From The Northeast U.S. to South America – A Sailors Guide (Part 11/12)

The Caribbean Sea from Morrocoy National Park, Venezuela

Let´s face it, some of these regions are a bit of a mystery! Only the best sailors make it this far. Here´s what you need to avoid in the region, and what not to miss out on.


Venezuela. Ah, it lies on the direct route to Panama and is rarely affected by hurricanes, but sadly, the current state of its government means it´s not considered safe.

Sailors recommend you don´t head towards Venezuela or any of its islands. Here is information about changes regarding visas and the high risk associated with traveling in these waters.


Guyana´s coast has a lot of shallow, muddy waters, but this country is located outside the hurricane belt, so it makes for a handy haven for yachts during the hurricane season. The official language is English, too, which can make things easier!

Most visits are trouble-free, though the UK Foreign Office recommends exercising caution when travelling there. Avoid the Corentyne River at the border of Guyana and Suriname, as pirates attack fishermen around that region. Georgetown is notorious for petty crime and Pomeroon River should be avoided.

With a good cruisers´ guide, it makes for a fantastic destination, with its rivers and wildlife. Clearance for yachts is in Bartica, at the junction of the Essequibo and Mazaruni rivers. Keeled boats can go up rivers Pomeroon (though potentially dangerous), Waini and Raimi. The river Berbice is also navigable for about 87 nautical miles past the port of New Amsterdam.

Berbice River

Here´s a little sailing guide, and here´s a bigger one (with almost everything you should need)!

Where to Spend the Night

Follow this guide, or stick to the marinas: Bartica, Georgetown, Parika.


Suriname is also a great place to spend hurricane season. It´s considered a culturally Caribbean country, and the official language is Dutch (though English is spoken everywhere). The country is multicultural, and an interesting place to visit and cruise in. It is thought to be pretty safe.

Unfortunately, Suriname is suffering through an economic crisis right now, and prices for many services have doubled. Sailors have really enjoyed going there and sailing up and down the rivers, though. Check out their interesting story, with information about immigration, anchorage and the cruising notes.

Where to Spend the Night

Domburg, Paramaribo or Braamspunt.

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The French Guiana Coastline

French Guiana is a tiny country and part of France, so it´s one of South America´s wealthiest corners. The atmosphere is actually more Caribbean-seeming than French – like Martinique or Guadeloupe, and it hardly registers on most cruisers´ radar at all – normally. French Guiana has 204 nautical miles of coastline waiting for you to explore it.

Where to Spend the Night

According to one enthusiastic sailor, it has to be Saint Laurent du Maroni, on the Maroni River. Here´s the full story. Or perhaps you´d like to head over to Kourou, where the European Space Agency launches its communication satellites, or to Devil´s Islands, like these sailors (read the story first!).

The Maroni River, French Guiana

Here are the other main ports, if you don´t: Cayenne and Degrad des Cannes.

We´re almost at the largest country in South America, Brazil. And boy, does it have a lot to offer. Part 12 is exclusively about this stunning coastline.

From The Northeast U.S. to South America – A Sailors Guide (Part 12/12)

From The Northeast U.S. to South America – A Sailors Guide (Part 10/12)

From The Northeast U.S. to South America – A Sailors Guide (Part 9/12)




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