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Old 20-12-2011, 07:11   #1
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Beware Checking in Honduras

Hi I want to share our experience about checking in your boat and immigration in Honduras. We needed work and a haul out in La Ceiba Shipyard, which is a very good shipyard with very reasonable prices and good professional trades people.

However NEVER check in as 1st port of call to La Ceiba. You will be charged approximately $500 to clear in there. Instead go to Utila or Roatan to clear in and be sure to request your cruising permit for 90 days.

In La Ceiba the Port Captain will insist you use an agent who will do nothing for you and charge you a fortune. You will aslo be charged a channel useage fee of $120. None of these fees are charged if checking in at Utila or Roatan and you can then use the port and channel for free in La Ceiba.

The taxis from La Ceiba shipyard will charge you $300 limpiera per hour or charge per person otherwise. However if you can call Santos on 9686 3648 He will charge $200 per hour and is a very friendly helpful and knowledgeable driver. You will need to speak Spanish though. basic works well enough though.

The shipyard is a shipyard and not the prettiest but has exceptionally friendly staff and workers and is a very good haulout . Especially for large catamarans. Up to 24' 10" wide or if you like a squeeze 25'.
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Old 12-02-2012, 11:19   #2
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Re: Beware Checking in Honduras

I've also heard bad things about checking-in in La Ceiba. Although, I have also heard that the port captain has lightened up there more recently.

Last year, we cleared into Honduras in Puerto Cortez -- could not have been easier and I was charged nothing. In the past I have also cleared in/out in Guanaja and Roatan with no troubles and reasonable fees.

Anyone cleared in at La Ceiba recently?
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Old 17-02-2012, 07:50   #3
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Re: Beware Checking in Honduras

Hi not sure where else to ask this, but this seems to be as good of place as any. We are new to all of this and have not really traveled like the rest of the folks here. As I have said before, I live vicariously thru other. My question, what happens if you go to check into a place like the OP states and you feel the fees are outrageous, can you just decide to leave with out checking in? or are you committed to pay the fees because you are already there? Thanks
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Old 17-02-2012, 08:54   #4
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Re: Beware Checking in Honduras

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Originally Posted by WillyWozy View Post
Hi not sure where else to ask this, but this seems to be as good of place as any. We are new to all of this and have not really traveled like the rest of the folks here. As I have said before, I live vicariously thru other. My question, what happens if you go to check into a place like the OP states and you feel the fees are outrageous, can you just decide to leave with out checking in? or are you committed to pay the fees because you are already there? Thanks
Willy
There is not a "standard procedure" for bailing out on a check-in, so the answer of course, like most things, is "it depends". A few thoughts on possible variables involved below:

Leaving a port-of-entry once you have initiated the clearing-in process may create more troubles for you than the high fees are worth. Depending upon the venue, the response of the officials could range from indifferent to hostile.

When you clear out of a country typically you must specify your destination port-of-entry (or at least intended destination country). This is typically listed on the clearance paperwork. If you show up at a different port-of-entry than specified that will likely raise some questions and potentially complicate your clearing-in process.

You can of course discuss the fees with the officials and see if you can come to some other arrangement, but this probably is not going to be very successful because you are not in a good negotiating position. Some venues and some officials may take offence to this "discussion".

Note that fees and procedures not only vary between countries, but also between ports-of-entry in the same country and often over time at a given port-of-entry. Thus the original subject of this thread: "what are the procedures and fees in La Ceiba now?"

Unless an official was trying to fleece me for some truly insane amount, I would, and have, choose just to pay the fees and make a note not to clear in there again (at least not until I could confirm that things had changed for the better). I think that most cruisers would follow this approach also -- this is why you see postings like the OP lamenting the high fees they were charged, but chose to pay rather than deal with the potential complications of trying to abort a check-in.
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Old 17-02-2012, 09:05   #5
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Re: Beware Checking in Honduras

Thanks for the reply, I guess this is where one would do the homework on where they want to travel. Thanks for your advice.
Willy
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Old 17-02-2012, 09:16   #6
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Re: Beware Checking in Honduras

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Thanks for the reply, I guess this is where one would do the homework on where they want to travel. Thanks for your advice.
Willy

You're welcome.

Yes, definitely pays to do your homework.
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Old 17-02-2012, 09:26   #7
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Re: Beware Checking in Honduras

Just thought I'd plug these guys. I bought their Central American guidebook for $13 and have really enjoyed it. They have another one for farther south.

Guide Books -- Cruising Guide Books to Central America
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Old 17-02-2012, 09:53   #8
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Re: Beware Checking in Honduras

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Just thought I'd plug these guys. I bought their Central American guidebook for $13 and have really enjoyed it. They have another one for farther south.

