Ecuador - Facts

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  • Important pre-arrival information: Ecuador (both Galapagos and mainland Ecuador) now requires all foreign flagged vessels to obtain an Autografo (permission to enter Ecuadorian Ports) 30 days prior to the arrival date. All yachts must also notify the Navy in advance of their arrival. See Clearance for more details.
  • Ecuador spans both sides of the equator on South America’s north west coast although most of the country is in the southern hemisphere. It has incredibly diverse scenery from the Andes to the Amazon to the offshore Galapagos Islands. The capital Quito is located at an elevation of 2,850m in the foothills of the Andes and is renowned for it’s wonderful colonial Spanish architecture.
  • It is bordered by Colombia and Peru.
  • Approximately 16.5 million people live in Ecuador and Spanish and Quechua are the two official languages.
  • The US dollar is now the official currency.
  • Ecuador Time Zone is UTC (-5)
  • December to April is high season on the coast with warm temperatures and some showers but cooler in the Highlands. June to September is generally high season in the rest of the country with less rain and sunny clear days. See Weather for more details.
  • For cruising sailors, Ecuador’s main attraction lies several hundred miles offshore in its Archipiélago de Colón, commonly known as the Galapagos Islands. As they form a separate entity and cruising regulations also differ from mainland Ecuador, the Galapagos are described separately.
  • Due to the prevailing winds and currents, the Ecuadorian coast is best cruised from south to north, which most yachts visiting Ecuador rarely do, as usually, they sail from the north after having transited the Panama Canal.
  • A good intermediate landfall is the coastal city of Salinas on the westernmost point of mainland Ecuador. It justifies breaking the passage from Panama to Galapagos into two shorter legs of about 885 kms (550 miles) each, as it allows yachts to navigate in fair winds and currents.Salinas is a practical port to clear customs and arrange for the boat to be worked on or cared for while traveling inland.
  • The coast is arid and there are few natural harbors with the notable exception of the estuary of the River Guayas. The Guayaquil Yacht Club welcomes visiting yachts and is convenient for provisioning in Guayaquil although marine facilities are limited. For more details on marine facilities see Yachting Essentials.

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Ecuador was last updated 4 days ago.

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  1. February 25, 2022 at 5:18 AM
    michael-casken says:

    Javier was my agent here
    He was VERY good
    Anticipating my needs and suggesting solutions
    Also he negotiated for me with authorities
    I recommenced him very highly

  2. April 29, 2019 at 2:59 PM
    Lynda Lim says:

    Report by Liberty II
    Herewith a copy of the incident report I lodged with Maritime New Zealand:
    I wish to report a possible security incident that occurred at approximately 19:00 (utc – 5) yesterday evening (Tuesday, 19 March 2019) while at approximately 01°05.0’S 082°15.7W in failing light just after sunset off the Ecuador coast. We were approached on starboard by 3 men in a skiff powered by an outboard on the pretext of wanting food – they put fenders over the side of the skiff and were about to either tie up alongside or board us when I increased speed – my partner remained inside while I stepped out of the pilot house to talk with them – they ignored my greeting in Spanish and signalled that they wanted food, I said no and stepped back into the pilot house and pretended to make a call on the vhf at which point they slowly peeled away and fell astern. We ran without running lights for about an hour before returning to normal nighttime running with running lights. The men looked to be in fishing clothes, but the skiff appeared to contain only fuel cans and no fishing gear was evident. One man kept his hands obscured in the front of his dungarees top the entire time.
    This incident was very alarming for us given that we have read this is one of the methods pirates/bandits use to approach cruising vessels. It may have been innocent, but we feel it was not and that we were lucky. Please pass this security incident report on to whoever you feel appropriate.

