Cartagena - General Info

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Cartagena is a popular place for yachts to stop prior to making their way to the Panama canal.

The government is trying hard to encourage this influx of visitors and there are plans to build two new marinas. In addition, Club de Pesca Marina has expanded to 180 slips and the Club Nautico has been upgraded.

Cruiser Highlights: 

Good weather all year; lots of choice for haulout and repair work; excellent cruiser social scene; ideal place to leave the boat and explore inland; easy provisioning and shopping; history and culture.

Yachts can sail to the Rosario Islands nearby where you can go ashore but there are environmental/ conservation restrictions in force. No jet skiing, fishing and anchoring area limitations (amongst others).

There are also great sailing options further to the South West including the San Bernardo Islands and Isla Fuerte.  Useful information can be found on the following pages and groups:

Entrance Notes or Cautions:

  • Bahia de Cartagena is a well-protected anchorage. Entrances to the bay are through the large ship channel – the Boca Chica strait, or the northwest entrance – Boca Grande (Escollera). The Boca Chica entrance is easier and is the one used by most recreational sailors.
  • The Boca Grande entrance tends to be used by yachts coming from the north and east but should be approached with caution. The Colombian Navy has re-installed the red and green light to mark the small vessel channel at the Boca Grande entrance. Guaranteed “official” depth is about 8 feet, greater depth might be possible if there is limited swell and conditions are not otherwise unfavorable. Cruisers report the echo sounder never going below 3.2 meters. Advice is to follow the marked channel and don’t cut corners.
  • On approaching the Sea Buoy at Boca Chica (or the small vessel entrance at Boca Grande) you must call Cartagena Port Control (Estacion de Control San Jose) VHF 16/14. They will ask for the name of your chosen maritime agency.
  • Make sure you are flying the Q Flag.
  • Cartagena Port Control have good English speakers and will give specific arrival instructions. You can proceed to your desired marina/anchorage.
  • Before anybody disembarks you must call your maritime agency (if you have no e-mail call Club Nautico (VHF 69) or Club de Pesca (VHF 71) to assist with the communications. See Biosecurity for entry requirements.
  • In case of Maritime Emergency in Colombia dial 146, or e-mail:
    [email protected]
  • The San Jose Coast Guard station (Guarda Costa San Jose) is known to be helpful. They can be hailed on VHF 16/14/13l. Humanitarian assistance will always be available.
  • Full entry guidelines on the Club Nautico website:


10° 23’17″N, 75° 34’13″W

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Cartagena was last updated 3 months ago.

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  1. January 25, 2020 at 4:38 PM
    twikman says:

    Our 3 weeks stay at Club Nautico extended to 6 months due to the high quality and affordable work we found at this wonderful port city. In general, labor is far cheaper and more professional that in any of the other Caribbean locations. These are no YouTube professionals like in the islands. In addition, there are 5 chandleries within 10 minute walk from Club Nautico.
    Work we did:
    • Carpentry:
    o Redid our galley with sliding doors and new the floors.
    o Replaced stern bulkhead
    o Redid both heads with new showers walls, shower faucets and new floors
    o Converted bunkroom to bottom storage and queen bed on top.
    o Removed old floor varnish and revarnished.
    o Revarnished main stateroom
    o Replaced rotten floor and wallboards
    o Rebuild generator room with new floorboards and battery banks
    o And lots of small carpentry work
    • Steel
    o Reinforced hard dodger
    o Replaced top lifeline with stainless steel tubing
    o Expanded solar array to 3 panels
    • Canvas
    o Redid canvas on the hard dodger
    o New canvas for the hatches
    o New canvas for the dinghy
    The work was very good and super affordable. Could not be happier.
    While the floors were being revarnished, we went and spend time in the Amazon. Amazing.
    And we did this while side docked at Club Nautico.
    Whether you are in Cartagena on a passage or to have work done, this is a wonderful city to visit.

  2. December 26, 2019 at 4:43 PM
    ldorenfest says:

    We hauled out at Ferro Alquimar in August 2019 and left our boat there for three months while traveling overland. We had antifouling and steelwork done in the yard and highly recommend.

