Timor Leste: An Interesting Report on a Visit to the Oe-Cusse Enclave

The summer of 2017, SV Complexity stopped off at the interesting enclave of Oe-Cusse when sailing along the coast of Timor Leste (East Timor).

Published 7 years ago, updated 6 years ago

The Oe-Cusse Enclave is a lovely part of Timor-Leste to visit. We cleared out of Dili in Timor-Leste with permission to stop in Oe-Cusse on our way to Kupang, Indonesia. Many cruising

boats pass by Oe-Cusse without stopping and miss out on a very special place.

We spent three nights anchored off Pante Mascar at 09° 11.856′ S, 124° 22.127′ E on a sand bottom in 25 feet of water, where our anchor held securely during our visit. Two other boats anchored near us without any apparent problems. The anchorage is open to the north but sheltered from the prevailing SE weather this time of year. Access to the town was easy from the nearby sandy beach. We went ashore adjacent to Moxito, which is a charming open-air tapas bar and restaurant. We enjoyed very good coffee and breakfast there daily and cold drinks with other cruisers each evening, although there are more restaurants and cafes in town within walking distance that are reported to be nice.

We departed Dili fully stocked up so did not need to reprovision or refuel in Oe-Cusse. We did buy beautiful produce from the market. We know that one vessel was able to obtain diesel fuel in Oe-Cusse with jerry jugs. We were told that water and laundry services could also be sourced in Oe-Cusse. A little grocery store is located just a few blocks from where we anchored. There is also a bank with an ATM if you need to get more local currency which, as in the rest of Timor-Leste, is American paper currency and Timor-Leste centavos coins.

The first thing you notice on approach is a beautiful mountain range towering over Pante Mascar which is a feast for the eyes. Upon coming ashore we were amazed at how clean the beach and town were with very little rubbish to be seen anywhere. The local people take obvious pride in their community. We did not see any floating plastic in the water during our visit, a very refreshing change from other places we have visited in SE Asia. We loved walking around the lovely quiet little town and on the beach.

We cleared in and out with Mr Luis Almeida, the local Timor-Leste Customs Technical Advisor, who was very helpful. Heat the same time inspected our passports to verify that we had cleared out of Dili properly. There was no Quarantine or Harbormaster process in Oe-Cusse required at that time. Mr Luis is the main responsible person for Customs and Immigration in Oe-Cusse. You may contact him as follows:

Mr Luis Almeida, Customs Technical Advisor

Telephone Number: +(670)77247652

Email: [email protected]

The Oe-Cusse Enclave has been designated as a special social economic zone of Timor-Leste which is called ZEESM-TL. ZEESM-TL has been delegated responsibility for local governance and planning with the national government retaining responsibility for external affairs. The ZEESM-TL has also been designated for some fast-track development projects to help jump-start the economy in this wonderful but impoverished nation. After the pilot projects being implemented in ZEESM-TL have been proven successful similar projects will be planned in other providences of Timor-Leste. The people of Oe-Cusse are obviously happy about being a part of the planning and development process and excited about projects that involve them directly. Pride in the work underway was apparent on the faces of the locals we met. Major projects we observed were a dam and reservoir and a sustainable agriculture project. Other projects are in the works including paving the major road (currently just dirt) to the border with Indonesia in the highlands. We are also aware of a fine new bridge that connects the people in the western part of Oe-Cusse with their major town and port. These projects will improve the production and transport of food and goods in Oe-Cusse. Better nutrition, more income and faster travel time between communities will result.

Another project that will relate to cruisers directly is the development of community tourism by the regional department of tourism which is lead by Ms Inacia Teixeira. She led visits along with her wonderful staff to the highlands during our stay to see a village with expert Tais weavers, the monthly and amazing market on the border with Indonesia, a fascinating mud volcano and the sustainable agriculture project. We also lucked into visiting a highland village during construction of a new traditional sacred house. At each stop, we were utterly charmed by the beautiful and friendly local villagers. In the future, there will be home and village stays and interesting guided tours available for purchase.

Don’t miss a very enjoyable stop in Oe-Cusse. We wish we had more time to linger during our short visit.

For more information please contact:

Inacia Teixeira – Secretarial Regional para o Turismo Comunitario


Email: [email protected]



Barbara and Jim Cole

SV Complexity

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