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Old 31-12-2010, 12:31   #1
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ABC Islands ?

Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao. Which is your favorate? I have not been to any and am dying to go. Cruiser friendly? Best spots to anchor? Thanks.
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Old 31-12-2010, 12:45   #2
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I guess you're coming from the east? first stop bonaire then. No anchoring, a mooring or marina is the only choice. Very tourist and scuba diving oriented. Big parties, music all night long etc. Most American cruisers love it and most Dutch cruisers prefer Curacao.. which is the next stop.

Curacao: perfect anchoring @ Spanish Waters. Try to get a permit to anchor in Fuik Baai for a weekend or longer. Big, modern supermarkets, you can buy anything you can think of here.
You need a car or a lot of patience. Taxis are expensive.

Aruba: As much as we hate Aruba when visiting by air (it's one big tourist trap, much like Disney World), we like it very much when visiting with our boat. Good anchorages, lots to explore by dinghy and nice bars and restaurants along the beach near the airport.

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Old 31-12-2010, 14:33   #3
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thanks

Thanks. Big help. I will try to do that trip during March to get away from the crowds of presidents week and Spring Break. Happy new year
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Old 01-01-2011, 07:38   #4
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Which ABC

One big attraction of Bonaire is that you will be moored in crystal clear water with nice reefs right behind your boat. They start at about 20ft and fall off to 80ft or so and are more suitable for diving than snorkeling. It was the first time we had seen water that nice since the Bahamas and Caicos. Groceries, restaurants, Budget Marine are all an easy walk. The mooring field has no protection from the west. We had to leave once for a few hours during a 'reversal'. Other boats went into the marina for the night.

Spanish Waters in Curacao is a beautiful and completely protected anchorage with many cruisers and activities, but when we were there swimming off the boat was not in any way inviting in the murky and worse water. It had rained incessantly so this may not always be the case, but still it is not ever a pristine lagoon. All shopping and services including check in/out are via bus.

We also found Aruba to be much more comfortable than expected being there on a boat. A major tourist destination but for good reasons.
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Old 01-01-2011, 08:58   #5
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Sailpassport has it dead right, we can't wait to get back to Bonaire for the diving, but the water in Spanish Waters is so murky I doubt we will return.
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Old 15-01-2011, 22:58   #6
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We love Aruba--have been 10 years now in a row by air ---we bought time share in the low rise area and the atmosphere is nothing like the tourist trap end of the high rise area--there are some spots on the north end that we go to see each year and each year we are glad "our" end of the island is nothing like what is up there!! too much good stuff to describe though in one post but if you hang out on the south end you will see less crowds, cheaper food, locals, some poverty a deep contrast to what those who just book through travel agency/internet deals get. Heck up on that end the Marriot has a $8(US) hot dog or a $16 hamburger with no sides or drink-but on the south end we know of a place where a "plate" of chicken, rice, and veggies, drink and all is more than one can eat and costs less than $6 each. They have a decent mass transit system that is not expensive. A lot of things have changed since they improved the road through the National Park such that many tourist now attempt to take rental "cars" instead of jeeps so it is not as primative and secluded as it once was but still impressive---there are still places that you can't get to unless you walk or dare to drive with a 4 wheel drive vehicle-and then walk the rest of the way-if you do drive you need to be an expert in rocky terrain. My wife said she never understood why the Jeep comercial had it sitting on top of a rock with no apparent way to see how it got up there or any way down until she went to Aruba and we went into the off road areas. the weather, food, drinking water--basically bottled water from the tap, and you can live as "high or low on the hog" as we say in the southern USA as you desire. The grocery stores have everything--like Vegas--nothing is grown there and everything is flown in or in Aruba by ship daily. The vacation trip by air can be expensive but once you know the ropes your costs can be cut by 2/3 in our experience. Being there with our sailboat for a few months is way up there on our dream list. Love that Aruba.
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Old 18-01-2011, 12:29   #7
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Bonaire and Aruba have been my favorite cruising spots. We loved the clean, clear water of Bonaire along with the fun restaurants. We enjoyed Aruba - after living aboard for two years - the restaurants, movie theater and fast food was appreciated. Plus the climate was absolutely perfect. I didn't want to leave.
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Old 18-01-2011, 12:39   #8
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We love Bonaire, but we are avid divers and love being under the water as much as above it. The diving in Bonaire is great.
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Old 20-01-2011, 08:38   #9
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I was thinking of sailing to ABC in the summer as I understand the climate is dryer than the Windwards in June, July, august. Is this true?
What about mosquitos? (they are really annoying in the summer in the Winwards...)
Is the passage from Grenada safe? I heard people expressing concerns about pirates, mostly from Venezuela. Anyone has insight on this?
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Old 20-01-2011, 12:31   #10
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It should be drier, but it wasn't this year.

Not as many mosquitos when it is dry.

If you are going directly to the ABC's from Grenada, there is very little to worry about. You will be significantly offshore and out of reach of the fishing boats used in Venezuela piracy.

We traveled from Grenada to Blanquilla, Roches and Aves before the ABC's. These are perfectly safe islands far enough offshore to not be accessible by pirogue.

There is more of a risk traveling through the Venezuelan islands closer to the mainland, but many, many people travel this area without incident.

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Old 21-01-2011, 19:01   #11
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I would second all that Mark and the others have stated However I would add Tortuga to the places to stop on the way.

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Old 23-01-2011, 13:25   #12
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anglooff, Tortuga is part of Venezuela? You need to checkin/out at another port of entry with customs and immigration before landing there on your way to ABC?
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Old 24-01-2011, 07:27   #13
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Actually one would be allowed to overnight at Tortuga, Los roches and Alves on the way. Indeed I meet many who do. One cannot however stay for an extended period. Mark had mentioned Blanquilla which is a port of entry and as such would allow extended stays at any of the islands mentioned.

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Old 13-08-2013, 19:25   #14
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I wonder if anyone has any more recent experience with Blanquilla and Las Alves, perhaps this year? We're making the passage from Grenada to Bonaire next month and thinking of stopping there. Paul
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Old 17-08-2013, 15:53   #15
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Re: ABC Islands ?

I was in Las Aves last year and would recommend it highly.
Just enter with good sunlight so you can pick your way through the maze of reef.
Once you are inside you will be happy you made the effort. Would not trust your GPS in Los Roques or Las Aves.
We stayed only a week on our way to Curacao after working out a deal with the Guarda on Grand Roque.
Have friends who traveled through Los Roques and never cleared in.....just stayed to the south and apparently the Guarda never leave Grand Roque.
I personally had no desire to see the interior of a Venezuelan prison so I paid the extortion fee which was quite worth it for the beauty that is there to see and not having to go to the mainland to clear in and out!
We found it quite safe and hope to get back someday.
It is quite spectacular so if you are heading to the ABC's then you MUST see Los Roques and Las Aves.
Have not been to any of the other islands off Venezuela.
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