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 Rio Dulce - Profile


The Guatemalan Navy have now replaced the Livingston sea buoy which marks the channel entrance to the Rio Dulce. The new co-ordinates are: 15-50.29'N x 088-43.71'W (0.46 nm on a bearing of 041 T from the old location).

The area known as the Rio Dulce, starts at the mouth of the river on the Bahia de Amatique (Photo "entering the Rio" courtesy of Calypso Marina).

There are shoals at the entrance, however there have been reports of yachts with a draft of 7ft making it through (it's important to stay on course and watch the tide). Deeper draft boats should seek local knowledge before attempting to enter. Securing a local guide can be done very economically.

The small village of Rio Dulce (Fronteras) is 18 miles further up the river, past a spectacular steep walled canyon and a small lake, El Golfete. At this point there are plenty of marine services, provisions, hotels, restaurants and medical services, as well as communications and transport. It is a safe spot in the hurricane season. Beyond this settlement, the river widens to form Lake Izabal, the largest lake in Guatemala.


Be aware that Fronteras is very much a frontier town, with armed guards not only at the banks but at the supermarkets and on the delivery trucks.

A number of visiting yachts have been boarded and some robbed, when anchored at the mouth of the Rio Tatin and, also, there have been a number of incidents in the Rio Dulce itself. October, November and December are typically high theft times. The Guatemalan Navy don't always patrol the river.

Whilst staying in a marina would appear to be a more secure option, boats have been burgled anchored in front of marinas. Dinghy and outboard thefts continue to happen here as well (including from boats berthed in marinas).

Last updated May 2016.

Position 15°39.71'N, 88° 59.82'W (Rio Dulce - Fronteras).


Cruisers report that marina prices are very low here, your boat is in fresh water and the prices and quality of repair work is very good. Choosing to moor in a marina is obviously the more secure option.

If however you choose to anchor, locals advise you do so in front of the village of Fronteras or a nearby marina. If you want to anchor down the river then choose Texan Bay.

Last updated November 2017.

