Coming to Belize

Posted By: Istaboa

Coming to Belize - 03/06/08 11:01 PM

Hi all... My wife and I are cruising our boat from Mobile down to Belize this year and wondering about places to stay. Marinas in particular.
Other questions??
Fuel prices for diesel?
Is it dog friendly?
Thanks in advance for any responses.
Bob and Melonie
M/V Istaboa
Posted By: CarlosCabanas

Re: Coming to Belize - 03/07/08 01:00 AM

What kind of boat.... and more importantly how much draft?? There is a marina just south of Belize City "Cucumber beach" other than that there are not too many marinas like in North America. On Ambergris Caye the bigger boats tend to put an anchor down or find a bouy to tie off on inside the reef.... natural marina. There are many docks but depending on the draft of your boat you may not be able to get to them. There is currently a debate, or arguement about ownership of the docks...

Oh ya and Ambergris is very dog friendly
Posted By: Istaboa

Re: Coming to Belize - 03/07/08 01:05 AM

57' and 6+ draft... do you think I can get into Belize yacht club at high tide?
Thanks much,
Posted By: CarlosCabanas

Re: Coming to Belize - 03/07/08 01:09 AM

Wow sounds like a nice boat!! Want to take me out!! haha I know out of all the docks the yacht club is quite deep. They have dredged a bit... Probably but I'm not certain. If I go out front in my boat tomorrow I'll get back to you. You may want to contact the yacht club directly.

Posted By: Istaboa

Re: Coming to Belize - 03/07/08 01:17 AM

Thanks Wakeman... She is a nice boat. One we have waited most of lives to own.

We usually do the Bahamas but thinking of something different this year.

We have always wanted to do Belize and Mexico.

I really appreciate your help.
Posted By: CarlosCabanas

Re: Coming to Belize - 03/07/08 01:24 AM

What is your autonomy for fuel? Belize is generally expensive for fuel costs. My boat has a 351 ford, therefore, it is gas. My golf cart has a gas drinking hamster... so I have no idea what diesel costs. Gas is a whopping 5$ U.S. the gallon. The waters here are worth it though.... absolutely beautiful. Do you dive? Nice looking boat by the way!!
Posted By: dabunk

Re: Coming to Belize - 03/07/08 03:53 AM

Diesel is about 4 US per gallon.
Posted By: Istaboa

Re: Coming to Belize - 03/07/08 04:42 AM

We carry alot of fuel so we can actually make from Mobile to Belize and back without refueling... we think... depends on generator use.
I have seen Mexico fuel prices that seem to be very low... 2.00 price range. Is this so and is it clean?

Wakeman, I do dive but have not in a few years... Mostly snorkle these days.

We are getting very excited about coming down to see you guys.
Posted By: CarlosCabanas

Re: Coming to Belize - 03/07/08 05:23 AM

I drove through mexico and bought gas there... much cheaper... probably a good option.
Posted By: govikes

Re: Coming to Belize - 03/07/08 02:57 PM

istaboa, there are very few places off AC that you will be able to get into - our cat draws 5 1/2 and there are basically 3 docks we can get to. I don't know how deep the yacht club is, but they would have had to do a lot of dredging to accommodate you. Part of the problem is not how deep the water at the end of the dock is, but getting into the dock, there are alot of sandbars which make it impossible to get to the dock itself. If you are serious about getting to the island, cannot stress enough that you should call ahead and get a local captain to bring you in thru the cut!!!! We see people every year that think they can do it themselves and end up on the reef. It is well worth the money to keep you, your boat and our precious reef from an accident! Good luck.
Posted By: ericinsc

Re: Coming to Belize - 03/07/08 03:32 PM

Coming from the US a good stopping point would be Isla Mujeres in Mexico. i am not a boater, but I am pretty sure they have a marina where you could stop a day or two and re-fuel.I see plenty of boats in the harbor your size.
here are a few links to websites, and I am sure you can find a site that is more marina-specific.



The first site has a q and a board similar to this one. For more info you could e-mail the owner of JAX, a bar/restaurant advertised on the sites. Jackie is the owner , and her husband operates a deep sea fishing charter out of the marina.
Posted By: JZB

Re: Coming to Belize - 03/07/08 03:40 PM

I've seen 60' single hull boats at the Belize Yacht Club. Send them an email. I'm sure it won't be a problem docking there.
Posted By: Istaboa

Re: Coming to Belize - 03/07/08 03:52 PM

All of this is really good info.
Yes, I looked on the charts and it shows skinny water once inside the reef. And yes we always use a pilot when available to quide us through unmarked areas. They never cost much and are always helpful with many things. The Devils Backbone in Eluthera, Bahamas has ruined the days of many a macho captains without pilots.
I talked with Damien at the yachtclub and he thought we could get in but on a high tide.

Our float plan is to leave Mobile... run 550 miles to Isla Mjueres, wait a few days... go see friends at Playa del Carmen... then work our way down to AC.
Any thoughts on stops, safe anchorages?
This year we will probably turn around at AC and start working back home. Insurance man wants us back inland US before end of June.
thanks again for all the help.
Posted By: pugwash

Re: Coming to Belize - 03/07/08 04:16 PM


Have you considered Caye Chapel? They have a deep water harbor, and would be able to provide you with GPS waypoints, but you’d then need to use your tender or the water taxi to visit Ambergris or Caye Caulker.

There are also some deeper water moorings in the south, so I would advise buying the right Chart for your GPS and looking carefully for an 8'+ channel to areas that interest you?

