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Butane Availability In Caribbean & Pacific

By doina — last modified Apr 04, 2012 10:25 AM

Published: 2012-04-04 10:25:17
Topics: Equipment
Countries: Panama , Puerto Rico , French Polynesia

Update Posted 22 March 2012

I arrived in Puerto Rico with two bottles of Camping gaz (butane) empty. After two days searching, I finally found a place where they could fill them, with Propane, but it works all right. The place is: Alvarado Gaz, in Luquillo. There is another place in Ceiba, Suarez Gaz, bigger, not far from Puerto del Rey marina, but they couldn't do anything.

Jacques Brasseul

Original Query Posted 28 February 2008

I have a catamaran built in France for which the stove and oven use butane. Butane has proved difficult to find in the Northern Caribbean especially in the small canisters which fit in our locker. We are currently in Puerto Rico and shortly heading for Panama Canal and the Pacific to sail home to Australia. Can anyone tell us:

  • Can we get butane in Puerto Rico, Panama, and Pacific islands?
  • If not has anyone done a changeover to propane and where?

We'd be most grateful for any advice. Best regards John Woodruff

Hi John,

Most countries sell either butane or propane, not both. We have cruised since 1991, from the Northern Caribbean to Vanuatu (almost Oz) and had no problem using alternatively butane and propane with our oven, waterheater and gas bbq. The US and close Caribbean islands tend to use only propane. Once you reach French Polynesia, they use butane again like in Europe. But that might be changing now (?) as Origin Gas in Vanuatu just switched to propane (and may have done the same in all S.Pacific islands they serve .... so perhaps you will use propane in Australia too!

No difference in tanks or valves between both gases and no problem interchanging gases in your tanks. We have heard that some stoves or ovens may have very fine adjustments that differ from one gas to the other, check with the manufacturers if you can use either gas and if adjustments are necessary. The little blue gas bottles (Camping gaz) can be refilled anywhere if sometimes with more difficulties than regular 20 Pound tanks. In Panama you can buy inexpensive aluminium 25 Lbs tanks if you have space in your lockers (like many cruisers do).

Hope this help!

Luc Callebaut, Noonsite editor aboard s/v Sloepmouche

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