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Old 14-04-2012, 22:42   #1
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Tips for the Panama Canal

We will be transiting to the Pacific in first 2 weeks of May in Beneteau 50. i have some questions please.
1. where to stay on the Caribbean side that is safe but not too expensive?
2. Is it worth employing an agent? what is the going rate? any recommendations?
3. What is the current wait?
4. Where is a good place to provision for the Pacific Crossing?

Thanks for your help.:confused
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Old 15-04-2012, 09:12   #2
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Re: Tips for the Panama Canal

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Originally Posted by DebF View Post
We will be transiting to the Pacific in first 2 weeks of May in Beneteau 50. i have some questions please.
1. where to stay on the Caribbean side that is safe but not too expensive?
Shelter Bay Marina while you are getting ready to transit. If you have time to kill you can go up the Chargras River for a few days or down to the San Blas Islands for a week. Can't recommend anchoring anywhere in Colon.
2. Is it worth employing an agent? what is the going rate? any recommendations?
Most of the cruisers who transit south bound, Atlantic to Pacific use an agent. Most who go Pacific to Atlantic set it up themselves. It is pretty easy to deal with the ACP, canal authorities. They all speak English.
3. What is the current wait?
Current waits are about a week to 10 days. Depends a lot on availability of Advisers. It is mostly 3 sailboats a day going south bound.
4. Where is a good place to provision for the Pacific Crossing?
Panama City has excellent stores
Thanks for your help.:confused
There's a good Panama City Cruisers Guide available on the PPJ Yahoo group.
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Old 26-04-2012, 10:31   #3
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We have just transited the canal, so having experience on both sides I recommend provisioning as much as possible on the Colon side. Use the free bus from Shelter Bay and either arrange the free Rey's van back or get a $25 cab back. On the Panama City side you can find most things you want but couldn't find in Colon, but everything is spread out and there is a lot of hassle getting it to your boat. The shopping is better on the Panama City side with a Costco type store and many big stores if you have plenty of time and patience. I found it very easy with the dock to load up on the basics at shelter bay while waiting for our transit day.
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