Sailing Guide

Colombia (Pacific coast)

Colombia (Pacific coast)

Characteristics

Description

Lying to the south of Panama, Colombia Pacific coast is surrounded by Venezuela to the east, Ecuador and Peru to the south west.

Security:
Security in Colombia has improved steadily over the 2006-2008 time-frame; however, greed, corruption, drugs, and guerrillas all have their own ways ofstirring up trouble. It is best to keep an eye on the latest political climate andthe narco-trafficking/FARC information prior to entering Colombia.
Some of the poor coastal sections of Colombia, many of which are not accessible by land, can be dangerous to foreigners. The people in these areasare probably the biggest threat to cruisers.

Stay away from the mangrove areas in southern Colombia from Buenaventura all the way to the border of Ecuador with exceptions of Isla Gorgona andTumaco. Avoid the area of coast between Buenaventura and Cabo Corrientes to the North.This includes the estuary north of Buenaventura.

Weather and current:
During latter months of the dry season (Nov. to May) the winds tend to blow from the N, but they will usually be light, switching to the S the further south you travel. During the rest of the year the winds tend to blow from the S to WSW and occasionally SSE.

Currents tend to run strongly most of the year from the south up to Pase Caballos at 02°27’N and 078°35’W where the Humbolt Current meets up with the counter equatorial current. Things can be choppy and confused. The current will continue to flow northwards until about Cabo Corrientes (05°30’N and 077°34’W) where it can sometimes reverse and flow south. Sometimes during January, February and April the current directions become less predictable and have even reported to reverse.

Entry/Exit officialdom:
Your Zarpe should have the name of the port you plan to enter. If you’re going to Bahia Solano, your Zarpe from your departing country should say Bahia Solano, Colombia. The same is true for Tumaco, Colombia. The officials like things to be neat and tidy. They will check the authenticity of your papers and contact your port of departure if they have any concerns. Tumaco in particular is very careful to make sure you are traveling legally and not doing anything suspicious. If your Zarpe has another port or country listed this will cause some headaches for the officials and extra paperwork. You can do it, but beprepared for some sour faces.

You are required to use an agent in Colombia, there is no way around it. They absorb all the costs (if there are any) into their fee and they will handle any issues or paperwork problems with the officials.

The only two ports of entry I recommend are Bahia Solano in the North and Tumaco in the South. Buenaventura is also a port of entry, however the port is a danger filled place with not much to offer the casual visitor. In an emergency Buenaventura is a safe and may be a viable option for entry and getting repairs, however it is a sketchy city.
7/01/2016
Update
Joëlle
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Localisation

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Sites around Colombia (Pacific coast)
Flying distances - Direct line

Isla Gorgona (Colombia Pacific Coast)

This island, lying about 18NM off the Pacific coast of Colombia, N of Guapi bay, is another National Park. For many years it was a maximum security prison, but now is a location for scientific research and tourism. It has a wide range of marine species as well as coral reefs. A ...
7 Jan 16

Bahia Coqui (Colombia Pacific Coast)

Little bay about 4 NM SW of Nuqui is very calm and protected.

Anchor in 27' .
8 Jan 16

Buenaventura Harbor (Colombia Pacific Coast)

This port is located at about the midway point in Colombia's Pacific coast. It has the reputaion of being one of the most violent cities in the country.
It's a port of entry.

Phone: 691 43 48
Fax: 691 43 52
Mail: matildec@sprbun.com

Great care needs to be ...
8 Jan 16

Ensenada Utria (Colombia Pacific Coast)

National park with a park fee and anchoring fee.
There is a small military force stationed here to watch the coast.
The bay offer a very good protection.
8 Jan 16

Malpelo island

Isla Malpelo is located at approximately N 3º59' W 81º36' (about 235 miles/378 km from the Columbian coast and 225 miles/362 km from Panama).
Malpelo is a world class dive spot on par with Cocos with clear water and tons of fish and sharks. Divers often see 100's of sharks ...
7 Jan 16

Tumaco bay (Colombia Pacific Coast)

This interesting, friendly town is on the border with Ecuador. It sits on an island connected to the mainland by a causeway. Many of the houses in the area are built on stilts over the water.

Tumaco is a military controlled port. You must call Guardacosta on VHF channel 16 ...
7 Jan 16

Bahia Solano (Pacific Coast of Colombia)

Approching, keep more than 2 NM off Punta Solano because of off lying rocks.

This is a Port of Entry and is a useful one if coming from Panama, being towards the north of Colombia's pacific coast.The bay is well protected but is open to the north. There is an anchorage not ...
8 Jan 16

Tumaco (Colombia Pacific Coast)

Tumaco, petite ville insulaire, centre de ravitaillement régional.
Important trafic de pirogues, seul moyen de transport local.Tumaco est relié par route à la Colombie; la ville dispose d'un aéroport desservi chaque jour par un DC 3; c'esdt aussi la base d'hélicos utilisés ...
8 Jan 16

Bahia Cupica (Colombia Pacific Coast)

Just North of bahia Solano is bahia Cupica.
When approching be very carefull of punta Cupica. Rocks can be found as far as two miles of the land.
Bay open to the S, si it is best visited during the dry season or when the winds are coming from the North.
8 Jan 16

