Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 10-02-2016, 19:41   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 7
Belize - advice on 4 day catamaran charter

Hello!
I am new to this forum - and would like to get some advice on an upcoming trip. My husband, myself, and our 2 teenagers are renting a catamaran in Belize in April for 4 days. Our whole trip to Belize will be 10 days. 2 of those days will be traveling, 4 days sailing, and 4 days in the jungle.

We've never been to Belize. We'll be sailing out of Placencia. I've been reading many travel reports online and am finding advice all over the map - from negative to positive about the area. I have also read several about crime and violence on the seas - getting me very nervous about taking my children there. (I even thought about cancelling the trip altogether and going to the BVI instead). I would like advice on the a route where we can snorkel, explore, and moor in safe harbors. We'd like to be in populated areas at night, I think. South Water Caye? Thatch Caye? Any place you'd recommend for us? I had originally wanted to make our way out to Glover's Reef - but now think it may be too far for our time. I know we'd need to pick up a skipper, but was told we could pick someone up on an island close to the reef without coming back in to Placencia.

We've been advised by Moorings to provision through them. However, I have read that it is fairly easy to do this in Placencia. We arrive the evening before we leave - however, we won't have that much time as we'd like to leave as early as we can from the marina - given our short 4 days. What have been your experiences with this?

Any advice for us would be much appreciated

Thanks,
Jeanine
__________________

__________________
JeanineMR is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-02-2016, 20:45   #2
Registered User

Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 519
Re: Belize - advice on 4 day catamaran charter

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeanineMR View Post
Hello!
I am new to this forum - and would like to get some advice on an upcoming trip. My husband, myself, and our 2 teenagers are renting a catamaran in Belize in April for 4 days. Our whole trip to Belize will be 10 days. 2 of those days will be traveling, 4 days sailing, and 4 days in the jungle.

We've never been to Belize. We'll be sailing out of Placencia. I've been reading many travel reports online and am finding advice all over the map - from negative to positive about the area. I have also read several about crime and violence on the seas - getting me very nervous about taking my children there. (I even thought about cancelling the trip altogether and going to the BVI instead). I would like advice on the a route where we can snorkel, explore, and moor in safe harbors. We'd like to be in populated areas at night, I think. South Water Caye? Thatch Caye? Any place you'd recommend for us? I had originally wanted to make our way out to Glover's Reef - but now think it may be too far for our time. I know we'd need to pick up a skipper, but was told we could pick someone up on an island close to the reef without coming back in to Placencia.

We've been advised by Moorings to provision through them. However, I have read that it is fairly easy to do this in Placencia. We arrive the evening before we leave - however, we won't have that much time as we'd like to leave as early as we can from the marina - given our short 4 days. What have been your experiences with this?

Any advice for us would be much appreciated

Thanks,
Jeanine
Follow moorings advice- provision thru them.
__________________

__________________
geoleo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-02-2016, 21:05   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: W Carib
Boat: Wildcat 35, Hobie 33
Posts: 7,962
Re: Belize - advice on 4 day catamaran charter

Jeanine,

Attacks on cruising/charter boats are rare, but do happen. There have only ever been two that I know of, but one was recent. None have happened in Southern Belize (Placencia & south). So, you might consider sticking with a southerly route (unpopulated though).

Once you leave Placencia, the cayes in Belize are mostly unpopulated until you get to Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye. If you are looking for more populated areas to spend your time, like in some other cruising venues, then Belize may disappoint in this aspect. The appeal of Belize is that you can still have beautiful locations all to your self, unlike venues like the BVI.

Both Southwater and Tobacco are populated too (mostly just lodges on Southwater) and have great snorkeling. With only 4 days, and wanting populated stops then Placencia, Southwater, and Tobacco are likely options for you.

Glovers is great, but you will have to have a local captain, approved by Moorings, to go there or anywhere outside the barrier reef.

Loads of route options in Belize. Moorings used to provide a copy of Freya Rauchers excellent cruising guide with bookings, I assume they still do? Regardless, Freya's guide is the best navigation info available for Belize.

Provisioning is easy in Placencia these days, but will consume your limited vacation time.
__________________
belizesailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-02-2016, 21:11   #4
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: W Carib
Boat: Wildcat 35, Hobie 33
Posts: 7,962
Re: Belize - advice on 4 day catamaran charter

Also several existing threads here on Belize, give those a look too.
__________________
belizesailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2016, 06:05   #5
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 7
Re: Belize - advice on 4 day catamaran charter

Thank you for your reply! I will buy the guide you recommend. I realize that the area is pretty remote and we chose Belize over BVI for this reason. We don't want a busy area that has full harbors and a party atmosphere. However, I don't think I feel comfortable pulling up to an uninhabited island for the night. I look forward to doing this during the day and exploring the small cayes off of Placencia.

