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Old 19-08-2019, 08:22   #1
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Smile Panama to San Diego 2020/2021

Hi Cruisers!

I am transiting the Panama Canal in May 2020 and I知 looking for route advise for heading to San Diego. I have the option to continue North through June to October. And or Leave the boat somewhere safe and return in May 2021 and continue North. I left England this July and I知 eventually headed to Squamish, BC, Canada. The boat is currently in Gran Canaria so you値l see I知 planning ahead lol.

I have laid out questions below. Advise on any would be appreciated?

After Panama Canal, Las Perlas Isands, Worth the stop?

Banana route vs coast hopping? Any advice from those who have sailed direct from Panama to Mexico?

If I coastal hop:
What areas close to land should be avoided? Punta Mala? Papagayo? Tehuantepec? Follow the weather in the Gulf of Mexico and wait for a good window?
Advice here for best places to stop before and after would be appreciated? And how far from land to stay?

Costa Rica looks expensive, might go straight to Nicaragua or El Salvador or Guatemala. What痴 the best options here? My preference is to enjoy cruising north without spending too much money in marinas.

Best weather forecasts for this part of the world?

Best cruising guides?

All advice appreciated!
Cheers
Ben
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Old 19-08-2019, 08:49   #2
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Re: Panama to San Diego 2020/2021

I would cruise the Las Perlas again. Last time,there were little Jelly Fish everywhere and we couldn't swim, but it's nice. CR is $$. Boats are staying at the marina in Nic but it's very remote, El Salvador is less so. I would try and make MX for a layover.
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Old 19-08-2019, 09:08   #3
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Re: Panama to San Diego 2020/2021

Thanks for the reply. How’s Guatemala? I see that’s you location
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Old 19-08-2019, 12:09   #4
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Re: Panama to San Diego 2020/2021

We are in GUA, but the east side. I have no idea what the west coast is really like, but it doesn't sound so good. Most boats do El Salvador to MX.
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Old 19-08-2019, 12:27   #5
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Re: Panama to San Diego 2020/2021

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We are in GUA, but the east side. I have no idea what the west coast is really like, but it doesn't sound so good. Most boats do El Salvador to MX.
Not too much of interest on the Guate W coast...mostly long straight black sand shore line. Only 1 port I know of, Puerto Quetzal, its more of a commercial port and few cruisers stop there.

The beaches are VERY crowded on the weekends.

Along the coast is a hot spot for big game fish like marlin though.

By contrast nearby El Salvador has a beautiful coast line.
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Old 19-08-2019, 13:20   #6
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Re: Panama to San Diego 2020/2021

The Gulf of Fonseca is down there. It is at the border of Honduras, NI and SV. We were chicken to enter but it looks interesting. This is where our infamous Oliver North smuggled guns to the Contra rebels. Cruising in the armpit of 3 really poor countries sounds a little dangerous.
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Old 19-08-2019, 17:04   #7
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Re: Panama to San Diego 2020/2021

In 2013 I crewed for a skipper delivering his own boat from Panama to San Diego. Total travel time was about 5 weeks including a transit of the Panama Canal and some pre-trip preparations. If I remember correctly all our stops were in Mexico, except for an unscheduled fuel stop in Costa Rica. By all means, stay as clear as you can from the Gulf of Tehuantepec. Our skipper did not and we rode out 40 kt winds and 20 ft seas for about 12 hours. Hope you have a safe and enjoyable trip.
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Old 19-08-2019, 17:16   #8
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Re: Panama to San Diego 2020/2021

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In 2013 I crewed for a skipper delivering his own boat from Panama to San Diego. Total travel time was about 5 weeks including a transit of the Panama Canal and some pre-trip preparations. If I remember correctly all our stops were in Mexico, except for an unscheduled fuel stop in Costa Rica. By all means, stay as clear as you can from the Gulf of Tehuantepec. Our skipper did not and we rode out 40 kt winds and 20 ft seas for about 12 hours. Hope you have a safe and enjoyable trip.
This is bad advice on the Tehauntepec. The violent winds reach more than hundred miles offshore and the seas for much further. Most guides suggest traveling one-foot off the beach along this area, guaranteeing that the waves will be small from the strong easterly wind. In practice Tehauntepec conditions are well forecasted these days. Watch the winter fronts traveling down through Texas into the Gulf of Mexico. With better forecasting you can make the two day jump directly without going along the shore.
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Old 19-08-2019, 18:10   #9
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Re: Panama to San Diego 2020/2021

I suspect he just meant, don't get caught out there! You hear all the stories and wonder, where did those guys get their wx? We need to be lucky all the time and that crossing was easy, it was a lake.
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Old 19-08-2019, 18:35   #10
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Re: Panama to San Diego 2020/2021

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This is bad advice on the Tehauntepec. The violent winds reach more than hundred miles offshore and the seas for much further. Most guides suggest traveling one-foot off the beach along this area, guaranteeing that the waves will be small from the strong easterly wind. In practice Tehauntepec conditions are well forecasted these days. Watch the winter fronts traveling down through Texas into the Gulf of Mexico. With better forecasting you can make the two day jump directly without going along the shore.

