Unspoiled and less crowded than other parts of the Caribbean, Belize is a laid-back paradise very similar to the cruising grounds of the South Pacific. Known for world-class snorkeling and scuba diving, superior chartering in protected waters, and unparalleled natural beauty, a Belize cruising vacation is unique and special.
Belize is a small country in northern Central America just a bit larger than the U.S. state of Massachusetts. To the north is Mexico and to the west is Guatemala. The western Caribbean fronts the rest of Belize. One of its most remarkable features, making this destination splendid for a Belize cruising vacation, is the Mesoamerican Reef that stretches approximately 350 nautical miles from the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula down along most of the Belizean coast. Only Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is larger. In Belize, the reef shelters more than 400 islands and cays. Most are fringed with additional reefs comprised of at least 50 species of hard and soft coral. Manatees, whale sharks, and roughly 500 species of tropical fish thrive in these waters, and all manner of seabirds are plentiful, including the Magnificent Frigate and the Brown Booby.
Cruising in Placencia
A Belize yacht charter vacation offers balmy easterly trade winds year round averaging between 15 and 22 knots that virtually guarantee a wonderful cruising experience every day in calm waters tucked behind cays and reefs. Passages are short and the navigation is mostly line-of-sight. Plotting courses and heeding the chart is advised due to the many reefs. Keeping a good bow watch and reading depths based on color changes is also important due to seasonal changes in sand bars. A Belize yacht charter is well within the reach of captains who have basic skills in coastal navigation. The beauty and unique character of these waters lures less experienced and veteran charterers alike to return time after time for more adventures in one of the best snorkeling and diving locations in the Western Caribbean. Year-round temperatures range from 74°F to 84°F.
A Belize cruising vacation naturally focuses on the superlative onboard experience, scenic anchorages behind palm-fringed or mangrove-lined cays, and the fantastic snorkeling and scuba diving in some of the clearest water anywhere. Forays to restaurants on the cays to sample local cuisine and exposure to Belizean culture add to the pleasures. However, a Belize yacht charter can encompass much more, and often does. Many guests add extra time at the start or finish of their adventure to include a guided dive excursion to the Great Blue Hole, a geological wonder of the world located within Lighthouse Reef, or sightseeing tours of the Mayan ruins inland.
To charter in Belize without a skipper, you must fill out this application to obtain a temporary Certificate of Competency and send it along with a color copy of your passport. Your application will be submitted to the Belizean Port Authorities. This temporary Certificate of Competency is required for all bareboat charters in Belize.