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Old 14-08-2016, 05:37   #1
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San Blas Clearance Logistics

Ive spent a lot of time in the San Blas, but not since the Panamanian officials were invited to leave. Plan to help a friend move his boat from the ABCs to Panama in Sept.

Anyone have recent experience with the process for clearing in now that there is no immigration in the San Blas?
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Old 14-08-2016, 09:32   #2
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Re: San Blas Clearance Logistics

The San Blas Cruisers Facebook page has the latest check in info. Now in Linton.
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Old 14-08-2016, 13:48   #3
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Re: San Blas Clearance Logistics

I dont do FB, but can get someone to look for me.
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Old 14-08-2016, 14:11   #4
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Re: San Blas Clearance Logistics

It's also on yahoo cruisers network group
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Old 24-09-2016, 17:14   #5
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Re: San Blas Clearance Logistics

Just finished this run (Curaçao - Colombia - Panama) so can provide a bit of current info (subject to change wo notice of course).

Per FB group etc Olidaba and Porvenir are closed as ports of entry until further notice (I wonder what the Colombian trading boats do now, as they are a normal part of life, esp in the E San Blas? ). So, we did not attempt to stop or clear in the SB. One boat traveling in loose company did stop in Cayos Holandes (Swimming Pool anchorage) overnight and no one gave them any grief.

We went directly from Cartagena to Linton Bay Marina. Had been told by marina that we could do papers there and that is partially true. There is a Port Captain there now and you can complete your cruising permit there and get permission to travel to Portobelo to complete immigration clearance. Ive heard of a 72 hour permission being issued but we did not receive anything formal (I would not go any further than Portobelo without formal written permission...have heard stories of folks getting into to trouble that way...check points are fairly common in Panama).

Be aware, the Port Captain there tried to fleece my friends (the boat owners) for $100 per passport plus $20 over time because it was a Saturday (he was there anyway). That scam fell apart when his accomplice in Immigration didnt show...so he got zip. Took a taxi to Portobelo on Monday ... total charge from Immigration...$3 per passport for making copies etc.

Portobelo is only about 30 minutes or less away by bus/taxi so not a big deal really and we were on our way to Panama City anyway.
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Old 12-01-2017, 06:10   #6
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Re: San Blas Clearance Logistics

In San Blas now. You can not clear into Panama here, must go to Linton Bay. They do have immigration back in Provinier now, but only for visa extension/renewal.

The port captain in Linton was very nice to us, no charges. Immigration in Portobelo nice and $3/pp.
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Old 11-02-2018, 06:08   #7
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Re: San Blas Clearance Logistics

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In San Blas now. You can not clear into Panama here, must go to Linton Bay. They do have immigration back in Provinier now, but only for visa extension/renewal.

The port captain in Linton was very nice to us, no charges. Immigration in Portobelo nice and $3/pp.
We are coming from Bocas, so already have cruising permit and are both Panamanian residents with cedulas. In the past we got a zarpe from Bocas to San Blas, but when we got there (last year) discovered that there was no longer a port capt to clear in with. So we just stayed for a month or so and no one hassled us.
We are now headed back for another visit. What is the proper procedure? I have heard all kinds of stories about charges the Kuna want for cruising there now. What is the true skinny?
Also, can someone give me the exact name of the facebook forum? I don't do facebook, but my wife does and she cannot find it.
Thanks
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Old 12-02-2018, 10:42   #8
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Re: San Blas Clearance Logistics

I don’t do Facebook, sorry. The fees are not bad. Some anchorages you will have someone come out(usually the more popular) others you don’t. There is a monthly charge, then the local charge. In the four months we were there, totaled less then $100usd. If they find you are “out of date” they just charge you the 30 days from when they find you. I wouldn’t worry too much about it. The being in Panama illegally is more of a concern should something happen and you need to go overland to Panama City. (That is what happened to us.

