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Old 14-09-2016, 15:29   #1
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Rio Dulce, Guatemala

Hi

We're a family with three kids under 10, thinking of cruising the Rio Dulce April - November 2017 on our friends' borrowed sailboat. If anyone has any advice concerning hurricane season, cruising area and suitability for young kids (is the reputation for violent crime in Guatemala over hyped?) we'd be most grateful.

Thanks!
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Old 14-09-2016, 15:56   #2
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Re: Rio Dulce, Guatemala

We are in Guatemala right now and yes the crime is over hyped in our opinion. Something bad can happen to you or your family anywhere but I'd think if you stayed out of the rougher areas in Guatemala City it is very unlikely you have anything to worry about. Most areas in Guatemala are quite safe. Currently we are in San Pedro next to Lake Atitlan taking Spanish lessons and living with a local family, we are having an absolutely wonderful time and it is very inexpensive to live and travel here.
Back to the Rio. If your going to cruise in the area either go to Belize or to the Bay Islands, both great areas for families. The Rio is almost hurricane proof and is a good spot to leave a boat or live on a boat for the 6 months you need but you had better be ok with heat and humidity because you have both in spades. There are many choices in the Rio to leave your boat and the marinas are cheap and there is a wide variety of skilled workers if you need someone else to fix your boat. There are lots of boats in the Rio as in many hundreds so you'll always have company. Enjoy your cruise.
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Old 14-09-2016, 16:14   #3
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Location: Boat is on the Rio Dulce
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Re: Rio Dulce, Guatemala

That is the worst time of the year. Is that why you have the use of the boat? It's better if you get off the lake and go out and dodge hurricanes on the ocean. It is hot and very rainy in the summer on the lake. Personally I think the Bay Islands are too far away during hurricane season. Belize is OK in the summer if you are out on the water. I'm not a kid but it looks pretty fun to me and everybody seems friendly except for the rats who steal your luggage at the bus depots.
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Old 14-09-2016, 16:59   #4
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Re: Rio Dulce, Guatemala

By "cruising the Rio Dulce" do you just mean the Rio itself? For the entire time (April - Nov)?

Spending the entire rainy season on the boat could get a bit claustrophobic so I suggest: use the boat as early as possible on those date like April - May and then travel inland to avoid most of the rainy season. There are periodic security problems on the Rio so I suggest sticking to marinas or at least more popular anchorages.

Ive had cruising friends who've spent time on the Rio and around Guatemala with young kids. On the Rio they prefered the marinas Tortugal and Nanajuana. Both of which have room to roam for the kids. I think that Tijax or Catamarans would probably be good too.

They also rented a house on Lake Atitlan and lived there for several months....beautiful area.

Guatemala is an amazing country with plenty to see and do. Security is usually not a big concern, but use common sense. Guate does indeed have big problems, but most crime involves drug trafficking and gangs. The typical visitors are not affected, but bad things to happen sometimes. The probabilities are low though, of the millions who visit Guatemala only a few have issues with serious crime.
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Old 14-09-2016, 17:16   #5
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Re: Rio Dulce, Guatemala

[QUOTE=belizesailor;2213334] Catamarans would probably be good too.

Nope. No kids, no pets, no cigars and no guns. Unless he likes you, then you can have kids. But there was this dude smoking a cigar at the pool and there is a loaded gun on the owners desk...
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Old 15-09-2016, 03:28   #6
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Re: Rio Dulce, Guatemala

Thanks for the feedback guys, some really useful information - appreciate it.

Yes our friend is stowing the boat there for the hurricane season - and probably longer (his wife is pregnant!)- so said we can use it for a while.. as long as it ends up in Europe at some point in the next few years.

My partner and I are chomping at the bit to get out cruising but don't want to rush into something the kids will have difficulty acclimatising too.. otherwise it'll be a disaster!

We're still looking for THE boat to come along (cash in hand!) and this seemed like a good stop gap solution.. but perhaps it'd be better to postpone it until after the hurricane season by the sounds of it..?
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