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  #1  
Old 08-15-2013
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Rio Dulce Guatemala

I am trying to setup a visit to Guatemala Dec 24 - 29, 2013. It is supposed to be my wife and I, my daughter and boyfriend and my son. Everyone is about 30 or so except me, I'm a touch older.

I thought it might be fun to spend the week at the Rio Dulce.
We will be arriving by car not boat.

I've been looking on-line and see that their are quite a few nice boats for sale and marinas are only about $300 month for a slip. Apparently quite a few retirees have been living aboard for years.

So I'm thinking we might visit with the children and do a little reconnaissance.

What should we do? Who should we meet.
What should we see. Were should we stay.

In short I would appreciate any recommendations, or introductions.
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Old 08-16-2013
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Re: Rio Dulce Guatemala

Contact the people at Texan Bay Marina. They can help with your questions - they are very nice.
http://www.texanbaymarina.com/
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  #3  
Old 08-16-2013
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Re: Rio Dulce Guatemala

Texas Bay is my fav. as well. It's a way's from any road though. I would go to La Puente on the river. ( The Bridge) and get a room at Brunos. I would line up a trip to the Hot spring water fall up on the NE shore of the lake for the next day. Then I would line up a private launch to take me down to Livingston the next day, stopping at Texas Bay and the hot springs in the canyon. Look around on line for a place in Livingston that suits you. And then take the ferry down to Puerto Barios the next day and go back up in country from there. I would only go down to the river after I did San Pedro, up on Lake Atitlan and Antigua first. After the river I would go to Ruinas Copan and stay at Marina Copan in town. That is a couple of miles in to Honduras across the border.
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Old 08-16-2013
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Re: Rio Dulce Guatemala

Hope you all have fun!
J&J
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Old 08-16-2013
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Re: Rio Dulce Guatemala

Aaron's suggestions are all very good, but I do have to wonder - have you been to Guatemala before? The Rio seems a bit of an odd destination for a land traveler, many of the cruisers who visit the Rio go in there to be able to visit places like Atitlan and Antigua, instead...

A car will get you to Fronteras, but might be of limited utility once you get there... most of what you'll want to see you'll have to see by boat, even a popular spot like Mario's Marina will only be accessible by boat... And, you could drive down to Livingston of course, but you'd miss all there is to see along the river on the way, particularly the spectacular passage through the Gorge...



Don't get your hopes up too much about some of the "nice boats" for sale in the Rio... It is a VERY harsh environment for boats, and anything that has been there for awhile, is gonna show it... I picked up a V-42 down there last summer that had been meticulously maintained by the standards down there, and it was still pretty rough, stuff like the standing rigging and canvas was all green, and pretty shot... There are some 'deals' to be had, no doubt, as the Rio Dulce is one of those places where many Cruising Dreams have gone to die, but you'd really have to do your due diligence buying a boat down there, lots of boats down there are suffering from neglect, and I'm not sure too many of those deals might be worth the trouble...

Finally, I think it's a bit of a misnomer to suggest that many cruisers have 'retired' down there... Many of the cruisers are more of the commuter variety, that are leaving their boats there for hurricane season, and returning to cruise the Western Caribbean during the winter.. Unfortunately, some of the itinerant cruisers hanging out in the Rio for the long term, represent some of the seamier underbelly of "cruising" in such a venue... More than a couple of older singlehanders, who have 'arrangements' with 15-year old local girls, if you catch my drift... Some of it isn't very pretty... Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed my trip up there, but I found it to be one of those places that could get old pretty quickly... It was a treat to live the marina life for a couple of weeks, but that was plenty for me, and it was time to move on... Some of the 'cruisers' who have 'retired' down there have really turned into slugs, and their boats haven't moved in years, and are never gonna leave that river unless they do so under new ownership :-)

It goes without saying, of course, watch your back down there... When I was last there, one of the popular spots near Bruno's was closed temporarily, as there had been a murder there recently...

Definitely take a boat ride over to Mario's Marina, which is where I'd probably go if I were gonna stay there long term... Nice place, good little restaurant, and will give you a good sense of the marina scene down there, probably the nicest selection of boats, as well...


