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Chartering in Bahamas v. Belize v. La Paz

Posted By: Matt

Chartering in Bahamas v. Belize v. La Paz - 10/14/2019 02:48 AM

Hello All,

I am hoping to get some advice on where to go on my next bareboat charter. The crew will consist of my wife and me and our two kids (aged 7 and 11). We have chartered in the BVIs, St. Martin and the Spanish Virgin. Of all of these, we like the Spanish Virgins the best, but have done that a few times so are considering a change. We will most likely go in mid February or mid-April.

I think I’ve narrowed it down to the Bahamas (Abacos or Exumas), Belize or La Paz (Gulf of California). We live in New York and for a variety of reasons don’t want to go too far from home on this trip, so the South Pacific, Thailand and the Seychelles are out.

Here’s what we are looking for (more or less in order of importance):

(1) Safety and security, i.e., relatively low crime risk

(2) uncrowded, “off the beaten path” anchorages and beaches, with a focus on nature more than good bars and restaurants (although we certainly have nothing against the occasional good bar or restaurant)

(3) Very good snorkeling

(4) Generally warm, Caribbean-like temperatures (or close to it), with low risk of major storms and total washout days

(5) Generally low-key, kid friendly atmosphere

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Posted By: warren460

Re: Chartering in Bahamas v. Belize v. La Paz - 10/14/2019 03:58 AM

Sadly, I doubt that abacos will be viable to charter out of for some time.
Posted By: polaris

Re: Chartering in Bahamas v. Belize v. La Paz - 10/14/2019 11:57 AM

Matt,
For all 5 categories - BELIZE. Friendliest people of any country I have visited.
Posted By: BaardJ

Re: Chartering in Bahamas v. Belize v. La Paz - 10/15/2019 01:40 AM

If you've not been to St John then I suggest a CYOA charter from St Thomas. Visit the north shore of St John (day 1), then day 2 on the south shore, day 3 make the 5 hr sail to Christiansted, St Croix. Day 4 head to Buck Island
, St Croix. Day 5 return to St John, Day 6 downwind to St Thomas anchorage (e.g. Magens Bay, Christmas Cove, or Apostle Island), Day 7 back to base. Or on day 5 sail doenwind to Culebra, day 6 at Culebrita, day 7 back to St Thomas.
Posted By: Ifeltlikeagringo

Re: Chartering in Bahamas v. Belize v. La Paz - 10/16/2019 06:56 PM

We spent a land-based week in Los Barriles, La Paz and Cabo Pulmo a couple of years ago and absolutely loved it. The snorkeling is very different from the Caribbean and the whole experience was amazing. In particular, Isla Espiritu Santo off of La Paz was one of the most amazing places we've been--snorkeling with sea lions and mobula rays. In your timeframe you might be able to snorkel with whale sharks in La Paz Bay as well.

Because we're not sailors I can't really advise you on your timing, but if you choose La Paz you'll need to remember that the Gulf of California is the Pacific and it's a lot colder than the Caribbean! Even over Memorial Day we needed shorty wetsuits at Espiritu Santo, although shore snorkeling wasn't too bad. It's windy over the winter and early spring (big kiteboarding place) and in the summer you get the Coromuel winds that cool things off on land but might make your overnights less than restful.

Lots of amazing food and drink out there--great seafood and tacos and margaritas--and spectacular scenery and wildlife both on land and in the water. I'd love to go back.
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