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Old 10-05-2008, 11:18   #16
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Keep me posted on this marina. We may be interested. I know there's some good surfing in the area. I have a friend that owns a place down there and he loves it.
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Old 10-05-2008, 12:29   #17
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We are heading to Panama soon (unless plans change etc) and intend to clear in a Colon (so well named) and get the agent onto the job getting us a date for transit.
No matter how much I wanted to get to the Pacific, if I were in St. Maarten, it would take me about a year to get to Panama - too many cool places in between. Once in Panamanian waters, it would probably take me awhile to get around to going for the canal. Here are some logs from the San Blas:

Cruising World - Sitting Around The Pool
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Old 10-05-2008, 13:55   #18
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Starfish,

Please keep us informed also. Please put on your mailing list.
We are in Mexico now and we will be in that area in a year or so.
Have you seen the Central America cruising guide at:
Cruising Central America -- A Cruising Guide to Central America

Greg
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Old 10-05-2008, 14:18   #19
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Here are some logs from the San Blas:

Thanks!!! Good reading. Better get chart'in up
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Old 10-05-2008, 16:24   #20
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Having lived a few years in Panama which included living in Bocas province, I will chip in my few cents. The main island, Colon and the bay became a very attractive protected harbour prior to the opening of the Panama Canal with a large European presence (over 13 consulates) late 1800 early 1900. In the late 1800 the United Fruit Company entered buying out some small banana grower exporters who were growing bananas along the coast line and the islands within the bay. The company set up its office on Colon Island in the capital of the province. The main street and park was all mangrove until United land filled, to construct the town. What is now the Hotel Thomas was the companies head office, the walk in safe is still there. Isla Solarte just across the shipping channel is where the company had its hospital, the point of the island being called hospital point. A gentleman, ex- United fruit company research entomologist, Clyde Stevens lives there half the year and is an expert on the history, fauna, etc of the region, and loves to have visitors to chat but you should bring the beer.
Around 1908 the company constructed a railroad, the harbour of Almirante and planted banana farms on the mainland, thus the islands died down to a slow but attractive ambience for the next 90 years, then about 2000 access to the area via road opened up and tourism on a larger scale started and beer went from $0.50 a bottle to $1.50 or higher and the $2.50 dinner went to Miami prices. When last there, two marinas were operating, there is an active expat community of all nationalities and it continues to be a lovely place
For cruisers it is completely out of the hurricane belt, the area is two large bays with islands littered within the bays, the most attractive bay being Almirante but not the harbour. The ambiance for me is attractive, no negative issues apart from it rains most of the year, no pronounced dry or wet season, the driest being just before Easter and September/October, the wettest December. The other is, it is somewhat isolated from the main stream of Panama.
From the picture shown just up through the channel between the mangroves islands is were my sons paddled out to catch small snapper for dinner or whatever.
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Old 12-05-2008, 10:28   #21
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Cameron,
You seem very knowledgeable about the area. The two marinas operating apparently have waiting lists, and are a bit pricier than our slips. I think they are getting US$0.60/ft transient and US$8.50/ft/month long term. The larger of the two was on the market for $8M. The smaller was being offered for sale at $1.5M. We are planning to build our retirement homes there and live there, with some slips for rent and a little "cruiser's lounge" to help on the costs. The area does have a thriving expat community, and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute located there brings in some interesting sorts to talk with. Here's their website if you haven't seen it.
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

What we're hoping to create is a "Green Marine Community" with some casitas on shore and slips adjacent for like-minded cruisers/retirees/ expats/free spirits. The area of Solarte has a hotel now (clothing optional) on the next point after the one we're looking at. Here's their website: Garden of Eden Bocas del Toro Panama

Again, we are at the planning stages and are looking for insights/ideas /interest levels in this sort of thing. Based on what I'm getting from ya'll, it seems like the interest is certainly there!
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Old 12-05-2008, 10:31   #22
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I haven't seen this. Thanks for the heads up!
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Starfish,

Please keep us informed also. Please put on your mailing list.
We are in Mexico now and we will be in that area in a year or so.
Have you seen the Central America cruising guide at:
Cruising Central America -- A Cruising Guide to Central America

Greg
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Old 12-05-2008, 12:39   #23
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Approach depth?
Electric?
What are the plans for sewage?
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Old 12-05-2008, 14:04   #24
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Therapy,
Approach depth is the big plus, as it's deep all the way through with the shallowest spots still over 15 feet or so and a similar depth through the basin. Electric and septic will be in the plans, with those tied into a "clubhouse" with laundry, internet, TV room, library (paperbacks) & kitchen & shower. Basically the clubhouse will be part of the caretaker's home & will be the center for servicing the docks/yachts and providing a few niceties.

Where in Florida are you located? I'm in Jupiter (northern Palm Beach County). I'm pleasantly surprised by all of the response from Florida people. A lot of the expats in Bocas are Floridians who got tired of the hurricances, high prices and "cold" winters. There are Florida State University and UF chairs & stuff for sale in the hardware stores down there! You can catch a flight from Miami and be on the ground in Bocas in about five hours.
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Old 12-05-2008, 14:19   #25
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Therapy,
Approach depth is the big plus, as it's deep all the way through with the shallowest spots still over 15 feet or so and a similar depth through the basin. Electric and septic will be in the plans, with those tied into a "clubhouse" with laundry, internet, TV room, library (paperbacks) & kitchen & shower. Basically the clubhouse will be part of the caretaker's home & will be the center for servicing the docks/yachts and providing a few niceties.

Where in Florida are you located? I'm in Jupiter (northern Palm Beach County). I'm pleasantly surprised by all of the response from Florida people. A lot of the expats in Bocas are Floridians who got tired of the hurricances, high prices and "cold" winters. There are Florida State University and UF chairs & stuff for sale in the hardware stores down there! You can catch a flight from Miami and be on the ground in Bocas in about five hours.

Sounds really good. Really good indeed!!
Now about the wife wanting to visit.

I am in Land O lakes. 45 min W of Tarpon Springs..........with a 16ft Jon..........for right now...........
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Old 15-05-2008, 14:40   #26
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Starfish,
What do you estimate the local expat population to be?

mm
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Old 15-05-2008, 17:45   #27
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Sounds great. We plan to sail down to Honduras next winter and want to spend some time off of Panama. Good luck with your project.
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Old 16-05-2008, 07:48   #28
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Surfing Bocas Del Toro

Keep me posted on this marina. We may be interested. I know there's some good surfing in the area. I have a friend that owns a place down there and he loves it.

Heres a website with a good video of surfing off pangas. The break is on the north side of Colon, probably a 25-minute Panga ride from where we're trying to do our thing. We're going down in two weeks and should be able to start selling lots/docks right after that.

Welcome to Bocas Del Toro Panama
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Old 16-05-2008, 07:51   #29
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Starfish,
What do you estimate the local expat population to be?

mm
The population in Colon (Bocas Town) is several thousand. The census had the population right at 10,000 for the area. It's definitely thinly populated. I would guess expats are close to 50% of the population.
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Old 16-05-2008, 07:53   #30
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Sounds great. We plan to sail down to Honduras next winter and want to spend some time off of Panama. Good luck with your project.
Thanks! We're not developers, so we can sure use all of the good luck that we can get!
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