Skip Navigation

QUESTION - Trying to get from Cancun to Miami by boat....

Travel Forums North America QUESTION - Trying to get from Cancun to Miami by boat....

  • 1
  • 2
Last Post
1. Posted by jodunca3 (First Time Poster 1 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

I will be on my honeymoon in October and looking to charter a boat from Cancun to Miami, preferably a sail boat. Anyone know where I could line this up?

2. Posted by Calcruzer (Travel Guru 2003 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Okay, here's a few things you need to know:

It's over 1500 miles from Cancun to Miami--and you would have to go around Cuba to get there. Also, entering the US from Mexico would require that you have a visa and a passport unless you and everyone on board is a US citizen. (If you do this without notifying US Customs, you'll likely be stopped by the Coast Guard as you approach the coast).

There are probably cruise ships you could take, but chartering a sailboat for that distance is essentially impossible unless you happen to be Donald Trump.

Here's some cruise lines that might go this route:

Carnival Lines
Royal Caribbean Lines
Norwegian Lines
Princess Cruises

Good luck finding one to fit your needs

3. Posted by steve TB J (Budding Member 3 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

no it's not you idiot!!
it is 527.09 Miles or if you prefer its 848.25 Kilometres between the two and even if you make a round trip its one third less than 1500 (thats 500 in case you are wondering)!!

4. Posted by steve TB J (Budding Member 3 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

sorry forgot to add that it is 457 nautical miles

5. Posted by steve TB J (Budding Member 3 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

oooh and again its a return journey which could be done in under 2 weeks

Example; If sailing a 37ft sail boat that averages 5 kph or 5.75 mph. Cancun to Miami is approx 525-550 miles around the northern tip of Cuba. So 550 miles @ 5 knots = 4 days

obviously the distance will vary in relation to wind direction but it shouldn’t take more than six days and chartering a boat for two weeks isn’t going to break the bank especially on a honey moon trip.

6. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

steve TB J - welcome to TP. May I suggest toning it down a bit. There was no cause for your initial comment. If Calcruzer is incorrect (maybe he is, maybe he's not - I don't know) it's still not reason enough to take such an approach. If you disagree with someone's reply, no problem. Obviously, you are allowed to voice your disagreement and your own recommendations. But, doing so with civility is key on TP.

Isa now returns this thread to it's originally scheduled topic of getting from Cancun to Miami (peacefully)... ;)

7. Posted by SamSalmon (Respected Member 626 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

entering the US from Mexico would require that you have a visa and a passport unless you and everyone on board is a US citizen.

Canucks don't need to stinkin' visa!

8. Posted by Calcruzer (Travel Guru 2003 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Okay, a couple of explanations for Steve TB and any other non-sailors on this site.

If you want to travel from point A to point B by sailboat you can't go there directly as the crow flies unless:
(1) there are no land masses directly between point A and point B; and
(2) the wind is going to blow directly in the direction in which you are planning to travel and does so for the entire duration of your trip.

If either (1) or (2) does not apply, then you have to travel farther to get from point A to point B (sorry, but a sailboat is not a plane and you can't just go in the direction you want without tacking slightly off-line from the main route.)

What I should have said, is that you will need to travel approximately 1,500 miles to get from Cancun to Miami, even if the distance is only 457 nautical miles as the crow flies (note that 457 nautical miles is the equivalent of about 525 regular miles and I was giving my answer in regular miles since most people on this site wouldn't know that nautical miles are not the same). The reason why you have to travel farther than the direct route is simple--first you have to go around Cuba, and you have to stay outside the 22 nautical mile limit recognized by Cuba (well, unless you enjoy having your boat impounded and possibly spending 20 years in a Cuban prison because they think you are an American spy), and as I've made clear, you will have to tack back and forth during your trip off line from the straight direction in order to compensate for the wind direction, the wind speed, the stuff in your way (like Cuba and the southern tip of Florida), the speed of the prevailing currents, and to move around storms (hey, Steve, did you ever hear about hurricanes in this part of the world--maybe Katrina, for example?).