Bruno's Hotel and Marina
Fronteras , Rio Dulce , Guatemala
Tel:(+502) 7930 5721 ,VHF Channel 68
24 slips, each with electricity and water. 24 hour security. Services include free wifi, laundry, hotel, restaurant, saloon.
Burnt Key Marina
Tel:(+502) 5747 9717
(Formerly Texan Bay Marina, under new management.) A secure anchorage with a small marina and restaurant. Newly refurbished with 24/7 security, wifi, and professional boat services.
Calypso Marina
15°39.025N 088°59.715W
Tel:+502 57287829 or +507 64403585
Small but pleasant licensed marina in operation since 2014. Can accomodate a total of 20 boats. Electricity 110/220, drinking water, showers, toilets, washing machine, BBQ area, garbage collection service, 24hr security, road access, parking spaces and small boat hangers. Haulout facilities just 5 minutes away.
Captain John's Marina
15° 39'.052N X 88° 59'.859W
Tel:+502 3290-1588
Small marina with room for about 10 boats. Metered 30 amp 120 volt electricity, WiFi, swimming pool and laundry service. There are also two bungalows available for rent on the property.
Catamaran Island Hotel & Marina
15°40.337N 088°59.486W , Guatemala
Tel:(502) 7930-5494 Fax:(502) 7930 5492 ,VHF Channel 16
25 slips (max. draft 6ft), or anchor off. Water, showers, electricity, pool, restaurant and bar.
Gilbert ́s Marina
15°38.956N 088°59.771W
Protected marina in Susana's Laguna.
Hacienda Tijax Marina
15°39.772N 089°0.109W , Guatemala
Tel:(502) 79-30-5505 ,VHF Channel 09
Located on a Guatemalan owned & managed hacienda with over 500 acres of land. Marina services: 12 slips stern tie to main dock, 12 storage slips. Water and electricity, shower and toilets. Storage facility, workshop for do it yourself boat maintenance (small repairs), garbage removal. Secure, stable & well protected environment. Other services available to marina guests include: hotel, restaurant and bar, laundry, water shuttle to town all day, travel information and reservations. Phone and Internet at marina office.
Hotel Marina Nana Juana
Km 274 Carretera a Petén , Río Dulce , Izabal
Tel:+502 58385819
In 2015 the owners of this marina went to jail. The current situation is unknown and the website does not appear to be monitored.
Large marina with 60 slips, 160 boat shade on land and hardstanding for over 400 boats. Haulout for catamarans up to 65 feet in length. Permit cruisers to work on their own boats, live aboard and to employ who they like from outside without paying commission.
Isla Xalajá Marina
Fronteras , Rio Dulce
VHF Channel 71
Marina with dockage for 10 yachts. Power, water, 24/7 security, and wifi.
La Joya del Río
Tel:(00502) 7930-5594 ,VHF Channel 68
The oldest and biggest marina in Susana's Laguna, established in 1989 and a short ride by water taxi from the town of Rio Dulce (Fronteras). 75 slips, with individual fingers for each yacht. Water & electricity to the pontoons, 24 hour security, garbage service and laundry. Caretaker service for unoccupied yachts. Hotel rooms available for marina guests. Email and fax service in the marina office. (Cruisers report somewhat reduced services and general quality.)
Luvis Marina
For a small fee they will look after your boat whilst absent. Reported to have a good paint, fiberglass and woodworking shop. The marina is not connected by road but is quite close to the town.
Mango Marina
Fronteras , Rio Dulce , Guatemala
Tel:(502) 4032-4444 ,VHF Channel 68
A quiet marina with alongside and med-moorings, free water and WiFi. Laundry (washer and dryer). Electricity (payable on meter). No restaurant but can have meals cooked for you. 10 to 15 minute dinghy ride to Fronteras. Few mosquitoes. Dinghy theft reported here October 2012. Advisable to lift dinghy and motor at night. Marina now has dog and guard and improved lighting.
Monkey Bay Marina
Rio Dulce , Izabal , Guatemala
Tel:(502) 5368 9604 Fax:(502) 5334-6474 ,VHF Channel 68
A small, family owned marina located just across the river from the Hotel Catamaran in the Rio Dulce. 22 slips, electricity, water, laundry and showers. Internet access and workshop.
Nutria Marina
6a. Calle Oriente nr.10, Antigua Guatemala , Guatemala, Centro America
Tel:(502) 5863 9635 ,VHF Channel 68
15deg 39.1 N 88deg 39.0 W. Located on the banks of the Rio Dulce, in front of the historical Fort San Felipe.
RAM Marina
Ensenada Nana Juana , Rio Dulce, Livingston, Izabal, Guatemala
Tel:(502) 7930-5408 Fax:(502) 7930.5409 ,VHF Channel 73
Position 15º 39.39` N, 88º 59.75` W. This modern marina and Yacht Club is located between the Izabal Lake and the Rio Dulce River. Slips are available for short-term or long-term stays. Electricity, water, cable and internet services, and sewage facility with free discharge. Excellent English spoken. Boat lift (inc. catamarans up to 22'6" wide), fuel dock (ULSD Diesel), shore storage, full range of repair services, 24hr security. West Marine chandlery on site and rigging shop under development.
Tortugal Hotel & Marina
Casilla Unica , Fronteras, Rio Dulce , Guatemala
Tel:(502) 5306 6432 ,VHF Channel 68
GPS: 15º 38.988´ N 90.0. 40 slips, some alongside, no anchors required. Quiet location just past the bridge. Walking distance to town, owners live on site. Services include restaurant with homemade food and free early morning coffee and tea, hot water showers, laundry service, WiFi, hotel, BBQ. Reservations required for hurricane season.

Yacht Clubs

Mar Marine Yacht Club Marina, Hotel & Restaurant
Tel:+(502) 7930-5090
Full service marina with dockage for yachts up to 70ft. All amenities, power, water, wifi, 24/7 security.
RAMmarina says:
Feb 26, 2018 10:04 PM

Dear Rakna,
First of all, thank you for the endorsement of our fiberglass and painting job. For RAM Marina it was a pleasure to host you and your daughter for some weeks. I saw you working really hard by yourself trying to make the good Atlas ready for sailing again. I can totally understand all your frustration and unhappiness for having too much trouble with your engine.
Putting things in perspective however, you bought a boat for US$3000, that had been sitting on the hard unattended for several years. At the beginning you tried to fix the engine by yourself the same way you did all the rest of the work.
There was a point where you couldn't start the engine and asked for the mechanic's help. This happened during the busiest season of the year for us, nevertheless our mechanic helped you out. At that point he found that the fuel filter was broken, so we researched and found a used unit in good condition in a local workshop. Only after installation did he find problems with the corroded fuel lines, which he repaired. During testing we noticed a problem on the governor that you said you could fix yourself, up to this point all was ok!
When our mechanic starting the process of finalizing connections to start the engine he found a problem with a pump and here is where the problems started; Again, we found another used unit with the same workshop in town for $600. You indicated this was too expensive and out of your budget, so following your instructions I returned the part to the seller.
This is when you decided to do things on your own, which created a true conflict of interest, however, you were so concerned with getting the Best Price, you approached our worker with a side deal, bypassing the Marina and our protocol. Here is where RAM Marina's involvement ends!
You took upon your own responsibility to buy the piece direct from our employee for a reduced price (which we only found out about when you emailed us complaining about it). In accordance with RAM Marina's compliance you had Zero Respect for the Marina and was willing to place the employee in jeopardy of losing his job, however, that wasn't your concern, rather get the lowest price with total disregard for the personal income of RAM's employee. We demoted the employee and placed a one year freeze on his salary, but at less he retained his job!
In the same email you requested a special price to come back to RAM. You are always welcome, but please understand that you can't do business under the table and then complain that we don't warranty something we never charged you for!
The part in question do not show in any of our bills or work orders, therefore, how could you possibly want RAM Marina to warranty a product that was never purchased or sold from our business? In retrospect, when you left the Marina, the engine was running, allowing you to travel from Guatemala to Belize.
Again, we reiterate our desire of having the opportunity to serve you again any time you may need, but please let's be honest and in compliance with good business practices. This approach with eliminate any frustration you might be feeling. Take into consideration that RAM Marina as an excellent name and treats all our customers with respect, honesty and dignity. I truly believe if you would have made a better choice in your selection of purchasing, the outcome would have been 100% in your favor. However, by purchasing under the table you are jeopardizing not only the employee, but your integrity as a consumer.
Sincerely yours,
Karen de Lopez

