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Old 23-01-2009, 09:43   #1
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Looking for Advice

Hello all,

Just wanted to know what you guys think is the best route from The Keys to The Bay Islands of Honduras (Roatan)? We are in the process of outfitting our new-to-us boat (9.2 Tiara yachts S2 Center Cockpit 4.5' draft) for the trip. All standing rigging and ground tackle has been redone, new roller furling, added a water maker and solar panels, storm sails, Engine overhual (yanmar 2QM15 great motor), had her surveyed and she is in top shape. We have made the trip to Mexico last year in my 1967 34' Cal (not in tip top shape) by hopping all around the coast in the gulf and finally making it to Cancun. US boat so we can't do Cuba. Also advice on what guides are the best for the area. TIA for the help!! Time frame is leaving March/April. Then going further south in May/June to miss the hurricanes or to ABC islands as they out of hurricane alley (any ideas welcome ). Does this sound like a doable plan? Not time constraints so open to other possiblities I apologize for the rambling post but the Cruising kitty has gotten big and the Dream is filling up all the room in my head
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Old 01-02-2009, 18:11   #2
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I made the same trip in opposite direction during 2007/2008. First of all the cruising guide you absolute must have is "Captain Freya Raucscher's Third Edition "To Belize and Mexico's Caribbean Coast incl. Guatemala's Rio Dulce." With this cruising guide you will easily plan and find your way along all beautiful area on your crusade.
Don't try to rush to your destination and best of all forget about a strickt schedule. Plan instead to spend much longer time than initially planned on Isla Mujeres in Mexico, San Pedro in Belize and the whole Belize archipelago inside as well outside the reef.
We spend 4 Months during the hurricane season in Rio Dulce in Guatemala and during the stay explored the country by exiting bus trips to different parts in Guatemala. One of the few extreme cheap countries left for sight seeing and tourist activities.
If you intend to go eastbound after Honduras I will recommend you to first go South to Panama and then follow the shore to San Blas archipelago. Afterward continue along the Colombian shore all the way to the ABC. Don’t forget to plan a long stay in Cartagena. Most cruiser’s underestimate their visit and find them self still being around 6 Months later.
Keep me updated of your actual routing…
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Old 02-02-2009, 08:44   #3
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Thank you!!

Sea Sprite,

Thanks for all the advice. I just ordered Captain Freya Raucscher's Third Edition "To Belize and Mexico's Caribbean Coast incl. Guatemala's Rio Dulce" off Amazon.com. We plan on being in Rio Dulce for the Hurricane season and then possibly heading to Roatan after that. We have no time schudule for this trip, so no rushing for us. If you have a list of places on the mainland to explore I would love to see it! Maybe we will see you in Rio Dulce in June and I can buy you a beer for the help and advice. I'll keep you updated as to where we are

P.S. What is the cost of living like in Rio Dulce as far as food, alcohol, and tourist sites stuff?
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Old 02-02-2009, 10:40   #4
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We were docked at Bruno’s Marina in Rio Dulce. The marina is convenient located on the mainland shore and neighbour to the town centre. Monthly docking cost was 175 $US and our Monthly bar bill including all liquid consumption was additional 600 $US per Month (a meal 5 $US and a beer 1.5 $US). If making your food yourself it’s VERY cheap to do the shopping in the nearby supermarket.

Concerning spare parts to your boat remember to bring them with you when leaving USA, it’s VERY expensive to buy, or order import of Marine Spare Parts, due to the local import costs.

Buy the Lonely Planet Tourist Guide over Guatemala. This guide describe the country and places to visit very well. Also Captain Freya Raucscher’s Cruising guide gives some information about places to visit.

Further down I have mentioned some of the places you absolutely must visit

Guatemala City 6 hours buss trip (AC and movie on board) from Rio Dulce. A 3 star hotel costs incl. breakfast 50 $US/Night. A nice and interesting city when visiting the secure places.
Shopping cost level 40 % lover than USA.

