Heading for Colombia? - guides to cruising

by nk 
Bahia Guayraca of Five Bays in Colombia - excellent for an overnight stay, but watch out for the Katabatic winds
.. .
The government of Colombia is hoping that a new guide for sailors will set yachting tourism on Colombia's Caribbean coast on a new course.

The Minister for Tourism, Sergio Diaz Granados at last month's launch of the guide, said it will seek to attract up to 10% of the nearly two million yachts in the Caribbean sea. The idea germinated from the Fishing Club of Cartagena, who came up with the concept 11 years ago, and whose members contributed hours of work and information free of charge.

Cartagena mayor Bruce Mac Master Rojas, was also at the presentation and said that 'now we see that Colombia is finally entering the international standards of sailing and tourism that we have been relatively backward in compared to other coutries of the greater Caribbean.

Now this is all excellent information, except that, in spite of many emails of request to different parties, Sail-World has not so far been able to find where you can obtain this new guide.

Other cruising sailors in the region have, in the meantime, been filling the gap for years.

For some excellent information on sailing Colombia, Lourae and Randy from Pizazz have long been supplying this free, and here's a link on http://www.caribbeancompass.com/colfin.htm!Caribbean_Compass.

Here is another link that is used by the http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Cruisers_Network_Online!Cruisers_Network_Online for South America, which features some low cost online cruising guides and some free ones.

There you will find, as well as Colombia, some links to additional Free Resources:

The Lesser Known Coast - Pacific Colombia (2009)
Research Info on Cruising Pacific Coast of Columbia(2008)
Bahia del Sol Cruisers Guide (2008)
Ecuador Cruising Guide written by Cruisers (2009)
La Libertad, Ecuador Guide (2009)
Bahia de Caraquez Ecuador Approach and Exit
Bahia de Caraquez Ecuador Town Resources (2008)
Crossing the ITCZ
Weather Patterns during El Nino/La Nina

All these resources are invaluable to cruisers heading for these areas, and difficult to know that they exist. The guide for Pacific Colombia is particularly valuable for those crossing the Caribbean on their way to the Panama Canal.

The information has been put together by Sherrell and Eric on SV Sarana, who are a couple of corporate types who found a better way of life cruising, but their energy has now been directed into making life easier for other cruisers.

Click http://www.sailsarana.com/guide!here for access to all of the above - and this is all promulgated by the Cruisers Network Online. Think about joining them too! (link above)

The New Guide:
It's good that Colombia itself is finally doing something, because they are estimating that the new guide could create around 15,000 jobs. These are the calculations made by the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Sergio Diaz-Granados , who also attended the presentation of the first Nautical Guide and Tourism of Colombia. Even though we have not yet been able to see it for ourselves, the guide purports to cover such areas as Bolivar, Magdalena, Chocó, San Andres and Providencia, Atlantico, Sucre, Cordoba , La Guajira, Valle del Cauca and Nariño.

Endnote: Cruisers heading for Colombia should check the latest information on the security situation, preferably with other cruisers and sites who are in the area.