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Old 23-08-2012, 09:19   #16
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Re: Working through retirement - AKA Working Retirement

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Originally Posted by CNC-Charters View Post
Is it safe in the local towns and is it the kind of place you want to stay for more than a few months?
Many cruisers come here and never leave. The Rio is a beautiful place, as is the entire country of Guatemala -- just spectacular -- with loads of inland travel options. I've lived here since 2005 and love it. But, there is sometimes trouble in paradise. My perspective below:

(Hopefully this won't derail the thread too badly and it is a related subject)

Re "saftey". I love Guatemala, but like any "developing" country, it is not without it's issues. Guatemala has some large scale issues, some of which I think have no practical solution. Most of these issues relate to the drug trade (really a USA problem), gangs, and large scale socio-politcal-economic issues (a big complicated subject area). If you keep your nose out of these domains, and exercise common sense, then odds are good you can visit or live here fat, dumb, and happy. Violence here infrequently, relatively speaking, affects foreigners, but it does happen (interestingly: most robberies of foreigners here are not violent, but can go wrong of course). The most common issue which effects cruisers here on the Rio is theft of dinghy motors. There have been armed robberies of boats (none of which were in marinas) and, over about the past 20 years, two gringos have been killed here. One is rumored to have been up to things he should not have been, the other was a robbery gone bad.

Re local towns: The primary population center on the Rio is Fronteras. This is also the town closest to most of the marinas. It is a typical Guatemalan, dirty, noisy, gritty little truck stop kind of town....but it kind of grows on you...and the street vendors have awesome fried chicken! This is where you would normally go for routine shopping. I've heard of a few petty thefts that have occurred here during the day-time (cash, cell phones...), but even this not very often. In contrast, I've left cash and cell phone in tiendas here several times and always had them returned. In general, from a safety perspective, visiting the towns in Guatemala is not unlike anywhere else on earth -- excercise common sense and don't go into areas where you should not be (like Zona 5 in Guatemala City for example).

From another presective: the average Guatemala, regardless of socioeconomic level, is hard working, honest, and quite likely to go out of their way to help you. I've had some wonderful experiences with the people of Guatemala.

For a view into the gringo cruising community here, and links to more info on Guatemala, visit: riodulcechisme.com - Home.
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Old 23-08-2012, 09:28   #17
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Re: Working Through Retirement - AKA Working Retirement

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Originally Posted by rtbates View Post
Good luck to you both

What's your sailing background? You've asked all kinds of questions, but none pertain to the actual sailing.. Just curious
I have been a water rat all my life. Summer sailing as a kid, sailing as an adult with others in St Lucia, Fiji, Bahamas, and Florida. I'm a son of a Sailor and my daughter is a sailor serving on Oahu. I was Born at Tripler and destined to be on or near the water. I was a scuba instructor for many years and spent MANY weekends and led many dive trip for a company called Sport Tours.

With all that said, NOT MUCH LOL. I plan on taking it easy learning as I go regarding the sailing part. I have had boats all my life, just not SAIL boats.

Taking sailing classes in Denver to get ready
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Old 24-08-2012, 17:04   #18
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Re: Working through retirement - AKA Working Retirement

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Originally Posted by CNC-Charters View Post
I'm checking out the Catamaran Island Hotel and it looks great!

As you can see, we're getting ready for our retirement career and for every answer I get it generates three more questions LOL

Have you tried using magic jack for phone through wifi and is a viable solution for business calls when your in marinas and such? I have researched the communications issues on this site and I'm more confused that ever.

What IS the season there (assuming winter) and is the summer unbearably hot or am I off the mark entirely?

I could see us spending a year there working and being able to explore and dive Belize, Cayman's, and so on. Am I on the right path?

BTW, Thank you ALL for putting up with our newbie questions!

22 Months to go and we set sail. After so many years dreaming, we can finally see the light...
Yes, Catamarans is a great place. A bit far to town for easy dinghy access. Had friends staying there who bought themselves a small local skiff to make town access more convenient.

Never used Magic Jack, but do use Skype. Works pretty well for me and you can set it up with a US number and voice mail. Cell phone rates in Guate are quite reasonable too -- even for international calls.

Two seasons: Wet & Dry. Relatively hot and humid all the time, but cool in the highlands (hint). Wet season roughly corresponds to hurricane season (July-Nov). Normally rainy season rains are mostly at night, but can be very heavy. Whether it is "unbearably" hot depends upon what your are acclimated to. You can pull up weather info for "Puerto Barrios" on Wunderground and it is similar although the Rio gets more rain. Or, look here for current and recent past local conditions: Weather Station History | Weather Underground. Rains have been lighter than usual for a few weeks.

From here most cruisers go to Belize or the Bay Islands. Spending part, or all, of cruising season exploring either or both is quite feasible. I used to spend much of Nov-June in Belize and then return to the Rio for hurricane season.

You're welcome.
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Old 01-09-2012, 15:07   #19
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Re: Working through retirement - AKA Working Retirement

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Lots of possibilities for under $500 a month. Most cruiser friendly marinas have WiFi...although speeds are often a bit slow because it is shared with other cruisers.

Also, see the threads here for using a cellular modem and local SIM chip. This way you are not tethered to a marina. Why not spend that $500 a month on something else!

Here on the Rio Dulce slip rates range from about $150 to $350 per month....still have beer money left from $500, but electricity is relatively expensive if you plan to run the AC.
Do you know the yacht "Carina", I think it's down near you.
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Old 01-09-2012, 17:17   #20
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Re: Working through retirement - AKA Working Retirement

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Do you know the yacht "Carina", I think it's down near you.
I do know a Carina here -- if the same -- they've been here a long time and I think she's for sale.
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Old 01-09-2012, 19:34   #21
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Re: Working through retirement - AKA Working Retirement

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I do know a Carina here -- if the same -- they've been here a long time and I think she's for sale.
riodulcechisme.com - Carina

Is this the same one? It may be an option for us for a couple years and then give to our boys to sail. Just curious if you know much about her. Good owners, good condition, and so on.
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Old 01-09-2012, 20:58   #22
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Re: Working through retirement - AKA Working Retirement

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Originally Posted by CNC-Charters View Post
riodulcechisme.com - Carina

Is this the same one? It may be an option for us for a couple years and then give to our boys to sail. Just curious if you know much about her. Good owners, good condition, and so on.
Yep, same boat, I know the owners and recognize the boat but have not sailed her.

Pics look good, but the only way to know her current state for sure is a survey.
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