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Old 13-04-2013, 16:13   #1
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Best Destination for College Students End of Summer Trip

Hey,

I'm looking at chartering a boat somewhere in the Caribbean as a way to end my summer (As well as my friends). If you have a minute, I would really appreciate any tips / suggestions or thoughts!

Dates: Mid August
Group Size: 8-12
Boat: Probably a cat unless we squeeze 8 into a 45+ monohull

Questions:
How concerned should I be about running into a tropical storm / hurricane? Would you tend toward Belize vs the islands because it's a lower risk?

How much more expensive is food / supplies in Caribbean vs Belize? I assume you have to pay for water in port in the various Caribbean islands? In terms of cost, looking at prices it appears the BVI are the cheapest? Is this true?

How dangerous would you consider Belize? There was the article about the catamaran being attacked last year (Or so?). Is it a real threat? Tentatively we were thinking about flying to Cancun and busing it from there to Belize to save ~$200 or so on flights. Is southern Mexico / Cancun safe enough to bus through?

While we all love to sail, we also enjoy patronizing the local establishments for several drinks. Where would you your choice of destination for a group of (Mostly male) 20-24 year olds?

Is there any charter companies you would avoid in the Caribbean?

Has anyone ever boot a charter through LateSail.com?

Thanks!
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Old 13-04-2013, 16:17   #2
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I'd consider the Moorings in La Paz (Baja, MX)
In the BVI's I'd suggest basing out of Tortola

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Old 13-04-2013, 20:23   #3
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Re: Best Destination for College Students End of Summer Trip

You could not pick a worse area or a worse time. The BVI in August are right on hurricane highway. They are also most expensive in the eastern Caribbean.

There are no safe areas at that period in this part of the world. Venezuela is not subject to hurricanes (Los Roques for example) but the pirates will get you and there are very few charter boats.

The more south the safer you are. Still, August and September are high risk period.

Charter on lake Champlain or Long Island Sound.
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Old 13-04-2013, 20:31   #4
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Re: Best Destination for College Students End of Summer Trip

Late summer in the BVI or Belize you will be in height of hurricane season. However, hurricanes are 99,9% of the time tracked for days or even weeks before they hit, especially in the BVI.

BVI is a great place for vacation and chartering and about as safe as it gets.

If that's the time you have book a charter but ask about policies for hurrican refunds on charter, airline tickets, etc and start watching the weather a couple of weeks before you leave the states.
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Old 13-04-2013, 21:31   #5
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Re: Best Destination for College Students End of Summer Trip

During August there will almost always be something to watch. Yes they are tracked but mostly they refuse to go where they are told they should go.

So if you play safe, you will have to pospone or cancel. If you go you are at risk.

I have been sailing and living aboard on the Caribbean since 1995. The only safe place is Venezuela. You could charter at Los Roques. The BVI are in a minor league compared to this. This part of Venezuela is not dangerous. You fly to Caracas and from there directly to Gran Roque.
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Old 14-04-2013, 06:52   #6
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Belize is hot that time of year, but is cheaper than BVI. I wouldn't fret about the possibility of a storm during a weeks time, just be aware that it can happen and plan accordingly.
As far as charter co's I'm partial to TMM, but not for any particular reason.
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Old 14-04-2013, 10:48   #7
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Re: Best Destination for College Students End of Summer Trip

Thanks for your feedback! What in your opinions would be the most fun for a group of college students / recently graduated? What is the most college friendly destination?
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Old 14-04-2013, 11:23   #8
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Re: Best Destination for College Students End of Summer Trip

Quote:
Originally Posted by gbam View Post
Thanks for your feedback! What in your opinions would be the most fun for a group of college students / recently graduated? What is the most college friendly destination?
Los Roques no doubt about that! The Latin spirit is always festive. The setting is magical.

Los Roques Boat index

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Old 14-04-2013, 11:46   #9
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Re: Best Destination for College Students End of Summer Trip

I think if you want to eat out, go to the local bars etc, the Virgins, Antigua, St. Martin etc are good choices.
Mexico/Sea of Cortez has too much distance between anchorages. Belize I havent been to, but not sure it's as easy as the Caribe for what you want. Hurricanes form as tropical depressions of the coast of Africa. They are usualy tracked for 1-2 weeks prior to hitting the Caribe. Worst case you could end up missing your charter... not good. You might ask if the company you charter from has any "trip loss" insurance. I've used the Moorings 3 times, had excellent trips every time. It's a roll of the dice on the hurricanes. June is alot less likely than August....
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Old 14-04-2013, 17:06   #10
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I would suggest getting travel insurance and going where you want to go.
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Old 14-04-2013, 18:31   #11
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My 2c:

Best weather in Belize is in the spring.

Hurricane season probably not a big safety risk given todays forecasting as long as you are paying attention and act early. However, late season storms here in the NW Carib can spin up just N of Honduras w little notice...leaving you much less time react than early season storms that spin up in the Atlantic. Summer weather in Belize is generally nice during the day, hot of course, but squally at night...always use more protected anchorages in summer. Some of these squalls can get intense.

Nightlife. Not exactly party central. Limited in Belize moslty to Ambergris Caye and to a lesser degree Caye Cauker and Placencia...the vast majority of the dozens of cayes inside the barrier reef are uninhabited or nearly so. Natural "wildlife" is the real draw of Belize not artificial.

Safety. Bad stuff can happen anywhere at anytime, but Belize is an unlikely destination for trouble. The attack on the Moorings boat is the only one which has happened to a foreign vessel ever to my knowledge.

Belize waters are complex...hire a local captain...this will reduce stress and allow you to enjoy your vacation more...it will also allow you to venture into areas normally prohibited to bareboats...like the offshore atolls...and get you more of an entre into local culture.

Way cool route suggestion...book a one way charter from Belize to Rio Dulce Guatemala...and then spend some time traveling in Guate. The contrast between the two is amazimg...like different worlds in every possible way but physically only a short distance apart. Ive run this route many many times and it still amazes me...from barrier reef to jungle river in one day. Many boats are heading to the Rio for off season maintenance anyway around this time. And if a hurricane should spin up the Rio is where they will run to anyway.
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