Belize

A sailors paradise is the best way to describe Belize. There are so few charter boats in comparison to the vast sailing ground that you can always find a peaceful and quiet anchorage.

The ocean waves are broken by the second largest barrier reef in this hemisphere, making the waters calmer with less swell. The sailing ground differs from North to South. The northern waters offer short island hops, inhabited cays with restaurants and bars and shallow turquoise water.

In the South the waters are deeper and the cays slightly more wide spread, giving you great sailing, excellent fishing and crowd free anchor spots. Many of the cays are uninhabited and provide an excellent habitat for the birds and marine life. Some of the cays have been developed into resorts where you can visit the bars and restaurants

Snorkelling and diving is great for all levels, with unspoiled reefs, an astounding variety of corals, formations & walls, pinnacles and swim-throughs. Belizean waters are a paradise for ocean lovers.

The abundance of marine life here is fascinating with so many varieties of fish, shellfish, turtles, large sting rays, spotted and manta rays, reef sharks and many more. Not forgetting the numerous dolphins, manatees and the amazing whale sharks.

Belize sailing charters can depart from either San Pedro - Ambergris Cay, or Placencia. You can sail bareboat inside the barrier reef, but you will require a skippered charter if you wish to visit any of the outer atolls, such as Lighthouse reef, Glovers reef, or the Turneffe islands.

The Outer Atolls

There are four Atolls in the western hemisphere, three of these are found in Belizean waters. These three unique ovals of coral are surrounded by the clear waters of the open sea. The Atolls are at Lighthouse Reef, Glover Reef and the Turneffe Islands.

Diving and snorkelling here is breathtaking, with over 200 species of fish, 60 varieties of stony corals and many invertebrate species, these waters are fascinating and magical.

The Rio Dulce - Guatemala

Sail across the Gulf of Honduras, into the mouth of the ‘sweet river’, through old world jungle passages, across two lakes and into the Rio Dulce. Offering spectacular scenery, wildlife, and traditional Guatemalan culture. It will take you 4 to 5 days to complete the Rio Dulce experience, and most people prefer to incorporate a few days of relaxation in the cays of Belize as well, for this reason a 10 day charter is recommended. A real sailing adventure.



» Picturesque harbours
» Diverse sailing options
» Stunning natural environment
» Explore countless islands
» Enjoy solitude in a quiet anchorage

Weather Conditions

Climate

General weather for Belize

Belize has a sub-tropical climate with an average annual temperature of 27ºC (80ºF). Consistent trade winds ranging from 10 – 20 knots (11 - 22mph) blow along the coast and keep things pleasant all year round. The dry season runs from November to May and the rains from June to November. Water temperatures average a balmy 27ºC (81ºF). The sailing area here is mainly inside the sheltered barrier reef meaning that waves are minimal. Fresh breezes create excellent sailing conditions.

It is difficult to know exactly what to pack, but as you may be travelling through a couple of airports it's probably easier to pack light. Do not forget your camera, swimsuit, walking shoes, sandals, T-shirts, cap, sunglasses and sunscreen. Dress in the islands is fairly casual. Women will need to dress no more formal than skirt or shorts and top or summery dresses made of cotton for dinner. In most establishments shorts and T-shirts are acceptable.


Average Conditions - Belize


  JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC

High Temperature (c)

27

27

28

29

31

31

30

30

30

29

28

27

Low Temperature (c)

21

22

23

24

26

26

26

26

25

24

23

22

Precipitation (mm)

114

66

48

43

101

218

205

177

241

254

177

170

Average Sunshine Hours

7

9

9

9

8

7

8

8

8

8

6

7


Current Forecast:

Belize City
Day Temp Wind Wave Vis Weather
Tue
21st
28°C
NE

6 kts

1.6 ft 3 km
Wed
22nd
29°C
E

2 kts

1.2 ft 1 km
Thu
23rd
26°C
WNW

17 kts

1.6 ft 9 km
Fri
24th
26°C
NW

13 kts

1.6 ft 7 km
Sat
25th
27°C
N

7 kts

1.3 ft 4 km

General Information

Time difference
Belize is in the Central Standard Time zone (GMT - 6hrs), and does not utilize daylight saving time.

Airports and transfers

Belize is about 2 hours and 15 minutes by air from Miami, Florida and Houston, Texas. U.S.gateway cities to Belize include Miami, Houston and New Orleans, Louisiana. Direct flights are also available from Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C; and from Toronto, Canada. From Mexico, direct flights to Belize are available from Cancun and Chetumal. Most Central American countries offer direct flights to Belize, including Guatemala, Honduras and Costa Rica.

