We highly recommend a Belize yacht charter and sailing vacation. We’ve been there – albeit a few years back! I’m thinking it is time for a Belize refresher. It truly is a tropical paradise like no other. With pristine turquoise waters, vibrant coral reefs teeming with marine life, and secluded cayes waiting to be explored, Belize offers an unforgettable sailing experience that combines relaxation, adventure, and the sheer wonder of the Caribbean’s natural wonders. Not to mention – the Belikin beer was quite tasty while lying on a white sandy beach with a hammock.
Yacht Charter & Sailing Vacations
Where to go • When to go • What you should know • How to book
A yacht charter sailing vacation to Belize offers a relaxing and immersive sailing adventure in one of Central America’s most enchanting destinations. The country’s nickname, “The Jewel,” reflects its stunning natural beauty, with pristine coastlines, lush rainforests, and vibrant coral reefs. Sailing allows you to explore Belize’s diverse marine life, picturesque islands, and tons and tons of hidden cayes (first timers note: “Caye” is pronounced “key”). With tranquil waters and a warm Caribbean climate, chartering in Belize provides opportunities for snorkeling, diving, and beachcombing in an unspoiled picture-perfect setting.
What is a sailing vacation, yacht charter, etc..? Learn more here ›
Belize Bareboat charter requirements:
✔ Sailing Resume
*NOTE* Belize charter companies require a sailing resume. Belizean Port Authorities require a temporary Certificate of Competency and Disclosure. Usually, you will get this “license” through the charter company.
Learn more at Yacht Charter Resources ›
Knowledge – Skills – Experience:
All bareboat charters are required to stay inside the barrier reef. Many of the Reserves require a formal guide for entry and have a daily fee. Several areas are prohibited for sailing. Small islands offer limited protection from winds and swell. While sailing in Belize is mostly close to the barrier islands, the islands are close to sea level making line-of-sight navigation difficult. Careful navigation is required. Constant and diligent watch on depth is mandatory. Many groundings occur due to a lack of attention. Shifting sandbanks are not shown on navigation charts. Reef protection is critical. Fines are issued for groundings by the Belize authorities.
Sailing Skill Levels ›
The best time to go sailing on a yacht charter in Belize is during the dry season, which typically runs from late November to mid-April. This period offers the most favorable weather conditions for sailing and exploring the beautiful waters and islands of Belize. The dry season is characterized by lower humidity, minimal rainfall, and generally more stable weather. The prevailing winds during this time are referred to as the Northeast Trade Winds. These are consistent and reliable , typically between 10-20 knots, and allow for smooth passages and ideal sailing.
Belize is subtropical. During the dry season, the climate is characterized by warm and pleasant weather, thanks in part to the trade winds. Temperate us range from 75-85 F with low humidity and minimal rainfall. The sea temperature during this period ranges from 78-82F—perfect for water activities.
Belize is considered more of a remote sailing destination. The various cayes and islands do not have marina facilities and provisioning is extremely limited. For your on-land excursions, be sure to stock up on bug spray before leaving port. One must be careful to ration water and fuel as resources are limited within the islands. Prepare for mostly anchoring and/or mooring balls. Be very careful when you anchor. Mooring fees are inexpensive for designated mooring buoys and/or some protected anchorages.
A sailing vacation yacht charter in Belize offers a plethora of incredible experiences. Here are some must-see and must-do activities to make the most of your sailing adventure:
- Snorkel or scuba dive in iconic spots like Hol Chan Marine Reserve, and Shark Ray Alley
- Sail from caye to caye. Explore the remote and uninhabited cays like Tobacco Caye or Half Moon Cave for a secluded island experience.
- Excursions: Dive the Blue Hole (UNESCO World Heritage Site); Discover Ambergris Cave the largest and most popular island; Explore ancient Mayan ruins like Altun Ha, Nim Lin Punit, or Xuantunich. Cave tubing is popular in Belize, especially near the Caves Branch River. Or try a guided rainforest hike.
