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Old 02-02-2012, 06:23   #1
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Rio Dulce

OK, so this has probably been talked up a lot but here goes. It looks like we're headed uo the Rio Dulce for the summer. Have a 40 ft Cat. Advise on marinas, haul out, yards, parts, supplies, sail loft, airlines home, etc. Thanks all for your indulgence.
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Old 03-02-2012, 09:47   #2
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Re: Rio Dulce

I think very highly of Mar Marina (marmarine.com.gt). There is a working boatyard across the river for haulout -- I don't know if they can haul your cat, but Marlen at Mar Marina ( +79305091 ) can tell you.

We found flying out of San Pedro Sula, Honduras was easier than Guatemala City. A taxi is about $100US. There are buses but it is hard to sort out. Buses to Guatemala City are more straightforward but take twice the time. I flew from SPS to MIA on American Airlines. Leave lots of time for border formalities and to get through the airport.
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Old 03-02-2012, 09:59   #3
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Re: Rio Dulce

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nauti-Nauti View Post
OK, so this has probably been talked up a lot but here goes. It looks like we're headed uo the Rio Dulce for the summer. Have a 40 ft Cat. Advise on marinas, haul out, yards, parts, supplies, sail loft, airlines home, etc. Thanks all for your indulgence.

Most of what you're looking for is on the riodulcechisme riodulcechisme.com - Home
You will have a choice of marina amenities so just go and look, spend a few days upriver anchored by Bruno's and dinghy around and see what marina you like. There are two yards, RAM and Abels. RAM is clean and modern, Abels has been there forever and does all the work for the charter cats out of Belize. I would go Abels (my preference as it has long time employees).
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Old 03-02-2012, 11:35   #4
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Re: Rio Dulce

Mar Marine, Catamarans or Mario's for marinas. Abel's it probably the only place on the river that can haul you.
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Old 11-02-2012, 18:56   #5
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Re: Rio Dulce

Re yards:

I use both Abel's and RAM because I like to spread the business around.

Abel's is the older family run local business so that has an appeal. RAM is more like a US grade yard. Historically Abel has not been so good about keeping to schedule (RAM has been better at this). However, in my experience, both yards do good work. My experiences with both Richard (RAM Owner) and the Abels (father then later son Juan) has been good.

Abel also still has marine railways -- which I think are easier on cats, but both yards now has travel lifts that will accommodate at least 23' beam.

Just retrieved my boat from Abels today. Wow, their rates have gone up quite a lot since I used them last a few years ago...have to pay for that fancy new travel lift somehow.

Re Marinas:

Only place to avoid for sure is La Joya del Rio (formerly Suzanna's Laguna). Other than that it depends on what you want. Suggest you think about some features that differentiate the marinas here: Do you plan to stay aboard over the summer or just stow the boat? Is easy access to town (Fronteras) important to you? Do you want side-tie dockage or is med-moor to dock OK? Bar and resturant on-site? Swimming: swimming pool? swimming area in the Rio?

A really good deal right now is at Catamaran Island Marina/Hotel. I am not sure why but Kevin has his dockage rates set low (friends were recently paying $150/month for a 40' mono). And, they have some of the nicest grounds/facilities on the Rio.
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:03   #6
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Re: Rio Dulce

so what's the problem w/ suzanna's marina? it's been a long time, but when we were there in '06 although it was under some renovation, the people were nice and it was free from the wakes one would get at the other marinas. is it a security issue or what?
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:40   #7
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Re: Rio Dulce

I was told to head for Rio Dulce for my next haul out.
But, is there a place for 30' beam?
And what are the general rates for basic semi-skilled labor - sanding, paint stripping etc..
thx
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Old 04-03-2012, 11:04   #8
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Re: Rio Dulce

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so what's the problem w/ suzanna's marina? it's been a long time, but when we were there in '06 although it was under some renovation, the people were nice and it was free from the wakes one would get at the other marinas. is it a security issue or what?
In short: it's a dump. Rotten docks. Dangerous electrical. Etc...
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Old 04-03-2012, 11:21   #9
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Re: Rio Dulce

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Originally Posted by AllezCat View Post
I was told to head for Rio Dulce for my next haul out.
But, is there a place for 30' beam?
And what are the general rates for basic semi-skilled labor - sanding, paint stripping etc..
thx
Abel can haul you on their marine rail ways. RAM can currently only handle a max of about 23' beam (plans to improve upon this, but not in place yet).

What's your mast height?

