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Starting Charter Business in Puerto Vallarta

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Starting Charter Business in Puerto Vallarta

Old 10-18-2019, 10:38 PM
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PV is very competitive. Really, the Captains there are very good, and hard to compete with, beyond just the legalities.

There are 5 Osuna brothers that Makira sponsors, and they are really fishy. Because of the distances they are doing mostly 3 1/2 day trips on hulls from 35-55' and its a major operation.Lora Vazquez is also fishy as hell, covering inshore and off, Manny Orcanza is a true competitor, Juan on Marlin Magic, etc, etc and one other gentleman who is a consistant tornament placer. I estimate that these guys problay do 85% of the good jobs, then there are about 40 others competing for the scraps.

If I was gonna do this, I would try Cancun as they get about 3x the trade as PV and the fishing is less professional, and a lot closer, but I would not want to raise kids there.

Its my understanding that Costa Rica is a bit more dangerous now than before as their tourist industry slowed.

Another possibility is Alaska or New Zealand.
Old 10-18-2019, 10:55 PM
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Any mention of starting any charter business on THT will bring naysayers and know it alls out of the woodwork in droves all telling the chooche proposing the charter/ guide reasons why it won’t work. I say the vast majority of the time they’re right. Not because they know anything just that the odds on bet is the guy asking the question about starting the “charter/guide” is full of shit as a Christmas Turkey and talking shit about his qualifications and in reality has likely less then a 1% chance of actually attempting to open a business and a less then a .00000001% chance of having the $$ means to. Hence everyone is more or less full of shit.

In this case OP seems to have an answer, argument or excuse for all the naysayers, so why bother asking the questions or starting the thread in the 1st place since you’re convinced that you’ve got what it takes?

Old 10-18-2019, 11:28 PM
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I know an American guy who runs charters in PV (punta mita)
on the low down and I'm pretty sure he's not doing it by the books.
I wonder how he's lasted this long.
Old 10-19-2019, 12:01 AM
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Originally Posted by finnedfanatic View Post
I’ll look more into Costa Rica. I need to travel there soon anyways. One of the reasons we haven’t been there or considered it is there some to be some sort of tension between South American countries and Central American countries. I have also heard Ecuador? I feel like I should almost start a new thread, “which country to raise a family in and start a business” lol
CR remains relatively safe. Ecuador us a mess and doesn't have a developed flushing recreational industry to my knowledge. Bahamas?
Old 10-19-2019, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by westbootie View Post
I know an American guy who runs charters in PV (punta mita)
on the low down and I'm pretty sure he's not doing it by the books.
I wonder how he's lasted this long.


I think I sounded too negative in my post. The OP wanted to be captain, and I just tried to tell him the barriers, as he would be seen on board daily with customers. Your deckhand will just have to have captains papers. So behind the Corporation, your deckhand, and your accountant you can operate.
As I said, you can start a corporation, hire workers and make money legally like anyone else if you can compete. This is the only way forward to go if you want to build a serious business. Starting a corporation can be down for around $1200. accountants charge around $100-$150 per month, and your wife can do the payments to the tax boards.
You can do anything illegal. But investing in a hull is a lot of $$, it can be confiscated, and if you actually are doing ok and making some dough, poor people will get jealous and report you.

If you plan to just fly instead of driving down and back once a year, immigration gets tougher as the officers will recognize you after a few trips and you may get some resistance to gettting tourist papers over and over. I think your daughter will require a student visa and as gaurdians you may have to be accepted as residentes permanentes, which means you will need Mexican vehicles.