  3. April 16, 2019 at 2:02 PM
    Lynda Lim says:

    Galapagos Yacht Agent
    We visited the Galápagos Islands in April 2019, using the yacht agency “Seamasters”, much to our satisfaction.
    The agent looking after the permits is Antonio ( [email protected]). His English is fluent, he responds promptly and reliably, he is a pleasure to work with. The office is situated in Santa Cruz, however, that does not mean it is ever necessary to go there. He manages everything in the background.
    A cruising- permit (autografo) is mandatory for any stopover, and the only first port of call is San Cristóbal this year. Cruising permit covers a stay- over period of four weeks maximum. All fees necessary to visit on our 45 ft catamaran with five persons were USD 1800. Everything has to be paid in cash. There is an ATM (Pacific Oceans Bank) in San Cristobal town right by the pier, a maximum of USD 600 ( three times 200) per day can be withdrawn.
    Seamasters’ travel agent on San Cristobal is Sol ([email protected]), just the most amazing young woman to work with. She looked after us 24/7. Although we could only tell our exact ETA one day ahead, she organized a prompt check- in and all trips for us perfectly. We made all payments through her and were linked up with the tour operators. She even helped with installing an inexpensive local SIM (Claro ). She also organized our check-out of San Cristobal, then handed over to her colleagues on the other islands, as we cruised the islands.
    Using “Seamasters” made sailing the Galápagos Islands a smooth, pleasant and most recommendable experience for us!

  4. November 6, 2018 at 8:32 PM
    Lynda Lim says:

    Checking in and out of Ecuador:
    Agents are not required for all foreign-flagged boat less than 50 TRB (Gross Registered Tonnage)
    On August 8, 2017, The Government of Ecuador published in the Oficial Registry Nº 53, the law whereby the procedure for clearing in and out of Ecuador:
    For foreign vessels, which are for private use, not for commercial purposes and less than 50 GRT, the Captain, ship-owner or owner may represent the ship as its shipping agent, who will coordinate directly with the Harbor Captain’s jurisdiction, for compliance of the norm and payment of respective fees. Puerto Lucia Yacht Club will liaise with the local authorities.
    Vessels may stay in our marina up to one year. Ecuador does not require a Visa for visitors or tourists from most countries. Minimum ninety-one days, maximum one hundred and eighty days in each period of twelve months (calendar year), counted from the entry of the tourist to Ecuador.
    It has taken a lot of effort and lobbying from Puerto Lucia Yacht Club to make clearing a streamlined process, saving the cruisers time and money.

    1. April 1, 2022 at 12:55 AM
      tatum051 says:

      This is no longer valid according to the Naval Offices. They now require an Autografo for all foreign flagged vessels entering Ecuadorian Waters. It is our experience here in Bahia De Caraquez. Ecuador that Some port captains are not enforcing that requirement. We have heard that vessels have been able to check into Salinas and Esmeraldes without an Autografo. But here at Puerto Amistad an autografo is needed unless you are coming from the Galapagos. or already checked in to eEcuador at another prot.

  5. April 7, 2018 at 9:10 PM
    Data Entry says:

    We are just finishing up our six-week stay here in Ecuador and I would like to give a shout out for Gene, the owner of Puerto Amistad Marina in Bahia de Caraquez, Ecuador. Gene has been a fantastic host and does everything possible to ensure the cruisers are taken care of. One example to highlight his generosity: he coordinated to have our chain re-galvanized while we were touring the country. When the transport company couldn’t pick up our chain until the following week, Gene personally drove our chain there himself. That was a five-hour drive EACH way. Now that is what I call customer service!

  6. June 10, 2016 at 12:09 PM
    Data Entry says:

    I came with my OVNI 395 at the beginning of November 2015 to Puerto Libertad from Puerto Amistad, because I had to haul out my boat. On entering the marina I had to first give my credit card and I was disappointed at the welcome this exclusive marina gave me.

    A day later I met Jeremy from Steward Yates & Servicios and I was skeptical about the shipyard after the reception the day before. What a surprise! I met a competent and helpful guy and I gave him a work list because I wanted to go home for the next 5 months. In May 2016 I came back to the boat and now the 2nd surprise – 90% of the work was well done!