Depending upon the answer to that question, one issue you may have with Abel's is getting under the power lines. The bridge which crosses at Fronteras is about 95' vertical clearance, but there are power lines strung just upstream of it which dip well below this height (about 85' as I recall). A strong current typically runs under the bridge so maneuvering between the two can get a bit entertaining -- although it can be done.

I have a couple friends w/ 65' cats who've had some issues with negotiating this area and prefer just not to do it anymore. There is also a shipyard in Roatan which can accomodate larger cats and has no vertical clearance concerns.

You can hire truly non-skilled labor for as low as about Q65 a day. Semi-skilled labor maybe as much as Q125 per day. There are a number of people here on the Rio with good sanding, painting, varnishing skills who will just bid the job for you. Check listings on riodulcechisme.com - Home for current info. If you do this sort of work out of the yard it will be much less expensive of course.
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Old 04-03-2012, 11:32   #10
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Re: Rio Dulce

mast height is about 85. I need to confirm - exactly.
mas o menos 12 bucks a day?
awesome...
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Old 04-03-2012, 19:35   #11
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Re: Rio Dulce

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mast height is about 85. I need to confirm - exactly.
mas o menos 12 bucks a day?
awesome...
Anything near 85 feet will definitely get your pucker factor up. It can be done, but you will be glad when its over. Bad news is that you have to do it twice to get in and out of Abels. If it just looks too hairy to you then Roatan is not that far away.

For other work that does not require hauling you have lots of options. You can park in a marina or anchor off and have the crew come to you. Most of the marinas are down stream from the bridge so you don't have to get under.

At the semi-skilled end, about US$16.5 per day at 7.6 exchange rate. I have two guys here who work for me full-time, one less skilled, one semi-skilled and quickly building more skills, both great guys, I pay them the prevailing rates but also help out in a lot of other ways (medical expenses, small loans, etc). Great people here in Guate -- treat them right and they will respond in kind.
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Old 04-03-2012, 20:00   #12
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Re: Rio Dulce

Don't forget to factor in the River level. If it has been a very rainy season the River will be higher. We have been there when it was up four feet. Chuck
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Old 05-03-2012, 09:18   #13
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Re: Rio Dulce

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Originally Posted by Nauti-Nauti View Post
OK, so this has probably been talked up a lot but here goes. It looks like we're headed uo the Rio Dulce for the summer. Have a 40 ft Cat. Advise on marinas, haul out, yards, parts, supplies, sail loft, airlines home, etc. Thanks all for your indulgence.
As pointed out much of this info is available on riodulcechisme.com - Home and Complete Guatemala Travel, Culture, Ecology, History, & Geographic Information, but a few more related comments below:

Parts & Supplies: there are a few small "chandleries" here (Representores de Marinas, RAM Marine, MAR Marine, Pesqueros, Tienda Reed AKA "Chiques", Almancer Naval) where you can often find bits and pieces that you need, but generally at high prices. Alternatively, you can easily and reasonably ship stuff into Guatemala. There are number of good shipping services. I use TRANSCARGO for large/heavy/HAZMAT stuff or things I don't need quickly. They use surface transport (ships) so the rates are quite reasonable, but typically takes a few weeks (mostly waiting for the container to fill up I think). For small stuff, or things I need quickly, I use CPX (CPX). They use shared air cargo space so your stuff is available in a few days (cleared customs and everything), but of course this gets expensive for bulky/heavy items. I watch other cruisers come up with all sorts of convoluted ways to get stuff into Guatemala -- I don't understand why more don't use these services (all the afluent Guatemaltecos do) -- sure makes this easy. And, in the end, you can often ship stuff in cheaper all total than you can buy it here (esp true of things like batteries and solar panels).

Re sail loft: Tom & Annie of "Velas y Jarcias" do sail repair (repair only -- not sail makers). Luigie (sp?) is a proper sail maker, but a bit eccentric to work with.

Flights: San Pedro Sula, Honduras is a bit closer to the Rio than Guatemala City, but has a more limited flight schedule.
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Old 05-04-2012, 09:02   #14
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Re: Rio Dulce

Unfair comment about La Joya marina. Histrorically it is correct, the docks were rotten but in half the marina the docks have been renewed last year and they have a very efficient manager in Jaime. Security is good and it is well protected from the wakes on the Rio. It even has land access to the road.
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Old 05-04-2012, 09:24   #15
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Re: Rio Dulce

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Unfair comment about La Joya marina. Histrorically it is correct, the docks were rotten but in half the marina the docks have been renewed last year and they have a very efficient manager in Jaime. Security is good and it is well protected from the wakes on the Rio. It even has land access to the road.
Good to hear that things have improved recently.
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