Have I heard correctly that is is now 6 months then have to leave for 30 days, instead of 12 months? We may be returning this year.
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Old 12-02-2018, 11:00   #9
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Re: San Blas Clearance Logistics

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Have I heard correctly that is is now 6 months then have to leave for 30 days, instead of 12 months? We may be returning this year.
Well, as is often the case in Panama, the real answer is, "It depends..."
Your cruising permit is still $180 for 12 months. In Bocas that is interpreted to mean that if you arrive on your boat, you can stay for the full 12 mos. I have heard that elsewhere they treat you like tourists who fly in and in that case it is 6 mos and then out for 30 days, but your boat could stay here. This whole thing seems to be in flux, so best to check back just before coming as it may be different then. FWIW, the Maritimos are now computerized so at least theoretically they can keep better track of these things and you are less likely to get away with overstaying.
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Old 12-02-2018, 15:47   #10
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Re: San Blas Clearance Logistics

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Originally Posted by dmtparkerLcsk53 View Post
We are coming from Bocas, so already have cruising permit and are both Panamanian residents with cedulas. In the past we got a zarpe from Bocas to San Blas, but when we got there (last year) discovered that there was no longer a port capt to clear in with. So we just stayed for a month or so and no one hassled us.
We are now headed back for another visit. What is the proper procedure? I have heard all kinds of stories about charges the Kuna want for cruising there now. What is the true skinny?
Also, can someone give me the exact name of the facebook forum? I don't do facebook, but my wife does and she cannot find it.
Thanks
When we first sailed to Panama in 2012, I did local Zarpes for a couple of seasons....then quit bothering. Only place I was ever asked was Bocas. No other port seems to care. Havent done a local zarpe since on the coast from Colon to San Blas.
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Old 16-04-2018, 20:45   #11
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Re: San Blas Clearance Logistics

Old thread I know, but relevant.

I was in Porvenir, San Blas today, and there was a Panamanian immigration official in the long vacant immigration office. I was there for other reasons and didnt think to ask if immigration was open again in Porvenir. Any have any new news?
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Old 17-04-2018, 22:12   #12
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Re: San Blas Clearance Logistics

[QUOTE=Sea Life;2301652]In San Blas now. You can not clear into Panama here, must go to Linton Bay. /QUOTE]

This is a valuable piece of information, but I'm thinking "Say it ain't so!" I will be sailing from Cartagena to San Blas in a couple of weeks or so, and had not planned to go all the way to Linton Bay and then back to the San Blas. So let me ask a question for which I'm afraid I already know the answer: Coming from the east is there no better alternative than checking in at Linton Bay?
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Old 18-04-2018, 06:58   #13
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Re: San Blas Clearance Logistics

[QUOTE=Dr. Sea;2617550]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sea Life View Post
In San Blas now. You can not clear into Panama here, must go to Linton Bay. /QUOTE]

This is a valuable piece of information, but I'm thinking "Say it ain't so!" I will be sailing from Cartagena to San Blas in a couple of weeks or so, and had not planned to go all the way to Linton Bay and then back to the San Blas. So let me ask a question for which I'm afraid I already know the answer: Coming from the east is there no better alternative than checking in at Linton Bay?
For a couple of years now, clearing in at Linton/Portobelo has been the only option.

Im not sure yet if the precence of a Panamanian immigration official marks a change in that, but have asked my wife to post on the San Blas cruisers FaceBook page. I will also ask on the net here, but I missed it this AM.
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Old 18-04-2018, 09:11   #14
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Re: San Blas Clearance Logistics

A few years back we made landfall from Cartegena near Pine Is in the eastern San Blas. This area has few cruising boats and some interesting Kuna villages. We worked our way up to the western San Blas and cleared in maybe 10 days latter.
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Old 19-04-2018, 11:07   #15
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Re: San Blas Clearance Logistics

Quote:
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The fees are not bad. Some anchorages you will have someone come out(usually the more popular) others you don’t. There is a monthly charge, then the local charge. In the four months we were there, totaled less then $100usd. .
On the web I read this: "When you enter Panama via the Caribbean Sea or Colombian Territorial waters you need a visa (except nationals of course). This is probably the main reason why people visit El Porvenir since you can find the naval customs service on the island. So if you want to explore San Blas legally you will have to buy a special visa allowing you to sail in the Panamanian waters (also San Blas). You can buy the visa at the Panamanian customs on El Porvenir for around $100 per person per boat."

This is a big discrepancy. I don't consider $100 per person for a few weeks "not bad" and it greatly exceeds Sea Life's report of less than $100 USD total. Does anyone know the authentic and up-to-date visa details for sailing in Panamanian waters?
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