Fortaleza – Latest Info.

Published 14 years ago, updated 5 years ago

Our thanks to Anthony Swanston of SV Wild Fox for this latest info.

Most yachts head for the Marina Park Hotel.

The wreck outside the marina on my Navionics is well to the east of where shown. Debris lies astern. Head past the bow of the wreck for the yellow sand beach until the outer harbor entrance opens up, then turn hard to port as the water gets shallow very quickly. Anchor in the outer harbor outside the marina.

The chart shows two green lights on the outer mole. When I was there the outer one was not lit and the inner was white. Do not attempt a night entry to the marina as some boats put a bow / stern line right across the marina.

The marina is run by Armando who is larger than life, good fun and very helpful. He will give you maps and direct you to laundrettes and supermarkets that offer free delivery. He does not start work until 1000 local time. He will direct you to a berth. You must use your own stern/bow anchor. Most boats laid an anchor upwind and another dead astern to pull the boat of the vast rusting pontoons.

All water is now drinking water. The electricity is nothing short of dangerous. You negotiate a rate with Armando and he only deals in cash. But you get to use the facilities of the hotel including the lovely pool, wifi, sauna etc. Security is very good with armed guards on duty 24 /7. Everyone is challenged by them. This would make the marina a safe place to leave a boat, but there is always a risk that another boat will foul your bow / stern anchor. This happened while I was there.

Some people anchor at the commercial harbor on arrival to check in. This anchorage is not safe. Also when you dinghy ashore you may not leave your dinghy at the Port Captain’s dock even though this is one office you must visit. Furthermore, the yacht club, contrary to pilot book reports, does not welcome visitors, especially those who want to use the dinghy pontoon. Strictly a members-only club.

The order of offices is as follows:- Polica Federal, Customs (besides each other) then Port Captain. It is not safe to make the short ten-minute walk from customs to the Port Captain. Only take a taxi. On leaving the same order is followed. Everyone found the officials in Fortaleza very slow, some boats took an entire day to check in.

In brief Fortaleza is not safe. If walking anywhere go in groups. Most buses are OK but taxis are safer. One skipper was robbed at 1300 local time on a Sunday in a very public place.

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