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Old 04-07-2016, 18:51   #31
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Re: Best Central/South American countries for cruisers?

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....Remember PEOPLE MAKE A PLACE... it ain't the real estate.
Absolutely, and Guatemala is populated with wonderful people.
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Old 05-07-2016, 01:53   #32
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Re: Best Central/South American countries for cruisers?

When we started this little trip we knew that someday we would have to get off the boat. We started a list of countries that we could live in -
In the Carib we have Colombia and it is probably number 3 or so on our list with a couple of Med countries ahead of them.
Good marina (somewhat) good food, inexpensive, great medical, reasonably safe, and really nice people.
If you keep the boat you can sail up to the San Blas as a diversion and then back home.

While no one mentioned we also need to take a harder look at the DR but they have those pesky things called hurricanes that can make a mess out of boat.

In our opinion the Rio is nice but a bit limited and the marinas do have armed guards for a reason. One day while we were there a couple of banks were robbed on the same day and lots of guns on the street. Do not have a problem with that but still.

We also thought about Belize and had a long talk with an expat living there and he enjoyed it but said it is getting a bit crowded with expats and some of those who really did not want to be found were leaving. Again we liked Belize but not for years -

Everywhere we have been we have found great people. In Guatemala we were in the city in zone 1 and as it became late afternoon the people could not be more helping us to get out of zone 1, so much so that they pushed us on a bus first before they got on.
In Belize we met a lot of great people and had a nice time.

But Cartagena was more than special and the people were beyond anything we expected and simply wonderful.
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Old 05-07-2016, 05:41   #33
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Re: Best Central/South American countries for cruisers?

We enjoyed Colombia as well. The major cities are safe (as cities go) and they are making progress on the peace accords...which will help improve security in more remote areas. Cartegena is beautiful and Medellin is also a vey pleasant city. Bogota is just another big city, but the surrounding country side is beautiful.

Unlike most of CA the craft brew industry is booming in Colombia. :beer:

And, if I were single, Colombia would be very high on my list.
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Old 06-07-2016, 01:30   #34
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Re: Best Central/South American countries for cruisers?

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And, if I were single, Colombia would be very high on my list.
now this is going to be totally politically incorrect - but hey I am 70y/o sue me

I think Colombia has a law that if a woman is not at least an 8 she has to migrate to another country. just saying
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Old 06-07-2016, 04:00   #35
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Re: Best Central/South American countries for cruisers?

Columbia has its perks... but getting there can be a problem... many cruisers navigate well offshore when sailing to Panama to avoid modern day pirates off the coast.
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Old 06-07-2016, 05:53   #36
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Re: Best Central/South American countries for cruisers?

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... but getting there can be a problem... many cruisers navigate well offshore when sailing to Panama to avoid modern day pirates off the coast.
Bunk. The Colombia/Panama Carib coast lines have a very low rate of crimes against cruisers. Crime is almost unheard of anywhere in the San Blas (usual land fall from Colombia). We've been cruising the area since 2012.

The biggest issue for transiting this route is the usually rough conditions off Colombia.
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Old 06-07-2016, 06:03   #37
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Re: Best Central/South American countries for cruisers?

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...26130881,d.dmo
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Old 06-07-2016, 07:40   #38
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Re: Best Central/South American countries for cruisers?

Cruisers and fear is sorta like bread and butter. Maybe it's because on average cruisers are are older, I don't know or maybe between governments and religion people are just completely programed to respond so strongly to fear. Use some common sense, of course but get out there and have some fun before it's all over, these countries we are talking about are all safe if you avoid certain areas. If you want to fear something then be afraid of sitting around in your "safe" area doing nothing, it's the couch potatoes that limit their time on this planet.
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Old 06-07-2016, 08:09   #39
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Re: Best Central/South American countries for cruisers?

I think the original intent of this thread was about a nice safe place to hang out to explore CA and SA.... I have no problem in sailing into any place that isn't on the verge of a complete breakdown of society... but to find a nexus to keep your boat at in this area where you can lock the cabin and not look back and travel... Panama is superior to places like backwater towns that have questionable airport and roadway connections like Guatemala. In much of CA you should not drive at night..... In Panama there is no problem. If you want a connection to another country... Panama has connections unlike any airport in the region. Costs of food and basics are reasonable if not cheap, government is in good shape now...currency is US dollar....water is drinkable from the faucet... medicine is top notch and there are beautiful areas to explore. You can drive hundreds of miles at night and not worry about thuggery. If you need a part for a boat you could find it in country ...if not Fedex, etc. makes daily deliveries.... No hurricanes to worry about... Electricity is on 24/7.... Internet/WIFI is better than most places in the world... OK what am I missing?
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Old 06-07-2016, 09:15   #40
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Re: Best Central/South American countries for cruisers?

