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Sailorman375 26-08-2012 07:04

Best Places to Retire
I'm about 4 years away from retirement. Currently in Kemah, TX which is pretty cheap, but not much of a single life and very limited in places for short cruises. Looking for suggestions of fun places to live with reasonable marina rates ($500 month). Boat is a 42' Moody. Would like to stay within a 3 hour flight to Houston due to family here. Open to Central America if it's a very safe place.

belizesailor 26-08-2012 09:57

Re: Best Places to Retire
I will leave the definition of "Very Safe Place" up to you (last time I was in Houston there were 24 people murdered in one night!), but some suggestions from here in the Western Carib:

- Belize (direct flight Houston-Belize City)

- Bay Islands Honduras (NOT the mainland: which is definitely not currently a "Very Safe Place" by almost anyone's definition) - Also a direct flight Houston-Roatan.

- Rio Dulce Guatemala (direct flights to Guatemala City and maybe Flores still, but a long trek to the Rio itself).

- Bocas del Toro Panama (no direct flight, but you can fly into Panama City or San Jose Costa Rica and fly in from there)

I've lived in and/or cruised all of these locations and be happy to answer questions.

Sailorman375 26-08-2012 10:04

Re: Best Places to Retire
I've been doing some reading about most of those you cite. What about cost? Are there any nice marinas with floating docks? Am I going to need to learn Spanish to survive?

belizesailor 26-08-2012 10:43

Re: Best Places to Retire
You can find dockage at under $500/month for a 42' mono in any of these venues. Some are more expensive than others (like Bocas), but all feasible in this price range.

Very little tidal variance in all of these locations (normally only about 1', a big tide is 2') so floating docks are not the norm because they are not needed. However, there are a few places with floating docks -- like Red Frog in Bocas.

Good Spanish is not necessary in most of these venues: Primary language in Belize is English, English is pretty common in Panama & Honduras -- especially the Bay Islands, loads of gringos on the Rio Dulce and marinas are usually managed by gringos and or English speaking staff so there's always someone around to translate for you. The locals here are used to dealing with gringos with poor Spanish skills.

A couple of observations (not meant to be critical), but Americans are typically concerned about 2 things: "is it safe" and "English spoken"....after "is it cheap" of course! Some thoughts on these subjects below:

Re "Safety". Safety is a pretty relative concept except for the obviously very dangerous places -- if you check the crime statistics for your area you will probably find it is not as "safe" as you think -- in the USA these things don't tend to get reported in the local press. If you use common sense and stay out of activities and places you should not be in anyway then you can probably avoid most of the potential "safety" issues. Not that different than the Houston area from that perspective. Bad things can and do happen of course, but you can keep your risks lower by your behavior. What you don't have in any of these venues is the level of infrastructure, like Police etc, which you are accustomed to in the you have to be more conscious of taking care of yourself.

Re "English spoken", Spanish is a relatively easy language, and there is no better way to enhance your experience in another culture than learning some of the language (...and if you plan to be back part-time in the Houston area you might want some Spanish for there too!). Lots of good Spanish schools in many of these venues. For example, there are many good Spanish schools in Guatemala, located in great places to visit, so you can see some of the country and improve your Spanish.

For many Americans who are very concerned about "saftey" and "language" Belize is a popular choice (crime has been increase there in recent years too, but the overall rate is still low).

Again, the above is not meant to be critical - just an observation and related suggestions. I'm also an American BTW, but have been living in Central America for many years.

Wavewacker 27-08-2012 03:01

Re: Best Places to Retire
You probably like country music being down there, check out Branson Mo, your boat won't be the biggest on Table Rock lake, not as romantic as some mentioned, but cheap (check out Springfield, MO.) and the medical facilities. New airport, some cheap fares and about an hour away from Houston. Oh, didn't I mention the night life and all the possibilities, lol :whistling:

jeremiason 27-08-2012 06:38

Re: Best Places to Retire
Check out La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Nayarit, Mexico.

It is located about 20 minutes north of Puerta Vallarta and a lovely little Meixcan town. It has a large grigo population, but maintains its Mexican roots.

