I have done the trip from Pensacola
, and have friends that do it regularly.
You will need charts
obviously, and the guide books
by Freya Rouscher & Nigel Caulder.
Get to the Keys by either a straight 3 day shot, or hug the coast, and pull in when you need a good night's rest.
Re-provision, and daysail to the Dry Tortugas
... Wait for a good weather
South, to as close to Cuba as "just off" of their seas. (To keep US coasties off your back). I think it was 5 miles off, but double check. This gets you beyond the strong Yucatan current
Follow the coast west, right around the west tip, and continue south, still just off of the coast.
As you are about to leave their coast, still going south, turn West and go to Isla Mujeras Mexico
. There is a STRONG North current
in the crossing! This is a wonderful place to hang for a while! (This 2.5 days from Dry Tortugas
to Isla, is the only real passage).
You can do a daysail to Puerto Aventuras, then an overnighter to Ixcalak to clear out of Mexico. ALWAYS DIVE YOUR ANCHOR
, it is hardpan here. I picked mine up and physically dropped it in a hole!
From here you can make a day hop down the coast, anchor
close in the lee of barrier islands, and the next day cut through the Belize
reef at San Pedro. (shallow draft
and a maneuverable boat help here) Otherwise there is a pass further down.
Now you have to enjoy the barrier reef... and if you like diving
, Lighthouse & Glovers Reef Atolls. Clear out @ Big Creek.
Next is a daysail to the mouth of the Rio @ Livingston. It has a 6' bar @ high tide, so if your draft
is not "way less", your position and timing must be perfect.
Once cleared in, on your way up the river, prepare for the scenery of a lifetime!
Anchor in El Golfete, then the next day you make it to your marina of choice, in "Gringoland"... Fronteres. It is cheep... Be sure to travel inland to Tikal, Antigua
, Lake Atitlan, etc. It is all a must see!