Caribbean Sailing Port Rio Dulce

Caribbean Sailing Port Rio Dulce

People who dream of living on Sailboats may know of Rio Dulce, Guatemala, this is one of my dreams, therefore I came to Rio Dulce to chase my dream. I am in the living business, and search for places on this small planet that allows me to live my dreams.

Rio Dulce has two large lakes, many miles from the ocean, the live aboard sailors park their boats in these lakes safe from hurricanes.

"If you live a life of make-believe, your life isn't worth anything until you do something that does challenge your reality. And to me, sailing the open ocean is a real challenge, because it's life or death."
- Morgan Freeman

I have dreamed of living on a sailboat for years, and I still have many questions. I get very seasick, and worry about this, but I think maybe being lonely is a bigger problem. The reason I would live on a Sailboat would be to have the same closet, shower, and toilet for a year or two. I already have wandered the planet for 12 years, nothing new about that.

I would want a sailboat between 35 and 45 feet, something I can sail myself, enough head room to walk, and a great dinghy. I would try to live on the hook as much as possible, this would save great sums of money, my hotel room yearly budget would be applied to the cost of the buying the boat.

Rio Dulce, Fronteras, Guatemala --- Wednesday, July 7, 2010
By Andy Graham of


Travel is about living in places, and the people you meet in these places. There are places along the ocean, up on mountains, and in the plains. The idea of sailing between islands in the Caribbean or South Pacific has a lure. I am not a hermit, I need people, and contrary to the idea of sailing, I believe live aboard sailors spend more time at port than at sea, therefore I need a map of all the ports where I can live, even more than I need to know how to navigate. If I am going to live in ports, I want to know, where the safe and happy people ports are located.

From Sea to Shining Sea

"O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!"

- America the Beautiful

The world is a beautiful place, I do hope my friends and family can understand this and leave the mall, and stop playing on the Internet or cell phone long enough to feel what I feel.

Thank You,

by Andy Graham
12 years of continuous travel.
I am homeless
I have visited 88 countries and live as a Digital Nomad. Travel Blog

Caribbean Sailing Port Rio Dulce


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While the idea of living on the hook has a definite appeal to me, I keep thinking of the old saying that "A boat is a hole in the water into which one pours money".

Never owned a boat, so I've no idea, but for me the ongoing maintenance costs would be a consideration prior to committing to a boat.

Or perhaps you've already found out what to expect while talking to Rio Dulce sailors?

Andy, are you thinking sail or power?, monohull or cat?


I think paying for maintenance is less than room rent. I think the only way this makes sense is to pay cash, and less than 10,000 dollars, after that foolish.

I want a sailboat.

However, sadly as I said, I go to paradise locations and hope to meet nice people. Generally so far, the people who live on sailboats seem hermits to the point of ridiculous or totally penniless.

If you have a boat, any boat, and have it on an anchor, than living is cheap, it is moving the same as travel that makes the expense. I think this all makes more sense for married couples.

You may be able to get a sailboat for FREE if they don't stop the oil flow in the gulf of Mexico.

See, there is a silver lining in everything.

now that would make for interesting blogging, andy. Hope it happens soon.

I have the same dream myself. And I will do it when I retire in 5 years. What you need to do is to educate yourself with many of the fine books and magazines out there. I suggest anything by Lin and Larry Pardey. They have been out cruising for 40 years or so and had never had a major problem of any kind. So it can be done just keep the boat simple and not to large. Just remember if your boat is to large or complex you will spend all your time and money on it instead of being out sailing and traveling. Small boats that will take you anywhere by John Vigor. World Cruising Routes by Jimmey Cornel which tells you where and when to go. And magazines such as Cruising World Blue Water Sailing and Latitudes and Attitudes. Don't listen to the people that say it can't be done because they are a lot of people out they that are doing it now! Good luck and I hope to see you out there. Phil

Better be a nice guy and look young like your sister Bambee's son. Someone at Lake Wawasee sold him a really nice boat, trailer and great motor for $100.00. The guys mom had died and I guess he thought she would be happy for Brad to have a nice boat. It is gonna know many happy hours on Sylvan lake fi Brad has any say about it. Who knows perhaps you need to meet the right person who thinks you could use a good boat.


A great way to really learn sailing is to offer yourself up on short (10-15 day) cruises as an extra volunteer deck hand/dish washer/cook/watch standing...etc. As long as you are ready to REALLY work a boat with the captain, you can find yourself on some very fine boats and learn a tremendous amount of information from seasoned captains and crews. It's not EASY, but it is well worth the sweat to gain a true "hands on" experience as a deck hand/ watch standing crewman on 35-60 foot long sailboats. The Caribbean offers many opportunities to crew these boats. Here is a basic intro to being a 'crew dog' by Andy Schell:

Good sailors are ready to teach a hard working and willing novice. Don't be shy about admitting what you DON"T KNOW...and you will find very valuable lessons to be gained by working and learning with professional captains and crews.

