Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 12-03-2013, 10:37   #1
Registered User
 
caradow's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Connecticut/Caribbean
Boat: Voyage 440 Owners Version
Posts: 472
Panama for the Summer

Thinking about bringing my boat down from the Cayman's to Panama for the Hurricane season. May would be the time I would go. Would probably keep it in Bocas del Toro and spend some time in the San Blas Islands.

Hoping someone who has been there recently would have the time to let me know about fees for Panama and any restrictions on how long I could stay. Considering the Red Frog Marina as a temporary home.

Also ANY information about cruising Panama would be appreciated.

Unfortunately I am a part time cruiser so flying in and out of Bocas del Toro would have to be practical. Theoretically would bring the boat back to the Cayman's in December, so looks like the trip back north could be painful.
I have pretty much been all over the Caribbean including Venezuela so trying to decide where to go next. Ultimately I want my boat back in the Cayman's to continue my discovery of Cuba just don't want to do it in Hurricane season.
__________________

__________________
caradow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2013, 10:50   #2
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 3,949
Re: Panama for the Summer

Not sure on the latest fees and such, but Bocas del Toro is doable. For some reason that area didn't appeal to me all that much. The airport is a small one, and I doubt there are direct flights to the USA from there, but I am uncertain. You might want to consider keeping your boat in Shelter Bay or Panamarina further to the east, which would give you much quicker access to the San Blas, and you could fly in and out of Panama City direct. Another option might be to sail down to Providencia, and then direct to the San Blas, and then do an overnighter to Cartagena and leave your boat there. There are pretty good flights in and out of Cartagena, and it is one overnight to the San Blas. It would certainly be doable getting back to the Caymans in December, but as you have surmised winds and seas will be up. Split up the trip in Providencia.
__________________

__________________
Kettlewell Cruising
Kettlewell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-03-2013, 01:40   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: West Indies
Boat: Burger 74' motor yacht, 65 foot 12 metre, Flicka and sailing dinghy
Posts: 635
There are flights to Bocas from San Jose and Panama City.Rustic.But safer to leave a boat there from Cartagena.
__________________
To a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
dohenyboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-03-2013, 08:37   #4
Registered User
 
lorenzo b's Avatar

Join Date: May 2009
Location: Panama
Boat: Steel trawler 63' Eileen Farrell
Posts: 961
Re: Panama for the Summer

The fees are not bad, you get a 12 month cruising permit and a 6 or 12 month visa for about $300 in Bocas, cheaper in Porvenir. Red Frog is expensive but good. The cheapest place to leave a boat is the Rio, and you can do the Bay Islands in hurricane season if you are careful, but your draft must be 6.5 or less.
__________________
lorenzo b is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-03-2013, 08:54   #5
Registered User
 
jeremiason's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Punta Gorda, Florida
Boat: Sea Ray 270
Posts: 1,427
Images: 2
Send a message via ICQ to jeremiason Send a message via Yahoo to jeremiason Send a message via Skype™ to jeremiason
Re: Panama for the Summer

I think Cartagena or Santa Marta, Columbia would be a better bet or as suggested the Rio Dulce.

We just spent from July 2012 to February 2013 there and I have to tell you if I spend another rainy season in Panama it will be too soon

You might want to read up a little on the rainy season in Panama before chosing to spend the summer there. The Bauhaus Guide to Panama is a must!

Humidity is 80-90% during the wet season (May-Dec) and the annual rain average fall is:

Panama City - 67 inches
Colon - 125 inches
Bocas Del Torro - 157 inches

We were in Panama City from July-November and Colon, Porto Bello and San Blas from November to February. We didn't make it to Bocas, but cruisers who spent the wet season there reported the rain & Lightning was also heavy.

When we were on the Pacific side of Panama, 5 boats were struck by lightning and three were struck on the Caribbean side (San Blas) last season.

Shelter Bay Marina is located in Colon, but is about 30 minutes from the city and very isolated. Flying out of there would require a 90 minute cab ride to Panama City Airport. They just lost their management company for the boatyard, so it is unclear what will happen.

Western San Blas, in the dry season, is a tourist heaven... When we were there Dec-Jan, there were over 200 sailboats, lots of backpackers and several cruise ships also anchored during that time. During he wet season it becomes more isolated with less tourists, but then you go back to the rain, squalls and lightning.

With all of this said, the time to visit the San Blas Islands is Mar-May. The weather is beautiful and allows you to head to Columbia for the wet season, before their winds start up
__________________
Tom Jeremiason
Punta Gorda, Florida

jeremiason is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-03-2013, 09:08   #6
cat herder, extreme blacksheep
 
zeehag's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: furycame alley , tropics, mexico for now
Boat: 1976 FORMOSA yankee clipper 41
Posts: 17,761
Images: 56
Send a message via Yahoo to zeehag Send a message via Skype™ to zeehag
Re: Panama for the Summer

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremiason View Post
I think Cartagena or Santa Marta, Columbia would be a better bet or as suggested the Rio Dulce.