Antigua Town which we made by the “chicken buss” the local colorful buss stopped whenever somebody waved to the buss driver. The travel took altogether 75 minutes. Hotel costs 50 $US/Night incl. breakfast.

Panajachel on the Northern lakeside of Lago Atitlan 2 ½ hours exiting drive. Hotel costs 35 $US/Night excl. breakfast. Make some tours around the lake called the most beautiful in the World.

Sundays and Thursdays are the big market days in Chichicastenago, 90 Minutes drive from Panajachel. Don’t stay over night due to terrible hotels with exclusive prices. Instead return to Panajachel after the marked.

2 days tour till Tikal for exploring the famous Maya ruins in the jungle.

Agua Caliente in Lago Izabel, a hot water spring flushing out from one of the volcanic mountains.

Puerto Barrios, 2 ½ hours drive, for special needed shopping items, or Morales, 1 hour drive, for general items not found in Rio Dulce’s shopping areas.

Start ramsida

Above web adress brings you to Nauticat Club in Sweden and there you can find some articles covering Sea Sprite's expeditions during 2007. You will find them under page "Hem" and page "reseberättelser".

Looking forward to the beer....
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Old 02-02-2009, 12:22   #5
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Can't wait!!

Hans-Martin,

Thanks for all the info it's a huge help!!! The list of places is great and seems like a great place to be. We'll have to setup a diner night once we get there..... I'm buying (although that might be dangerous after looking at your monthly bar bill)

Hope to see ya soon,

Rob
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Old 02-02-2009, 20:42   #6
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Hi Rob,
Sea Sprite hit all the major stuff, a really good summary. Tikal will knock your socks off.

A couple of tidbits on the communication side of the house. Cell phones are very inexpensive down here. The phones are around 30-40 dollars. They sell the pay as you go cards in denominations. By waiting for what they call a Triple Day, you can have the ability to dial up the US for about 5 cents a min.

Another late development is the availability of a cell powered 3G network that covers the Marinas in the area. You can pick up a USB device that plugs in to your computer and your on the net for about 39.00 / month at broadband speeds anchored out... These are pay as you go also.

The dock prices have climbed a bit in the last few months, but that depends on what your looking for... anywhere from 200+/- to 300+/- electricity at most marinas is around 40 cents a kw. Unlike the islands, potable water here is free at dockside. Mostof it is filtered, and UV treated well water... check with the marina about how they treat their water.

I spend about 300 a month on food... and I eat out almost every meal... If I were to eat on board (like I should be doing) it would probably be sub 200.00. And I would probably be sub 230lbs as well.

Rauchers Guide is great for coming through Belize...so you will be fine there. Dont rush Belize... its awesome. Pavlidis has a guide out also, and it has more detail on the Rio itself.

There are two haul out facilities here, one with a travel lift the other with a rail lift. The rail lift facility will not allow you to do your own work, the travel lift facility will though. If you are even thinking about doing a bottom job here. Bring your own paint. You can find paint here, a new store opened and they have heaps of paint, but pricey.

Cheers
Jim
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Old 03-02-2009, 07:44   #7
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Great!

El Jeem,

Thanks for all the info, the wife was wondering about the phone situation (I just told her they don't work down there) for her Sunday calls to her family. Also the internet is great to have for that price as I use it alot. We are pretty healthy eaters so we will be cooking most of the time on board and we are now used to living in Miami where I'm sure the cost of living is a bit higher so we have become very frugal as I don't believe coffee should cost $7 for a cup (this does include whip cream though)
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Old 03-02-2009, 17:00   #8
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I forgot to tell you that Rio Dulce have there own forum where you can see past and future activities. The web address is:

riodulcechisme.com - Home

You might have to register for making any notes or questions on the forum.
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Old 04-02-2009, 17:50   #9
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to answer the origional question...........

in the fall of 1992 my wife and I sailed from Key West to Fort Jeff, waited for good weather and then headed around the west end of Cuba, direct to the Bay Islands. Reach to close reach all the way and an all together a nice sail.

Might be a bit hard to reach to ABC's comfortably from the Bay Islands.
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