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Old 02-11-2018, 07:41   #1
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Rio Dulce Guatemala liveboard info sought

Information sought on long term live aboard DIY boat yard with staorage on the hard. I’m hoping to talk with someone currently doing this in Rio Dulce and personal experience with ordering parts, hiring help, wages and skill level of workers. How long is a visa for a us citizen good for.?
What is the good bad and the ugly. I need about 12 months to refit our boat and trying find a financially viable place to do get this work done and Rio Dulce might be the place.
Appreciate any thoughts on this.
Cheers,
Mark and Joy
Two live aboard boats and no dirt House. Summer boat in Alaska and winter boat currently West Coast of Florida.
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Old 02-11-2018, 08:31   #2
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Re: Rio Dulce Guatemala liveboard info sought

There are 2 marinas that would work for haul and liveaboard, Nana Wana and RAM. Nana Wana is a bit cheaper and so is the labor in their yard. They use a trailer for haul out.
You need a Guatemala cruising permit for your boat to stay in the country. Last year we paid for a year up front. It was maybe $150, (Q2700). Visa's last longer.
There are private contractors all over the place and some do nice work. You will need a dinghy and a bike would be nice too. Labor rates vary a lot. I had our bottom sanded for $600, (thats for a small boat.)
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Old 02-11-2018, 10:43   #3
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Re: Rio Dulce Guatemala liveboard info sought

Thank you Ecos. This is the kind of info I’m looking for.
Still wondering how problematic is importing boat parts supples, materials, ecetera.
Looks like a beautiful country and hopefully a reasonable cost of living.
It’s getting where I can’t afford Florida any longer, so sell the boat or move somewhere cheaper. Still a lot of work to do on the boat before we cross the Pacific. Rio Dulce might be a fun place to finish the outfit.
I did shoot off an email to Nana Juana to get an idea on marina prices.
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Old 02-11-2018, 11:10   #4
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Re: Rio Dulce Guatemala liveboard info sought

This is the first year I'm being charged for the goods I send down to Gua. If I have the story right it could be 20%, I'm not sure about that yet. You send your stuff to an address in Miami and it goes by container to Puerto Barios and by truck to the Rio. It takes almost 2 months. You can also ship by air and that only takes a week. If you want the straight scoop email ritasoffice1@gmail.com. She handles shipments by Transcargo. Then of course you can order stuff through the shops down there and pay whatever. I bought chain in the US once, shipped it down and it cost more than if I had bought it down there.
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Old 02-11-2018, 11:19   #5
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Re: Rio Dulce Guatemala liveboard info sought

Quote:
Originally Posted by freshalaska View Post
Still wondering how problematic is importing boat parts supples, materials, ecetera.
Some night time reading

Note

The comments below are based on our perspectives and experiences and may differ with other you will hear from

Importing Boat bits My experience
If you bring stuff in by air it is expensive (35%+) and slow, they say 7 – 10 days working days and the shippers do not work weekends. I have had stuff delayed in Miami for 21 days with no explanation

If you bring goods in by sea, it takes about 5 – 6 weeks and typically costs around 10% of the value of the cargo.

ORDERING GOODS IN THE USA AND SHIPPING TO GUATEMALA

We order the goods via Marine Warehouse in Miami who will consolidate the goods for us and when we are ready they will then send the consignment to Bon Bini in Miami who then ship it to Transcargo in Guatemala.

Note we use Marine Warehouse because
• They will consolidate for us (and sometimes allow us to add bits not purchased through them)
• We do not have a USA address
• They will accept Non US credit cards

I email them a request for a quotation at Marine Warehouse & Seaborne Marine sales@marinewarehouse.netwhi and ask them to tell you who is dealing with your order

The process is as follows:

• You specify what you want via email (I normally attach a link to Defender or West Marine to ensure we are talking about the same item)
• Marine Warehouse will emails you an estimate
• You approve the estimate
• Marine Warehouse emails you an invoice
• You pay the invoice via credit card on the internet
• Marine Warehouse obtains/consolidates the goods for you
• You tell Marine Warehouse to ship the goods to Bon Bini when you are ready
• Marine Warehouse will email you a copy of the POD when they have delivered it to Bon Bini

Note
Specify the Shipping address as follows to avoid sales tax as the goods are shipped to an export agent

Ship To

YOUR NAME/GUATEMALA
C/O BON BINI (Transcargo Miami agent)
10301 NW 108 AVE SUITE 2
MIAMI, FL 33178
305-594-1111

