Byline: Capt. Pat Rains
Guatemala has yacht marinas on the Pacific and Caribbean, so new customs rules affect yachts on both sides.
According to Raul Ship’s Agency in the port of Livingston, on the Caribbean, the Guatemalan SAT (Customs) is still issuing permits that allow visiting yachts to stay in the country for either 90 days or one year, their choice.
And the permits are still renewable. But the recently announced change means that yacht owners must now renew their SAT permits at least 30 days before they expire.
He said that the owners of foreign-registered boats can no longer pay a small fine for staying in country after their permit has expired. They will now have to import their boats into Guatemala, paying about 30 percent of the value of the boat. Raul said the new system is not yet fully implemented on all port computers throughout Guatemala, but he expects that it will be soon.
Rio Dulce, known as a safe hurricane hole, is the largest cruising grounds in Guatemala, housing more than 20 marinas and an estimated 1,200 yachts year-round. On the Pacific side, Puerto Quetzal is the only yacht port, and it houses one full-service marina.