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... OK what am I missing?
Oh like you can't walk around most of Panama City. You shouldn't walk around any part of Colon. If you have a ship or a fishing boat you can get all kinds of parts but for a sailboat you still need to order most stuff, or make do.
Boat wise, keeping your boat at Shelter Bay could leave you broke. Keeping your boat in Bocas probably means no sailing cause the wind don't blow much up there. The new international airport is now several hours south of the canal... As for driving at night, carry a machete. Good for cutting away downed trees etc.
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Old 06-07-2016, 10:27   #41
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Re: Best Central/South American countries for cruisers?

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I think the original intent of this thread was about a nice safe place to hang out to explore CA and SA.... I have no problem in sailing into any place that isn't on the verge of a complete breakdown of society... but to find a nexus to keep your boat at in this area where you can lock the cabin and not look back and travel... Panama is superior to places like backwater towns that have questionable airport and roadway connections like Guatemala. In much of CA you should not drive at night..... In Panama there is no problem. If you want a connection to another country... Panama has connections unlike any airport in the region. Costs of food and basics are reasonable if not cheap, government is in good shape now...currency is US dollar....water is drinkable from the faucet... medicine is top notch and there are beautiful areas to explore. You can drive hundreds of miles at night and not worry about thuggery. If you need a part for a boat you could find it in country ...if not Fedex, etc. makes daily deliveries.... No hurricanes to worry about... Electricity is on 24/7.... Internet/WIFI is better than most places in the world... OK what am I missing?
I've heard good things about Panama, we were only there for about a week so I can't really comment. Ran into several cruisers who do the Panama to San Blas routine for several years in a row so thats a good vote. I know Panama goes out of their way to attract retired folks and I read that it's been a successful program so I'm sure much of what you say is probably correct.

Having said that I think people feel the same way about Colombia, we certainly do, we loved the place and plan on going back for a longer visit, although I'm not so sure that all the women were 8's but they do have some beautiful gals there, lol.
Belize has its beautiful spots and while we will return we couldn't see ourselves settling down there.
Guatemala seems very nice, nice people for sure. We are just starting out there so after several months of land travel we will be able to offer an opinion.
The Bay Islands in Honduras has lots to offer, very safe and lots to do. We are divers so we enjoyed ourselves a lot.

Having cruised the Eastern Caribbean and now the Western Caribbean our favorite is by far the Western side, more culture and so many cool things to see and do plus the people are wonderful.
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Old 06-07-2016, 11:11   #42
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Re: Best Central/South American countries for cruisers?

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I've heard good things about Panama, we were only there for about a week so I can't really comment. Ran into several cruisers who do the Panama to San Blas routine for several years in a row so thats a good vote. I know Panama goes out of their way to attract retired folks and I read that it's been a successful program so I'm sure much of what you say is probably correct.

Having said that I think people feel the same way about Colombia, we certainly do, we loved the place and plan on going back for a longer visit, although I'm not so sure that all the women were 8's but they do have some beautiful gals there, lol.
Belize has its beautiful spots and while we will return we couldn't see ourselves settling down there.
Guatemala seems very nice, nice people for sure. We are just starting out there so after several months of land travel we will be able to offer an opinion.
The Bay Islands in Honduras has lots to offer, very safe and lots to do. We are divers so we enjoyed ourselves a lot.

Having cruised the Eastern Caribbean and now the Western Caribbean our favorite is by far the Western side, more culture and so many cool things to see and do plus the people are wonderful.

Bay Islands, Honduras safe? lol.
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Old 06-07-2016, 11:20   #43
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Re: Best Central/South American countries for cruisers?

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Bunk. The Colombia/Panama Carib coast lines have a very low rate of crimes against cruisers. Crime is almost unheard of anywhere in the San Blas (usual land fall from Colombia). We've been cruising the area since 2012.

The biggest issue for transiting this route is the usually rough conditions off Colombia.
I like Panama and have spent multiple seasons in the San Blas. Sure it's a safe place, but saying crime is unheard of is way off. How about the multiple cruisers murdered by Javier Martin back in 2011 in the San Blas?
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Old 06-07-2016, 14:54   #44
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Re: Best Central/South American countries for cruisers?

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I like Panama and have spent multiple seasons in the San Blas. Sure it's a safe place, but saying crime is unheard of is way off. How about the multiple cruisers murdered by Javier Martin back in 2011 in the San Blas?
One very strange exceptional event doesn't equal a trend.

And I said "...almost unheard of...".
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Old 06-07-2016, 15:08   #45
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Re: Best Central/South American countries for cruisers?

Guns onboard a sailboat far away from 911 or a Coast Guard cutter is a must for protection. Chances are that you will never use it but what if you get into a situation where you do? From the coast of Venezuela to Brownsville Texas I think unfortunately you need protection onboard. Maybe not in Panama.
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