Yacht Charter Belize
Yacht Charter Belize
On the Western edge of the Caribbean, Belize is a tropical paradise with millennia of history and a bountiful treasure trove of modern pleasures. With its steady trade winds, coral reefs, fun resorts and excellent diving, a Belize yacht charter should be on everyone's bucket list.
Until recently a British colony (formerly known as British Honduras), Belize has treasures ancient and modern to explore. The oldest of all is the barrier reef that is the second biggest in the world after Australia, and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site marine reserve thanks to its important marine ecology. Most bareboat charter sailors will sail inside the barrier reef - charter companies will rarely if at all permit you to sail offshore of the reef thanks to the poorly charted coral heads beyond.
On a skippered yacht charter you may well get out to the coral atolls and beyond such as Lighthouse Reef with the world famous Great Blue Hole in which scuba divers and snorkellers can explore the 400ft deep hole formed by tectonic activity in ancient times.
Virgin rainforest is another treasure that Belize holds with pride, with lots of important Mayan ruins that in many cases have yet to be discovered. There are traces of human civilisation that date back at least 1200 years, with the Spanish Conquest ending one of humanity's great empires without it seems documenting or learning from those who ran the place before it being 'civilised'.
To more modern pleasures, scuba diving, snorkelling and sailing are two of the great joys to be had on a Belize sailingholiday. Steady winds, beautiful desert islands and welcoming locals make the country a Caribbean paradise that everyone should visit at least once! Many landlubbers never get past the all-inclusive resorts on the Placencia Peninsula thanks to the pleasures to be had - Robert's Grove Marina is in one of those - but Belizians have a fantastic and colourful culture that should be taken in on your adventure. Do visit Belize City and catch the vibe if you can!
With Borrow A Boat you have a chance to get a taste of all this and more. Charter a yacht with us today!
Hiring A Yacht In Belize
Broadly there are two sailing grounds to explore on a Belize yacht charter. Inside the barrier reef is an area of around 140 square nautical miles where the seas are protected from the swells of the outer Caribbean. Though poorly charted (an eagle eyed bow watch is always necessary) this shallow sailing area is open to bareboat charter and flotilla sailing vacation groups. An RYA Day Skipper or ASA 104 Bareboat certificate will allow you to go on a self-directed cruise. The main charter bases are Robert's Grove Marina and Laru Beya Marina, both on the Placencia Peninsula.
For those who want to go scuba diving at the Great Blue Hole on Lighthouse Reef, you will need a local skipper on board to navigate you safely beyond the Mesoamerican Reef thanks to the challenging navigation and poor charting of underwater obstacles. The water is deeper so larger yachts can navigate these waters - though even a 12 metre yacht can run aground on a subsurface coral head that isn't on the charts!
Getting to Belize
The best way to get to the yacht charter bases on the Placencia Peninsula of Belize is to fly into Belize City and to take a bus down to the town where you'll pick up the boat.
There are flights from London Gatwick and the US to Belize City and then there is a once-daily bus service from BelizeCity to Placencia where you can take a taxi on to Robert's Grove Marina or Laru Beya Marina.
Best Areas To Charter in Belize
Inside the Barrier Reef
Out of the two main charter bases you will be able to explore the 140 square NM of generally calm seas with a steady NE Trade Wind on a bareboat yacht charter. Anchor off a caye and chill out at a beach bar. Go snorkelling or scuba diving and enjoy your time of chilled out bliss in this uncrowded Caribbean paradise. Visit islands like Lark Caye, South Water Caye and Queen Cay as you island hop and get a big dose of chill!
Outside the Barrier Reef
The Blue Hole on Lighthouse Reef is one of those bucket list places for snorkelling and scuba diving. Lighthouse Cay is one of the few islands with its own airstrip, but more adventurous sailors can get a local skipper or boat owner to navigate them beyond the reef out to the atoll. Charter companies won't generally allow you to charter a yacht outside of the Mesoamerican Reef without a local skipper as local knowledge is more necessary than being able to read an outdated chart!
Best Towns To Charter A Yacht In Belize
Placencia is the main hub for a Belize yacht charter. On a peninsula around two hours from Belize City it is in the best sailing grounds and is home to the two main yacht charter bases of Robert's Grove Marina and Laru Beya Marina. From there you can bareboat or skippered yacht charter a sailing yacht, catamaran, motor boat or dinghy to enjoy your Caribbean Sea sailing vacation.
Types Of Yachts To Hire
Sailing Yacht (Sailboat)
From US $100 or so a day up to whatever you can afford, monohull sailing yachts are fun to sailat all points of the wind, whether nose into a building sea breeze or blasting under all canvas downwind. A luxury yacht charter at an affordable price!
Far more luxurious than a sailboat these often have en suite toilets and showers in the staterooms as well as ample entertaining space in the saloon and on deck. They have twin engines to compensate for their lack of windward ability but are great sailing with wind abaft the beam.
Luxury Yachts and Superyachts
Want your own personal cruise ship for you and your group to leave the world behind? A luxury yacht charter in the Caribbean with crew to look after you from breakfast to bedtime could be just the ticket. Often carrying scuba diving equipment and in some cases even a diving guide, you can get the very best from a sailing vacation in the Caribbean in this way.
Whether a motor yacht with cabins or a day boat for a fishing trip / blasting up the bay, these are comfortable seagoing boats with a kick of speed should you want to cover a bigger distance on the day or just for the fun of having a 10 metre wide wake and 10 tons of steel flying along at 30 knots!
