Arriving

Arriving 2020-02-04T03:36:58+00:00

Read this before arrival

What are the procedures to stay in Cartagena?

The truth is requirements and fees have been constantly changing to enter Colombian waters in the past ten years, but now they seem to have stabilized.

All foreign vessels entering the country must be represented by a maritime agent who is responsible for carrying out all procedures with local authorities. It is advisable to contact a maritime agent before arriving in the country to expedite the procedures necessary to enter the country with your boat. The marinas can help you in choosing a maritime agent. It is important to clarify that the agent being a private company, establishes his service rates autonomously.

There are three government agencies involved in your arrival:

  • MIGRACION COLOMBIA (Immigration authorities)
  • DIAN (Imuestos y Aduanas Nacionales) It is the entity that regulates the tax and customs regime.
  • DIMAR (Maritime Director): Part of the National Navy, it is the entity that regulates and controls all maritime activity. This
    control is carried out by the Port Captaincy in each region.
  • * ICA (Instituto Colombiano Agropecuario). Only if you have pets onboard.

Step by Step coming in to Colombia:

(Steps 3, 4,5 and 6 in first case and 3,4,5,6,7 and 8 in second case must be done through a Maritime Agency)

If your plan is to stay less than five days

  1. Announce the arrival by VHF (channel 16) to Cartagena Port Control (“Control San Jose”.) Request entry and make note of the entry number that they provide you.
  2. Go to the marina or designated anchorage area (See attached Nautical Guide https://drive.google.com/file/ d/1sxXWQjJ_f8kPg_t8FL9Nl2Ff0cu2hXBF/view)
  3. Legalize you arrival via an “Acta de Visita” and a visit by an officer from the Port authorities.
  4. Request permission of tourist permanency from Migration Colombia.
  5. If you have pets on board, request an ICA visit.
  6. If you are planning to stay less than five days, register your arrival and get your permission to sail “ZARPE”. Both permis-
    sions must be requested from the corresponding Port Captaincy. It is necessary to present the papers from the last port visited (outside of Colombia).

If the boat will exceed five days in Colombian waters:

  1. Announce the arrival by VHF (channel 16) to Cartagena Port Control (“Control San Jose”.) Request entry and make note of
    the entry number that they provide you.
  2. Go to the marina or anchorage area enabled (See attached Nautical Guide). https://drive.google.com/file/ d/1sxXWQjJ_f8kPg_t8FL9Nl2Ff0cu2hXBF/view)
  3. Legalize you arrival via an “Acta de Visita” and a visit by an officer from the Port authorities.
  4. Request permission of tourist permanency from Migration Colombia.
  5. If you have pets on board, request an ICA visit.
  6. Request a temporary import permit for the boat from the National Tax and Customs Office for the term of stay. (DIAN)
  7. Request boat’s permission of permanency to the corresponding Port Captaincy. (Cruising Permit)
  8. Before leaving Colombia, request permission to sail (ZARPE, valid for 24 hr) to the Port Captaincy. It is mandatory to pro
    vide your next foreign port of call.

For how long are the permits valid?
Passport stamp: It is for a maximum of 90 days and you can extended for a maximum of six months in a calendar year.
Temporary import permit: One year and you can extended for one more year.
Cruise permit: Valid for two months. Six-month extensions are possible until you complete two years in total.
“Zarpe” (departure authorization): 24 hours.

What are the costs involved?
We need to say that we are only able to provide the value of the permits you need from the government. The fees charged by the Maritime Agency may vary in a wide range, also keep in mind that there are some marinas less accessible than others and the cost of transportation of personnel and officers are different. Total will be around US$200, it can be lower ore it can be more ex- pensive.

What is the procedure if I want to travel to different ports in Colombia?
If your boat has a transponder AIS, you don’t need to file physical departure papers (ZARPE). All you have to do is call Maritime Control (VHF 16), announce the name of your boat, captain ‘s name, name of your maritime agency, your next port ‘s name and your ETA. Maritime control will answer and give you back an electronic verification number. It can be given through your e-mail or by VHF radio immediately.

Final Suggestions
Decide immediately if you planning to stay less than 5 days. Procedures are much easier and arrival and departure can be arrange at once. You don’t need to have a temporary import permit and you will save US$100 on the cruise permit. Notify your agent if you need more than 5 days. Failure to do so can mean trouble with customs, an expensive fine, and being forced to leave the country immediately.
Entrance to Cartagena is very well marked, buoys mark the channels, and a large anchorage is available in the Inner Bay in case you arrive late at night, or you don’t have a marina slip arranged.
Depending where you are coming from, you have several places to stop if you don’t want to make a long passage. If you are com- ing from the ABC ́s, Cabo de la Vela is available, Santa Marta (marina Santa Marta) is a very good option, and just beyond Barranquilla (Puerto Velero Marina) as well.

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