From the islands to mainland
Replies: 4 - Last Post: Jan 21, 2013 9:01 AM Last Post By: congochris
Jan 19, 2013 4:44 AM
From the islands to mainlandHello!
I am doing a 'round-the-world trip without using any airplanes, and I have tricky situation. I am currently in South Africa (traveled there from Finland), and I have been looking for a passage to South or Central America. Now it seems my best chance to get one is with a yacht delivery company. They have a few deliveries going in February. But not to any mainland destination, but the Caribbean islands. And apparently there is some bureaucratic inconvenience letting me disembark on the way in Brazil for example.
The boats going in February go to Tortola, St. Maarten and the Bahamas. In early March there is also one to St. Lucia. Now, I don't know if they captain will allow me to come as a working passenger, but I would now have to decide my best destination.
Since I can not use airplanes the problem is of course getting to mainland, by public ferries or hopping on a sailboat or something. I would like to end up in Central America. I think St. Maarten would be the worst option for its so far from mainland. Tortola second best, for by just ferries I should reach Dominican Republic and Haiti. Is this correct? And possibly from there by boat to Cuba and then Mexico. The Bahamas is just one ferry ride away from USA. But then, if I couldn't find a boat, I have to travel a long distance through USA and Mexico to get to Central America.
And question about entering USA: If I would enter from Bahamas would there be some problems since I would have to convince them I would leave the country without having a airplane ticket bought beforehand? I have a Finnish passport (European Union).
I think the Bahamas would be the best pick for I would get to mainland and still have the boat opportunity from Florida or the Bahamas itself to Cuba or Mexico. But the entrance to USA without an airplane ticket worries me.
Thank you for your advice!
Jan 19, 2013 8:46 AM
1The Bahamas seem your best destination as you can take a ferry to the USA and continue overland.
AFAIK, there aren't scheduled ferries from mainland Central America to the Caribbean (or v.v.). You could try to find a cruise or a freigther or other type of sea transport though but I can't help you with it as I'm not an expert in sea travel and I don't know how likely are you to find that type of transport. BTW, be aware, that AFAIK, there aren't international ferries to/from Cuba (once again, you could look for a cruise or a freighter or other sea transport but I can't tell you how likely are you to find it).
Regarding entry requirements for the USA, you have to read carefully the requirements to apply for an ESTA to see if you meet them, if you don't meet them, you'll have to apply for a visa in a US embassy (not sure if you could apply at any US embassy or if you would need to apply at the US embassy in your home country. It would be a good idea to research it). You can ask in the USA branch to get more info about it but be aware the details are relevant (even the company you plan to use to get to the USA can make a difference...).
Jan 19, 2013 8:54 AM
2In addition to my post above:
Verify beforehand if you would be able to get a US visa (if you don't meet the requirements to get an ESTA) because if for whatever reason you aren't able to get it your plans would become much more difficult.
If you could find a passage to the island of Trinidad (in Trinidad and Tobago), that would be a good alternative.
Jan 20, 2013 8:17 AM
Jan 21, 2013 9:01 AM
4There are many cruises from Florida to destinations in Central and South America. A quick check for March 2013 showed several for under $1000 with ports of call in Panama, Costa Rica Belize and Honduras. There were also cruises to South America, though these were significantly more expensive.
To satisfy the Immigration requirements in the US for proof of outward travel you can buy a refundable airline ticket for travel onward to Central America, and then cash it in after you have arrived and booked your ground/boat trip out of the US.
I thought I did read about a monthly freighter going from Cuba to Central America somewhere, but its been awhile so not sure if that is still an option.
On rare occasion, there are ships which leave from Port Elizabeth and do Antarctic cruise, and which may stop in places where you may be able to continue onwards (like Ushuia, Falklands etc) However this is rare and very expenive
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