They have a 5 year old marina, boatyard and chanderly.
Best Marina in Mexico | Welcome to Marina Riviera Nayarit at La Cruz - Riviera Nayarit

belizesailor 27-08-2012 06:50

Re: Best Places to Retire

Originally Posted by Wavewacker (Post 1022570)
You probably like country music being down there, check out Branson Mo,... :whistling:

Yes, there are of course less expensive options in the USA than Kemah. Including some places along the Texas coast. Also some options in Florida.

Odd thing about country music. It is WAY popular with the lobster fleet in the Bay Islands. You hear country music blasting from their speakers, and in some of the bars, all the time. Also, somewhat popular in Belize, check out Jerry Jeff Walker's "Gringo in Belize".

jaxfishgyd 27-08-2012 07:36

Re: Best Places to Retire
Think N. Florida... You have the St Johns River that is wide and deep. (boats that have those sticky things on them can at least get as far south as Green Cove Springs, if the mast is under 47' (?) then you can make it down to Lake George area.
From Jacksonville you are an easy day cruise to St Augustine or Cumberland Island Gal
Plus N. Florida is a LOT cheaper and nicer than S. Florida....
We lived in Jacksonville for 26 years before moving our boat to Fernandina Beach just over a year ago....

Wavewacker 27-08-2012 07:39

Re: Best Places to Retire
OMG, I was hoping that costies were more refined, now it looks like I need to take my 400 watt stero and floor speakers to drown out that stuff.....:banghead:

zeehag 27-08-2012 07:54

Re: Best Places to Retire
the marina fees in la cruz are not cheap and the haul yard is platinum plated. haul in san blas, mexico, 50 miles from la cruz, unless you have more bux than .......

the anchorage is a roadstead and very rolly. marina la cruz is a nice place--in winter is most pricey in banderas bay, in summer, medium. in summer, paradice marina is more ---- month to month is 40 cents per foot per day for the length of tenure in marina. if projected stay is more than a month, 38 cents per foot per day per month. plus electricity and water.

low season/winter rates are 65 cents per foot per day per month. pus water plus electricity. many organized activities--kind of like a convalescent home or cruise ship.
expats and long term cruisers seem to congregate together. bunch of good souls here.

there is a fella who has a yearly rate--is 35 cents per foot per day per month. plus electricity and water.

foggysail 27-08-2012 07:57

Re: Best Places to Retire

Sailorman375 27-08-2012 08:17

Re: Best Places to Retire
Wow! That is expensive, plus I've heard electric is pricy as well. I'd be better staying in the US as I pay around 500-550 with electricity, water and internet.
It's just so damn hot here in Texas in the summer. Plus the single life here down right sucks. Houston women are a spoiled lot for the most part.

Sailorman375 27-08-2012 08:21

Re: Best Places to Retire

Very interested in Belize and Panama as I've had friends there and heard some good reports. Would be interested in learning more.

zeehag 27-08-2012 08:34

Re: Best Places to Retire
sailorman--anchoring out is good fun--if the anchorage is not a roadstead/rolly unprotected from anything kind of anchorage--i enjoy the anchorages--i only came into this marina because of repairs needed to be done being more difficult on anchor than at a dock--large parts--and i couldnt actually gain way in my walker bay to board my boat in 23 kt winds and the associated seas. (normal for spring and fall winds--they are to 40 kts)

this marina is decent in that they will accept mail for anchor outs as well as for the marina, so mail is a possibility, is much easier to receive mailings here, packages and leters.....something to consider--many cruisers do a back and forth thing--stay anchored for many weeks and come into marina for storms or once weekly for provisions...or for inland trips--is easier to be safe in the marina than in an anchorage in hurrycame season.

i am not certain how eastern mexico is--i have friends who loved isla mujeres--

belizesailor 27-08-2012 09:01

Re: Best Places to Retire

Originally Posted by Sailorman375 (Post 1022755)

Very interested in Belize and Panama as I've had friends there and heard some good reports. Would be interested in learning more.

I've got many years of experience in Belize, living, working, running charters, real estate, ... loads of experience there.

I'm a newbie in Panama (boat is there now), but do know the Bocas area reasonably well. Lots of others here on CF with experience in other parts of Panama.

So, what do you want to know?

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