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Old 11-07-2009, 14:46   #1
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Recommendations on Western Caribbean Cruising Guides ?

We are going to be traveling through Cuba, Jamaica, Columbia, Panama, Costa Rica, Honduaras, Guatemala and Mexic and are trying pick up some cruising guides before heading out. Recommendations on the best ones and where to get them would be greatly appreciated.

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s/v Five Islands
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Old 11-07-2009, 15:13   #2
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Try the 2007 Pavlidas Guide To the Northwest Caribe available at Amazon.

Product Description
First ever detailed cruising guide coverage of the Cayman Islands. Includes the northern coast of Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, the Bay Islands and Mainland Honduras, Guatemala and the Rio Dulce. An excellent and much-needed cruising guide to this region. First new coverage of these Northwest Caribbean regions since 1990. All original charts based on personal surveys conducted by the author. Extensive navigational instructions and GPS waypoints.

His stuff is always excellent.
Amazon.com: A Cruising Guide to The Northwest Caribbean: Stephen J. Pavlidis: Books
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Old 12-07-2009, 07:49   #3
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Actually a lot of the guides are available free on line as printed versions for south america are not available, same with sections of central america. Google cruising guides for Columbia, etc.
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Old 10-09-2009, 14:43   #4
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found this on Amazon, anyone used it or it's predecessor?

Cruising Ports: the Central American Route http://www.amazon.com/Cruising-Ports.../dp/0963847023

Formerly Cruising Ports: Florida to California via the Panama Canal by Captain Pat M. Rains
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Old 10-09-2009, 17:00   #5
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Cruising Guide to Belize and Mexico's Caribbean Coast, Including Guatemala's Rio Dulce (Paperback).

By Capt. Freya Rauscher


A Cruising Guide to The Northwest Caribbean (Spiral-bound)


By Stephen J. Pavlidis
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Old 11-09-2009, 13:27   #6
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For my trips throughout the Western Caribbean and Panama I've used the Raines guide: Cruising Ports: Florida to California Via Panama (author John Raines)

Invaluable book. Great info for the entire route you're talking about.

Good luck, and enjoy. Some great places along that somewhat less traveled route.

Rob
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Old 11-09-2009, 19:05   #7
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another vote for Capt. Freya's guide to Belize and surrounding areas in Guatemala and Mexico - Her sketches were all right on as were all of the waypoints in the areas we went to. Very very important to have a guide in these areas as the charts are no good at all (and that includes the GPS charts since they are based on the paper ones). We had the best paper charts from the Admiralty in the UK and some parts were still based on "lead line survey from 1840" Yes. 1840.

Even if you have the guide you will need somebody on the bow with good polarized sunglasses and a high sun.
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Old 29-08-2011, 10:06   #8
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Re: Recommendations on Western Caribbean Cruising Guides?

The posts on this forum are a bit dated, but I just received the latest edition of the Rains guide so thought I would post my 2-cents on NW Carib Cruising guides. I live and cruise in the region so know first-hand the areas covered by these guides. Below is my perspective on each of the three publications (that I know of) which cover this region (note there are a few out of print guides and other Internet based sources of info as well).

Cruising Ports: the Central American Route (AKA "Rains Guide"). Excellent guide to passage planning between cruising ports. Very good publication. It is not intended to be a "cruising guide" per se, but does also include a fair amount of information supplemental to its purpose. It's primary value is for planning routes between cruising ports.

Cruising Guide to Belize and Mexico's Caribbean Coast, including Guatemala's Rio Dulce (Freya Rauscher). Another excellent work and the only comprehensive reference for Belize. Her charts are the most comprehensive and accurate available for Belize (Excluding the small area around Belize City which has current surveys -- all other government issued charts are based on very old surveys). There are a few, very few, errors and omissions in this guide so, as with any other source of information, use it prudently, but overall it is accurate and very well done -- especially true given the extensive and complex waters of Belize.

A Cruising Guide to the Northwest Caribbean (Stephen J. Pavlidis). This is an odd publication. It only covers a relatively small area of the NW Carib. For example, effectively no information on Belize or Mexico -- even the section describing potential routes from the Gulf Of Mexico to Rio Dulce omits Belize like it does not exist -- tough to do from a practical perspective (Not even a reference to Freya's guide for more information). It's primary value is the navigation information it provides for the Bay Islands and Northern coast of Honduras (many more ports are covered than in the Rains guide...which appropriately only covers those commonly used for transiting the area). This navigation information is sparse, but sufficient and accurate. However, there are voluminous sections on local culture and history (reasonably well done, but all this information and more is available from other sources). The sparse navigation information for each port is supplemented by much more extensive information regarding Internet access and dining options for that port. Those anchorages which lack much in the way of these services are typically dismissed as having nothing of interest for the cruising sailor (other than a good anchorage!). And, just in case you missed something, there is even more information in the appendices regarding Internet access and dining in the NW Carib. (An update that makes much of this voluminous documentation of Internet Cafe's obsolete -- good, inexpensive cellular Internet access is available through-out Honduras and the Bay Islands from TIGO -- buy yourself a TIGO stick including one month of service for less than $30US total and surf even when underway!).


- My 2 cents
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Old 30-08-2011, 02:18   #9
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Re: Recommendations on Western Caribbean Cruising Guides?

For Panama, you must get "The Panama Cruising Guide" by Eric Bauhaus, 3rd Edition or newer.

We also used the Panama guide by Zydler, and it did contain some helpful information; but it does not begin to compare with the superb guide by Eric Bauhaus.
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Old 30-08-2011, 08:34   #10
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Re: Recommendations on Western Caribbean Cruising Guides?

Yes, Bauhaus' guide is another excellent publication. The satellite-based cartography he uses provides exceptionally good detail -- a definitely step up from the typical sketch charts used by most cruising guides.

(My original posting was focused on the NW Carib so I did not include his very well done guide.)
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Old 30-08-2011, 15:22   #11
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Re: Recommendations on Western Caribbean Cruising Guides ?

Anothe vote for Eric Bauhaus. We used it on both sides of Panama and his waypoints were always right on. Since the charts for most of the area are way off, those waypoints were invaluable transiting the expensive reef areas in San Blas. Frankly, it's one of the best cruising guides I have seen.
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