Latvia [legacy]

Note: as this is a legacy page, we are no longer checking the links periodically. The information and links (if they still work) are here for interest only.

  • Customs and Immigration Formalities
    Latvia seems to have a different spin on private yachts and mooring whereby each harbour has its own form of the rules. Yachts are moored within the “Muitas Zona” (Custom or Border Control Zones) and consequently enter and leave harbours with paper work associated. When we exited Latvia we had to produce the copy of the crew list that had been endorsed and stamped at our port of entry. We described below what formalities we found at each harbour but these may in fact depend on which officer checked us in as much as which harbour we were being checked into.
  • Money Matters
    Our pounds sterling traveler cheques seemed to experience a 6% to 8% penalty. The preferred method was US Dollars or any currency linked to the US dollar. Deutsche Marks were exchanged at reasonable prices where as Swedish Kroner traded at a disadvantageous rate. Often things (souvenirs, charts) were quoted in US Dollars although the conversion to Latvian Latts was equally acceptable (we never paid for anything in US Dollars while in Latvia).

Liepaja

We entered from Lithuania at the port of Liepaja. A yacht facility is currently being built as far into the harbour as one can go (i.e. immediately before the first bridge) on the starboard side. Although no signs were there with instructions, the border control officers arrive with your own “yacht agent”. A small Border Patrol launch was moored there which we contacted but if no one is in sight then call on VHF Channel 11 and ask for “Pass Control”. We were assigned a yacht agent by the name of Raivo Blumbergs (raivo_bk@mail.lv) whose business card lists him as associated with the Yacht Club of Liepaja. A beautiful wharf especially for yachts had just been built 2 weeks before we arrived, the toilet and shower facilities were virtually completed and work on the general area was underway. Mooring was side to the quay (although they might be planning to install mooring buoys). Both water and electricity are available on the yacht wharf, the price is 5 Latts per night. Raivo was extremely helpful and gave many excellent directions and explanations. The town has many restaurants, well stocked food stores and bars all within walking distance. An Internet Cafe is no more than 10 minutes walk where 3 machines are available for 0.04 Latts per minute. The town is very friendly, people in the service industry tended to speak a few words of English, menus tended to be in Latvian only. We requested diesel while there but the commercial filling station for ships was not interested in selling minor quantities to yachts and so we had to bring the fuel from the nearest gas station for cars in cans (about 10 minutes walk from the yacht moorage). Notification of departure must be given 1 hour prior to your intended departure so that the appropriate officials may attend your boat (the yacht agent brings them to your boat).

Ventspils

The yacht marina is as far into the fishing harbour as possible. Electricity, hot showers are available, mooring is stern to a buoy with bow to the quay. Border Control formalities were handled by the man running the marina who also in our case got approval for us to clear for departure in advance (we were only staying 6 hours before setting off). Outside the gates of the “Muitas Zona” are two small shops which also seem to act as bars (one even having seats to sit on while drinking your poison). There is a slight impression of the wild west to the area immediately outside of the “Muitas Zona”.

Roja

Roja had just completed some pontoons for alongside mooring and were expecting a block of toilets and showers soon. A lovely seaside resort town (village), Roja has two stores (one open 24 hours a day), a large hotel complex, a few stores and some cafes. Once again mooring is inside a “Muitas Zona”, exiting this zone takes one to the hotel complex which has a couple of restaurant/bars, toilets, showers and sauna. The charge for a shower at the hotel was 2 Latts which seemed to be the price in spite of whether one or two persons were showering (the showers are located behind the bar). A museum is open during the tourist months and the harbour is quite sheltered. The entrance buoy has been removed but is not necessary with the two guiding lighthouses on the piers.

Riga

The marina behind the Latvian Shipping Company terminal has all the necessities. Mooring is stern to a buoy and bow to the quay. Showers, toilets, water, electricity and even a swimming pool are provided. The marina is as far up the river as possible and then to the port side before the first bridge (actually behind the cruise ship terminal). A bar and restaurant are in the marina but the bar had no wine and the restaurant had no menu so nothing further can be reported. A chart agency is 15 minutes walk away, the details of which are available from the harbour master who seems to have most things at his fingertips. 24 hour security is provided at the marina. A Stat Oil service station is across the road from the marina and has diesel available. Diesel is also be available through the harbour master. The beautiful old town of Riga is about 10 to 15 minutes walk away with many restaurants, bar, sightseeing destinations. Five minutes walk away is the cruise ship terminal which has many services catering to the cruise ship passengers such as souvenirs, money exchange, a bar – all of which seem to be priced in hard currency. An excellent cyber cafe is in the old town at 10 Kalku Street on the second floor and has 30 very fast terminals available.

Saracgliva

A small harbour located halfway between Riga and Pärnu, Estonia. The day we arrived they connected up the electricity on the pontoon which has 4 buoys for bow-to-pontoon mooring. Although the information we encountered mentioned no features in the town we found 3 bars, a well stocked grocery store which is open until midnight and some restaurants. The bar immediately above the yacht pontoon has a sign for sauna and also operates a restaurant as well as the bar. It was unclear whether the price of 6 Latts per night included the use of the shower/sauna at the bar above or whether you would pay separately (as one does in Roja). The Latvian Border Patrol is in Saracgliva and so you can check out of the country on your way to Estonia from there.


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