    Marisol at Steward Yates & Servicios is an extremely helpful person. She organized for me 2 workers for 1 Week so that I could put the boat into the water at the exact date that we programed. Once in the water, the motor didn’t run! A Yanmar specialist checked and found that all the tubes were very dirty. We decided the day before leaving to clean the tank with 100 gallons of diesel in. Marisol organized this in a half day! Also she did the paperwork for clearing in the Galápagos Islands together with the agent Bolivar Pesantes in Galápagos, a very helpful person too.

    If you are in need of any boat work, I would strongly recommend Stewart Yates & Servicios. The business is owned by Marisol Stewart and Jeremy Whalen and has been in operation for over 14 years. Their work is top quality, very reasonably priced and on schedule. There doesn’t seem to be anything they can’t handle. Their services include stainless, paint, carpentry, canvas, rigging, fiberglass, electrical and mechanical. They also run a small chandlery and are licensed importers in Ecuador.
    Puerta Lucia Yacht Club in Salinas Ecuador, is a very convenient stop before crossing the Pacific or heading south. The climate is perfect for vessel storage with light rains only a few times a year, low humidity and zero lightning strikes. For pullout the marina has a 50 ton travel lift. The location is also a great place to restock. With a ten minute taxi ride you will find large grocery and hardware stores. Even a good sized marine chandlery and mall with a movie theatre. In an ocean of boatyards Stewart Yates & Servicios is heads above the rest.

    Georg Herzberg
    SY Galatea II

  7. August 20, 2015 at 3:50 PM
    Data Entry says:

    Recommendation for boat repairing facilities in Galapagos

    On July 13. 2015 we left Galapagos Islands on our boat, Danish Blue, to go to Marquesas. About 1000 nm out, we hit something – most likely a whale. The rudder was pushed backwards and the fibreglass broke where the ruddershaft was attached. Luckily we did not loose the rudder, but we had to bolt it tightly with bolts and pieces of wood we had on board. Also, we could not steer. To be safe, we had to return to Galapagos.

    At Galapagos we got in touch with Martin Schreyerg, a German guy who lives and works at Puerto Ayora at Santa Cruz Island. He was a great help. He speaks English fluently, and he was capable of making any kind of repair on the boat such as fibreglass, welding, etc. We needed to continue to Ecuador mainland (Stewart Yates, Puerto Lucia) to get the boat hauled out, which is not possible at Galapagos. Martin was effective and thorough – in one week he had our rudder taken out, repaired enough to work for the trip to the mainland (650 nm), put back in and fastened with stainless steel. We were afraid we would be stuck at Galapagos for at least a month, but Martins great work made it possible for us to leave again after exactly one week.

    We are so grateful for Martins help, effectiveness and expertise and wish to recommend him and his workers to anyone who needs repair done at or around the Galapagos Islands.

    Martin Schreyerg’s mail is: [email protected]

    Christians Arp-Hansen
    Danish Blue, Denmark

  8. April 20, 2015 at 3:45 PM
    Data Entry says:

    I have just spent 10 months in Puerto Lucia Yacht Club (it is about $800 USD a month to keep your boat ashore) after sailing there from El Salvador. First. when we arrived last year (April 2014) we were forced to anchor off for 3 days of “Quarantine”. Next, we had to have an agent and we were given “Napoleon” who seemed OK. Then a Julia Delgado arrived alongside NOE shipping agency and said we HAD to have her. We gave her her fee of 500 USD and we dutifully changed.

    I was assured by her and a customs agent who has since retired that we would have no problem in leaving my 36-foot yacht there ashore for 10 months while I went back to the UK providing that, after 3 months, I filled in a form that they would e-mail me for an Extension. This I dutifully did. However Julia Delgado the agent then in July 2014 e-mailed and said I had to return to Ecuador as “there was a problem”. As it happened I couldn’t as I had broken some ribs and I sent her a medical certificate saying I was unfit to travel. When I was fit enough to travel I arrived there in early February 2015 and Julia took me to the customs office in Las Salinas who said I owed $70,000 USD.No idea what for!! However, as I had been unable to travel and had medical certificates which I had all previously sent to Julia my fine was reduced to $3,800 USD!! No-one would explain to me why I was being fined.