Very much day boats for fishing and day cruising, RIBs are a lot of fun for a day afloat. They can be very quick and are great should you be in a town on holiday and fancy seeing the coast or finding secluded white sand beachesfrom another perspective.
Skippered Yacht Charter or Bareboat?
Where it comes to a yacht charter in Belize you have two choices - bareboat hire or skippered yacht charter. Both have their own advantages.
Skippered charter in Belize
Fancy going on a sailing trip yet have no sailing qualifications or lack the confidence to go it alone? A skippered yachtcharter gives you the advantage of being able to get afloat without having had to invest in getting sailing qualifications beforehand. You will pay over $100 a day extra for the skipper, as well as their food and a tip at the end but they will show you the best that the area has to offer with their local knowledge.
You will also be able to explore further afield than the traditional cruising grounds of bareboat sailing vacations.
Bareboat yacht charter in Belize
For those who seek a bit of adventure off their own back without the expense of a paid skipper aboard, a bareboatcharter could be just the ticket. You will need sailing qualifications but for that you get to be the author of your own story afloat as you explore the coast and islands of Belize.
Do you need a licence to charter in Belize?
If you want to bareboat charter you will need an approved boating qualification. Below is a list of relevant qualifications:
ASA 104 Bareboat sailing certificate: The American Sailing Association skipper minimum qualification for hiring bareboat yachts. BoatUS and US Sailing also offer bareboat charter qualifications, as does CANsail.
RYA: The Royal Yachting Association's qualifications (minimum Day Skipper level) is necessary for bareboat charter hire, it's also wortwhile seeing do you need to have done a VHF radio course as well as some boatowners will require this.
There are also many other European national boating qualifications that are accepted here too, it's worthwhile checking these details before hiring.
If you want a skippered boat rental as a charter yacht then you don't need any sailing certification at all, you just turn up and off you go.
Best Times To Hire
Unlike Europe, the sailing season in Belize runs from November to May - perfect for a dose of winter sun. The NE Trades are settled and you will encounter weather between 25-35 degrees C.
Within this period, March and April after the winter northerlies have passed are cooler yet the sailing is just as fun as the rest of the year. Belize is after all a tropical country!
For those who want to try something a little outside their comfort zone, August and September are said to be the very best sailing months of all.
There's a problem with this - many yacht charter fleets will not be in the area thanks to hurricane season that runs between July and October. If booked and a hurricane is on its way your holiday will be cancelled. There is no minimising the danger of being in the region in a hurricane - there is no high ground and with the general trend for ever fiercer storms, it is not an experience to even risk being around for.
North East Trade Winds: Similar to those of the Canary Islands and Bahamas, these are regular and can get up to F6 at times, but steady and predictable.
How much does it cost for a Belizean Charter
There's almost a yacht for every budget when it comes to chartering. For US $120 a day - $840 a week - you can take a sailboat monohull out with five other adults. That is going to be cheaper than a week in a hotel for everyone.
Catamarans cost a lot more - expect to pay anything from $500 to $2,000 a day depending on the season.
Motor boats taken on a bareboat basis can cost as little as $500 a day if they have sleeping acommodation - much less if they are day boats.
RIBs can cost as little as $50 for an afternoon.
In each of the examples above you can take on a skipper starting at $150 a day depending on what the vessel is and their required qualifications to sail it.
For Superyachts and luxury yachts expect to pay $15,000 a day and up to $100,000 a day depending on the size of boat.
Explore Belize By Renting A Yacht
A Caribbean paradise yet to be overrun as with so many of its direct competitors, a Belize yacht charter is going to be memorable for all the right reasons. With a heady dose of chill, excellent hospitality and of course world class sailing, what more could you want from a boat rental?
Is Yacht hire in Belize Legal?
Yacht hire in Belize is legal. As with driving a car there do keep your documents to hand as it is a legal requriement to present your ID, licenses, insurance documents and charter contract on demand by the Marine Police.
What kind of Yachts can I hire in Belize
You can hire a motorboat, RIB, catamaran or sailboat on bareboat terms in Belize, or you can hire a skipper to help you. For a luxury yacht or super yacht you will hire the crew and skipper as part of the package.
What should I consider when hiring a Yacht?
Consider your budget, sailing experience, whom you are taking sailing and where exactly you wish to go. Have you the sailing qualifications to do the trip? They can be very tight as to these requirements.
What are the best time to hire a Yacht in Belize?
November to May is the main sailing season in Belize, with the cooler months of March and April said to be the very best.
Do you have to pay a deposit when hiring a Yacht in Belize?
You will typically pay 50% upfront on booking the yacht hire and the balance on arrival. You will either pay a security deposit with your credit card on departure or can get insurance covering damage in advance.
What happens if my Yacht breaks down?
If you are at sea and in danger, call MAYDAY on VHF Ch16. If you have a mechanical fault and can make it to/are on a mooring you will be able to phone a number given by the yacht charter company.
What should I think of before I hire a Yacht in Belize?
You should consider do you have the experience to handle the yacht charter you want to book and where do you want to go. Bring warm weather and cool weather clothing if it looks like the weather can be cool as well as warm in Spring and Autumn - but at sea it can be cool on most evenings.
Do I need a visa to visit Belize?
Tourism is an important part of the Belize economy. As long as you are only in-country for a yacht charter or holiday then you will not normally require a visa to enter the country.