Agree terms with a maritime agency. They should clarify 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).
Currently maritime agencies with the most competitive rates appear to be from Agencies: Rymar (David, Nicole, Alaida), New White light(Jose) and also Logimar (Maria).
For recreational vessels to 60 ft LOA expect charges close to 270 usd for all boat paperwork for a stay of up to one year including exit zarpe and departure passport exit stamps. A short stay of less than a week will be significantly less.
Visitors are allowed a maximum stay of 6 months per calendar year.
Customs reverted (Sept 30, 2022) to its prior established policy of allowing visiting (non-Colombian flag) sail and motor yachts to stay for a year with the possibility of extending for an additional year.
If arriving from another Colombian Port having completed the mainland check-in process (including the Temporary Importation and the Certificado de Permanencia) you will still need a maritime agent acting as your representative to check in to the Port of Cartagena. Costs will be comparatively modest but clarify this with the agency chosen.
Ideally you should send your agent before departure:
1. Copies of crew list and corresponding passports (principal page)
2. All vessel documentation including ownership papers.
From your agent you should obtain an entry security number before sailing to Cartagena. Failing this, you will need to request this security number when calling Cartagena Port Control (Estacion San Jose) approaching the entrances. No longer strictly required for recreational vessels (May 2022). Clarify with Maritime agency.
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). Stay onboard until your Maritime agency advises otherwise.
All those over 18 should have proof they have completed a covid vaccination course or have taken a PCR test (negative result) with 72 hours from arrival. It this is not possible a antigen test may be required on arrival costing about 20 usd. Your maritime agency will advise.
List the last 3 ports visited before arrival in Colombia.
Call Cartagena Port Control (Estacion de Control San Jose) approaching the entrances (Boca Chica or Boca Grande) on VHF 16/14. They speak good English.
Your vessel should be flying the Q flag.
If Covid symptoms are evident you will be directed to a quarantine zone (usually Anchorage zone #1 just past the Club De Pesca).
A vessel is freed from quarantine on completion of the health authority formalities.
Bio-security measures are enforced to varying degrees in all marinas. Mask wearing is no longer strictly enforced. Use of bio security face masks is still commonly used in shopping malls, supermarkets, banks etc
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.
Small craft only channel
One set of channel buoys only.
Channel is only 50 mtrs wide passing over submerged defensive wall joining the Bocagrande peninsula with the island of Tierra Bomba
Prudent to approach at right angles to entrance from 200 mtrs outside.
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.
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.