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Old 07-07-2016, 08:05   #61
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Re: Best Central/South American countries for cruisers?

I would vote for San Juan del Sur on Nicaragua... Second, Puerto La Vela, Colombia...
Rio dulce, Guatemala, San Blas, Panama, Maceio, Brasil, Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela... a lot of nice places to anchor and just let the life run slowly...
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Old 07-07-2016, 08:05   #62
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Re: Best Central/South American countries for cruisers?

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Over the past couple of years, I've told the good and the bad about Colombia. One thing I've learned on this site is how unaware the posters are of the monitoring of marine traffic off the coast as a result of drug interdiction efforts. It is intense. Colombia would be the worst place to be a pirate that I could think of as there is a huge presence of Coast Guard/DEA in the area using state of the art surveillance equipment, and they are watching you.......trust me on that.

I returned last night from a 5 day cruise, it was beautiful, but as belizesailor says, there is some heavy weather along the coast at times.
Yes, we've seen and been approached by the Men In Black a few times, but never boarded.

They did spend a lot of time on a cat anchored near us once with a crew of young men, but nobody left in cuffs.
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Old 07-07-2016, 08:35   #63
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Re: Best Central/South American countries for cruisers?

We spent time on the Corn Islands, Nica (not by boat) and absolutely loved them but saw only one potential "Cruising Boat", it looked pretty unused...
There are no protected anchorages unfortunately so it is a fair weather passing thru stop, imo.
Bluefields on the coast was "funky" and interesting and had potential anchorages but I don't know enough about the rest of the coastline along Nica and I would only want to do it with some other "Explorers" . Safety in numbers etc.

Bob
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Old 07-07-2016, 08:36   #64
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Re: Best Central/South American countries for cruisers?

I don't think we have any drug traffickers on this site, but the alphabet agencies can read any email coming in or leaving Colombia.
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Old 07-07-2016, 09:06   #65
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Re: Best Central/South American countries for cruisers?

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When we visited the Bay Islands, Malaria and Dengue Fever were a much bigger threat than isolated crime. This was also the case at other CA countries we traveled thru.
We shared a cab on Roatan with a guy with advanced stage Malaria, he was "yellow" and deathly... that was very sobering...

Bob
While not common Malaria is around CA so its always a good idea to have anti-malaria drugs onboard and take them if there are local reports of malaria. Dengue Fever is also around although I've spoken with hundreds of cruisers in the area and have never heard of anyone getting either. Its also around in the South Pacific. Many of our cruising friends did get Chikungunya Fever in the Eastern Caribbean and that doesnt seem to be stopping anyone from cruising in the area. Small risks for large pleasure!
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Old 07-07-2016, 09:26   #66
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Re: Best Central/South American countries for cruisers?

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While not common Malaria is around CA so its always a good idea to have anti-malaria drugs onboard and take them if there are local reports of malaria. Dengue Fever is also around although I've spoken with hundreds of cruisers in the area and have never heard of anyone getting either. Its also around in the South Pacific. Many of our cruising friends did get Chikungunya Fever in the Eastern Caribbean and that doesnt seem to be stopping anyone from cruising in the area. Small risks for large pleasure!
Keep in mind though that neither dengue nor malaria are a single illness. There are many strains of malaria, fortunately the most common strain in CA is relatively mild. There are two general types of dengue, normal and hemoragic. Hemoragic is much less common, but can kill you.

Various parasites are common too. Ive seen gringos walking around barefoot in places like Livingston and Fronteras (Rio Dulce)...geez...who wants to become a science experiment.

I know lots of folks who've been afflicted by one or more of the above, often just when visiting briefly as tourists. Fortunately, after living in the region for over a decade, Ive never experienced any of them.

Food handling in most of CA is not exactly up to developed country standards either. We do have a proper butcher here in Volcan, Panama, which is a nice luxury, but most in CA look like the attached pic.
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Old 07-07-2016, 09:39   #67
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Re: Best Central/South American countries for cruisers?

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We spent time on the Corn Islands, Nica (not by boat) and absolutely loved them but saw only one potential "Cruising Boat", it looked pretty unused...
There are no protected anchorages unfortunately so it is a fair weather passing thru stop, imo.
Bluefields on the coast was "funky" and interesting and had potential anchorages but I don't know enough about the rest of the coastline along Nica and I would only want to do it with some other "Explorers" . Safety in numbers etc.

Bob
Definately on my to do list to explore the Nica east coast more, but via normal tourism modes not by boat (too many problems along that coast and a cruising boat obviously sticks out like a sore thumb).

Buddy and I did a fishing trip on Nicaragua's Rio San Juan last year (world class tarpon) and had planned to spend more time on the east coast, but logistics got in the way...we will return.

