Good News in Ecuador for Yachts

Published 13 years ago, updated 5 years ago

Information from Tripp Martin, General Manager, Puerto Amistad YC, Ecuador.

For the past four years, there has been a bit of confusion regarding how long a sailboat could stay in Ecuador. In Salinas, the Aduana applied a rule that was originally intended for cars and limited a boat’s stay to 180 days maximum. There were threats of large fines (never applied) and lots of hassles. In contrast, boats could effectively stay forever in Bahia de Caraquez due to a difference in opinion about how to apply the rules.

Puerto Lucia and Puerto Amistad have been working together with the Ministry of Tourism and the Aduana to apply uniform standards. The negotiations have been slow and difficult due to the fact that in Ecuador, citizens pay very high taxes on their yachts and the Aduana is very concerned that they are using tourism laws to avoid paying duty on their foreign-flagged boats.

Last week, we reached a watershed. All yachts will be allowed the same time the owner is allowed as a tourist. Everyone receives 90 days upon entry, and you can get a 90 extension so the boat can stay for 180 days without drama. If more time is needed, you can apply for an extension or change the status of the boat which will allow an additional two years before the yacht has to leave the country.

In addition, the Aduana has allowed us to work with them to achieve a simplified process that eliminates the need for an Aduana agent, navy inspections, purchase of guarantees, etc. We asked for a single-page form that the sponsoring yacht club can submit to the local office, and they agreed.

At this point, we have a gentleman’s agreement from the Aduana. When the new rules are officially published, I plan to make a follow-up post.

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