barnarack says:
Feb 19, 2018 12:06 AM

Few months back my boat was on dry standing at Ram marina. I had an engine problem. As I had no time I had to leave my boat there and trust them with the job. Unfortunately they messed up and I ended up in another service with a 2000usd bill. What made me upset is they charged me for parts that were never installed. Not talk about the service charge what I payed there and the job was not done. When I questioned them the answer was "you could leave so do not complain". They do amazing bodywork, but do not let them touch your engines!

Kgalassi says:
Mar 31, 2017 05:30 PM

Looking at heading up the Rio for hurricane season.. going to arrive around the end of June.. question is, does this place fill up or will I be able to find a slip? First time heading to Central America. Thanks.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Apr 29, 2016 01:24 PM

Posted on behalf of SV Lucky Bitch:
I just want to recommend Ram Marina (Rio Dulce, Guatemala) as a great wharf for hauling out and working on the boat (yourself and together with very good technicians – Chilo, Denis, and good staff: Karen, Richard…) .
I was there for 4 months and had a great time in a nice atmosphere. After my 2 former hurricane shelters (Trinidad @ Peakes, and Spanish Water Curacao) I can enthusiastically say that it only gets better. Third time, good time.
So, if world sailors plan to go to Rio Dulce I can recommend Ram Marina! Say Hi to Karen and Richard, if you go there. Good luck and enjoy!

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Nov 09, 2015 02:13 PM

Posted on behalf of Gail Johnson:
This evening I was looking in the want ads section of the forum and noticed a want ad for a lancha and outboard motor because one had been stolen. The date of the original post was October 2, 2015. The lancha was recovered but not the outboard.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Sep 11, 2015 12:13 PM

Posted on behalf of Gail Johnson:
A dinghy and outboard was stolen from Captain John's Marina on August 13, 2015. A first hand write up can be viewed at the website, select Rio Dulce Forum from the links on the left side of the page and then select the subject Rio Dulce Forum. There are several posts but one is about the stolen dinghy.

In addition, on the radio net this morning another dinghy and outboard theft was reported. The boat was anchored in Shell Bay which is the anchorage in front of Nana Juana and Ram Marinas.

I have been in Rio Dulce for the past year and I estimate this is the sixth dinghy and outboard theft reported during that time.

Gail Johnson
sv It's Good To Be

rammarina says:
Feb 23, 2014 09:43 PM

Only One Fuel Dock carries ULSD (Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel) Diesel = RAM Marina & Yacht Club, also the Only Marina with an Operating Waste Treatment Facility with Free Discharge

rammarina says:
Feb 23, 2014 09:33 PM

Actually the Beam for Catamarans is 22'6" for Hauling at RAM Marina, please review our Website plus our Live webcams We recently opened our West Marine Product Store the only authorized outside the US, please review;
Safe Travels & Best Regards,
RAM Marina & Yacht Club

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Oct 23, 2013 01:50 PM

Thanks "Iguana Dance" for this recommendation. RAM Marina are indeed listed in our berthing section, however the extra information you have provided will be useful for others considering their options.

iguanadance says:
Oct 23, 2013 03:05 AM

RAM Marina
I don't know why they aren't listed here. They are by far the most modern facility in the Rio Dulce. They an haul a catamaran up to 21' wide like ours at least. They are going to do a lot of work on our boat so we'll let you know how that goes. Karen, the manager at RAM, is one of the most helpful friendly people we've known. She's so busy running this largest marina on the river but still makes time to help with whatever she can. She speaks excellent English and will interface between the workers and the cruisers very well.
Iguana Dance

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