We just spent from July 2012 to February 2013 there and I have to tell you if I spend another rainy season in Panama it will be too soon

You might want to read up a little on the rainy season in Panama before chosing to spend the summer there. The Bauhaus Guide to Panama is a must!

Humidity is 80-90% during the wet season (May-Dec) and the annual rain average fall is:

Panama City - 67 inches
Colon - 125 inches
Bocas Del Torro - 157 inches

We were in Panama City from July-November and Colon, Porto Bello and San Blas from November to February. We didn't make it to Bocas, but cruisers who spent the wet season there reported the rain & Lightning was also heavy.

When we were on the Pacific side of Panama, 5 boats were struck by lightning and three were struck on the Caribbean side (San Blas) last season.

Shelter Bay Marina is located in Colon, but is about 30 minutes from the city and very isolated. Flying out of there would require a 90 minute cab ride to Panama City Airport. They just lost their management company for the boatyard, so it is unclear what will happen.

Western San Blas, in the dry season, is a tourist heaven... When we were there Dec-Jan, there were over 200 sailboats, lots of backpackers and several cruise ships also anchored during that time. During he wet season it becomes more isolated with less tourists, but then you go back to the rain, squalls and lightning.

With all of this said, the time to visit the San Blas Islands is Mar-May. The weather is beautiful and allows you to head to Columbia for the wet season, before their winds start up

thankyou.
zeehag is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-03-2013, 09:21   #7
Registered User
 
caradow's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Connecticut/Caribbean
Boat: Voyage 440 Owners Version
Posts: 472
Re: Panama for the Summer

Thank you all for your reply's.
This will help greatly in my planning and timing in when to make the trip.
Fine example why this forum is so great.
Got struck by lightning twice in my old boat, could not possibly happen a third!
__________________
caradow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-03-2014, 08:37   #8
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2014
Boat: lagoon 410
Posts: 95
Re: Panama for the Summer

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremiason View Post
I think Cartagena or Santa Marta, Columbia would be a better bet or as suggested the Rio Dulce.

We just spent from July 2012 to February 2013 there and I have to tell you if I spend another rainy season in Panama it will be too soon

You might want to read up a little on the rainy season in Panama before chosing to spend the summer there. The Bauhaus Guide to Panama is a must!

Humidity is 80-90% during the wet season (May-Dec) and the annual rain average fall is:

Panama City - 67 inches
Colon - 125 inches
Bocas Del Torro - 157 inches

We were in Panama City from July-November and Colon, Porto Bello and San Blas from November to February. We didn't make it to Bocas, but cruisers who spent the wet season there reported the rain & Lightning was also heavy.

When we were on the Pacific side of Panama, 5 boats were struck by lightning and three were struck on the Caribbean side (San Blas) last season.

Shelter Bay Marina is located in Colon, but is about 30 minutes from the city and very isolated. Flying out of there would require a 90 minute cab ride to Panama City Airport. They just lost their management company for the boatyard, so it is unclear what will happen.

Western San Blas, in the dry season, is a tourist heaven... When we were there Dec-Jan, there were over 200 sailboats, lots of backpackers and several cruise ships also anchored during that time. During he wet season it becomes more isolated with less tourists, but then you go back to the rain, squalls and lightning.

With all of this said, the time to visit the San Blas Islands is Mar-May. The weather is beautiful and allows you to head to Columbia for the wet season, before their winds start up
just wanted to say thanks for this incredibly informative post!
__________________
chubby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-03-2014, 10:36   #9
Registered User
 
jeremiason's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Punta Gorda, Florida
Boat: Sea Ray 270
Posts: 1,427
Images: 2
Send a message via ICQ to jeremiason Send a message via Yahoo to jeremiason Send a message via Skype™ to jeremiason
Re: Panama for the Summer

Quote:
Originally Posted by caradow View Post
Thank you all for your reply's.
This will help greatly in my planning and timing in when to make the trip.
Fine example why this forum is so great.
Got struck by lightning twice in my old boat, could not possibly happen a third!
Did you ever make it down there?
__________________
Tom Jeremiason
Punta Gorda, Florida

jeremiason is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-03-2014, 14:32   #10
Registered User
 
caradow's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Connecticut/Caribbean
Boat: Voyage 440 Owners Version
Posts: 472
Re: Panama for the Summer

No Tom I did not, at least not yet.
Really want to go but after a lot of consideration have put it off for now.
The reason is the logistics of flying back and forth and leaving the boat there became my stumbling blocks. Still trying to figure out the best place to leave the boat and at the same time be relatively close to an airport.
Hopefully I can get there in the next year or two when I have more time.
My work sometimes gets in the way but I do the best I can.
Flying back and forth does not seem practical as I have done throughout the Caribbean.
Would also want to sail the coast of Columbia and visit Cartegena after the San Blas.
But for now it has to remain on my to do list.
Again thank you for your very informative post and I will definitely follow your advise.
__________________
caradow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-03-2014, 22:41   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2014
Boat: lagoon 410
Posts: 95
Re: Panama for the Summer

