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Old 03-11-2018, 13:28   #16
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Re: Rio Dulce Guatemala liveboard info sought

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Originally Posted by LLCoolDave View Post
Great info so far. The only question I'd raise is regarding visas. I bought a boat from Chris Stanley, the only yacht broker in Rio Dulce. He's lived there for ten years. I asked about visas and he said he does a border run to Honduras every 90 days. That's the worst case scenario.

On Facebook there is a Rio Dulce cruisers group. Lots of good info there.
The rest of the crew has provided great detailed answers on the other subjects, so I'll chime in on Visas.

Tourist Visas (technically just an entry stamp, no actual Visa required for most nationalities) are indeed only valid for 90 days.

Guatemala is part of the CA4 treaty (Guate, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua). When you enter any CA4 country the entry stamp you get is technically good for 90 days in all of the CA4 and you can pass easily between countries. To get a new entry stamp you are supposed to leave the CA4 (go to Belize for example). In practice of course, its a little different.

The degrees to which each country follows CA4 rules vary...

In practice when crossing borders in the CA4 you get a new stamp (all they really should do is check the existing one and send you on your way). So, you can indeed make a visa run to Honduras and come back with a bright shiny new 90 day stamp...some people even accompany their passports ; ). I know people who have literally been doing this for decades.

Be advised however that this stamp is not technically valid and you may get called on it in some situations. For example, El Salvador dont play that game...if you try to go to the lovely beaches on the Salvadoran coast for the weekend with a technically invalid stamp from a Guate/Honduras crossing then they will deny you entry (been there, done that). You may get called on it on international departures, but I dont think that happens often...after all you are on your way out.
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Old 03-11-2018, 13:37   #17
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Re: Rio Dulce Guatemala liveboard info sought

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Originally Posted by Triumphant View Post
There is (or was) a small travel lift at Cucumber beach Marina (Old Belize) about 8 miles south of Belize City and Thunderbird Marina in the lagoon at Placencia can now lift boats with a trailer type rig similar to Nana Juana, this is where the Moorings and Sunsail cats haul these days
Ive also heard that Hakim's boat yard in Belize City has added a big lift, but I dont know the details nor have actually seen it yet.

I would also be very skeptical of the decrepit old travel lift at Cucumber Beach.

You can hire cranes in Belize, but they have no experience lifting boats, nor insurance to cover lifting boats. A friend learned this the hard way when he hired 2 cranes to lift his Lagoon 47...they dropped it on the hard, doing substantial damage, and then their insurance refused to pay...oops.

Regardless, I would never get work done in Belize that I could get done on the Rio. Two totally different worlds...the Rio is better for boat work in every aspect.

A point of reference: despite a few new haul out options in Belize...then entire charter fleet still goes to the Rio for maintenance. There are reasons for that.
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Old 03-11-2018, 13:44   #18
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Re: Rio Dulce Guatemala liveboard info sought

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Originally Posted by AKscamp View Post
My Wife and I bought a boat on the hard at RAM a few years ago. We spent one season cruising Belize and returned to the Rio to keep it on the hard for the hurricane season, for our return trip to the states the following season. Over all we found the Rio to be a great place to work on and have work done on our boat. some things like canvas work were real bargain, but the yard fees were about what we were used to in central Florida. It was difficult to have parts shipped in. Mostly, we would fly in with them loose in our bags and sort it out with the officials on the spot. They were always very friendly and willing to work things out. when we bought our boat, it had been on the hard for years and was never imported to the country. We hired an agent to "sort" this out. It was quickly checked in and out at a reasonable rate; no problems. The Rio sports some real gems as far as craftsmen go. Carlos the welder can fabricate about anything you need and tom the rigger are just a few I highly recommend. I would definitely buy down there again. The bus ride to the Rio would be one of the only real deterrents.
Note that historically its been quite easy and inexpensive to import supplies to Guate and get them to the Rio, but the big SAT (Customs) scandal a few years back affected that. It gummed up the works for a while (shipments were delayed by months in some cases) and has resulted in regulations being more closely enforced (I think these are mostly existing regulations, which were just ingnored or bribed around in the past).

Hopefully things will get back to normal soon.
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Old 03-11-2018, 16:00   #19
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Re: Rio Dulce Guatemala liveboard info sought

Iíve just refited my boat in guatemala and am delighted
You just have to take a few things into consideration.
1) its the place for very good and cheap labor. Fiber,paint and carpentry. Do not try to do rigging,motor or electronics.they do not have the parts and or the knowlege.it will be good but not imprescindible to know a little spanish and you have to calculate around 12 us$ a day plus 1 for the food to have a very good honest and wellpaid craftman.
2) bring all the spares with you. Importing is slow and expensive.
3)If you you intend to live on board and direct the work yourself nanajuana is the place with a great swiming pool and even a hotel for the people that have their boat in the yard.
If you want to leave the boat there and relax, Ram is very truthworthy but you have to work exclusively with their team.
I do not know Abel but there are very diferents opinions about it and the yard is small and with bad comunications.
4) if yourdraft is more than 5,8 ft better hire someone to guide you threw the sandbar in livingstone,be carefull with who you hire,there are lots of small boats offering their services but I recomend Hector with his 350hp carterpilar ,wally.
5) in order to fly to and from Rio dulce it is better to go threw San pedro sula in honduras(i know, its known as a dangerous town) but its 3h30 by bus instead of the 8 to 10 h from guatemala city.
6) visit guatemala,its beautifull and very safe.
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Old 03-11-2018, 18:23   #20
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Re: Rio Dulce Guatemala liveboard info sought

My boat is currently being painted at Nana Juana. We don't live on the boat in the yard, but I visit daily to check on progress. So far so good. The workmanship appears excellent and I estimate the job will cost a quarter of what it would in the US.

Only complaint is that the name brand paints are very expensive and the selection isn't great. Shipping is expensive and slow. Bring your supplies from the US, or if coming from Colombia or Panama to do work in the Rio, consider stopping in San Andreas and importing your supplies there.
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Old 03-11-2018, 18:27   #21
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Re: Rio Dulce Guatemala liveboard info sought

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Originally Posted by JayH View Post
My boat is currently being painted at Nana Juana. We don't live on the boat in the yard, but I visit daily to check on progress. So far so good. The workmanship appears excellent and I estimate the job will cost a quarter of what it would in the US.

Only complaint is that the name brand paints are very expensive and the selection isn't great. Shipping is expensive and slow. Bring your supplies from the US, or if coming from Colombia or Panama to do work in the Rio, consider stopping in San Andreas and importing your supplies there.
Yes, brand name paints are spendy on the Rio. I used to import mine back when it was cheap and easy. Then, even with shipping/importation costs included it was still much less expensive than on the Rio.

I, and others, have also made runs to Honduras for paint in the past, but the increased security issues there make that a less appealing option.
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Old 04-11-2018, 08:07   #22
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Re: Rio Dulce Guatemala liveboard info sought

[QUOTE=belizesailor;2754548]Yes, brand name paints are spendy on the Rio.


Trinadad bottom paint is about $450 per gal. Transocean is the brand they sell the most, and it's much cheaper.
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