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  #6  
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Re: Rio Dulce Guatemala

Every thing Jon said is true. It's seedy and wierd as far as the towns in the area go. He and I even argued the details of that murder a while back, he was more correct as to what actualy took place, for I heard about it in Spanish form a local old man down river the day after it happened and Jon was actually up river where it took place. None the less, the Gorge is a must see, as Jons pic. of the entrance depicts. That's why I suggest get in and out. See the hot water fall up on the lake by the source of the Rio one day. Take a private launch down the creek through the gorge, stay in Livingston one night and get out. Ruinas Copan, Antigua, and lake Atitlan are where it's at. I went up to lake Atitlan in 89 and then again every year untill 95 when I moved and lived up there for 4 years. I visted the river periodically to go to the water fall I keep mentioning. I could spend weeks at Ruinas Copan and never get bored. Antigua is a great place to use as a base for jumping off to these areas. But for me, when I sold my boat and land traveled, exploring the high lands, around Lake Atitlan, Chichicastanago, this is where I really enjoy and go back as often as I can. Rather than stay at Bruno's, I belive Marios has rooms out in back of the Marina, little cabins and such, and def. The best food on the river. Take advantage of the trip adventure packages you'll see posted at info boards. I've never used them my self because of funds, I chicken bus it and walk every where, but If I were with my family, I would use the services of the guides and their jungle mini-vans. That way you can stop and see things that interset you as you pass. Good luck, stay away from taudry women and dudes who are trying too hard to sell you something you don't want and you'll most likely be O.K. Get a copy of the Lonely Planet guide for the area, they will point you in the right direction.
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Re: Rio Dulce Guatemala

The other reason to hook up with those guided minivans is translation, I'm fluent in Spanish and take that for granted. When ever I'm in a country where I don't speak the language, a driver who is bi-lingual is worth their weight in gold.
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Re: Rio Dulce Guatemala

Quote:
Originally Posted by Capt.aaron View Post
It's seedy and wierd as far as the towns in the area go. He and I even argued the details of that murder a while back, he was more correct as to what actualy took place, for I heard about it in Spanish form a local old man down river the day after it happened and Jon was actually up river where it took place.
Nah, you're thinking of a different murder :-)

The one I'm referring to now, had recently occurred in one of the establishments along the waterfront near Bruno's, I seem to recall it involved the shooting of one of the local girls right inside the place, as a result of some sort of 'love triangle', or whatever... Definitely not the murder of the anchored American cruiser a couple of years earlier...

The word I heard was that Mike, formerly of Texan Bay Marina, was acting as the manager of the place when this shooting occurred, and thought it best to lay low for awhile ;-) (Not that there was any hint of him being implicated in any way, of course) He and Sherri had split awhile back, and are no longer connected with the place they built, Texan Bay...

Definitely a bit of a Wild West Scene down there, fascinating place, no question... Jim, the American owner of Mario's when I was there about 4 years ago, has moved on, as well... Texan Bay, when I was there when Mike and Sherri ran it, reminded me of a scene straight out of Paul Theroux's THE MOSQUITO COAST... :-)
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Re: Rio Dulce Guatemala

Jeez. Yeah, it's rough and tumble for sure. I hung out with Mike a little, we had a burger, some beer and a good laugh. I was sad to hear he was out of the picture. I remember his Gigantic Catamaran. I hope the place still has that same vibe as you mentioned.
I think Davidpm will have a nice trip, I'm with you on how it's pretty boring if you are not there on your own boat. Take a Panga down the river and move on. No reason at all to spend a whole week when there is so many other places that have so much more to offer. There is a little creek running into the river just before you enter the gorge, from the Gulfette end, on the north side. If you go up till the end where it's trickling over rocks, the water is clear and cool and it's a great little swimming hole. We were scolded for skinny dipping when a local came up there to fill his drink'n water jugs with his kids. Another reason to hire a panga private to show some of these little places you won't get on the typical tourist packed speed boat that zang up and down the river all day. I don't swim in the main part of the river but I have freinds that do.
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Old 08-16-2013
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Re: Rio Dulce Guatemala

$300 month for a marina?!?

I pay a bit less than that for a 1st world marina in Maryland with a pool and hot tub. I somehow thought rates would be less way up a river in the 3rd world.
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