Cruising Route: Belize to Panama

Follow our route from the Northwest Caribbean to the Southwest Caribbean … from early December anchor up in the Rio Dulce, Guatemala through April Fool’s Day — anchor down in Panama.   I hope this information is helpful to those wanting to make the transition between the Northwest and Southwest Caribbean.  ENJOY!

We left the Rio in early December, planning to leisurely cruise through Belize, enjoying anchorages we’d missed and revisiting favorites.  From Lighthouse Reef Atoll, Belize, it was an easy overnight sail to West End, Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras.

The Rio Dulce famous National Park Canyon...

The Rio Dulce famous National Park Canyon…

Then we took our time easting to Guanaja, the easternmost of the Bay Islands to wait for a weather window allowing us to sail due east for 33 hours, in the easterly tradewinds to reach the remote tiny Vivorillos Cayes at the corner of Honduras and Nicaragua.   Then southeast to Providencia, Colombia just outside Nicaraguan pirate waters.  44 hours later we were safely anchored at Providencia, 10 days later a daysail to San Andres, Colombia and finally a 47 hour sail to Bocas Del Toro, Panama … on April Fool’s Day — 4 months later.

Providencia, Colombia harbor, one of our favorites.

Providencia, Colombia harbor, one of our favorites.

Here’s the link for the route, I’ve tried to embed the actual Google Map route below, but the link works better.

Cruising Route:  Belize to Panama Google Map Link

Our routes are for reference only NOT FOR NAVIGATION.  There is no way to use actual lat/long waypoints on a Google Map so I’ve just dropped markers as close as I can to our anchoring spots.  Most places I’ve included the lat/long where we actually anchored in the description, be sure to doublecheck them before using in case there’s a typo – I’ve checked but you never know.

Each place we stopped has a marker.  If you click the marker, you’ll find a description, a photo and a link for more information on that place on either my Sail Winterlude or Commuter Cruiser websites.  I’m going to be adding more information to these route maps.

Winterlude is a 37′ Passport sailboat with a 5 1/2 foot draft, so if I mention time for a passage, take into account that we generally average 4.5 – 5 knots underway, less if there’s current or a headwind.  Our 30 hp putt-putt engine was not meant to power us through seas, only to assist in docking & anchoring.

Enjoy!  This was one of the best adventures of our lives … so far.  If anyone stopped at different spots and has additional info, please leave a comment and share for all.  Cheers!  Jan


  1. I’m going to refer back to this when we finally set sail in November! I’m trying to convince my husband to hit Central America and the Caribbean (he wants to do the Pacific Puddle Jump). I love all of your informative articles, in particular your article on keeping your dinghy safe! Thanks for keeping us informed!

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