Re: Puerto Rico Marinas


curtepp
 

Gary:     In Nov 2013 we went to Puerto Del Rey for haul-out and to repair some very shoddy work that was done to our keel at Nanny Cay on Tortola.  Island Marine at Puerto del Rey was recommended by another Amel owner.  They did excellent work last May and we kept Languedoc on the hard in Hurricane storage last summer.  The yard gets a little messy and very wet when it rains but the storage is good.  (Mary stepped in a puddle and was badly bitten by floating fire ants.)  You are responsible for getting the Nylon Straps and doing the tie down.  Buy them at Sam's club in Humacao and you will save some bucks.  The land storage still has security problems.  Do not leave anything valuable on deck.  But its easy to secure and lock tight an Amel so we had no problems.  The Junneau beside us lost their outboard right off the rail way up high.

I posted some photos of the keel work we had done.  The manager, Ken, supervises his workers closely and they work hard.  Jen, their receptionist is extremely helpful with questions that require local knowledge.  She helped us out on numerous occasions. 

The new management at the marina is much better and got rid of some of the incompetent staff.  But it is still the Caribbean.  Some things just don't get done timely. But the staff is uniformly friendly and helpful.   If you stay there, check your bill monthly and question any charges that don't seem right.  We were there from Dec. 2013 to Nov 2014 and had several mistakes on our bill, all of which they corrected.

Last year they raised dockage rates substantially.  So we moved to Sun Bay marina.  This is perhaps the best marina we have ever been in, anywhere.  (except the one where we own a slip in Washington State).  Olga Diaz is the manager.  Her husband (deceased) designed and built the marina.  She runs a very tight ship.  Security is excellent.  CBP and DEA keep their boats there.  In addition to Olga's guards, the Feds also patrol.  They carry guns.  There is no theft.  Plus, Olga accepts and stores packages for you so you can order and ship via Amazon, Defender, West Marine, etc.  The stuff will be there for you, under lock and key.  If you need any help, Olga will give it, including making phone calls if you have to call some place where no one speaks English.  I literally cannot say enough praise for Olga Diaz.  On several occasions (like at West Marine) I told someone we were at Sun Bay and the response with a smile was, "Oh, you are one of Olga's".  She lives in a Penthouse on a hill above the marina.  She told me she can see the marina at night and keep track of her security guards to be sure they are working.

Nearby Sun Bay is the Fajardo Inn.  A  nice resort with prices as low as $90.00 in the off season (winter).  So if your boat is on the hard for work at Puerto del Rey you can stay nearby at a reasonable price.  Thrifty car rental has an office at Puerto del Rey but they and Enterprise, Alamo and the rest will deliver to you or pick you up at Sun Bay also.  So car rental is a breeze.  Provisioning requires a car but its only 30 minutes to Sam's Club, Costco, and Home Depot.  Its 10 minutes to Wal Mart, K-Mark, Sears, Walgreen, West Marine, etc.  From Sun Bay you can walk to Skippers Marine, another good supplier but much smaller than West Marine.

Flying to Puerto Rico is easy.  The airport in San Juan is nice.  From Washington State, its a long haul but from other hubs closer its not long at all.  If you have an early flight out of San Juan, you can stay 5 minutes from the airport at the Hampton Inn.  Free beer every evening, a nice Bar-b que by the pool, and a short taxi ride to the airport.  $140.00 per night.  You can walk to the beach.

Puerto Rico is the United States so there is no immigration or customs hassles for U.S citizens.  We have never been asked about boat registration.  But PR is still the Caribbean so you have to adjust to the pace and way people do business.   Some neighborhoods are not safe at night and the roads have some world class potholes.  But your money is good, all your credit cards work, and if you know a little Spanish they appreciate your efforts at it.  Most everyone also speaks English.

A lot of boats stay in the water at Sun Bay during the summer.  It's a crapshoot I think.  We are considering it this year, when we return from our cruise down island.  You also get a discount for being an SSCA member.  But if we go back to Land Storage, maybe we will see you around at Puerto Del Rey. 

Curt Epperson
S/V Languedoc

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