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Six Months in the Rio Dulce 2013

By SY Mary Ann — last modified Nov 27, 2013 03:44 PM
SV Mary Ann left Singapore 5 years ago, cruising the Indian Ocean, South Africa, Namibia, South Atlantic, and up via Brazil to the Caribbean before heading to Santiago de Cuba straight from Martinique. From Cuba, they headed to Belize and then on to the Rio Dulce. They plan to transit the Panama canal early next year.

Published: 2013-11-27 00:00:00
Countries: Guatemala

The Rio Dulce is a good place to spend the hurricane season when in the area.

It is however very hot, the early part of the bad season (July to September in particular) is extremely muggy, wet, with lots of thunderstorms and lightning, some of which can be quite nasty, but it's a very pretty place and we felt rather safe.

Clearing in and out via Raoul is easy, although the "cruising permit" renewal after the first 3 months is expensive (1950Q = 260USD).

Marinas

There are plenty of marinas to choose from, with the better ones, in my opinion, being Catamaran (nice grounds, well sheltered, safe, good swimming pool), and Nana Juana (same as above, better pool, but less refreshing wind in the afternoon).

RAM is more for hauling out, and Mar Marine, albeit nice (we stayed there), is a bit more expensive, and not too friendly - good BBQ pit, no pool. The other marinas are clearly much smaller with fewer facilities.

To be noted is the limited air clearance to pass the bridge (the bridge itself is not the problem, the cables hanging from it are). Clearance is about 60', and several marinas are past the bridge, so it's better to enquire first.

Lastly, all the marinas are full as of mid-June, so reservations are definitely advisable.

Provisions, Spares & Repairs

Shopping for food is reasonable and inexpensive. There is one good clinic in "town", but relatively little in the way of boat equipment. Bringing parts in is via freight forwarders of which there are several, but the cost is relatively high (and shipping stuff out is really costly). There are decent mechanics and a good air cond/fridge man, as well as excellent canvas work available. Great fabrics at low prices.

Great trips in the region during the off-season (Tikal, Antigua, Lake Atitlan, Copan in Honduras, Semuk Champey, etc...).

Crime is said to be bad in the country, but the river (Rio Dulce) is indeed sweet, and during our time here, there was nothing drastic to report.

We are now heading for Honduras, Colombia and Panama.

Olivier
SY Mary Ann
(54' aluminium sloop)

Other noonsite reports by SY Mary Ann:

Additional Information Regarding South African Visas – August 2009

Richards Bay, South Africa – Jan 2010

Excellent Service in Cape Town – May 2010

Five Weeks in Salvador, Brazil – August 2010

Brazil - Report from Jacare, Cabedelo – September 2010

French Guiana, Kourou Latest Info. – November 2010

Paradise on St Vincent – April 2011

Martinique & Saint Lucia – June 2011

Grenada, Prickly Bay Update – June 2011

Grenada: Recommendation for Dive Compressor Service – Aug 2012

Four Months in Trinidad – September 2012

Two Months Cruising Cuba – July 2013

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