Originally Posted by Claire1000
Or maybe Belize
? Seems like St. Martin might be too commercialized for us? We like the great mix of the BVI.
Belize is a great cruising ground and there are several charter company options there: Moorings/Sunsail, TMM, Belize Sailing Vacations. I used to live in Belize and captain
charters for all of them and will be happy to discuss each with you.
Regardless of which charter company you choose, below are a few suggestions:
Unlike the BVI, the waters of Belize are VERY complex with loads of opportunities to make ugly mistakes
(...as at least a few bareboaters do each season). There are no charts
of Belize which are entirely accurate. Therefore, there is no substitute for having local knowledge aboard. Hire a local captain
or guide to help you navigate here -- it will make your vacation
much more enjoyable. And, as a bonus, if you have a local captain aboard you can go places the other bareboat charters cannot -- like the offshore
atolls -- which are the true jewels of Belizean waters.
Also unlike the BVI, Belize is not crowded or overdeveloped. If you stay off the beaten path here then you could easily spend a week or more cruising Belize and see very few other boats. If you want more shore side activities, then locations here like San Pedro, Caye Caulker, and Placencia may be more to your liking. But, it is quite easy to put together a charter itinerary that includes totally uninhabited islands where you may be the only boat and still be an easy day sail away from a more developed location.
Re protected waters. Belize has the second largest barrier reef on the planet. For most of the coast this reef runs about 20 miles offshore
from the mainland. Inside the reef, which is the vast majority of the cruising ground (and 100% of where you are permitted bareboat), waters are relatively protected. If you are sailing the inner channel (near shore, inside the reef) then waters can develop a moderate to heavy chop when the full sea breeze kicks in late in the day. But inside the reef there are no open ocean swells (like you can get in some parts
of the BVI or other Eastern Carib venues). Outside the reef of course you can get all of the above.
Best Time To Charter. Winter moths are the peak tourist season, but Spring offers the best consistent weather
Be happy to discuss Belize further with you.