Westsail Owners Alliance - Thread: "On The Rio Dulce"
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Thread: "On The Rio Dulce"

12,268 posts on 2,444 threads   •   From Mar 07, 2004 - Jan 08, 2012


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On The Rio Dulce


Well, I finally made it. I had to get out of Belize because it's so dang expensive and it was eating my cruising funds.

Made it in 3 days from San Pedro with a stopover in Placencia (BZ). I would have been here sooner but I picked up a bad case of 'tropical flu'... more like walking bronchial pneumonia. Nothing is more miserable than being in a hot/stuffy boat, bouncing around at anchor and running a temp over 100. I didn't get out of bed for 3 days.

The river between Livingston & El Golfete (the lake just before 'civilization') is incredible. It's 300+ ft vertical cliffs on either side of the river. Just majestic.

I thought Placencia BZ was rather 3rd world remote... Guatamala is 3rd world for sure. Colorfully dressed Indians sitting on the sidewalk selling everything imaginable (mostly fruits, wierd looking veggies, warm tortillas, etc). And it's not just to impress some tourists either. it's the real thing. Fronteras, the closest 'town' on the river is right out of National Geographic.

But at least it's cheap here, even cheaper than Mexico. And very, very laid back.

Bring a good dink though. It's predominently a 'water based society/area', i.e. you can't get there except over the river. My poor ol 4 hp can barely make headway against the river current.

Not as many actual cruisers here as I'd expected. LOT's of boats tho. Seems people bring their boats to Rio Dulce for the 'cane season and fly back to the states.

Which is the next decision I have to make. What to do from here. Actually, I never thought I'd make it this far. Sure it was on my 'itinerary' but it's one thing to plan for it and another to actually find yourself there. Now that I'm here I'll have to decide what to do/where to go from here. Do I sit out the 'cane season and sail back later. Or fly back to the states, wait a bit and continue on later (to Honduras, etc.).

I am docked at Suzanas, a 'classic' cruiser hangout that has seen better days. Not bad though, it's kinda funky in a rustic way. Other marinas have sprung up and are more 'fancy' & new but they're all med-moor on the river. Suzanas is in a little lagoon so you don't get the wake action others get in the more popular, fancy (i.e. more expensive) spots.

p.s. there is another Westsail 23 here. Haven't met/run into the owner yet (is he/she even here). The name is Pegasus. Anyone know the owner?


whoops, typo... obviously, make that a Westsail 32

Mike, 'Glad to see you got to Rio Dulce. Your car is fine; sun-shades in the window; starts every time; not in the way. Keep in touch. -John.


Hey John! Didn't think to see you posting here ;)

Dropped you a postcard from the Rio. No reliable mail here so people give 'flat letter' mail to those heading back to the states to be mailed there.

I've been hanging out with J.R. (the big 'Moon & Stars' Cat). Haven't seen Greg ('Shang Hi') yet but if he left Isla on the 13th like he said I expect him pretty much anytime now.


I hear the owner of the Pegasus is currently taking care of business somewhere in Alaska. He is supposedly due back sometime soon so I'm keeping an eye out for him.

I've been catching up with some long overdue maintenance/repairs/etc.. I finally replaced my ol broke Adler Barbour. I've been carrying the new compressor & evaporator around for 3 months now. I ended up installing the compressor 'behind' the galley sink (between drain hose & hull). Since stuff is so hard to get to under/behind there it was a place I wasn't using anyway . The compressor fit perfectly after I removed the sink for access. I do plan to provide more ventilation into the cabinet though. Maybe a teak louver on the side of the cabinet between the companionway steps.

It's so pretty here, in a very lush, very green way. Right now I'm at Tortugals (great food!), sitting on the 2nd floor of the Palapa (thatched roof hut) looking out over the river. See a pic of it here:


It's right across the river from Suzanas where I'm docked. There are mountains in the not too far distance. When they're covered up with clouds it means it's going to rain soon (like within an hour or so). Right now there is a tropical wave stalled over us so it's been raining a lot lately, primarily at night. The boat needed a good freshwater rinse though. There were salt crystals encrusted on everything. But it's a nice rain, the warm, tropical kind that comes/goes in an hour or so.

The jungle comes right down to the waters edge. To get to the boat I have to dinghy thru a 'cut' off the river (Suzanas is in a natural 'lagoon' in the jungle). On the way I go under some pinkish/purple orchids.

There are places where people have beat the jungle back and put up some darn nice looking Palapas. I hear birds like you hear in Tarzan movies, and occasionally monkeys although where I am it's rare since there are humans around.

There's half a dozen or so marinas here. Each have their own 'feel'. Suzanas is very quiet/laid back. An older cruising haven, it's kinda rustic compared to some of the newer, 'state of the art' marinas. But it's also the only one that doesn't require med-mooring and has finger piers. The other marinas (especially Marios & the Cayuco club) are pretty socially active. Not being much of a drinker I really don't think I'd want to be in the middle of that every day/night anyway. Besides, I can just dinghy over when I feel in the mood to be around a bunch of people.

Gotta go but I'll post again soon


The only Pegasus we have listed in the membership DB belongs to Scott Page out of Honolulu. If you dink over close enough to read the hull id it should look like (the x's are parts I don't know)


Great to hear from you, and fun to read your reports... send something in for the next Windblown!



You haven't said much about bugs. What's the scoop on the little ones? Do you have more in the lagoon? Is that why people choose the river?


Actually I haven't needed to pull out my bug screens even once.

One night after some rain at Isla Majures a breeze blew a buncha mosquitos to the boat but some mosquito coils kept them out of the cabin.

but elsewhere (Belize, Guatamala, Honduras) I've not been bothered by bugs onboard at all. On shore it can be a different story though.

Brian Smith

Fun to read all of this... Those of you who are already 'out there' doing it! Just a general update on 'Pegasus'- Mark Talley sailed her from Galapagos back home here to Homer, Alaska this summer (by way of Hawaii)- And then sold her to a friend~ I'll try and turn the new owner onto this site,
well worth it...

Brian Smith
s/v Orion
Seward/Homer, Alaska


Just read your posts on the Mexico and Ducle trip. Fascinating reading. Thanks for the info.
I myself happen to love Costa Rica. Yet, I never hear cruisers talk about it much. What's wrong, no harbors or what? The people there are really fine from what I have seen, and living cheap last I saw a few years ago. And the women . . .. All I can say is that when Ulysses heard the sirens sing, he must have been in Costa Rica.
Have a nice trip. Be careful of those storms.

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