Guide Books -- Cruising Guide Books to Central America

Thanks for sharing -- have not seen these before.

The classic "Rains Guide" is also quite good and covers a large area. See Mexico & Central America Boating Guides | Cruising Ports | Nautical Charts Mexico Boating.
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Old 17-02-2012, 10:08   #9
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Re: Beware Checking in Honduras

You can usually find out what the deal is from other cruiser's before you go to the office. Opting out then would be much better than leaving in the middle of checking in!
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Old 17-02-2012, 10:43   #10
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Re: Beware Checking in Honduras

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Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
Thanks for sharing -- have not seen these before.

The classic "Rains Guide" is also quite good and covers a large area. See Mexico & Central America Boating Guides | Cruising Ports | Nautical Charts Mexico Boating.
The one I posted is exclusively the Pacific side of the equation since that gets such little traffic compared to the eastern end. They also specifically leave out Panama and Costa Rica because of the coverage those areas get from other guidebooks and resources available online.
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Old 17-02-2012, 10:49   #11
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Re: Beware Checking in Honduras

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When you clear out of a country typically you must specify your destination port-of-entry (or at least intended destination country). This is typically listed on the clearance paperwork. If you show up at a different port-of-entry than specified that will likely raise some questions and potentially complicate your clearing-in process.
I have friends who would not tolerate any BS from third world officials who tried to bully them. Even ones in the Red Sea who waved guns in their faces. They completed a circumnavigation without getting thrown in jail. I admire them for being able to chart that course and being able to negotiate and handle conflict in that way. That definitely does not come naturally to me.

Anyways, a few times they just did not check out of a country and would arrive in the next without papers. They told the officials in French Polynesia that the port captain in Galapagos is a theif and they wouldn't pay his bribe. That worked.
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Old 17-02-2012, 11:01   #12
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Re: Beware Checking in Honduras

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Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
When you clear out of a country typically you must specify your destination port-of-entry (or at least intended destination country). This is typically listed on the clearance paperwork. If you show up at a different port-of-entry than specified that will likely raise some questions and potentially complicate your clearing-in process.
As a U.S. citizen, when I leave the United States and sail to a foreign port, I will not have clearance paperwork with a destination port-of-entry. Is this correct? If so, do the officials at your next port-of-entry simply take your word that your last port-of-call was in the United States? If so, could you conceivably, as a U.S. citizen aboard a U.S. registered vessel, cruise around to various ports-of-entry without clearance paperwork, saying your last port-of-call was in the United States?
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Old 17-02-2012, 11:28   #13
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Re: Beware Checking in Honduras

This is one of the places where having an SSB pays for itself. The Southwest Caribbean net regularly discusses check-in/out fees, which vary. I heard last year that the port captain in La Cieba didn't want to be bothered with checking in yachts, so he charged a couple of them $500. The word got around, and everyone when elsewhere--it cost me $6 to checkin/checkout of Roatan/Guanaja.

Not checking in and out is an option, but you will eventually get your boat confiscated. The port captains have their own communications network. It also makes it harder for the next boats. Last time we were in the Galapagos, we had to deal with one thoroughly pissed-off port captain because some French boats had not cleared with him.

You can leave the US without a zarpe (clearance), and SOME neighboring countries will check you in without one. For example, the port captain in Islas Mujeres insists on one--you can either buy your way out or get a 'courtesy clearance' from US customs.

The further you go from US territories the more problems you will encounter. We sailed straight from St Croix to St Lucia one year and had problems checking in. Put yourself in the port captain's position--here is this boat with no zarpe-how do I know how long he hasn't been hanging out in my country for 6 months without checking in? Fortunately I had some dated receipts with me so I could prove to him that I hadn't been flaunting his regulations, and he let me in with a promise that I would never do it again.
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Old 17-02-2012, 11:44   #14
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Re: Beware Checking in Honduras

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...could you conceivably, as a U.S. citizen aboard a U.S. registered vessel, cruise around to various ports-of-entry without clearance paperwork, saying your last port-of-call was in the United States?
Many countries you clear into will plug your info into a computer system that's shared with other countries. If they look you up, they'll know exactly where and when you cleared in and out elsewhere.
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Old 17-02-2012, 13:37   #15
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Re: Beware Checking in Honduras

There ya go folks the age of puters!! LOL never again can ya go where and when you wish, have to a cruiseing permit !! Gasp! never thought it would get to this LOL We are ALL in the book now folks !! LOL "O" well theres still some places with water and no folks maybe I can stop there !! No I can't cus ya gotta have an MSD !! LOLOL Come on folks it's still better then stayin ashore !!! Just messing around Bob and Connie
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