Esmeraldas

Small port .
15 May 11

Taboga island (Panama Pacific coast)

Taboga island, also known as the "Island of Flowers", is a volcanic island in the Gulf of Panama, about 20 km from Panama city.At low tide, the northern end of the island is joined by a sand bar to the small island of El Morro, and the southeastern end is 270 meters from the neighboring ...
21 Dec 15

Taboga anchorage (Panama)

Located 6 miles S of La Playita.
There are moorings for rent on both sides of the long touristic pontoon.
At low tide and during the week the beach is wide and nice, but at high tide it becomes small and dirty, especially on Saturday and Sunday, when hundreds of local tourists ...
27 Dec 15

Flamenco marina (Panama)

Located at the end of the The Causeway. Although mostly occupied by local boats, there is some pier space available for visitors at this full service marina.
No advance bookings possible. This marina suffers from surge and is expensive. Phone: 011-507-314-1980Water, fuel ...
21 Dec 15

Las Brisas anchorage (Panama)

Las Brisas anchorage is located NW of isla Perica, on the causeway.This anchorage tends to be used during the rainy season (April­December) due to prevailing S/SE winds. It can be quite rough during the dry season due to N/NE gap winds. During the rainy seaon expect frequent, sudden ...
21 Dec 15

Balboa Yacht Club (Panama)

Balboa Yacht Club is south of the Balboa Commercial Port and close to the Bridge of the Americas.Phone: +507 228 5196 CAUTION: When approaching from the south, do not turn into the mooring field until you are past buoy 14.5. There is a large sandbar stretching across the south end ...
21 Dec 15

Balboa Harbor (Panama Pacific coast)

Balboa has been said by many to be "cruiser-unfriendly" with regards to safe moorings. For those transiting the Canal from Colon and arriving in Balboa at 0300, this may well be true. Finding a mooring field or safe place to anchor in the dark is difficult here and the marinas ...
21 Dec 15

La Playita anchorage (Panama)

Located outside the breakwater of the La Playita Marina, on the south side of The Causeway.
The anchorage here is protected from strong winds and waves from the north and east, yet you are continuously exposed to the wake of transiting canal vessels and their related work boats ...
20 Dec 15

Puerto Colon (Panama Caribbean)

Colon is unattractive and is part of a large commercial harbor, however offers a useful center for cruisers and the Panama Canal Yacht Club (PCYC) is a good refuge. The place grows on you! The local people are friendly and helpful.
Anchorage:
The designated yacht anchorage at ...
28 Dec 15

Puerto Cristobal (Panama Caribbean)

Puerto de Cristobal is a large harbour located on the Caribbean sea, near Cristobal (town in Colon, a province of Panama), on the continent of North America.Two long breakwaters have converted the entire bay into a safe anchorage, protecting shipping in Cristobal harbor from strong ...
28 Dec 15

Bahia De Manta

Small port protected by a breakwater.
15 May 11

Golfito Bay (Costa Rica)

Located just north of the Panama canal, Golfito is a convenient and very attractive port at which to clear in or out of Costa Rica. The Banana Bay Marina has a fuel dock with very easy access and helpful staff. Outboard and dinghy theft is a problem in Golfito however and cruisers ...
18 Dec 15

Fish Hook marina (Costa Rica)

Fish Hook Marina & Lodge is located at the edge of the beautiful tropical rainforest of Golfito, in the South Pacific coast of Costa Rica and just north of Panama. It is also the official point of entry and exit for Costa Rica.It offers a marina with 20 Slips for ...
18 Dec 15

Banana bay marina (Costa Rica)

Located at the edge of a beautiful tropical rainforest in the city of Golfito, Banana Bay Marina sit in a natural, deep draft gulf offering an excellent protection from the swells of the Pacific Ocean.
Separated from the Open Pacific Coast, this gulf, names Golfo ...
18 Dec 15
Local Area

NE Pacific Ocean

WindsWinds and currents in the Pacific flow predominantly from East to West. Above the equator Pacific Ocean trade winds blow from the northeast. Below the equator they blow from the southeast. By taking advantage of the different (north and south) directions of the east-flowing winds, ...
25 Oct 17

Panama (Pacific coast)

Panama is the southernmost country of Central America. Situated on an isthmus, some categorize it as a transcontinental nation connecting the north and south part of America. It borders Costa Rica to the north-west, Colombia to the south-east, the Caribbean Sea to the north and ...
20 Dec 15

Ecuador

1 Jan 70

Costa Rica (Pacific coast)

Costa Rica, officially the "Republic of Costa Rica", is a country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Caribbean Sea to the east, and Ecuador to the south of Cocos Island.
The beautiful Isla del Coco, ...
18 Dec 15

Nicaragua

1 Jan 70

Galapagos

The Galápagos Islands (official name: Archipiélago de Colón, other Spanish name: Islas Galápagos) are an archipelago of volcanic islands distributed on either side of the Equator in the Pacific Ocean, 906 km (563 mi) west of continental Ecuador, of which they are a part.
The ...
17 Dec 15
During your navigation, remember to update the data. If a harbor, marina or anchorage is missing, create it. Thank you for all boaters.