Ongoing transportation from the International Airport to San Pedro and Placencia is available with Tropic Air hourly.

The airstrip in San Pedro is about a one minute walk from the base.

Placencia Regional Airstrip is approximately a 45 minute flight from Belize City International Airport. Transfers from the airport to the base are not included. Taxi fares are  $3.00 US per person  from the airstrip to the base with a minimum charge of USD6.00. From placencia village it is usually $10 US PER TAXI - not per person. Transfers cannot be pre-booked.

Luggage
We would highly recommend packing prescription medicine and essential clothing (swimsuit, t-shirt and shorts) in your hand luggage as occasionally your luggage may arrive at the base after you do.
Please pack using soft-sided bags, as these are easier to store on your yacht.

Passport and Visas
Please ensure your passport is valid for the period of travel and for six months after you return.

Your passport name must match the name on the flight ticket otherwise you may not be able to travel and insurance may be invalid.
If your child is not already included on a valid British Passport they are required to hold their own passport.
EU Passport holders do not require a visa

Non-British passport holders should check with their local Consulate direct

Customs and Immigration
Entry Requirements: A valid passport and return ticket are required to enter Belize. No visas are required for citizens of the United States, Canada, Caricom countries, European Community member nations (Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Denmark, Ireland, UK, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Finland, and Sweden)

Important: Visas are required for the following countries: for nationals of the following countries: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Bosnia, Brazil, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Columbia, Cuba, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Haiti, Honduras, India, Japan, Korea (North and South), Libya, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Poland, Russia, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Ukraine, Yugoslavia and Zaire.

For the nearest place to obtain a visa please visit: Belize Consults and Embassies or visit www.embassyworld.com for a complete database of all embassies worldwide.

Customs: U.S. residents are permitted a $400 per person (or $1,100 per family) duty-free tax exemption upon returning to the U.S., and can also bring back one quart of alcohol and 200 cigarettes duty-free.

A departure tax of US$39.25 per person is charged on leaving Belize, this must be paid in US Dollars only.  Travellers entering Belize International by air and connecting to in-country flights are charged a US$.75 security fee.

Sailing Licences
Although no sailing licences are required by the authorities, we strongly advise that you take any sailing certificates on holiday with you.   This may be useful should you be contacted by Customs or Port Police.  If you have not already done so then both the Skipper and 1st Mate will be required to fill in a Sailing CV to confirm that you have the necessary skills to sail in this region.

Cruising Permits & Taxes
There are marine park fees in effect in large parts of our cruising grounds and a flat rate of USD10 per person per day applies in all of them now, including at Laughing Bird Cay. These fees are not for use of the mooring buoys which are now in place in some of the cays but are simply a fee to be in the marine reserve* and these fees apply to people staying on cays there too.

*The marine reserves in the southern cruising grounds are the following: South Water Cay Marine reserve - stretches from the Tobacco Range in the north, through Southwater and Twin Cayes, Blue Ground Range, Pelican and Lagoon, south as far as Crawl Cay and all places between. Gladden Spit/Silk Cayes marine reserve - From Gladden Spit south to and including Queen Cayes. Laughing Bird Cay itself. Sapodilla Cayes, stretching from Tom Owens in the north to Sapodilla Cay in the south and out to Seal Cay in the west.

Night Time Sailing
You are not permitted to sail at night unless it has been agreed with the base manager prior to departure.

Cruising Area Limits
All charters are restricted to sail inside the barrier reef. Restricted zones are: Glover's reef, Turneffe reef and Lighthouse reef. Local skippers must be on board for any and all excursions outside the barrier reef.

Charts & Pilot Book
All the charts and pilot books you will need for the sailing area are on board the yacht. Charts and pilot books can be purchased from the UK chandler Force4 by contacting them direct on 02920 787190 (ask for Stuart) or visit www.force4.co.uk

Banks & Money Exchange

Banks
Atlantic Bank:     Opening hours: 8am - 2pm Monday to Friday
Scotiabank:         Opening hours: 8am - 2pm Monday to Friday; 9am - 12 noon Saturdays.

Currency
The fixed rate of exchange between the Belizean dollar (BZ$) and the U.S. dollar (USD) is 2 to 1, but street money changers may give you a slightly better rate. Most locations will accept U.S. currency, Belizean currency, traveller's cheques, and credit cards.

Euro's are still not accepted anywhere except at the Central Bank in Belize City. The only foreign currency which will be accepted is USD and USD travellers' checks. Euro travellers' checks are not accepted.