    In the meantime, I was working with Marisol Stewart the owner of Stewart Yates & Servicios to repair my yacht. Marisol was amazing. She phoned the customs and said this was incredible and that I should not have to pay ANY fine. And thanks to her I didn’t!!

    Moreover, the Services of her company were outstanding and very reasonable. I had a lot of excellent work done by Pancho and Nicky which ranged over new VHF ariels, new window, oil seals, skilled woodwork, liferaft servicing, cutlass bearing repair, chain galvanizing etc.

    Another French yacht which had spent the same amount of time there and used Napoleon as the agent had absolutely no problems despite the owner being away in France for a year.

    So either NOE shipping agency and Julia was totally incompetent or there were some very strange things going on. Thanks, Marisol for great work on the yacht and all your help. We left for Chile in mid-February 2015 along the coastal route.

    Michael Marshall

    Sand and Foam

  9. September 2, 2014 at 2:28 PM
    Data Entry says:

    This is to all cruisers who want to travel to Ecuador and not to be confused by the announcement of Marina Operations:

    By Ecuadorian Law it is required to clear internalization of a boat through custom office through an agent. If the operator of the Marina says it is not required, this means he assumes the function of the agent or – in other words – he has an associated agent. Any irregularity of the ships documentation will then lead to different costs than advertized. This, is to be taken seriously as it leads to increased prices. Be aware, no hooks behind the bushes!

  10. August 13, 2014 at 7:35 AM
    Data Entry says:

    Posted on behalf of Hans-Rudolf Lehmann, SY IBIS
    I have just recently arrived in Ecuador and as Ecuadorian citizen I am in the process of re-establishing myself in the country. Up to now, Ecuador has a very reduced oportunity to cruisers to stay and we are very concerned at this point to change the infrastructure for cruisers.

    This is what we have achieved at this point:
    1. The new city administration of Salinas has almost finished the public access to the beach in Salinas.
    2. The new city administration of Salinas is very open to discuss a project for a Marina with city administration for about 48 vessels between 25 and 60 feet.
    3. The new administration of Salinas in cooperation with the National office for tourism will review the procedures to document the boat for tourism and suggest the national administration a different procedure to facilitate a less expensive and more efficient way to visit the country by boating.

    In the meantime we are setting 10 mooring buoys in Salinas just outside the yacht club, which can be reserved at the email [email protected] at a cost of USD 15 a day, or USD 350 monthly. We also provide water service to the boat, electricity provided by 110 V generator and fuel provision to the boat. Our agent will service the boat permit with the custom office, immigration and port clearing. Communication to the e-mail [email protected]
    Best regards and fair winds

  11. June 24, 2014 at 3:52 PM
    Data Entry says:

    Another great spot to leave your boat is at Bahia de Caraquez, at the mouth of the Rio Chone. Approach (from the north): 00º 36.6′ S 080º 28.2′ W – this keeps you away from shoals
    “Waiting Room”: 00º 35.8′ S 080º 26.8′ W – anchor or wait for pilot here for entry over bar.

    The anchorage is very calm, and boats are able to either get on a mooring ball (Puerto Amistad: $370/month, includes hot showers, dinghy dock, wifi, and nighttime security. The town of “Bahia” is an easily walkable village, which has a fresh fruit/vegie Mercado, and several smaller tiendas for provisioning. For more major shopping, Portoviejo is an hour away ($2) and Manta is 2 hours away, ($3) and will have most everything you want. Bahia is a more affordable option for people than Salinas, due to the costs involved. As well, Salinas has quite a surge, so anchoring is more difficult. Should you wish to anchor in Bahia, the cost is $240/month, which includes all the above services. We have left our boat on the anchor for months at a time, without issue. The only thing to be aware of is the barnacle growth on the chain.  Costs for arrival into Ecuador at Bahia, using Puerto Amistad as an agent.  $50 – agent fee  $20 – immigration  $40 – taxi fee for paperwork  $45 – Capitania  Total cost – $155  Should you wish to know anything else, contact Heather Reimer on sv Sundancer at [email protected].

    Open roadstead but relatively calm at most times of year.

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