after this). You may be able to buy a fully refundable ticket and get it refunded once checked in. Tahiti Ocean at Marina Tiana in Meava Beach can assist with immigration admin if you have problems. If you are having work done on the boat, the yard can write you a letter which will "stop the clock" on your immigration stay while the work is being done. If you are a EU passport holder you will be given a 3 month stay. This can be extended by applying for a carte de sejour (temp. resident card), they granted us up to 1 year. If an American is married to an EU passport holder with a copy of the marriage certificate, the temp. resident card can be granted to the USA passport holder as well. Bring copies of health ins., bank statement etc.....

When you check in make sure in customs that you get a signed copy of the duty free fuel form. This will save you 50% on your fuel THROUGHOUT your stay in French Polynesia.

Denise & Phillip Gibbins, S/V Vellamo, June 2003

Bill&Judy Rouse
Bill&Judy Rouse says:
Mar 30, 2014 10:25 AM

Re: Marquesas and stopping in Fatu Hiva. Having permission from the local 'official' will not suffice if the patrol boat visits. He is more like a city cop. He will not fine you for staying there, but the guys in the patrol boat who are the true officials will fine visitors who have not properly cleared in at Hiva Oa. This happened to several boats when we were there in June 2008.

Judy Rouse, S/V BeBe