Quote:
Originally Posted by caradow View Post
No Tom I did not, at least not yet.
Really want to go but after a lot of consideration have put it off for now.
The reason is the logistics of flying back and forth and leaving the boat there became my stumbling blocks. Still trying to figure out the best place to leave the boat and at the same time be relatively close to an airport.
Hopefully I can get there in the next year or two when I have more time.
My work sometimes gets in the way but I do the best I can.
Flying back and forth does not seem practical as I have done throughout the Caribbean.
Would also want to sail the coast of Columbia and visit Cartegena after the San Blas.
But for now it has to remain on my to do list.
Again thank you for your very informative post and I will definitely follow your advise.
patrick & sylvie's panamarina wasnt mentioned(**oops- actually it was)...but should also be considered by anyone considering storing their boat in panama.
while portobello is a good 2-3 hour drive from the international airport in panama city...the french couple's fees are pretty darn attractive
__________________
chubby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-03-2014, 02:39   #12
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Underway in the Med -
Boat: Jeanneau 40 DS SoulMates
Posts: 1,904
Images: 1
Re: Panama for the Summer

actually caradow - you have only sailed the eastern caribbean - not all the carib -- we have done most of the cariibbean and really prefer the western caribbean --

we spent 3 months in cartagena and it was probably the safest place we were in the caribbean - a lot safer than most of the eastern caribbean -- and what a beautiful city --

as said the san blas is a night sail away and simply wonderful -- and we were there during hurricane season and had to sit some times behind this or that island but gee we were able to launch dink and go fishing on the reefs -

there are a lot of boats who do what you want to do and keep their boats at panmarine -- one of the things you should consider is the amount of moisture that gets in the boat regardless of where you are down there --

we have not used panmarine but friends of ours have and they offer a service that once a week or so the come in and wipe the inside of the boat down to mildew at minimum -- same in cartagena but you have to be a bit more careful there on who you hire --

if we had stayed in the carib we would have stayed in the western carib - we simply liked it a lot better and cheaper
__________________
just our thoughts and opinions
chuck and svsoulmates
In Marmaris Turkey for the winter
chuckr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-03-2014, 09:35   #13
Registered User
 
caradow's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Connecticut/Caribbean
Boat: Voyage 440 Owners Version
Posts: 472
Re: Panama for the Summer

again thanks to all for some great information and taking the time to respond.
chuckr your point about me sailing only the eastern caribbean is correct.
although I have spent considerable time in Guatemala, Belize and Mexico it was not by boat.
I can only say by your post it makes me very excited that I may have very well saved the best for last.
also it was good to hear about the safety of Cartagena. up to now the safest place I have found in the caribbean has been Cuba. as things on my end materialize I may again reach out for advice.
In the meantime I have ordered the Bauhas Guide and am sending patrick and silvie an email regarding prices and availability for March 2015. By their web site the marina looked rather crowed so hopefully available space will not be an issue.
ciao
__________________
caradow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2014, 05:26   #14
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Bocas Del Toro, Panama
Boat: Islander Freport 41
Posts: 12
Re: Panama for the Summer

Just to comment on the rainfall amounts in Bocas, I have been living here on my boat for eight years, and every year has been dryer than the year before. 2004 there was the 187" of rain, last year 87" total. right now the water supply is critical. Beyond that there are literally hundreds of wonderful anchorages throughout the archipelago.
__________________
garyosborne is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-04-2014, 15:35   #15
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: W Carib
Boat: Wildcat 35, Hobie 33
Posts: 7,908
Re: Panama for the Summer

Just made a new crusing permit a few weeks ago: $195 for a year. Then about $12.50 each time you make a Zarpe IIRC. For example, to go from Bocas to Porvenir.

Where NOT to store your boat in Bocas: There are a number of private/unofficial docks where you can store your boat way cheaper than the marinas, but DO NOT leave it in the care of "Capt Ron" (the name alone should be a clue huh?). He is the "dock master" of some docks adjacent to Discovery Bay...and a total dirt bag (caught him blatantly lying to me about the maintenance of my boat). Left my boat there a few seasons ago. Paid additional for it to be cleaned once a month. It was a total disaster when we returned. Mold and mildew so bad that it ate thru some upohlstery and we had to have it redone. Spent a month just cleaning the boat. Still have damaged wood work that needs to be redone.

When I first got aboard, agahst at how she looked (inside and out), I picked up a tackle box in the main salon floor...it had a thick layer of mold underneath...clearly it had not even been moved the entire time I was gone. The interior walls were coated with mold and mildew.

It appears that the boat was unopened the entire time I was gone.

Don't make the same mistake.

My experiences picking up transient slips at the marina is Panama have been good though. Spent a month in Bocas Marina, just trying to make the boat liveable again. Good staff, good service, nice place to hang out, short dink run to town...for more cleaning supplies. Also recently stopped for a few days in Shelter Bay. Very nice with all the amenities (bar/resturant, pool, laundry service, mini mart, small chandlery, boat yard...).

Fortunately, the next season, I found an excellent private mooring for storing my boat in an are called "The Gap". Marlin and his guy Chino did a great job. Boat looked like the day I left her...inside and out. PM me if you want contact info.
__________________

__________________
belizesailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
Panama

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 23:14.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.