The good news is that once you arrive, there will no doubt be many options for picking you up in smaller boats to dive, fish, snorkel of sightsee, in return for a ride on your fine vessel!
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Coming to Belize - 03/07/08 04:28 PM

With a draft of no more than 7' you should have no real problems getting to a berth at BYC, and certainly no problems once there. You'll need expert guidance to come through the reef and get to BYC though, preferably with a local pilot on board. Radios aren't used much here, but there should probably be someone listening on channel 16. If you establish contact you will need them to phone BYC (226-2777) to announce your arrival. BYC may have a handheld radio for dock staff to use (but don't rely on it), but they certainly don't have a boat to meet you or a pilot you can use.

I used to run a diveshop on the dock of BYC and had a high powered radio and often helped incoming vessels, including going out to guide them in. That stopped when BYC staff broke down the antenna and cut off the electricity. They now have no radio service. The dock was sold and the new owners have extensively dredged, but don't expect any of the usual marina facilities. You CAN dock there, but I recommend you try to find somewhere a bit more welcoming!

One other thing. Don't expect or try to fuel up in San Pedro, as the only fuel station has shallow water and you won't be able to get in there on any tide. if you do need fuel you'll have to tender it in drums, which is hard work, dirty and very slow. I don't know about fuel at Caye Chapel. Better to top up in Mexico on the way down - Isla Mujeres is a world-class marina. There used to be a fuel station at BYC which of course was very convenient, but the present owners closed it. They really do believe in looking after their marina guests!

Before you plan on staying at BYC, look up their marina charges on their website. Most people take one look and go elsewhere.

Just spotted you have been given advice by BYC. Beware that the person giving advice may not know the first thing about boats and will say whatever is needed to encourage you to come. Two boats so encouraged have to my certain knowledge run aground and sustained severe damage to props/rudder.
Posted By: Istaboa

Re: Coming to Belize - 03/07/08 05:49 PM

More good info... I looked at the Caye Chaple site and saw a pic of the Marina but no info about it.
Pedro2, What other marinas are in the area that we could use? Maybe just drop a hook would be better but we have a dog who really enjoys Terra Firma.
Posted By: margarita

Re: Coming to Belize - 03/07/08 06:41 PM

Agree with govikes. Must know the reef only a few cuts to cross through many miles to get stuck on, and no coastgaurd as in the USA. Marty provides some great maps for youto geat an idea
I have seen a new cat crash onto the reef, no machines to rescue it, the wife stayed on board to prevent theft while the husband when on shore to take care of business. But the boat got stripped by thieves and salvaged finally. The couple went home.
Get a local captain to guide you in & show you tricky areas - like tres cocos! The current & weather have much to do with how to approach & where. There was even a wreck at the cut!
Belize it!
Posted By: SimonB

Re: Coming to Belize - 03/07/08 06:58 PM

Get yourself a cruising guide:;s=books&qid=1204912634&sr=8-3
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Coming to Belize - 03/07/08 06:59 PM

I can't advise you on Caye Chapel but if I were you I would contact them via their website. I believe they're helpful. Of course, that island is dedicated to the golf course that occupies it all, and you'll probably identify more with them if you want to play a round or two!

Other than BYC there are no other marinas in San Pedro, nor is there any other dock you'll be able to get in to. There isn't one at Caye Caulker, and you've already been told about Cucumber Beach Marina just south of Belize City. But there are lots of places just off San Pedro you can safely navigate to (with help) and drop anchor. Won't help the pooch, but you can tender in and tie up in lots of docks, so long as you don't stay there overnight. You can easily tender fresh water and supplies, though obviously you'll need suitable containers. You must be careful where you take the big boat to, as there are many areas inside the barrier reef with insufficient draft.
Posted By: margarita

Re: Coming to Belize - 03/07/08 07:50 PM

The Jimmy Buffet Boat anchors out in the water but inside the reef -safer from thieves & just a dinghy in to shore!
Cruise ships had to stay outside and ship people in.
Belize it!
Posted By: Istaboa

Re: Coming to Belize - 03/07/08 08:19 PM

Thanks SimonB... I actually just got that cruising guide along with the one written by Capt. Pat Raines.
Haven't scoured Frey's yet. But I will soon.

Thieves? I am used to the Abacos and other Bahamas Islands... Not much crime there. Is this a serious problem or no worse than my hometown of Memphis?

Sorry to be such a Greenhorn Yatista. but better to ask dumb questions than to experience really stupid consequences.

Thanks again to all,
Posted By: SimonB

Re: Coming to Belize - 03/07/08 10:18 PM

Belize is probably the safest place around to cruise. The only problem you'll probably have with people coming to your boat will be fishermen selling you fresh caught fish. Having said that, hoist your tender at night, some have gone missing.

I haven't read the Raines guide but the charter companies use the one I listed.

Posted By: renski

Re: Coming to Belize - 03/07/08 10:44 PM

Thanks for posting your blog Istaboa..excellent photography, and not a bad looking boat either.My husband and I do alot of boating as well..and there is no better way of life! When will you be in San Pedro? cheers Renee& Ralph
Posted By: Istaboa

Re: Coming to Belize - 03/07/08 11:08 PM

Thanks SimonB... We will look forward to fresh fish.

Whe hope to be out of Tennessee in the next week or so. The TennTom waterway is high and trashy right now so we wait until it settles down some.
Probably make it to Isla by Mid April then Belize by May. Maybe sooner depending on weather.
Where do you guys do your cruising?
Glad you liked the Blog and pics
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