  3. March 27, 2019 at 3:46 PM
    Lynda Lim says:

    I just had a 1 month refit on a 45 ft Outremer cat in Cartagena at Ferroalquimar. Great experience. Ferroalquimar boasts great team, grat showers and great wifi. I recommend the comapny Globe Sailing International who supervised for a fixed price most of the work that had to be done. It is absolutely necessary if you do not plan to stay on site and call in spanish all contractors 3 times a day.
    Do not hesitate to call Mario San Juan +57 318 3498098 or mail [email protected].
    Mario was able to have us shipped a Facnor furler to replace ours within 3 weeks.
    Works done : sails (with excellent Renzon Herrera), engines check up, carpentry, antifouling, hull polishing, rigg inspection, furler replacement, fiber, autopilot repair.

  4. January 25, 2019 at 3:31 PM
    Lynda Lim says:

    Mike Pitre says:
    Jan 23, 2019 09:04 PM

    We would like to recommend Alvaro at Cartagena Boat Repair (contact details above)

    Alvaro is an American trained manager, fluent in English, always on time , reliable and honest. The work performed was very good and at a very fair price. We had the bottom sanded and new antifouling paint applied. Our rear sugarscoops were raised and gel coat was repaired in a few places. We had the whole boat buffed and waxed. The day of splashing they washed the whole boat top to bottom and it looks awesome! The work was done at Ferroalquimar which is a very professional yard with a 300 ton travel lift. Make sure you contact Alvaro before heading to the yard so everything will go smoothly.
    Mike Pitre on SV Mojo

  5. January 24, 2019 at 5:41 PM
    Lynda Lim says:

    For people who send to Colombia spare parts for boats from abroad, by DHL or FEDEX I remind them that if they weigh more than 50 kilos or cost more than US $2000, they will have to import the package through customs, which entails an additional cost of US $800.

  6. October 7, 2018 at 2:43 PM
    Lynda Lim says:

    October 2018
    I contacted the club de pesca. They are supposed to have a 30 ton lift.
    Apparently they don’t haul and launch though?

  7. September 10, 2018 at 9:42 AM
    Data Entry1 says:

    dorita says:
    Sep 09, 2018 05:13 PM

    Have to write about a very positive experience in Cartagena. found a general contractor who organized to paint the boat, exchange all tiles in 2 showers, get good stainless steel welding done, get the ac repaired, got the 8 kW generator overhauled and all in only 3 weeks, sometimes having 15 people working on the boat. All at a very reasonable firm contract price, all done at anchor outside Club Nautico.
    Contractor was Alvaro Simancas tel 0057 304 6055971 or 0057 300 2589522 email [email protected]

  8. May 13, 2016 at 5:44 PM
    Data Entry1 says:

    Club Nautico Cartagena
    Looks like they’ve overhauled their website (same URL) to reflect the Club’s renovations. Nice pics of the new facilities and new rate sheets- now that is helpful!

  9. September 10, 2015 at 3:46 PM
    Data Entry1 says:

    Club Nautico
    They just opened the restaurant at Club Nautico a couple weeks ago. Pricey for Colombia, which means reasonable for those with US dollars currently. Very upscale, gourmet food, yummy. The Italian restaurant across the street, Verona, is good too. The Club Nautico bar is not yet open.

  10. February 16, 2015 at 4:40 PM
    Data Entry1 says:

    Club Nautico Cartagena
    Constructing the new clubhouse is almost finished (February 2015) The showers and bathrooms are finished. The bar and restaurant is almost ready. Dinghy fee still 58000 cops = us$ 25 but Dinghy cannot be locked. The front is guarded by a security man. No WIFI. Go for free-wifi to the supermarket cafe Carulla 300 m

  11. November 11, 2014 at 2:23 PM
    Data Entry1 says:

    October 2014: New Ferry Service Begins Operating Between Panama, Cartagena, and Bocas del Toro. Full details at:
    Phone: (507)380 0909 in Panama.

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