Anyway, I hope this is a start for you. Mexico has consulates in most USA states and they are easier to deal with than trying to inform yourself further on their Websites.
Living in PV is about as expensive as living in on of the cheaper states and the people are very nice. It is pretty safe as the cartel guys that have a lot of property there do not
want trouble there, but, cartel wars are spreading around Mexico after the fall of Chapo.
If I was going to compete I would be looking for a fast hull to do day trips 50-80 miles out to Corbetenia, CifolosBank and the Marias. Something like a Fountain 31 with 225 4 strokes and an expandable shade top that will trombone back so that you can cruise at 50 dodging debri and turtles and pull out to troll and drift fish. The cabin cruisers there are comfortable, but a lot slower so with something that can get you there fast and economically with your passengers sleeping on bean bags would be attractive. PV has good seas, cloudy skies and a good live bait fishery.

I know a few people that have tried to advertise and do it on the sly to bring in "friends" on face book, but as soon as they are discovered, its over.

Last edited by Bullshipper; 10-19-2019 at 10:44 AM.
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Old 10-19-2019, 07:48 PM
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Everyone’s information was great. I really appreciate it.
Old 10-20-2019, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by alacrity View Post
CR remains relatively safe.
Been there/done that it's not an appealing place for a number of reasons-very tough to do business there.

Originally Posted by alacrity View Post
Ecuador us a mess and doesn't have a developed flushing recreational industry to my knowledge....
I've visited Ecuador overall it's a quiet compact place with a large commercial fleet and some outstanding offshore sportfishing.
Old 10-21-2019, 03:46 AM
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I would binge watch a “Locked Up Abroad” marathon to see first hand all the things that can go wrong in another country since both you and the wife don’t have Mexican citizenship...any interaction with cartel or resentful locals could be a very bad deal.....I understand trying to bring your daughter up multi cultural, but didn’t your Peruvian wife also come to the U.S ?????? Just saying....
Old 10-21-2019, 07:32 AM
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Costa Rica is a stretch too. They do not allow anyone to come in and take jobs that could be done by Costa Ricans. They have legal prohibitions specifically against immigrating and working there. You can work for a US company from there, but even that is not clear cut.
Old 10-21-2019, 07:39 AM
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No need to ask. Just do it!!!
Old 10-21-2019, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Sport Fish Panama Island Lodge View Post
No need to ask. Just do it!!!
What would you know?


Fill us in on Panama. I remember the American Captains in Costa Rica having to cross the border to Panama every so often to show they had been out of country for what ever reason it had to do with their Visas or what ever. They said they would get shaken down for the stamp by the Panamanian officials.

Sure, some have made it work in other countries quite well but few on the outside understand the hurdles. Home town fella from my area runs the Croc. Bay Lodge In Costa Rica. I have heard the stories of what it takes. One of the things it takes a lot of is money and time.
Old 10-21-2019, 11:02 AM
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I am trying to come up with a number I would accept in order to work and raise my daughter in Mexico for. $100k/yr wouldn't do it. Neither would $200k. I am thinking I would move to Mexico for $500k/yr and stay there no more than 4 years and I hope I got lucky. I would still have to think about it.
Old 10-21-2019, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Locke N Load View Post
I am trying to come up with a number I would accept in order to work and raise my daughter in Mexico for. $100k/yr wouldn't do it. Neither would $200k. I am thinking I would move to Mexico for $500k/yr and stay there no more than 4 years and I hope I got lucky. I would still have to think about it.
I lived in West Springfield as a boy and and liked it. And I have lived off and on in Calif, Or, Az, and Colorado over my 68 years. But I raised my 3 kids in Mexico over a 30 year stretch and would do it again starting today if given the choice. Like anything, it depends on a lot of different factors, but that's my experience. I have a place in California and here in Mexico where I am writing. Like em both, but I do spend about 80% of my time here now, even though my kids settled in Calif.
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Old 10-22-2019, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Bullshipper View Post
I lived in West Springfield as a boy and and liked it. And I have lived off and on in Calif, Or, Az, and Colorado over my 68 years. But I raised my 3 kids in Mexico over a 30 year stretch and would do it again starting today if given the choice. Like anything, it depends on a lot of different factors, but that's my experience. I have a place in California and here in Mexico where I am writing. Like em both, but I do spend about 80% of my time here now, even though my kids settled in Calif.
This is all I need to know about you and how you could survive/thrive in Mexico. Way tougher than me.
Old 10-22-2019, 01:19 PM
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Not the best advice on the CR situation. You can buy a boat here and charter it, you just need a costa rican mate. You can't work for anybody else, but you can run your own boat, or work at your own business. If you invest sufficiently, which is in the 6 figures but I don't remember or know exact amount, you can get residence and get on path to citizenship. Not to say it's easy, probably 80 percent of people go broke. It's hard to keep things working here, you have to have a HUGE parts warehouse, if you are thinking about putting on outboards just forget the whole idea as they don't last long nor raise fish here. It's hard, but if you work hard at it and don't mind risking everything, it could work. I know a few that have done it, like me or Mike Alligood, but most don't make it...

