I am in Ecuador now, our boat Hot Sauce is on a mooring
at Puerto Amistad. We are about to sail back up to Puerto Chiapas in Mexico
, to avoid any complications about importing it. There is only one place to haul a boat here in Ecuador and it has a mixed reputation for quality of workmanship and high cost of yard use. They cannot haul multihulls or large boats. The guys at Puerto Chiapas have promised to come up with a trailer to haul us, and they are, after all, Mexicans, some of the most resourceful people on earth.
I was told by Tripp that you have one year duty free and it is possible to extend it by filing the appropriate paperwork. I read on one of the expat forums
about a guy who got a resident visa and was forced to import his boat at a cost of about 35% of the value they decide for it. He thought that they determined the value from yachtworld listings.
Like most of South America
, Ecuador is really not very sailboat friendly. You are not allowed to buy diesel
here, though it can be arranged. It only costs $1/gal., but boats were coming up from Chile
thousands of gallons, and they figured out it wasn't such a good idea to subsidize that.
The entry to Rio Chone is shoaled in with a shifting channel. We were required to hire a pilot for $30 and I was glad to have him as we had to enter in 6-8' breaking waves, surfing at 14-16 knots several times. The tide range is about 8-10' and the pilot will only bring you in at high tide. Breaking waves all look about the same to me coming in from the sea. I have the track for coming in, but it has been 10 months and likely is no longer valid. I only need 3' with the board up and it was still scary as we saw 4' on the sounder a couple of times, maybe just cause of the wave troughs. If you want to go out for a sail, you must have the port captains permission, though this may only apply to foreign flagged boats. You will most likely only get one high tide per daylight, so you will probably be out overnight, if you go out.
It will cost about half as much for the boat to sit in the yard in Mexico
and I won't worry about logs
coming down the river and hanging up on my mooring
. You can anchor
out in the river, but the bottom is soft and the current
is strong. I was not willing to leave Hot Sauce at anchor
and go inland for an extended time.
We really love Ecuador and bought a small property up in the mountains and will probably apply for residency next year. I just think I will be happier with the boat in Mexico where I can go play on the boat when it's the rainy season here. Perhaps I'll be a different kind of snowbird like all the Californicans and Canucks I met while cruising there. I might just become land based after we build a cabin
on the mountain, but we love Hot Sauce too much to give her up just yet.
Hope this helps,
hotsaucechronicles.blogspot.com for the curious