This will certainly give you a "leg up" in looking for your own boat as you will be able to judge the quality and safety features you would want in your own personal sail boat. These captains know their boats..and I would listen very carefully to their opinions on various manufacturers and boat types to get the best value for your investment.

Cheers from Baguio!!


Definitely crew a boat before you buy. Doing otherwise could be a huge mistake.

The only downfall is internet connection.

Try some (25 mg or less every 2 out of three days) of 5-htp (Jarrow brand or other reliable brand) for seasickness. Take it in the late morning or early afternoon. I cant promise it will work, but it directly addresses the cause (low serotonin) of seasickness more than anything else. I get horribly seasick myself, and if you dont conquer it, the boat venture wont be worth it.

Try to crew on the Karaka or Keturah. Both have websites and take applications for crewing on a regular basis. Also, they arent work boats, but just travelers. They all have a lot of experience doing what you do, but via a boat. You wont be doing more work than the boat requires for maintenance and community living. The emphasis is on living life. They both charge a rate though, to crew, for boat upkeep and food. But its not excessive of actual costs. Its just community living. Go read their logs for more about them. It'll be worth it.

You almost cant spend too much time on to learn about the best boat to buy for your price range. Also, there is a HUGE difference between 35 and 45 feet. The difference in the amount of power those two ranges produce, under sail, is huge. Also, costs are exponential to size. If your just keeping to the Caribbean, and not crossing oceans, I would suggest that smaller is much better, easier, and cheaper. 35 foot is still a very nice size for a single man.

It's a good time to get a free yacht... abandoned yachts are a problem, so just take it off a harbor-master's hands.

It's not as easy as that, but it can be free/cheap. This guy has done this a few times and describes his process:

Seems like your style of doing things....out of the box thinking.

Yeah, thats actually what the guy who captains the Keturah did (linked above). He took ownership of an abandoned yacht in Hong Kong and fixed it up over the course of two years. Now he owns an almost 50 ft yacht thats his life. The benefit to spending the time to fix an abandoned yacht, is that after fixing or replacing almost all of the systems, you will know your yacht inside and out. A huge advantage when sailing extensively.

Honestly- I wonder whether you would do well on a sailboat. Reasons are many...random thoughts.....
1 Contrary to what many might say- running a boat is EXPENSIVE.There is enough info out there about this.
2.You are either stuck at anchor in a bay somewhere or paying not so cheap to exorbitant marina fees. (Yeah I know- the great dinghy....)
3.You are alone- or living in closest proximity to someone you might stop liking pretty quickly.
4. Most of the people you spend time with will be yachties.
5. (see 2) Showers, WiFi, food supplies and other comforts are not just at your fingertips and they will often cost you more than they should.
6 Your moves will alway depend on wind weather waves- requiring ironclad patience and immunity to boredom.
7. At anchor your boat will be moving ALL the time.
8. Your boat and dinghy will need surveillance- meaning you can't just leave them somewhere and go off on an interesting little side trip.
I could go on, but I won't. My advice- go live and work on a ship for a coupla months, you should be able to do that for cheap or free. (know that you will be suject to absolute obedience to your captain) then rethink your plan.


I have found two live aboard people, one never moves, therefore just has a boat to live on, tired to Rio Dulces.

The other is mobile, however this seems a lot like long-term travelers.I can romanticize this all I want, nobody truly wants to travel endlessly, I met with Wade from at the Vista Rio Hotel for a coke and we talked, then he went and wrote,
"Maybe People Do Not Want to Travel the World"

As best I can tell, "Maybe Nobody wants to live aboard."

YES, do not be anal here, there are the exceptions to this, I think maybe right now, in this mecca of live aboards there are 10 people. This is not the norm, it not normal.

I do not want to do something where there are no people.

I am not going to live with hermits.

I am not going to work on a boat, I have a job.

Congrats, wise decision! Travel endlessly no. Be Nomad yes! From Greek:
nomas, wandering in search of (green!) pasture.

Andy thinks deeply and SAYS........I am not going to live with hermits.......

A city of Hermits ? A small village of Hermits ? A Hermit over 55 retirement community ?

I think Hermits live alone ? But then again what the hell do I know.

Chuck on course to return to BKK 11/30/10...steady as she goes.

Yes, it would appear that hermits avoid people, but it is worst, they are around people and do not talk, the are not sociable. But then again, I am from Indiana and I feel a compulsion to say hello.

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