If you do decide for Costa Rica, I have a great lawyer that can help you get legal. But you gotta be really careful on boat you use. You wouldn't want to bring a boat from the US, you would want to buy one here that is legal and has a diesel in it. And you want something in the 30 foot range, single screw if you can, as those make the most money. If you can find something with a wood hull, you are another step up in the game. But those are hard to come by. It's awesome here though, so if you can make it work it is well worth it. If you ever decided to buy anything here let me look at the deal first, as anywhere in Latin America you are highly likely to be screwed on any type of business deal.
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Old 10-22-2019, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by 20biminitwist View Post
What would you know?


Fill us in on Panama. I remember the American Captains in Costa Rica having to cross the border to Panama every so often to show they had been out of country for what ever reason it had to do with their Visas or what ever. They said they would get shaken down for the stamp by the Panamanian officials.

Sure, some have made it work in other countries quite well but few on the outside understand the hurdles. Home town fella from my area runs the Croc. Bay Lodge In Costa Rica. I have heard the stories of what it takes. One of the things it takes a lot of is money and time.
I did have alot of trouble with the Panama side, but Nicaragua is very pretty (not for fishing, but for the mandatory 3 days out of the country every 3 months). I came with very little money, but plenty of time
Old 10-22-2019, 01:40 PM
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If you have your heart set on PV that's one thing aka you want to live there so you can fish there and take a few trips to pay your expenses but if you would like to try to get a charter operation to work close runs and family friendly trips would be an easier way to cash flow things. Cancun or some other place with short runs and snorkeling mixed in to me is the way to go. All over the planet there are great private boats that offer charters, they don't make money they do trips to make the crew a few $$'s defray some of the expense while the owner is not around and keep the crew on the fish while the owner is not there so if you are a private guy wanting to make a living at these spots you now have to compete with them and it's really hard.
Old 10-22-2019, 03:19 PM
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Good point. I don't see it being a full time gig. More of a way to defer some costs, etc. I guess back to the drawing board for the interim. Baby coming soon though....
Old 10-23-2019, 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted by SailFishQuepos View Post
I did have alot of trouble with the Panama side, but Nicaragua is very pretty (not for fishing, but for the mandatory 3 days out of the country every 3 months). I came with very little money, but plenty of time
That is funny right there and most likely very true!
Old 10-29-2019, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by finnedfanatic View Post
Okay... I have always wanted to be a guide and I am curious if anyone here would have comments on the feasibility of this idea.

my wife is Peruvian, fluent in Spanish and a sharp business woman. We have our first child on the way and she would like for it to grow up in Latin America. I speak some Spanish and am confident I can master it easily with time.

Would it be possible to ship my boat to Puerto Vallarta and start a charter business? We would likely have about 1200-2500$ per month in residual income from other ventures without working at all. This should allow us to get started and we have a decent savings but hate to tap into it. I was thinking I might need to repower boat before making the trip.


What are our legal options? What are some costs I should be considering? Slip fees? Licenses? I do not have a CG six pack license as of now

i sent you a PM regarding a charter opportunity in Guayaquil Ecuador.

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