Next, you need to be aware that the wind in the Caribbean mainly blows from the east when you are in Cancun---and this is true all year around. Go to this website:

where you can view the wind direction for each and every month and you will see that the direction of the wind is almost directly the opposite of the direction you want to go (the wind comes from the East or southeast or northeast year round, meaning you need to haul into the wind, and fight the prevailing currents of approximately 4 knots as well. Since you have much farther to go (approximately 1500 regular miles per my calculation--but maybe as short as 1000 miles if you are fortunate enough to have favorable winds, and since you will only be averaging 3-4 miles per hour on average (11 miles average wind multiplied by about .7 to take into account the fact that you are fighting your way upstream against the wind and then subtracting the 4 mile per hour current that is against you listed in the website above, means that you need somewhere between 250 hours and 500 hours at full sail to travel this distance.

Since boats don't travel at full sail hauling into the winds continually (unless racing), this means that you could expect to travel at full speed for 16 hours a day on average at the most (well, unless you don't plan to sleep for two straight weeks), this trip is going to take somewhere between 15 and 30 days (and that's presuming you have at least two competent boat captains on board who have experience in coastal cruising and navigation.)

Oh, and let me mention just one or two more things.

I have lived in Santa Cruz for over 10 years and Baltimore for over 4 years and am a Bareback Certified Boat Captain for over 12 years (which means I have been certified as one of the few people in the US who can captain a boat without having any other certified sailor on board. This qualifies me to handle boats from 10 feet in length to 30 foot sailing yachts (which is what I usually sail--Hunters 34s and Coronados 32s and such)--to giant tankers that contain thousands of gallons of crude oil. There are fewer than 4,000 such certified individuals in the whole country--so except for us and the people in the US Navy, Coast Guard, or Merchant Marine, I'd have to say that there aren't that many people more knowledgeable than I am about coastal or international cruising. Also, I sail large sailboats regularly (well, at least until earlier this year when I was unemployed for a short period)--but I'm back sailing again now that I'm employed again.

While I appreciate Steve TJ trying to answer a very detailed question by basically just looking up the distance on wikipedia, it is clear to me, based upon Steve TJ's reply, that the largest boat he has ever sailed in his life is probably a six foot power boat--and it is also clear that he has never taken a single boating course in his life, and therefore does not understand even the simpliest basics of sailboat navigation.



9. Posted by Calcruzer (Travel Guru 2003 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

I usually try to be a bit more civil in my replies, but based upon post #3 above, I didn't feel the need to be quite as friendly as usual in my response this time.

I'll try to be a bit more diplomatic and polite in my future posts.


[ Edit: Edited on 16-Sep-2009, at 21:56 by Calcruzer ]

10. Posted by Calcruzer (Travel Guru 2003 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

One other thing--cost. The cost of this trip will run $9,000 at the least, if you rent the boat just for you and your new wife.

This figures in the need for a minimum of $300 per day for the boat plus a minimum of $100 per crew member per day (you'll need three crew--two to run the boat and one to handle meals and drinks and do cleanup).

Thus, $600 a day absolute minimum for 15 days minimum.

This assumes you can find someone who owns their own boat and is willing to only bill you a one-way charge.

This bill will drop considerably if you share this trip with other couples.

Here are some sites to suggest charter companies--and to give you cost estimates:

Consider chartering either a Hunter or a Beneteau. Those are my two favorites.


P.S. When my son was in high school 4 years ago, he also sailed--and his high school team finished eighth in the west coast championships. He was in the "A" team boat (there are A team and B team boats that make up each team). His former partner is currently on the college sailing team at MIT, and is planning to try out for the US olympic sailing team next year.

[ Edit: Edited on 17-Sep-2009, at 05:04 by Calcruzer ]