We won't make it as far as Caye Caulker. With some research, it looked like there were a few cayes with small cottages and a restaurant. I thought it would be safer to seek these out for our evenings. In your opinion, do you think by doing this, the chance of any possible confrontation with "pirates"is avoidable?

And any itinerary ideas for a 4 day sail is welcome! I was thinking of South Water Caye, Hatchett Caye, and if someone could tell me of two or three others that have people on them where we could moor for the evening, that would be great.

Thanks so much!
__________________
JeanineMR is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2016, 09:05   #6
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: W Carib
Boat: Wildcat 35, Hobie 33
Posts: 7,962
Re: Belize - advice on 4 day catamaran charter

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeanineMR View Post
Thank you for your reply! I will buy the guide you recommend. I realize that the area is pretty remote and we chose Belize over BVI for this reason. We don't want a busy area that has full harbors and a party atmosphere. However, I don't think I feel comfortable pulling up to an uninhabited island for the night. I look forward to doing this during the day and exploring the small cayes off of Placencia.

We won't make it as far as Caye Caulker. With some research, it looked like there were a few cayes with small cottages and a restaurant. I thought it would be safer to seek these out for our evenings. In your opinion, do you think by doing this, the chance of any possible confrontation with "pirates"is avoidable?

And any itinerary ideas for a 4 day sail is welcome! I was thinking of South Water Caye, Hatchett Caye, and if someone could tell me of two or three others that have people on them where we could moor for the evening, that would be great.

Thanks so much!
No busy harbors like BVI in Belize. Placencia and Caye Caulker usually have the highest concentration of cruising/charter boats followed by Ambergris Caye, but Ambergris anchorage is also busy with water taxis and tourist trade boats.

People comit crimes. No people, no crime. I suspect that those who comitted both of the attacks on yachts came from the Dangriga area. My logic is that in sparsely populated southern Belize, crime is less likely. Anchoring near populated areas may be a false sense of security...thats my hypothesis anyway.

Re itenerary for 4 days:

Two basic options are to go south or go north from Placencia. Due to the many cayes and complex waters of Belize there are an almost infinite number of variarions on these two basic options (some routes are prohibited by Moorings without a local captain aboard). When I worked as a charter captain in Belize, I rarely ran further north than Tobacco Caye for charters out of Placencia. From Tobacco its a short run out to Glovers. On the southbound route, the Sapodilla Cayes are the usual destination.

For north bound, you want an early AM start before the sea breeze fills in. This is not likely to happen on a charter, so I would plan Lark Caye as a first night stop. Its close to Placencia and a good anchorage (though deep). Many nearby snorkeling & kayaking options. From there you could strike out to points further north in the early AM...the earlier the better...like dawn thirty. Southwater or Tobacco would be viable options. Since you cant go the inside route without a local captain, I would take the inner channel (parrallel to coast) up to near Dangriga then over to Tobacco Caye. Thatch Caye could be an alternative stop on that route. From there down to Southwater and then a downwind sail back to Placencia.

Re Populated cayes. From Tobacco south, Tobacco Caye is the only really populated caye, it has a micro village and a couple of lodges on this tiny island. Those with at least a lodge or ranger station on them include Southwater (lodges and "research" station), Carie Bow (research station), Twin Cayes (ranger station), Thatch Caye (resort), Bobs Caye (resort), Wippari (fishing lodge), South Rendezvous Caye (private, poor holding), Little Water Caye (ranger station, great snorkeling, challenging anchorage), Laughing Bird (reserve/park), Hatchet Caye, Harvest Caye, Ranguana (lodge and local style bar/resturant), Pelican Cayes (assume Kim & Dustin are still there...one previous attack here though), Lark/Bugle/Colson/Scipio (cayes off Placencia) have a few fishing shacks, private home, and lighthouse tender on Bugle, Sapodilla Cayes (group of cayes) have a ranger station and a couple of lodges. Not all of these cayes are viable overnight anchorages.

