I just left Luperon yesterday. You cannot compare it to Ocean World, one is a small fishing
village with a well protected anchorage, the other is an expensive marina/tourist destination
. If you are just passing through the DR on your way to/from the rest of the Caribbean islands choose whichever you prefer. Luperon is a small, poor, non-touristy fishing
village with a 100% surge free anchorage. There are a number of permanently anchored live aboards but name one hurricane
hole anchorage that doesn't. They are for the most part very helpful and make an attempt to contribute to the local economy and promote Luperon as a cruising destination
. Clearing in to the DR in Luperon does require a bit of patience, and although some Spanish language skills would be helpful, there is now a full time tourism dept. employee named Rodney who will hold your hand, translate, and walk you through the clearing in process. There is a dinghy dock
at the gov't pier. All of the officials are in the small block of offices at the foot of the pier, except the Navy
Commandante's office which is just past the others and through the muddy lot and across the rickety foot bridge and up the hill (okay it is a third world country after all).
Rodney will spot the newbies a mile away and smooth the process...for free.
1. Fly your Q flag upon entry.
and wait a bit, most likely a chap named Papo will show up in a panga and welcome you. He will then offer to notify the Navy
Commandante of your arrival. Otherwise hail "Commandancia de Luperon" on channel 68 and tell them you need to clear in.
3. Stay on your boat until visited by Commandante Torres (he's in charge for now but they rotate them out occasionally). Senor Torres is very friendly and speaks decent English
. He will basically take a quick look, snap a photo
of your boat documentation
, and leave.
into the the gov't dock
, the dinghy dock is on the right side, half way down, it's a partially sunken floating pier extending out from the main dock (remember it's a poor country).
5. At the foot of the gov't pier is a cluster of portable offices, and outside under the shade tree you will meet Rodney. He will take you into the Customs
, Immigration, Port Authority, and Agriculture Dept. offices. Be sure to bring copies of your registration
and passports (remember this is a poor country, no Xerox machines here).
6. Each office requires a small fee in Dominican Pesos, but don't worry, Rodney will hold your hand and walk you up the street to the "Claro" office which has a currency exchange inside.
7. At each office remember to smile and say "Buenas Dias" and "Gracias"
8. When finished walk one block up the main road from the dock and stop in Wendy's bar and enjoy a cheap
Just go in with the right attitude and it can be a fun cultural experience. Funny
So yesterday I went to Clear out and obtain a Dispatcho as required. This involves no fees
, just a quick stop in the immigration office for a stamp on the passport, a stop in the Port Authority office so they can confirm you paid the proper port fees
for the length of time you actually stayed, then finally strip up the hill to see the Commandante to get the official "Dispatcho" form. I greet Commandante Torres with a "Buenas Dias" and tell him I would like to leave this morning and would like to get a Dispatcho. His response is "I just ran out of the Dispactcho forms and have to send one of my men
into town to have more printed...but the one shop with the machine doesn't open until later." Then he asks me "Do you have a PC and printer on the boat?" "Why yes I do." I answer. A few rapid words in Spanish were exchanged with a navy underling and suddenly I am presented with a USB memory stick and asked to print them up a dozen or so copies of the Dispatcho form. So off to the dinghy dock and out to the floating government
printing office I went. In the end I was only delayed maybe a half hour but I made some new friends in the Dominican Navy and established a bit of good will between the officials and the cruisers.
If all of that sounds like a "hassle" to you, then by all means go to Ocean World...and bring your extra heavy duty dock lines and Platinum Card
If heading East along the DR coast your next stop should be Samana, specifically Puerto Bahia
Marina. This is a very nice hotel
resort/Marina complex with 3 restaurants, and 2 infinity pools...for $1.00/FT!! The Dockmaster on the radio
doesn't speak much English
, so be prepared by having lines and fenders ready on both sides of the boat and follow his hand signals. Gavi runs the office and is very helpful and speaks excellent English. If you need detailed info on the way in, call on the phone
and speak to Gavi in the dock masters office. The only down side of the place is that the fresh water at the dock is non-potable, so don't expect to fill your tanks
from the tap. However they have 5 gallon drinking water
bottles available at the small grocery on-site.
I could go on and on, but if you have questions-fire away while it's still fresh in my mind.
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