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Old 14-10-2012, 08:16   #1
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San Blas: Check in with Passengers?

We will be sailing from Cartagena to San Blas at the end of the month, and I am hoping that someone can answer a check in question for me.

We have two friends joining us for the passage, and our Colombian agent wants to add them to the boat as passengers. We have heard (third hand) rumors that, to discourage back-packers, the Kunu indians who administer the islands are not allowing yachts with passengers to check in in the San Blas. Does anyone have first hand knowledge?

While it would be convenient to have them as passengers (no checking them off the boat), we could always add them as crew if necessary.

Many thanks in advance,

Tony

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Old 14-10-2012, 12:42   #2
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Re: San Blas: Check in with Passengers?

If they are friends, why put them on the 'passengers' list? I add my friends to the 'crew' list.

De facto, the only time I had 'passengers' onboard was when I substituted a sick charter boat skipper for a time.

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Old 14-10-2012, 16:28   #3
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Re: San Blas: Check in with Passengers?

Why is your agent listing them as passengers instead of crew?

The Kuna make their livelyhood through tourisum and I doubt seriously they would turn anyone away, as long as you pay your nominal anchoring fees.

IN the final analysis, the Kuna may govern the land, but the Panamanian Government is still the finally authority on Customs and Immigration.

There is a Immigration station on the Island of Porvenir on the west end of the San Blas Islands, which is where you will be required to check into Panama.

For more information go to to the Noonsite.com Porvenior Island Page or check the local cruising guides either by Pat Raines or Eric Bauhaus
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Old 14-10-2012, 17:28   #4
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Re: San Blas: Check in with Passengers?

I am not sure why the agent in Cartagena is so keen on signing them up as passengers (an I am currently in Bogota, so can't ask). However, as long as there isn't a problem in Porvenir, it does have the advantage of not having to sign them off as crew when they go home.

Noonsite was where the concern started:San Blas: Restricted Travel along the Carti Road — Noonsite And then comments from the cruiser echo chamber in Cartagena.

Tony
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Old 15-10-2012, 05:48   #5
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Re: San Blas: Check in with Passengers?

The Carti Road is one of the main roads in and out of San Blas and has nothing to do with checking into Panama.

What it may do is keep your passengers on the boat until you go around the corner to Puertobello or Colon.

I also think that you wil still have a legal responsibility to your passengers with regards to Immigration, although since I have formally not carried passengers in Panama I am not sure.

I am having lunch with my Canal Agent today and will ask for you.
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Old 15-10-2012, 06:52   #6
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Re: San Blas: Check in with Passengers?

Add them as Crew.

The backpacker boats don't check-in at Porvenir, they wait until they get to Portobelo or Colon. They are only in the San Blas for a couple of days at a time on their way one direction or the other. I doubt there is any first-hand knowledge as all the other cruising boats down here are "crewed" and not carrying passengers in and out of the country.

If your have 4 people on your boat, as crew, and check into Porvenir, it will be fine, no big deal.

Adding them as passengers is not correct, and is only apt to raise suspicion with the immigration officer in Porvenir.

They are crew as you describe them, so they should be listed as crew.
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Old 15-10-2012, 07:48   #7
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Re: San Blas: Check in with Passengers?

I just spoke with our Canal Agent, Pete Stevens, and he recommends you list them as Crew... He said don't get in a fight with the Columbians over it, but crew is a better.

He also said that even if you list them as passengers, you are still going to have to sign them off your boat when you reach Panama.
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Old 15-10-2012, 08:12   #8
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Re: San Blas: Check in with Passengers?

Thanks everyone. Especially Tom for asking his Canal Agent. I will speak to our agent in Colombia and get them on as crew if possible.

Best,

Tony
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Old 15-10-2012, 08:57   #9
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Re: San Blas: Check in with Passengers?

Thanks Tony....

We are crossing the Canal on Nov 1st and should be in the San Blas by the second week of Nov....

Hope to see you there!
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Old 13-11-2012, 22:27   #10
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Re: San Blas: Check in with Passengers?

Same topic, different question.

Can you sail back and forth from Cartagena to San Blas without checking in to main-land Panama (Portabelo, Colon, etc) what about disembarking crew?

Specifically, I'm sailing from Cartagena to San Blas in January with one crew who would like to disembark in San Blas and then fly home via Panama City. Then I want to hang out a month or so alone before sailing back to Cartagena, I DO NOT want to go to colon, and prefer not to even sail west of San Blas but I could. Its been years since I was last there but what I'm reading online now is that when you clear in to Porvenir you then get something like a few days to clear in on the mainland? So it is something like a partial clearing in to Panama? Am I going to have to sail to Portabelo or Colon to drop my crew legally and finsih clearing or can I do it all in San Blas? Can I even get my clearence back to Cartagena at Porvenir?

In the past I and others usually just cruised San Blas under the radar and avoided porvenir then eventually cleared in Colon but I'm dreading a trip back to the colon. Any info here? Thanks in advance. -Kirk
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Old 14-11-2012, 05:51   #11
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Re: San Blas: Check in with Passengers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kirkalittle View Post
Same topic, different question.

Can you sail back and forth from Cartagena to San Blas without checking in to main-land Panama (Portabelo, Colon, etc) what about disembarking crew?

Specifically, I'm sailing from Cartagena to San Blas in January with one crew who would like to disembark in San Blas and then fly home via Panama City. Then I want to hang out a month or so alone before sailing back to Cartagena, I DO NOT want to go to colon, and prefer not to even sail west of San Blas but I could. Its been years since I was last there but what I'm reading online now is that when you clear in to Porvenir you then get something like a few days to clear in on the mainland? So it is something like a partial clearing in to Panama? Am I going to have to sail to Portabelo or Colon to drop my crew legally and finsih clearing or can I do it all in San Blas? Can I even get my clearence back to Cartagena at Porvenir?

In the past I and others usually just cruised San Blas under the radar and avoided porvenir then eventually cleared in Colon but I'm dreading a trip back to the colon. Any info here? Thanks in advance. -Kirk
You can fully check into Panama at Porvenir. You will get immigration for all people on board, and your cruising permit for 1 year in Panama. A few other minor "convenience" fees as well.

At that point, no reason your crew should not be able to leave the boat and go home via Panama City.

When/If you leave San Blas, you must return to Porvenir for a Zarpe to your next port of call in Panama (Portobelo, Colon, Bocas).
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Old 15-11-2012, 07:57   #12
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Re: San Blas: Check in with Passengers?

Hi,

We arrived in San Blas last week from Cartagena and checked in at Porvenir. Total cruising fees for boat + 6 people was $242. This included $40 of overtime fees for weekend check in, and a 1 year cruising permit (with in/out privileges) for Panama.

No need to go anywhere else in Panama for check in or check out.

Best

Tony
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PS Tom, have you made it to the San Blas?
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Old 15-11-2012, 08:04   #13
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Re: San Blas: Check in with Passengers?

Hi,

We arrived in San Blas last week from Cartagena and checked in at Porvenir. Total cruising fees for boat + 6 people was $242. This included $40 of overtime fees for weekend check in, and a 1 year cruising permit (with in/out privileges) for Panama.

No need to go anywhere else in Panama for check in or check out.

Best

Tony
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PS Tom, have you made it to the San Blas?
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Old 15-11-2012, 16:58   #14
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Re: San Blas: Check in with Passengers?

Mark and Tony, thanks so much for the quick info, I've been sailing years and never got active on this forum, amazing how many tidbits of specific info you can find here when you just ask! Thanks again, can't wait to get back to San Blas, one of my favorite places in the world, lets delete this thread now so it doesn't get to overcrowded :-).
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