- Experience the diverse and abundant wildlife by visiting wildlife sanctuaries such as the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary (Jaguar reserve); Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary (best for birdwatchers), Baboon Sanctuary (for Yucatan black howler monkeys), Shipstern Nature Reserve (in Northern Belize, for birds, reptiles and mammals); Monkey River Sanctuary (monkeys, manatees, crocodiles, and birds).
- Visit the various Beach Resorts along the way. Book a room for a mid-week shower and comfy sleep, grab a Belikin beer at the beach bar. There are many along the way – see Blue Marlin Beach Resort on South Water Caye.
The limited charter companies operate out of Placencia. To get to Placencia, fly into Belize International Airport. From there, you can get to Placencia Airport by taking a connecting flight (Tropic Air and Maya Island Air). From Placencia, take a taxi to base. Alternatively, you can take a bus from Belize City to Placencia but note that this takes a minimum of 6 hours.
Belize Yacht Charter Sample Itineraries
Where to go on a Belize yacht charter and sailing vacation?
See 7-10 day sample itineraries.
In the interactive map above, click the left top box. This gives you options to visit other itineraries and turn them on and off. Enjoy!
NauticEd Grenada Customer Experiences
Andreas G. Manhasset, NY: Great trip! Placencia (mainland) is nothing special, but the islands are beautiful. Clear water with great snorkeling and spearfishing. Navigation is a bit tricky. Very shallow waters with virtually no channel markers and you can’t fully trust charts or GPS, must take it slow in certain areas. As always, got great advice from NauticEd and help with the application process. Looking forward to the next trip, maybe Greece this summer.
A BELIZE YACHT CHARTER SOUNDS AMAZING!
I’D LIKE TO…
NauticEd are yacht charter agents. We don’t charge you a fee and can more than likely save you money on all your sailing vacations. We search the world’s databases for over 8,000 yachts in 55 destinations. We give expert advice on where and when to go – likely, we’ve been there. Make an inquiry and book your sailing vacations through NauticEd Sailing Vacations.
Sailing Skill Levels
Local Knowledge + Education: as Sailing Vacation Experts, NauticEd’s team has chartered and sailed in almost all these locations – providing you with the “local knowledge” you need when planning a sailing vacation. And, as the leader in sailing education, NauticEd assigns different skill levels based on the knowledge-theory and practical/experience needed for chartering in different sailing locations.
Recommended Knowledge-Theory Courses for chartering: Bareboat Charter Master Bundle (six bareboat and near coastal courses), Catamaran Sailing Confidence (if chartering a Cat), Yacht Charter Crew Course (for your crew).
Skill Levels notably emphasize the overall practical experience and competency that is required to sail in certain areas. Of course, the “devil’s in the details” on specifics, and we recommend you contact us when planning a sailing vacation. We’ll save you money on your vacation – which is great – but being prepared to have safe fun experiences that will last a lifetime is priceless!
• Intermediate = Near Coastal <5nm within sight of land, some navigation hazards (always be aware), and generally mild weather conditions. Good seapersonship (i.e., “seamanship”) skills, knowledge, and experience apply.
• Intermediate +Plus = Near Coastal <15nm, within sight of land in clear atmospheric conditions, moderate navigation hazards, and/or challenging weather. Good seapersonship skills, knowledge, and experience apply.
• Advanced = Near Coastal <20nm, within sight of land in clear atmospheric conditions, many navigation hazards, and/or potentially difficult weather. Expert seapersonship skills, knowledge, and experience apply.
*Atmospheric conditions: from the deck of a sailboat, your “visible horizon” is about 12nm on a clear day (considering typical freeboard + your height). Visibility is decreased by haze, fog, rain, smoke, and similar atmospheric considerations. Navigating by line of sight is obviously greater if your destination has features such as mountains, lighthouses, tall buildings, etc…
*Navigational hazards may include features such as rocks, shoals, rough inlets or anchorages, challenging tides and currents, lee shores, commercial traffic, etc…
*Weather: examples of challenging or difficult weather include thunder/lightning storms, areas prone to high winds, or even seasonal risks such as excessive heat.