The following is a copy of an article published on All at Sea on December 9, 2021. The full article can be found here
After a few years away from writing I am now back as a writer for ALL AT SEA and decided to research changes experienced by the marinas after hurricanes Irma and Maria almost destroyed the marine industry in Puerto Rico and the rest of the Caribbean back in September of 2017.
We limited our research to the marinas which experienced changes in ownership or have improved their facilities since our last editorial and that provide access for both motor and sailing yachts.
Let’s follow the same route we did back in 2010 and start in Fajardo on the East Coast of Puerto Rico and go south and west from there.
There are 6 marinas available to boaters on the east coast, located in the town of Fajardo. They all provide easy access to the Spanish Virgin Islands and offer great provisioning options with various local supermarkets, as well as Walmart, Costco and Sam’s, all within 45 minutes, by car.
If you are going to sail on to the US and/or British Virgin Islands or other destinations further east or south, Puerto Rico offers the most affordable provisioning in the entire Caribbean.
Puerto Del Rey Marina (PDR) (www.puertodelrey.com)
The original developer and owner sold PDR to Putnam Bridge Funding LLC in 2013 and since then it has undergone a massive investment in infrastructure.
After the 2017 hurricane season a 1,500kw generator was installed making PDR the only marina offering a stable power source in the event of blackouts.
The recent infrastructure investments made PDR the best prepared Marina for a hurricane. As a result, less than 3% of the boats had major damages after the catastrophic Category 4 hit Puerto Rico. PDR just sold again recently to Safe Harbor Marinas.
PDR has over 1,000 wet slips and can accommodate yachts of up to 200 feet in length and up to a 15-foot draft. They also provide 650+ dry stack spaces, which can handle boats up to 42 feet and 32,000 pounds.
PDR offers full services with a boatyard, dry stack, land storage with concrete tie downs, fuel dock, and pump-out services. They also offer concierge services, free Wi-Fi, cable TV, 24 hour security, heliport, laundry facilities, general store, restaurants and other marine services. For reservations call 787-860-1000.
Grand Caribbean Marinas (www.gcmarinas.com)
The 2017 hurricane season was both a curse and a blessing to Puerto Rico’s east coast boating community. The blessings started thanks to Italian businessman Giuseppe Cicatelli, president and founder of Bacalia Group, parent company of Grand Caribbean Marinas (GCM).
Thanks for Mr. Cicatelli’s vision and capital GCM is now the largest marina company in Puerto Rico with the acquisition of Marina Puerto Chico, Sea Lover’s Marina (now The Reserve), Villa Marina (now Renaissance Villa Marina), and the Sardinera Dry Stack, all four located in Fajardo.
With these purchases, Grand Caribbean Marinas now controls more than 2,200 spaces between wet slips and dry storage, and plans to invest $50 million to $100 million in the next five years. They are also the largest operator in the Caribbean as well as being among the top five marina groups with the most slips within the United States.
The scale and unique positioning of GCM further highlights the importance of Puerto Rico in the nautical industry thanks to its strategic location. For more information or to make reservations please call GCM at 787-863-0834
Puerto Chico (www.marinapuertochico.com)
Marina Puerto Chico is a Fajardo tradition, for over 50 years it has seen many generations of Puerto Rican boaters enjoy what they love. Puerto Chico is where I started sailing back in 1974 when my father bought a Seafarer 22 sailboat without knowing how to sail! Slip A-6 became my home away from home. Now under GCM management things can only get better…
The Reserve (www.gcmarinas.com)
Recently renovated and now within the Marina Puerto Chico facility, offers floating dock technology, The Reserve – Puerto Chico is the most exclusive and exquisite option for your yacht in Puerto Rico. Private parking, international-cuisine El Yate restaurant. Complete access to all Puerto Chico main facilities.
Renaissance Villa Marina (www.gcmarinas.com)
Has the only covered dry stack in Puerto Rico, which will be completely remodeled. The facilities will have a private entrance and an exclusive VIP service to take the boat owner experience to the “next level,” the company said. The marina also has its own boatyard, which will operate the maintenance and repair of ships up to 100 feet for the entire Grand Caribbean Marinas complex. One of the main benefits of Renaissance Villa Marina is that it offers maximum protection during hurricane season. The founders of El Makito, a well-known restaurant in Naguabo, plan to open a new gastronomical venue on the grounds of the marina called Sea Side Grill.