Aproaching Bocagrande entrance.jpg
small lighthouse entering inner bay.jpg

Pre-departure:  agree terms with a maritime agency. They should explain clearly their charges and confirm entry procedures. Establish a VHF contact channel to call your agent when you arrive at the anchorage. We (Club Nautico Marina) can assist on VHF 69 (English spoken between 08.00 and 17.00 most days)

You need to send your agent before departure:

1. Copies of crew list and corresponding passports (principal page)

2. All vessel documentation including ownership papers.

3.  Complete  and send the Maritime declaration of Health (annex 8). 

​​From your agent you should obtain an entry security number before departing. This will allow you entry to the Port. 


Approaching Cartagena:

Make sure you have all routine boat papers on board including approvals from owner if you are employed as Captain or delivering a vessel. Crew list, passports and departing zarpe (sailing orders).

Don't forget to note down the arrival security number you should have obtained from your chosen agent! Things have relaxed a little so those forgetting this security number should be able to obtain this from Port Control (Estacion de control San Jose) ; VHF 16: when approaching.

Captain must also have a signed statement confirming there is no known case of Covid-19 onboard, or symptoms that might cause concern.

List the last 3 ports visited before arrival in Colombia.


Approaching entrances (Boca Chica or Boca Grande) Captain must call  Cartagena Port Control  (note there is no accent (ñ) on the n of Cartagena) They also answer to Estacion de Control San Jose (the fort at the Boca Chica entrance) on VHF 16/14

Your vessel should be flying the Q flag.

If Covid symptoms are evident the vessel will be directed to a quarantine zone established for pleasure vessels.

A vessel is freed from quarantine on completion of the health authority formalities.

Bio-security measures are enforced in all marinas. Mask wearing and social distancing are required.  Use of bio security face masks are required in all public areas.

Example of Health Declaration annex 8

Fondeo de Fuerte P.jpg
fuerte P.jpg
manga walkway

Cartagena Port Control (estacion de Control San Jose) listen on VHF 16/14. English is spoken.

San Jose Coast Guard are also listening on VHF 16/14/13


Main Ship channel

The main ship channel is Bocachica. Controlling depth 40ft.

Clearly marked by channel buoys.

Convention: Red Right Returning.

Until you have some local knowledge keep inside channel as you go around the inside of Tierra Bomba island.

Passing Punta Arenas you may well go aground if you go just outside the Green channel buoys.

Entrance to Cartagena Boca Chica and Boc


Small craft only channel

One set of channel buoys only.

Max suggested vessel draft 8 ft. Actual depth crossing the underwater barrier (La Escollera) may be close to 11 ft but low tides and swells should be considered carefully.

Channel only 60 mtrs wide passing over submerged defensive wall joining the Bocagrande peninsula with the island of Tierra Bomba

Actual depth passing submerged wall inside the channel is around 11 ft but swells can reduce this significantly when passing.

Note: entering the Inner bay there is a coral shoal marked by the statue of the Virgin.  Ships can pass either side within the buoyed channels.

Arriving Bocagrande Entrance

A note on Maritime agents.

Officially they are needed when dealing with the Port Captain's office. However, you may need them to assist with all matters (Customs, Immigration and Port Captain's office). Always a good idea to check charges before contracting a particular agency.