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#322379 - 02/04/09 02:10 PM International Arrivals
Belize-N-Us Offline
A poster got me thinking (once again) about international arrivals to San Pedro. The reference was to arrival by air.

May question is:
Can international boat arrivals come straight to San Pedro?

I'm not a sailer so I know nothing on this topic.

If international travelers can arrive direct to San Pedro via the water and clear customs, then what would be the difference in international air travelers arriving direct as far as customs clearance goes?

Edited by Belize-N-Us (02/04/09 02:10 PM)
Future full time Belizeans
Tommy & Sonia Blackledge
Magee, MS 601-849-1918

#322389 - 02/04/09 03:04 PM Re: International Arrivals [Re: Belize-N-Us]
ragman Offline
I'm not sure the date of this information:

Ports of Entry By Sea: Boats may clear customs and entry at Belize City, Dangriga, Big Creek, Punta Gorda and San Pedro, on Ambergris Caye. There is no customs officer in San Pedro; boats wishing to enter must pay the cost of transport for the customs officer to and from San Pedro from Belize City.


Normally no one can leave the vessel except the Captain (on Customs business) until the vessel has cleared.

Edited by ragman (02/04/09 03:06 PM)
Edit Reason: Additional info
Somewhere on a beach in Belize

#322392 - 02/04/09 03:15 PM Re: International Arrivals [Re: ragman]
cracked up Online   content
There is customs in San Pedro.

#322400 - 02/04/09 03:41 PM Re: International Arrivals [Re: cracked up]
Belize-N-Us Offline
Having personally cleared customs in a private aircraft several times, I can tell you there is not a major hassel involved.

The biggest hassel is having to unload everything for inspection. Not an issue if the port of entry is your final destination but a pain if your final destination is somewhere other than a port of entry.

Hence having SP as an airport of entry would be a major hassel reducer for the private plane owners or private charters to come direct and unload / clear customs then on to their hotel / house / condo, whatever.

My bet is it's similar to a boat clearance.

Edited by Belize-N-Us (02/04/09 03:42 PM)
Future full time Belizeans
Tommy & Sonia Blackledge
Magee, MS 601-849-1918

#322422 - 02/04/09 05:13 PM Re: International Arrivals [Re: cracked up]
ragman Offline
Again, I wasn't sure if the info was dated. If there is customs there and I believe that is true, then you (vessel captain) would not have to pay to transport customs officers to SP. There are always many issues with clearing in. Every country is different and I've found that some ports are different in the same country.

A lot of times there where overtime issues for the customs people, sometimes (quite often) customs would act as immigration, sometimes not. We always maintained radio nets with other vessels to get the up to date information for the port to be entered because it changes frequently. I'm not an airplane pilot so I know little of clearing in by plane although I've cleared vessels by hiking to the airport on occasion. If I was a pilot who wanted to clear a plane in at SP I would contact them ahead of time to see if this is possible.

Clearing customs was usually not a hassel and most customs people where pleasant if you where pleasant and reasonable with them. Some countries, not Belize, have a very poor reputation when it comes to clearing in by boat at least. Dominican Republic is one which comes to mind.

I have many amusing stories of clearing customs and I can usually be persuaded to tell them over a few rums.
Somewhere on a beach in Belize

#322459 - 02/04/09 06:53 PM Re: International Arrivals [Re: ragman]
Amanda Syme Offline
San Pedro is a fairly easy port to clear custom by sea. As mentioned before in this thread and others recently - ATTITUDE will dictate how you are treated. You shouldn't be asked to empty the boat - customs will board and poke around and if they need to investigate further they will let you know. Typically you are present the whole time to assist them getting into stow-a-way areas.

I haven't looked for it yet but there is a customs website you can refer to. And also look at the BAHA site. This covers agricultural imports which include seeds, plants, animal feed (read pet food.) I think it includes pharmaceuticals, medical devices etc.

Currently I am not completely up-to-date on the rules with firearms as the rules are changing quickly. But I would recommend confirming you can bring them first. In the old days you could hand them over to customs & police officers and pick them up on your way out of the country.

#322465 - 02/04/09 07:09 PM Re: International Arrivals [Re: Amanda Syme]
Peter Jones Offline
Having assisted many arriving boats when my business was based on the dock at the Yacht Club I can say that formalities in San Pedro are really "informalities". I never heard of anyone having a hard time, and I do know of one who volunteered that he had a gun on board. He was asked to surrender it for the duration of his stay and that was that. I didn't check, but I'm pretty sure he was given it back just before he cast off from the Yacht Club - he didn't have to reach the border first!

I suspect others had guns but didn't declare them. Chancey but their boats weren't searched.

I would think there must be provision for a visiting boat having firearms on board. There are too many boats being hijacked these days not to have some form of defence.

#322491 - 02/04/09 09:12 PM Re: International Arrivals [Re: Peter Jones]
ragman Offline
Peter, I always had firearms on board and it always went about as you described. In Bermuda, BVI & Trinidad I had to surrender all firearms and pick them up when I checked out. This meant that you always had to check out from the port that you checked in from. That is not a great problem in those particular countries. Other countries would allow weapons on board and some wanted me to lock them up which I had made provisions for. Some didn't care as long as the weapons stayed on board.

I would not recommend not declaring firearms. One captain in Jamaica received a prison sentence for not declaring a firearm when he got caught with one on board after clearing in. We would use are emergency flare guns as weapons if need be in countries where we where not allowed weapons. This happened once to a boat near me in Trinidad.
Somewhere on a beach in Belize

#322552 - 02/05/09 09:49 AM Re: International Arrivals [Re: ragman]
SP Daily Offline
The movie "Capt. Ron" had a great flare gun incident... Beware!

#322583 - 02/05/09 11:11 AM Re: International Arrivals [Re: SP Daily]
Amanda Syme Offline
The firearms laws have tightened up considerably this year in Belize. Unlicensed (Belizean licence) firearms carry a mandatory jail sentence. Which is why I said be sure to check with customs before traveling into Belizean waters. The changes to the firearms act is so new that the nuances are still being ironed out. In fact there is a fellow in remand, facing up to 7 years, for carrying a flare gun.

The port authority might be a good place to call about the legality of carrying a flare gun on a vessel in light of the new changes in law.

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