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Old 06-02-2010, 15:50   #1
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Yucatan or the Bahamas ?

This is my first post everyone, hello... My girlfriend (Erin) and I (Jim) have been cruising for a little over 3 months now. We came from Seneca lake in NY and are now anchored by Fort Myers FL. We used the ICW for the majority of time but we have ventured outside a bit too.

So my question is, where should we go next ??? The Yucatan maybe down to Belize, or the Bahamas?? Please keep in mind we really have no money..

I'm open to both... I'm a little bit more excited about going to the Yucatan but it doesn't matter all that much.

Any web sites that would help me with my decision ?

Thanks everyone =)
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Old 06-02-2010, 16:38   #2
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It takes several days to sail to the yucatan while bimini is only 80mi across the gulf stream. If it were me I would cruise the bahamas a little while first and work my way up to the big trip to Cozumel/Cancun. If/when you set out for the yucatan peninsula and all points south...make sure you visit the Rio Dulce in Guatemala. It is not far from Belize and worth the trip! It is a great place to "hole-up" during hurricane season and cheap living. When my wife and I where there a few years ago we met two guys traveling on a $5/day budget...BETWEEN THE BOTH OF THEM! Good luck and keep us posted.
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Old 06-02-2010, 17:16   #3
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I imagine that you know but just to make sure, there are entry fees in almost all countries you visit. Can get a good idea from the Noonsite website but might also be worth checking directly. No money means different things to different people.
cheers! (stock up on those beans and rice and last time I was in the bahamas anything to drink was expensive-beer, soda, water-all cost the same, a while ago though)
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Old 06-02-2010, 18:04   #4
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I'm pretty sure checking into the Bahamas is $300. for one day to 3 months. As Conrad said Bahamas are very expensive, Mexico will be way less expensive.
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Old 06-02-2010, 18:10   #5
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I think you actually get a year for the entry price. But how many drinks can you fit aboard?
The advice of cruising around a bit is excelent and the bahamas are close and stuning. Do them if you can. A year would be about perfect. Then on and away! Unless you are in any hurry....
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Old 06-02-2010, 18:14   #6
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You're right, 3 months but it can be extended to a year for another $150....
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Old 06-02-2010, 18:33   #7
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For a 27' boat the Bahamas entry fee is $150. Over 35' is $300.
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Old 06-02-2010, 18:55   #8
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Yes, just read the whole 'formalities" section. Under 35' $150 for one year cruising permit with the fishing license part of it (which you must have) included for 90 days. Can be upgraded for the year for another $150. Also, in that first 90 days you can come and go without having to pay again.
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Old 06-02-2010, 19:06   #9
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I think in a Catalina 27 with little experience and no money you might rethink your plans and hang around the US and perhaps the Keys. If you run out of cash or have a problem your solutions will be closer at hand. WG
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Old 06-02-2010, 19:48   #10
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I'm pretty sure checking into the Bahamas is $300. for one day to 3 months. As Conrad said Bahamas are very expensive, Mexico will be way less expensive.
Price of check in depends on size of boat. Under 35 feet it is $150 over 35 feet $300.

EVERY country one cruises too has entry and exit fees.

Cruising on a tight budget.. I would suggest Central America hands down.
Just make sure you wash ALL your vegies in bleach water and dont act like rich american gringo's. Speaking spanish is a plus. You get a better discount at the local market. Don't act or dress like penniless hippies when checking into a country. It flavors how the officials treat you.

The Bahamas ARE expensive, not only because they have to import pretty much everything. Also because of thier proximity to the US and US 'cruisers' who go to hang out all winter. They are charging what the market will bear and it bears a lot over there. Last I checked a case of Busch beer was something like $42 and that was 4 yrs ago.

leaving for Isla Mujeres you swing down close to Cuba and then cross the Channel... expect to be boarded by either the USCG or the Cubans. If you aren't count your blessings but make sure there is nothing illegal aboard.
Have fun, it could be a great trip!
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Old 06-02-2010, 21:26   #11
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A trip across to Mexico in a 27 footer needs to be planned carefully. Waterwayguy's advise to check out the Keyes sounds right.
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Old 08-02-2010, 06:45   #12
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Unless you have some serious experience in the ocean I would advise against Florida to Mexico. You are getting heading into opposing Gulf Stream currents, eddies and a lot of significant seas.
- - The entry fees are not cheap in Mexico and all the other Central American countries - however the cost of living is very low so it can average out to economical over a significant period of time.
- - You will also be entering a radically different social setup than North American people are used to, especially in the Spanish speaking countries. How they live and deal with life and the officials is sometimes too much of a cultural shock for first timers who have never traveled the world before.
- - The suggestion to do the Keys and even the US Gulf of Mexico is quite good. As mentioned you can pick up odd jobs here and there and experience different "mini" cultures, especially along the Gulf of Mexico coastline.
- - The Bahamas is a great "training" ground for new sailors to experience different weather situations along with some great "deserted" islands for fun and frolicking. The outer islands will give you experience with how the locals get by on little or no money. Staying away from major population centers gets you some of the best swimming and exploring opportunities while still being within reasonable range of the USA. But the $150 for less than 34ft boats is for a year only for the boat. The maximum "you" can get is 6 months then you need to renew. Food costs are variable depending upon if you shop in "cruiser" orientated food stores or in "local people" food stores.
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Old 08-02-2010, 07:11   #13
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If you go to the Yucatan, stop at Progreso first. I can connect you with a friend who has been living there for over two years, you will get a taste of "real" mexico, very low crime rate, local prices, and thirty minutes to the capital "Merida." I have stayed there and would move there to live if I wasn't going to move onto a sailboat. Getting there will be the big deal. You might want to really think about that.
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Old 08-02-2010, 09:02   #14
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Mexico. good food, supplies, services, anything and everything, stay as long as you like (boat 10years, people 180 days), etc.
The problem of going to Mexico is Cuba.
It is relatively easy to sail from the Dry Tortugas to Cuba in an overnight sail with minimal effects of the gulfstream (very minor effects in that region), just wait for a NW wind. Then flying the Q flag slip in behind the islands and work your way taking a week or more to the end of Cuba. As long as you are flying the Q flag they (Cuba) leave you alone.Wait for weather and head SWW to Cancun looping a bit south of the rhumb line at the start to counter the strong Yucatan current ( +2 kts) which is close to Mexico.

That is the easy way to go to Mexico which is frowned upon by the US government (all sorts of requirements for permits with the threat of penalties if you get caught not having them).

Going direct to Mexico you need to cross the Gulf Stream as fast as you can, then skirt the coast of Cuba then SW and then W across to Cancun (Yucatan Current +2 knts). Definitely doable but requires some experience.
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Old 08-02-2010, 09:14   #15
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Actually can avoid crossing the Gulf Stream at all and the Florida Straights and the Yucatan Channel. You don't need to cross either with the proper information. With up to date current info one can sail west from Key West or the Dry Tortugas and turn south towards Isla once you are west of the Yucatan Channel.
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