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Old 22-12-2019, 07:37   #1
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Galapgos: Can I arrive without prior notice ?

I intend to sail from Panama to Galapagos soon .
Can I arrive in Galapagos without prior notice and
without negociating an autographo with an agent before leaving Panama.
And do the paperwork/authorisations,/autographo upon arrival in Christobal ?
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Old 22-12-2019, 08:01   #2
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Re: Galapgos: Can I arrive without prior notice ?

It can certainly be done, but you might not like the consequences. Take, for example, people arriving at the US-Mexico border without the proper papers and what happens to them. You might not want to be turned away in nasty weather or if you needed supplies or a repair.
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Old 22-12-2019, 09:07   #3
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Re: Galapgos: Can I arrive without prior notice ?

Relevant answers and experience welcome
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Old 22-12-2019, 09:12   #4
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Re: Galapgos: Can I arrive without prior notice ?

We left Ecuador in 2008 and since we could not get the visa from there, the port captain told us just to show up and breakdown. That’s exactly what we did and had a great time. Got lucky that our agent took care of us. Five on board only cost us $100 to do two islands!
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Old 22-12-2019, 09:18   #5
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Re: Galapgos: Can I arrive without prior notice ?

First...my question to you would be WHY? If you know you need a autograph, then why would you sail without one? IMHO, that just seems rude and inconsiderate.

While you can sail there without one, your welcome may be very short (min 12 hours, max 7 days) and you will still have to pay all fees.

Laws tightened in 2015.

See https://www.noonsite.com/place/galapagos/formalities/
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Old 22-12-2019, 11:00   #6
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Re: Galapgos: Can I arrive without prior notice ?

Can you do it, yes; should you do it; no.

Here is a different noonsite link with more information.

There is no question it is expensive to visit the Galapagos; or that it is even more expensive to show up unannounced and try and barge your way in.

But my biggest issue with your OP is you seem to lack any real experience cruising; and more to the point cruising in third world countries. A quick read of my noonsite link will show the experience cruisers have entering the Galapagos varies. But the one consistent thing is that the solution to many problems is more coin of the realm. Getting all the paperwork done before hand and securing a reliable agent may seem to be overpriced but trying to cut corners usually will result in paying more.

Perhaps more to the point is not that you will just have to pay more, and have a shorter stay, if you arrive unannounced but you will also have delays dealing with those you have to pay more money to. So the real question is how much is a day in the Galapagos worth to you. Even if you are able to save money by skimping on paperwork before arriving you may wind up spending hours, or even days, dealing with getting the paperwork done in the Galapagos instead of enjoying your stay there.

I have sat in enough customs offices waiting for some guy to try and figure out where the right form is, filling out the form, and paying the fee to know I would much rather do it before hand at a time of my choosing than have it intrude at what always seems like the most inconvenient time.

On the other hand if you enjoy beating your head against a brick wall because it feels so good when you stop go ahead and show up unannounced.
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Old 22-12-2019, 13:57   #7
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Re: Galapgos: Can I arrive without prior notice ?

We left from Ecuador and had arranged for the necessary paperwork from a local agent in the Galapagos. Boats that arrived without prior paperwork were restricted to one location and crew were not allowed ashore. Capt was allowed ashore to visit the port captain. The vessel was required to depart within 24 hours.

If you want to stop why not do the proper thing and engage an agent.
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Old 22-12-2019, 14:03   #8
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Re: Galapgos: Can I arrive without prior notice ?

We visited the Galapagos about 10 years back, so the rules have probably changed some. We had all the proper paperwork from the mainland officials. Paperwork in the islands was relatively simple. The stay is still limited in time and in the number of places you can visit with the boat. It’s likely to be more limited if you just show up with no paperwork.

When we added up all the costs, we wouldn’t have spent much more if we’d left the boat on the mainland and taken a local cruise out to the islands and stayed in a hotel. The costs to go anywhere as a tourist are the same whether you’re on your boat or in a hotel.
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Old 22-12-2019, 15:27   #9
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Re: Galapgos: Can I arrive without prior notice ?

Changes all the time but in 2016 yes you could do that. Many of our friends did. There were basically three options:

1) Emergency stop. Only the captain allowed ashore. Max stop 72 hours.

2) Arrival without Autographo. Limited to one port only - no travel between islands. Max. stay 3 weeks. Cost was approx. $800. In this case I highly recommend Santa Cruz as it's the only place where it's possible to do some stuff. Note also that it is possible to visit other islands using local tourist transport.

3) Arrival with Autographo. Three ports were available at that time. Check in is encouraged at San Cristobal. Max stay 8 weeks, although we found a way to legally stay for 10 weeks. Cost was about $1200 for two of us on a 36' monohull. Although the websites say you have to apply months in advance we were able to get ours in about 2 weeks. An agent is necessary whichever option you go for. Bolivar Pesantes was brilliant for us. We found his details on noonsite.
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Old 22-12-2019, 17:35   #10
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Re: Galapgos: Can I arrive without prior notice ?

