A bit more on timing and routing. Depends of course on your boat
, average speed you can make, and wind
conditions, but mostly relativley short runs.
Review Pilot Charts
for average wind
and sea state conditions. Winds tend to be more variable S of 11N and will effect your planning. Also there is a variable area of higher average waves off of Colombia
that can extend further W at times. Also see Pilot Charts
Bocas to Providencia is one of the longer legs at about 240 nm. From there to the Vivarillos area about another 200 nm. Most cruisers stop in here to rest up and enjoy this beautiful remote
area. On this route once you make the turn to head
a bit more W then you have a favorable angle on the prevailing trade
winds and can run down wind all the way to Belize or head up a bit and just shoot for Mexico.
Vivarillos to Guanaja, Bay Islands is about another 160 nm. The land effect of the mountainous Honduran main land is dramatic. In close to the coast winds back (shift West in this case) and lighten significantly. This is handy when trying to get E against the prevailing trades, but heading W you will want to stay well off the coast (more secure too) and get out into the trades. Just N of Bay Islands you are well clear of any land effect and normally have strong prevailing trades from the NE to SE depending on time of year. Just look at the winds in any prevailing conditions (no fronts etc) GRIB data to see this effect...N of Roatan the trades will be honking, but a bit S they will moderate and back. The Bay Islands are a great cruising ground.
From the Bay Islands, the further S and W you go the more likely you are to get out of the trades. So keep your course N of the Bay Islands as much as possible to keep good wind. If making for Belize then any course S of Ranguana Pass you a very likely to lose the prevailing trades. Ranguana Pass is the best option for heading to Placencia and only about 70 nm from Utila. If you make directly for Rio Dulce, Guatemala then you will like lose the trades before you are abeam of Puerto Cortez. Heading more N to Belize City is longer but will keep you in the trades.
Moderate amounts of commercial
traffic in this area running parallel to the Honduran coast and N in the Yucatan
Channel so keep a good watch.