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Old 01-12-2013, 20:33   #1
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Panama To Florida: Port And Entry Fees Along The Way

Hi,

I'm planning to sail from Panama to Florida early in 2014 (Feb-March).

What costs should I expect to get in: Costa Rica (not sure I need to stop there), Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Belize, Mexico, Cuba and finally USA (Florida)?

Also, what should I plan approx. for the travel time? Do you have details of approx. time between stop overs from Panama (Bocas del Toro) to Honduras (Roatan)?

From Roatan, I'll go to Utila (Honduras), Plancencia (Belize), Isla Mujeres (Mexico) and then North Shore of Cuba and Florida.

Thanks,
Ben
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Old 01-12-2013, 22:02   #2
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Don't recall all the fees exactly, way past my bed time, but some route info below.

Typical route would skip CR and Nicaragua. CR's Carib coast just does not have a lot to attract cruisers. The Nic Carib coast is much more interesting but is a potentially dicey area...a number of cruising boats have had security issues there and several I know of who've cleared in/out at Bluefields have had issues. Corn Islands are not frequently visited by cruisers but seem to be less problematic.

Most boats headed from Panama into the NW Carib head first to Providencia, Colombia (cool place, actually off the Nic coast). Then typically stop in at Vivarillos and/or the Hobbies. No clearance here, just a remote area off the NE corner of Nic/Honduras. Then on to the Bay Islands of Honduras. Most avoid mainland Honduras these days due to security issues.

Then on to Rio Dulce, Guatemala and/or Belize...and on North. Some skip Belize entirely, due to official hassles, but the hassles are minor and it is a great cruising ground.

Maybe more when I am less sleepy....
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Old 01-12-2013, 22:12   #3
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Re: Panama to Florida: Port and entrey fees along the way

Three years ago it was about $150-200 to check in/out of Providencia, $6 for Bay Islands, and $150-200 for Mexico. I'd skip the rest.
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Old 02-12-2013, 07:27   #4
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A bit more on timing and routing. Depends of course on your boat, average speed you can make, and wind conditions, but mostly relativley short runs.

Review Pilot Charts for average wind and sea state conditions. Winds tend to be more variable S of 11N and will effect your planning. Also there is a variable area of higher average waves off of Colombia that can extend further W at times. Also see Pilot Charts for that.

Bocas to Providencia is one of the longer legs at about 240 nm. From there to the Vivarillos area about another 200 nm. Most cruisers stop in here to rest up and enjoy this beautiful remote area. On this route once you make the turn to head a bit more W then you have a favorable angle on the prevailing trade winds and can run down wind all the way to Belize or head up a bit and just shoot for Mexico.

Vivarillos to Guanaja, Bay Islands is about another 160 nm. The land effect of the mountainous Honduran main land is dramatic. In close to the coast winds back (shift West in this case) and lighten significantly. This is handy when trying to get E against the prevailing trades, but heading W you will want to stay well off the coast (more secure too) and get out into the trades. Just N of Bay Islands you are well clear of any land effect and normally have strong prevailing trades from the NE to SE depending on time of year. Just look at the winds in any prevailing conditions (no fronts etc) GRIB data to see this effect...N of Roatan the trades will be honking, but a bit S they will moderate and back. The Bay Islands are a great cruising ground.

From the Bay Islands, the further S and W you go the more likely you are to get out of the trades. So keep your course N of the Bay Islands as much as possible to keep good wind. If making for Belize then any course S of Ranguana Pass you a very likely to lose the prevailing trades. Ranguana Pass is the best option for heading to Placencia and only about 70 nm from Utila. If you make directly for Rio Dulce, Guatemala then you will like lose the trades before you are abeam of Puerto Cortez. Heading more N to Belize City is longer but will keep you in the trades.

Moderate amounts of commercial traffic in this area running parallel to the Honduran coast and N in the Yucatan Channel so keep a good watch.
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:33   #5
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Re: Panama to Florida: Port and entrey fees along the way

Thanks BelizeSailor and Donradcliff,

I am planing to go to Providencia. Can I resupply easily there (water, diesel if I need to, food?).

What about Vivorillos Cays as far of resupply? Is there a port of entry into Honduras there or should I wait until getting to Guanaja?

Thanks,
Ben
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Old 02-12-2013, 10:39   #6
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Re: Panama to Florida: Port and entrey fees along the way

You can get anything you want (including Alice) in Providencia--you need an agent to check in, and he can arrange things.

The Vivorillos have absolutely nothing but an anchorage, and you may be alone there if its not shrimping season.
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Old 02-12-2013, 18:36   #7
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Vivarillos is totally undeveloped, which is part of the appeal, so no provisioning or port of entry there....unless you can talk a Honduran fishing vessel out of something.

You can clear at any of the Bay Islands, including Guanaja. Honduran officials don't care if you stop in Vivarillos, even for an extended time, so no worries about clearing in later when you reach a port of entry.
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