BE VERY CAREFUL TO USE THE ADDRESS FORMAT ABOVE TO AVOID PROBLEMS

You can use Rita’s Office in Bruno’s in Rio Dulce to monitor your consignments with Transcargo if you want, she will not charge you anything extra but may charge you storage if you are not there when the goods arrive, best to check first. (Transcargo charges us nothing for storage).We have an existing relationship with Transcargo so do it direct. The owner and the lady there (Jose and Karla) at Transcargo both speak good English

Transcargo info
See http://riodulcechisme.com/index.php?...d=542&Itemid=2

It takes about 5 to 7 weeks and may costs up to 10 percent of shipment value (this includes Freight and all customs charges). Cargo is charged by Volume or Weight, which ever is greater, Minimum Charge is $30 US

Wait about 3 weeks after the Miami shipment date then PHONE Transcargo (much more efficient and quicker than email) and ask about when they expect your delivery.

When the goods arrive in Guat City, we get emailed the freight/duty costs by Transcargo (they can give you the costs in US$ or Q’s, you specify what you want you want to pay in and they will then supply the relevant bank account details)

You go to the BAM Bank in Rio Dulce and pay them amount into their account, (we email a copy of the BAM receipt to Transcargo) and they will put the goods on the Litegua bus and give you the Litegua number to allow you to pick the goods up from the bus station.

Allow a day then go to Litegua with some ID, pay the Litegua costs (minimal) and then pick up your goods.

If you are using Rita the process may vary, so check with her how she works it

Haul out yards in Rio Dulce May 2017

Note
We have a steel boat so probably look for a different work profile and skill set to a fibreglass boat for a haul out

This is our view of things, I am sure you will hear different opinions from other people

General points
The rules and the people involved change from year to year so I suggested you ask around when you get there

i.e.
• Your selected worker may not be allowed to work at a specific yard •
• He may have moved to another yard
• The yard may charge him out at US$45 per hour rather than the local rate
• Do you have to use Yard approved staff
• Are you allowed to stay on the board when the boat is ashore
• Any Special deals?
• Bringing in your own workers?
• Using your own materials?
• Check out how the yard wants to be paid, i.e. do they accept credit cards and do they charge extra for credit cards
• Gringo worker may try and charge more, is it worth the extra? Well that’s you call!!!!!

We got together with another boat and organised buying our Trans Ocean paints from the main dealer in Guatemala City, we spent about US$2,400, and we were able to pay for it by credit card. The paints were up to 50% cheaper than the same paints in Rio Dulce and it was delivered free from the City to Rio Dulce, 2 deliveries a week!!

You have 3 choices of Haul out yards

• RAM
• Nana Juana
• Abel’s

RAM

From Facebook May 2017


RAM Marina Team & Equipment, including
• Travel lift
• 3 Tractors,
• Scissor lift,
• Forklift,
• Sand Blasting Machine / 185 CFM air compressor,
• Two Utility Trucks,
• Two Golf Carts~People Movers
• Terex/ Lorain Crane 18 Ton 100' with Jib

• Plus the Greatest Team of Dedicated Employees of Guatemalan Culture. We are so proud of there constant accomplishments in learning a New Industry with enormous opportunity.


They do very good paint and fibreglass work but can be more expensive. The quality of steel and stainless work they do depends on who they are using to do the welding, they have some kind of blasting rig, I think it is soda

Karen, the manager, is very helpful and speaks very good English, There is a West Marine store on site and they can assist in shipping stuff in

Many years ago when we first arrived we tried to haul at RAM but we could not get agreement with the then manager on the rules at RAM and we were not happy with the quality of the welder’s work that they showed us but I believe this has changed

RAM things to check.

• If you are on the concrete do you HAVE to use their people and buy their paint? If yes this means you will be paying near US prices,

• If you are on the gravel above the yard, can you still do what you want and bring your own crews in?

• Can you to live aboard whilst out of the water?

• Suggest you also walk around and have a chat to the people already there

• If you are a catamaran there is a width limit due to the Travel lift

Nana Juana
The last time we hauled out our steel boat (2015 and 2017/8) at Nana Juana and brought Carlos the Welder’s men in to do the work. We were there for 6 and 11 months, the yard do a deal on longer stays so it is worth checking.

Ensure that your electricity is metered, they were still fitting meters when we were there

They have no workers of their own so you can bring in your own crews, we also hauled our No 2 fibreglass boat there and used a combination of Carlos for the mechanical work and Lubbi for the painting and we were happy with the result

Abels
We have hauled at Abel’s a few times in the past and also brought Carlos the Welders men in to do the work.

