Hi, we've done a couple of laps around the Caribbean
, and have also done a lot of time on the W. coast from Alaska
. Here are some impressions of central America from our cruising perspective. Since you mentioned Ecuador
, we'll start in the Pacific.
The west coast
is simply fantastic. We based out of Puerto Vallarta
for about 8 years, using it as our hurricane
season harbor, and we would cruise
winters. The cost of living is quite good, safety
concerns when it comes to crime against Norteamericanos has been pretty overblown. Medical
care is good and cheap
, and air/road access to the USA is easily available and also cheap
This would be my absolute first choice as an expat destination
for living if I wanted to also have a boat.
Off your list, and I agree. It's not really that good of a place to base a boat anyway.
We only made one trip there, in 2004. There were very few cruising boats there at that time. We stayed at the Puerto Lucia yacht club in Salinas, and it is quite small and largely has local boats. I remember seeing about 5 cruising boats in a month there. I understand that this number has increased in recent years, but compared to the Caribbean
or Mexico, there are still far less boats there, and probably not a cruising community that qualifies as vibrant in most people's book.
However, up in the mountains, it's absolutely spectacular, and all of the good things about Mexico apply there in spades. It's a very popular expat place for a reason.
are pretty few and far between, and pretty expensive. It's a great place to cruise
, for sure, but not necessarily a great place to have a boat year round on a budget
. Shelter Bay's pretty reasonable, but it's a hell of a long way from anywhere. Bocas del Toro is also nice, but you might find it to be too much of a backwater for full-time living.
Guatemala has been covered. The Caribbean side of Mexico might be an option, too.
But, from our point of view, Pacific Mexico ticks an awful lot of boxes based on what you're describing.