Taken as a whole, Central America is a wonderland. For those who want to base there, pick a spot that suits you, then travel from there. Thats basically what I've done, except my base has shifted from Belize to Guatemala to Panama over the years. I've traveled/cruised all over Central America and have thuroughly enjoyed it...still more to see and do.
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Old 07-07-2016, 09:50   #68
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Re: Best Central/South American countries for cruisers?

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People from the mainland can take the ferry over no problem. The pickings are better with all the cruise ships etc. There are a couple of areas a dumb looking gringo should stay clear of. In broad daylight the store at Barefoot Key Marina was held up. Maybe it's like any other place?
Yes, thats the perspective of many Bay Islanders...trouble comes from the mainland...and it often does. Many still view themsleves as English and the mainlanders as trouble making Spanish (they call them "Spanish" not "Spainards").

Roatan is of course the most accessible and most populated (on the western end anyway) so more likely to find trouble there, but still a reasonable place to visit.
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Old 07-07-2016, 09:59   #69
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Re: Best Central/South American countries for cruisers?

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Roatan is of course the most accessible and most populated (on the western end anyway) so more likely to find trouble there, but still a reasonable place to visit.
Coxen Hole and a few spots in French Harbor are the only places that look iffy to me. Everything else looks pretty happy.
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Old 07-07-2016, 10:10   #70
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Re: Best Central/South American countries for cruisers?

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While not common Malaria is around CA so its always a good idea to have anti-malaria drugs onboard and take them if there are local reports of malaria. Dengue Fever is also around although I've spoken with hundreds of cruisers in the area and have never heard of anyone getting either. Its also around in the South Pacific. Many of our cruising friends did get Chikungunya Fever in the Eastern Caribbean and that doesnt seem to be stopping anyone from cruising in the area. Small risks for large pleasure!
I'm guessing Chikungunya Fever will probably show up in the Western Carib if it hasn't already ? and how bad is it ? Any preventatives... ? I don't know anything about it.

Bob
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Old 07-07-2016, 10:10   #71
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Re: Best Central/South American countries for cruisers?

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.... 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?
Booming economy too, water/electric are reasonably relaible in most places but outages are not uncommon in many.

True there are a lot of positives about Panama. And while crime is less of an issue than many other places, its still a concern. There have been crimes against cruisers, mostly around the approaches to the Panama Canal, but to a lesser degree in some other areas too. Theft/Burglary/Assault do happen to expats inland too. The Chiriqui highlands for example are a beautiful place to live but "malientes" (bad guys, mostly just dumb punks really) are a signficant annoyance here.

I've driven my trusty old '89 Jeep Cherokee all over CA. "Thuggery" is not the primary concern when driving at night, but rather unlit vehicles, livestock, protests, pedestrians, debri, crazy drivers, massive pot holes... I avoid driving at night in Guate (which borders on suicidal) and most other countries for that reason. I do drive in Panama on the PanAmerican Hwy and major paved roads at night sometimes...though some of these same issues are present, just to a lesser degree.
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Old 07-07-2016, 10:16   #72
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Re: Best Central/South American countries for cruisers?

[QUOTE=REsCat;2161363]I'm guessing Chikungunya Fever will probably show up in the Western Carib if it hasn't already ?

It has and I think it's been re-named to Chicken **** fever
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Old 07-07-2016, 10:29   #73
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Re: Best Central/South American countries for cruisers?

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I'm guessing Chikungunya Fever will probably show up in the Western Carib if it hasn't already ? and how bad is it ? Any preventatives... ? I don't know anything about it.

Bob
Same tiger mosquito that carries everything else, they are bigger with white markings that are reasonably visible. Its sort of a mild version of Dengue fever but the folks I've talked to that got it report everything from a bad flue to being sick and bed ridden for weeks with very sore joints so I guess it varies but its not a good experience.
In all the time I've been in CA I haven't seen a tiger mosquito but I did see lots of them in St. Maartin when we were there.
The mosquito is a daytime bug that is most prevalent in early morning/evening and its always wise to keep the repellent handy. We use screens on the boat. You would think that being on a river in fresh water that there would be tons of mosquitoes but in fact we see very few. I would not worry about it as while the risk is there if you employ some common sense its a rare happening.
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Old 07-07-2016, 10:58   #74
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Re: Best Central/South American countries for cruisers?

Thanks for those updates on yet another bug issue we have to keep alert for.

Bob
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Old 12-01-2017, 18:00   #75
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Re: Best Central/South American countries for cruisers?

I just want to thank Belizesailor, and a few others in this thread for helping us decide to visit Central America - by land in this particular case - even though we are cruising sailors. We are in the middle of a multi- month Central American road trip from New Brunswick in eastern Canada to Panama and back. We're about to cross onto Costa Rica tomorrow after about a two week visit to Nicaragua. We also spent considerable time in El Salvador and Guatamala. Up till now we have had nothing but good experiences, fun and adventuresome. My advice- don't be afraid, be open to different cultures, you will be amazed by the good experiences you can have. Isn't that what cruising and travel, in general, are all about.
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