An update for Venezuela sailing – November 2013

Published 11 years ago, updated 6 years ago

An update for Venezuela sailing November 2013. We have spent several years sailing around Venezuela. Since August this year, we sailed from Puerto La Cruz to Isla Tortuga, to Carenero, Los Roques, Las Aves, Bonaire, then return south to Punta San Juan, Ensa Cata, marina Caraballeda, Carenero, Tortuga and back to Puerto La Cruz. Sailing was good in both directions, it’s a good route.

The Guardia costa called us on VHF 16 many times during our trip to check if all was ok.

Caraballeda marina is not so good, there are sunken boats unmarked in the middle of the channel 2ft below the surface. We hit one! They have been there since 1999.

You cannot clear into Venezuela in Los Roques, one can only clear into to Los Roques marine park, that is not the same thing. The only Island you can clear into Venezuela is Isla Margarita.

Due to the security problems in Porlamar anchorage, it is better to use the Marina Venetur near Pampatar. There is no water or electric but there is security.

The Guardia may come to you at any of the islands, they will ask questions and fill out a form. They will give you a copy, there is no charge, they are just keeping a check, but you are not cleared in.

If you are cleared into Venezuela, one can stay in Las Aves as long as your papers allow. If you are not cleared in but are on the route, the coastguard will allow you to stay a few days, maybe more. Problems have arisen by people sailing from Bonaire or Curacao without clearing out and then spend weeks or months in Roques and Aves, when they are caught they have problems because of being in Venezuela without clearance or zarpes for a previous post. It is important to remember, Venezuela maybe a bit 3rd world in many areas, but they insist you clear in and out of their country upon arrival and exit, as does every other country in the world. Failure to do so is an offense and to rectify the problem, especially in a foreign language will be expensive.

You cannot clear into Venezuela in Medregal Village, only in clearance ports mentioned in the Doyle guide, agents in the marinas can help for a fee, it should cost no more than 4000 Bolivares with an agent. This is for a 3 month or 6-month stay depending on where you clear in. Renewal is cheaper. 18 months total is allowed, then you must clear out.

Anchoring overnight in the islands outside near Puerto La Cruz and Mochima is no certainly more dangerous than anywhere else we have traveled in the Caribbean, and contrary to a recent update, many motor boats, and some sailboats do anchor overnight. The fisherman are friendly, I prefer to anchor near a fishing village. Common sense precautions apply of course. Marinas are inexpensive with the exchange rate around 60 Bolivares to the Dollar. Local knowledge is important but listens to those who visit these islands and not stories from a friend of a friend.

Downtown Puerto La Cruz (Paseo Colon) and Plaza Mayor (Lecherias) is safe daytime or evenings, evenings the area is buzzing, great family atmosphere.

Outside the marina area of Bahia Redonda can be risky at night, daytime is ok, but don’t go too far and don’t dress like a tourist, no jewelry, Ipads etc just common sense.

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