These haul out required some serious steel work done hence the use of Carlos’s skills, it allowed us to be able to discuss and be sure of the solution and quality of the work, trying to have technical conversations in a foreign language is always difficult

PERSONAL VIEW

If we had to haul at Abels’s again I WOULD NOT USE THEIR CREW, I would get approval to bring my own people in before I hauled, the poor work rate of the Abel’s crew may not not match the bill they will give you.

Abel Junior has a reputation for always under quoting

Abel’s can do sand blasting

Abel’s is situated in San Phillipe (very nice little local village, 3Q, 15 minute chicken bus ride from town) about 2 miles up river of the bridge so if you have a very tall mast it could become an issue if the river level rises

Abel’s have a travel lift and they have railways so large catamarans can be catered for

Abel’s also does some commercial work so check where they want to put you before you haul

Another view of Rio Dulce Boatyards by BelizeSailor from a Cruisersforum thread

The 3 boat yards are Nana Juana, RAM Marine, and Abel's.

Nana Juana has an articulated trailer which can accommodate most recreational vessels including larger catamarans. This is a distinct advantage because it means larger cats can avoid the potentially nerve wracking transit under the bridge and power lines to get to Abel's (I cover the details of making this transit in my “Belize & Guatemala Cruising Notes” also available on Amazon).

RAM Marina is a full on USA style boat yard. RAM Marine is large full service boat yard complete with a travel lift, paint shed, dry storage lot, fuel dock, restaurant, West Marine distributor (effectively the same thing as a West Marine store), and restaurant. The one thing missing at RAM is the ability to haul larger cats, but there are plans to add an articulated trailer (the ramp is even built for it).

Abel's is a family run yard which has been in operation for decades. They have a marine railway system and a relatively recently added travel lift. Competition from the new yards has forced them to up their game by adding things like the travel lift, but unfortunately that necessitated increasing their rates too. As mentioned, they are upstream of the bridge. This is not an issue for smaller vessels, but is a significant consideration for larger vessels with tall masts.
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Old 02-11-2018, 11:53   #6
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Re: Rio Dulce Guatemala liveboard info sought

First off WOW! Triumphant and Ecos this is exactly the info I’m looking for and you have helped greatly. Truely suburb info.
Much appreciated!
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Old 02-11-2018, 11:59   #7
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Re: Rio Dulce Guatemala liveboard info sought

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.
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Old 02-11-2018, 12:31   #8
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Re: Rio Dulce Guatemala liveboard info sought

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.
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Old 02-11-2018, 12:44   #9
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Re: Rio Dulce Guatemala liveboard info sought

More good first hand information and from a fellow Sourdough.
You all have helped greatly in my making an educated decision.
I’m starting to believe I was a bit spoiled with the low labor rates I paid when I rebuilt 53 foot boat in the Philippines, but getting things done there was not always easy by any means. Such is the adventure.
In Skagway, Alaska we only pay $117 a month for a forty footer on the hard storage/no elect.
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Old 02-11-2018, 13:37   #10
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Re: Rio Dulce Guatemala liveboard info sought

Man this forum rocks
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Old 02-11-2018, 14:20   #11
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Re: Rio Dulce Guatemala liveboard info sought

If you want to see how debauched it can be , check out the local cruiser newspaper, the Rio Dulce Chisme.
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Old 03-11-2018, 10:24   #12
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Re: Rio Dulce Guatemala liveboard info sought

Following. Eventually we hope to get to the western Caribb. FWIW, there was a haul-out /storage facility just south of Belize City, and I've heard of one mentioned in Placentia, Belize. Based on personal experience, the best refit yards we've ever found are in Phuket, Thailand......and the best cruising we've ever found is in Asia(PI, Viet Nam, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand), if you have a mind to go in that direction!!!
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Old 03-11-2018, 10:54   #13
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Re: Rio Dulce Guatemala liveboard info sought

Quote:
Originally Posted by LLCoolDave View Post
I asked about visas and he said he does a border run to Honduras every 90 days.
Are you sure he said Honduras as they are part of the C4 countries as is Guatemala, Belize and Mexico are the more usual places to go for a visa run
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Old 03-11-2018, 11:25   #14
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Re: Rio Dulce Guatemala liveboard info sought

[QUOTE=sailcrazy;2754324]Following. Eventually we hope to get to the western Caribb. FWIW, there was a haul-out /storage facility just south of Belize City, and I've heard of one mentioned in Placentia, Belize.


I'm pretty sure there is not a place to haul out in Belize. You can drag a flat bottom boat ashore in several places but not a sailboat.
I don't get the Visa sign off in Honduras either. The easy way to do it is send your passport to Belize by courier and hope to get it back, or take a bus to MX and spend a couple of days.
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Old 03-11-2018, 12:36   #15
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Re: Rio Dulce Guatemala liveboard info sought

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
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