$800 one port deal sounds good. Planning to possibly stop in April. Please post any other info about this "reasonable" option.
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Old 22-12-2019, 17:54   #11
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Re: Galapgos: Can I arrive without prior notice ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boatguy30 View Post
$800 one port deal sounds good. Planning to possibly stop in April. Please post any other info about this "reasonable" option.
Reading comprehension is your friend. Unless you have a time machine to go back to 2016 the $US800 is not an option; and may not have been available to all.

According to the noonsite link I posted earlier checking into the Galapagos is kinda like the "pirate code" more suggestions than rules. There was a long post at noonsite about a new port captain arriving at one of the islands and instantly changing the rules; only to be changed again when he left.

Consensus seems to be it cost around $US2,000 to $US2,500 to enter the Galapagos; but can be more depending on boat size as part of the fee is based on gross tonnage of the boat. A lot of folks also seem to "tip" officials to help grease the wheels.

Also keep in mind that the port captain can order you out of the Galapagos if he thinks you are trying to game the system. Bottom line is it is way more expensive to visit the Galapagos than most folks expect and often cheaper to take a guided tour than try and do it on your own boat.
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Old 22-12-2019, 19:35   #12
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Re: Galapgos: Can I arrive without prior notice ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomfl View Post
Reading comprehension is your friend. Unless you have a time machine to go back to 2016 the $US800 is not an option; and may not have been available to all.

According to the noonsite link I posted earlier checking into the Galapagos is kinda like the "pirate code" more suggestions than rules. There was a long post at noonsite about a new port captain arriving at one of the islands and instantly changing the rules; only to be changed again when he left.

Consensus seems to be it cost around $US2,000 to $US2,500 to enter the Galapagos; but can be more depending on boat size as part of the fee is based on gross tonnage of the boat. A lot of folks also seem to "tip" officials to help grease the wheels.

Also keep in mind that the port captain can order you out of the Galapagos if he thinks you are trying to game the system. Bottom line is it is way more expensive to visit the Galapagos than most folks expect and often cheaper to take a guided tour than try and do it on your own boat.
Wow, yea I would have expected the prices to have gone up but that's really a silly amount. And with the canal fees having just doubled too.....

Anyway, yea, they basically don't want yachts; they see us as a nuisance to be financially squeezed as much as they can get away with.

If you (the OP) do decide to go for option 2, pick Santa Cruz if you can. Basically all the provisions come on a boat from the mainland to Santa Cruz, then from there to San Cristobal, Isabella etc. so by the time they get to those other islands they're not in good shape. There is also much more general selection and the market on Saturday mornings is amazing (get there REALLY early, like 5am to do your final provisioning). Santa Cruz is also the only place you're likely to get cooking gas, any parts or basically anything else. The anchorage isn't great - rolly and a lot of incompetent local pilots (we were hit..... twice, while anchored) but the holding is good and it's otherwise got a good atmosphere. The fish market on the waterfront is great too. Make sure your bottom is really clean otherwise they will turn you away on arrival whether you have an autogrspho or not. I think that's it........
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Old 22-12-2019, 20:00   #13
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Re: Galapgos: Can I arrive without prior notice ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boatguy30 View Post
$800 one port deal sounds good. Planning to possibly stop in April. Please post any other info about this "reasonable" option.
[START RANT]

Why do some chowderheads consider showing up to a country without following the rules / proper procedures / laws as a "reasonable" option. It's not 'reasonable;' it is downright inconsiderate, rude, and selfish narcissism.

IMHO, folks like this are the googans of the cruising community, and only leave resentment and undesirable reputations in their wake.

[/END RANT]
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Old 23-12-2019, 09:06   #14
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Re: Galapgos: Can I arrive without prior notice ?

...apart from anything else you are bringing in your dirty bottom. They don't like that, and it is a danger to the environment.
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Old 23-12-2019, 09:40   #15
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Re: Galapgos: Can I arrive without prior notice ?

I sailed into the Galapagos with no permits. I was told I could stay for 3 days. I went to see the head of the navy, the navy runs the islands water. I spoke with him and told him I wanted to cruise the islands. He said come back tomorrow. I came back and he told me he had arranged for a boat with a guide to take us around the islands. I said I wanted to take my own boat. He said that is not possible. I asked how much the guide boat would cost. He said $900. I pulled out nine $100 bills and laid them on the table, I said how about if I paid you? He picked it up and said “Stay as long as you want, go where you want, I will put a guide on your boat”.

I stayed two weeks, had a wonderful time.

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