Coming out of a summer in Baja, we knew we wanted to see and do something different this cruising season in Mexico. So we decided to spend the winter cruising the Gold Coast of Mexico, slowly. COVID-19 put a bit of a damper on this plan as we don’t do any land trips and don’t take the family into towns or crowded areas (no buses, trains or mercado’s). So we’ve crept down the coast slowly, seeing some of the popular anchorages and trying out one of the well known marina’s. The scene wasn’t for us, so we continued the trip with buddy boats who have formed a kid bubble with us. Beach bonfires, snorkeling and mass provisioning have made us realize how much fun it is to be around boats and families who share our affinity for social distancing and masks. Coming down the coast slowly, we thought we would continue all the way to Zihuatanejo or Acapulco before starting our trip back north…back to the Sea of Cortez. This was a logical plan until we started watching the weather and distances involved with moving all the way to Zihuat and back…knowing we would be facing uphill swell and wind most of the way back…no fun. Leaving the Sea of Cortez in early December, it was never our plan to continue to Central America this season…we simply thought there was too much uncertainty and we don’t think the vacciene will be distributed to most 3rdworld countries anytime soon. This is based on the fact that most folks in the US don’t have access to the vacciene, so I don’t think folks in other countries will have mass access anytime soon either.
Sitting in a picture perfect cove outside of Manzanillo, our buddy boat (another kid boat in our bubble) threw a wrench in our planning process when they asked a simple question over tequila one evening. It went like this: “So what’s stopping you from continuing to Costa Rica and Central America”? Floored because it was such a basic question with SO many implications, we answered that actually, we didn’t have much stopping us. So we went back to the boat a bit consternated,,,cause we had never really thought through going to Costa Rica this season. Later that night, I asked the HelmsMistress which way we should go when we left Manzanillo…right or left? For once, we had a choice. For the next three days, all the Central America books and charts came out, lists of charts needed were made and an Amazon list of basics was made in case we didn’t return to the US. For reasons unknown to all of us, an air of excitement permeated the boat as we thought about getting to Costa Rica and Central America THIS season instead of next…probably because it was going to be new and exciting and we would be going with a boat we actually want to cruise with.
Reality set in as we started looking at current entry requirements (for Costa Rica)- mandated health insurance w/associated costs+ the health questionnaire in addition to the supplemental insurance we have to carry to go to Central America plus only a 90-day Temporary Import Permit (TIP) and 90-day Visa. We also both have aging parents who have not been vaccinated yet, an aging giant breed dog (Great Dane) on the boat, we want to get the family vaccinated prior to going and we wish the world would stabilize a bit before making the commitment to Central America on a sailboat. We also called home for advice from family about whether to go this season or next…would it make that much of a difference? In a couple interesting phone calls, our families were not excited to hear that we might go to Central America this season and take their grandchildren with us. While these exchanges don’t make the decisions for us, they do give us perspective and focused our research when we had internet time between cheap margaritas in the restaurant above our lovely anchorage. (And they allowed us to have a 9-year old birthday party on their empty first floor). After a couple more days of research…we knew in our hearts what we should do….different from what we wanted to do!
With a decent weather window coming up in the next 24 hours, we’ll point Tulum right as we leave Las Hadas and Manzanillo and start the trek north toward Baja for another hurricane season. We’ll be leaving our buddy boats and kid bubble with heavy hearts but we know we’ll definetely see them again…maybe next year in Costa Rica!
Wanna read another cruisers opinion on extended cruising this season (doing the Puddle Jump and cruising the South Pacific)? Check out Totem’s Latest Article.