Credit Card Information
Visa is widely accepted. MasterCard can also be used but to a more limited extent. American Express is not widely accepted in Belize and is not accepted at our base.

General Information

Language
The official language is English, with Spanish spoken as second language.

Cost of living in Belize
A meal for 2 at a mid range restaurant is approximately US$50 (without wine).   A bottle of beer is approximately US$3.  A bottle of wine costs approximately US$20.  A cost of a snack is approximately US$10.

Restaurants
Restaurants close during September – Low Season
If you are travelling in low season there is likely to be a limited choice of restaurants to eat ashore and you should provision accordingly. This would be a perfect time of year to enjoy a BBQ off the back of your boat.

Tipping
Tipping is standard and expected in all restaurants / bars and for other services undertaken during your holiday. The rule of thumb is generally 10-15% of the amount charged. Some establishments automatically add this onto the bill.

Shopping
Simple souvenir shops are abundant in Placencia.  You will find Guatemalan, Mexican and Nicaraguan crafts. There is very little in the way of "local" crafts. There are traditional trinkets and souvenirs, as well as some higher-end ceramic, wood, and metal artworks.

Electricity
The standard voltage on all yachts is 12 volts. In order to use electronic equipment that is 110v/220v you will need an inverter suitable for use in a cigarette lighter.

Mobile phones
Please check with your provider before leaving to make sure your phone is set up for international roaming and you will then be able to use your phone in Belize. Coverage in outlying areas with this system appears to be somewhat better than the GSM network phones.

If you need to rent a mobile phone – this can be done at Belize International Airport. There are no other options available for rentals, so this must be dealt with at the airport before departing for Placencia or San Pedro. Local BTL offices do not deal with rentals.

The fee is $10 daily and 9% tax will be added. A deposit of USD150 has to be left with the BTL company. These are prepaid mobile phones and cards should be purchased. Mobile phone coverage out at the cayes is sketchy, as it is throughout the country, so there are large areas where they will have no reception at all.

Activities

Fishing
A new law has been passed in Belize affecting sport fishing. What this means is that anyone wanting to fish for leisure has to hold a sport fishing license - the fees are US25 per week. Fines for non compliance can/will be US$250 or 6 months' imprisonment - or both. You can purchase these licenses at the base.

Game fishing charters are available as well as local inner reef charters.

Spearfishing: Spear fishing guns are legal only when free-diving. No tanks allowed when using spear guns. Big fines and prison terms can apply if caught using with tanks. Also, it is totally ILLEGAL with scuba equipment or any type of fishing equipment within Marine Reserves and punishable by up to 5 years in prison.

Lobster: The lobster closed season runs from midnight 14 February to midnight 15 June

Diving
Rendez Vous Dive Package offered through: Avadon Divers Website: www.avadondiversbelize.com Email:info@avadondiversbelize.com Tel: +501-503-3377

Whale Shark Season - Although 3 or 4 days before and after the full and new moons in April and May are the best times to interact with the sharks, they are often sighted through the summer months as well. They roam up and down the coast, the Gladden Spit area about 26 miles off the coast of Placencia is known to host large concentrations of whale sharks during April and May.

Snorkelling
We have a range of snorkelling gear which you may wish to use. We are limited on children’s sizes so if you have your own you may wish to bring them with you.

Provisioning
Provisioning is available in this location. Ask for details.

 

Charter Search

to

to

 

Destination
Guests
Total number of guests aboard
Type
From
Until
Approximate budget per week
 

Why book your charter with us?

CharterSearch is a trading name for Ocean Marine Group and we are an independent yacht charter agency specialising in bareboat, skippered and fully crewed yacht charters. We offer a complete charter package with high quality luxury yachts including sailing monohull yachts, catamarans and powerboats at extremely competitive prices.

We work with a large number of reputable charter companies, owners and operators worldwide and can recommend boats to our clients based on previous experiences, maintenance standards, customer service, and most importantly support they offer our charter guests. Feedback and reviews by our staff and our customers mean our advice is impartial and we will always have your best interests at heart. The team at CharterSearch all have vast experience and knowledge of the yacht charter industry having worked for many years for charter companies, travel agencies and sailing schools. We are in unique position to provide you with a first-class service.

We offer some of the most desirable cruising and sailing destinations in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Asia, Americas, Baltic and Scandinavia. Our website will tell you everything you need to know about yacht chartering and you will find useful information, travel tips, weather and sailing conditions, along with example itineraries and of course boat specifications. Simply submit your enquiry, email or phone us and our trained staff will be happy to give you advice and answer any questions that you may have. Enjoy our website and we look forward to helping you arrange your yacht charter holiday.