I think the guides mentioned above are written by people who have to have an anchorage every night. We sailed a few months ago from Chiapas to Zihuatanejo during mild conditions, but started in the afternoon winds, since we counted on arriving after 2 nights in the morning. Even in "mild" (20-25kn) conditions going upwind in the shallow waters sucked, with steep waves as all the guides mention. We turned downwind to find deep water, once there the wave pattern changed and we had a OK sail to Zihua.
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Old 20-08-2019, 06:30   #11
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Re: Panama to San Diego 2020/2021

Thanks for the replies regarding Tehuantepec. If I decide to stay inshore, looks like I could clear into Mexico in Puerto Madero, and then head across to Puerto Angel with a good two day weather window.
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Old 20-08-2019, 06:37   #12
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Re: Panama to San Diego 2020/2021

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Thanks for the replies regarding Tehuantepec. If I decide to stay inshore, looks like I could clear into Mexico in Puerto Madero, and then head across to Puerto Angel with a good two day weather window.
Exactly. Puerto Madero = Chiapas. The marina there will help you with all formalities needed.
Our destination from there was Huatulco (not Zihua as I falsly said above..). Has fuel there in the Marina Chahue if you need it.
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Old 20-08-2019, 09:13   #13
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Re: Panama to San Diego 2020/2021

Quote:
Originally Posted by benbis View Post
Hi Cruisers!

I am transiting the Panama Canal in May 2020 and I知 looking for route advise for heading to San Diego. I have the option to continue North through June to October. And or Leave the boat somewhere safe and return in May 2021 and continue North. I left England this July and I知 eventually headed to Squamish, BC, Canada. The boat is currently in Gran Canaria so you値l see I知 planning ahead lol.

I have laid out questions below. Advise on any would be appreciated?

After Panama Canal, Las Perlas Isands, Worth the stop?

Banana route vs coast hopping? Any advice from those who have sailed direct from Panama to Mexico?

If I coastal hop:
What areas close to land should be avoided? Punta Mala? Papagayo? Tehuantepec? Follow the weather in the Gulf of Mexico and wait for a good window?
Advice here for best places to stop before and after would be appreciated? And how far from land to stay?

Costa Rica looks expensive, might go straight to Nicaragua or El Salvador or Guatemala. What痴 the best options here? My preference is to enjoy cruising north without spending too much money in marinas.

Best weather forecasts for this part of the world?

Best cruising guides?

All advice appreciated!
Cheers
Ben
Of course it's going to be awhile before you get there, but keep an eye on the situation in Nicaragua. They are having a pretty big dust-up at present. Be especially wary of the east coast.
We would sail Panama-Hawaii without a doubt, especially if going to BC. But we've spent a lot of time in Central America and Mexico, and if you have not it is certainly worth the effort.
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Old 20-08-2019, 09:32   #14
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Re: Panama to San Diego 2020/2021

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Originally Posted by Paul L View Post
This is bad advice on the Tehauntepec. The violent winds reach more than hundred miles offshore and the seas for much further. Most guides suggest traveling one-foot off the beach along this area, guaranteeing that the waves will be small from the strong easterly wind. In practice Tehauntepec conditions are well forecasted these days. Watch the winter fronts traveling down through Texas into the Gulf of Mexico. With better forecasting you can make the two day jump directly without going along the shore.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ecos View Post
I suspect he just meant, don't get caught out there! You hear all the stories and wonder, where did those guys get their wx? We need to be lucky all the time and that crossing was easy, it was a lake.
These days the Tehauntepecer winds are well forecast, if you watch synoptic charts and know what to look for you can see the conditions setting up. No reason to get caught in them...except foolishly not closely monitoring WX.

The other major gap winds along the CA Pacific Coast are not as strong, but are fairly well forcast too. See Papagayo Wind.

There are also minor gap winds which are not forecast at all...one sets up in a bay in Panama on a regular basis and has caught us out kayaking a few times with winds to about 30kts, extremely localized in just that little bay. Bay next to it is calm. Inteteresting phenomena.


Related article:

http://www.oceannavigator.com/Januar...=2&siarticle=1
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Old 20-08-2019, 09:48   #15
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Re: Panama to San Diego 2020/2021

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Originally Posted by Ecos View Post
I would cruise the Las Perlas again. Last time,there were little Jelly Fish everywhere and we couldn't swim, but it's nice. CR is $$. Boats are staying at the marina in Nic but it's very remote, El Salvador is less so. I would try and make MX for a layover.
Also in Panama, the Golfo de Chiriqui is beautiful, humpback whales migrate thru around October. Much of it is a reserve so the islands are mostly unpopulated.

This WP is just an arbitrary point in the area: https://boating.page.link/YRbC

Golfito just over the border in CR is a popular stop.
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