For more details on suggest routes see my Belize Notes here: https://db.tt/3fuBCrvs

Revision date is embedded in file name, just look for most recent date.
__________________
belizesailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2016, 11:29   #7
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: UK and Central America
Boat: Tucker CA41 Steel 40 foot Ketch
Posts: 314
Re: Belize - advice on 4 day catamaran charter

Quote:
Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
Pelican Cayes (assume Kim & Dustin are still there...one previous attack here though),.
All BelizeSailor (BZ ) says is on the ball

A few other things

Hideaway Caye (Dustin, Kim and Byami and the Bar and restaurant) in the North end of the Pelican Cayes is still there and up and running.

The Mooring have put in 3 mooring there, they are free and work on a first come, first served basis. This is good news as it is about 45 to 60 foot deep inside the Pelican Cayes. Hideaway Caye monitors the same VHF channel as The Mooring (74)

The attack BZ refers to was a few years ago and at the south end of the Pelicans.

Listen to the Moorings briefing, it contains good information. I think they will give you waypoints for Hideaway Caye

Now the Mooring base is 45 minutes up the Lagoon, depending on when you get clear of the base, stopping at Placencia for the night might make sense either when you leave the base or when you are returning, if you do so, try Yoli’s bar over the water, Rick’s Café on the side walk, excellent food and of course Tootie Friutie for ice cream to name just a few places worth a visit.

If you are only there for 4 days let Mooring do the provisioning, it will save you ˝ a day

We are back in Belize next week if everything goes to plan for about 7 weeks.

Enjoy
__________________
Triumphant is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2016, 12:15   #8
Registered User
 
MrReedatsea's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Indiana
Boat: 1989 O'Day 322
Posts: 63
Re: Belize - advice on 4 day catamaran charter

I've volunteered in Belize for years and have traveled the entire country on local buses. Too bad you can't hit Caye Chaulker. If you go there by water taxi, stay at Iguana's on the west end. Small huts on stilts directly on the water for $18 a night (two years ago). When you go inland, visit Xunantunich, between Belmopan and the border. The ferry captain will crank you across the river and after a one mile walk you might find yourselves exploring Mayan ruins all by yourself. Enjoy!
__________________
MrReedatsea is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2016, 14:50   #9
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 7
Re: Belize - advice on 4 day catamaran charter

Thank you all for your advice. I really appreciate the time you have taken to send me itinerary. Your options sound great.

I have to admit that I am still very nervous about this trip. I want to take all precautions to be sure that we are safe. I don't want to put my children in any danger. I understand that where there are people, there will/may be crime. But, I also don't like the idea of being so secluded on an uninhabited island, making us so vulnerable.

In your opinions, would you think it is safer to be near other moored boats within earshot of other people (both on neighboring boats or lodges on land)? For example, Hatchet Caye. I assume sailing during the day to the islands is safe - and at night we should plan on finding a caye that is somewhat populated. Would you agree with this? Also - is locking the hatch going to keep us safe?

I can't stop thinking about the Moorings boat that was attached 4 years ago near Placencia. It is really scaring me.

What Cayes, in your opinions, are The Safest places to be at night?

Thank you also for your suggestions on inland activities! And for Provisioning suggestions. We were leaning towards have Moorings do it - and it sounds like that is the best way to go. We are thinking about the Split Provisioning, allowing us a few meals on an island or buying fish from a fisherman.

Anything you can say to calm my nerves about this trip would be great :-)
__________________
JeanineMR is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2016, 06:48   #10
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: W Carib
Boat: Wildcat 35, Hobie 33
Posts: 7,962
Re: Belize - advice on 4 day catamaran charter

It is unfortunately something to be concious of these days and also difficult to prevent entirely. However, the odds are strongly in your favor that you wont have a problem. If you think of the number of "boat days" (days x number of boats in operation) that have transpired with only 2 events over the past 5 years then odds of a problem are still small, but of course the impact is great.

Common sense security precautions can help. Close and lock the cockpit doors at night and only have hatches necessary for ventilation open...and ready to be secured quickly.

Emergency communication: Because of wide spread good cell phone coverage, VHF is not that useful in an emergemcy. Have a cell phone handy. A number of a reliable contact ashore where you are anchored or a nearby boat will be much more useful for a quick response than the Moorings base or officials (useless).

There have never been any security issues during the day, but Belizean waters are quite complex. There is no subsitute for local knowledge in Belize. A local captain aboard is a good way to reduce stress over navigation and could enhance your security a little too. For a short 4 day trip its not a relatively big expense for a bit more peace of mind.

Highly unlikely to have any issues out at the atolls (very few people out there and its a long way to go to rob a boat). A local captain also makes this a possibility.
__________________
belizesailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2016, 09:08   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 7
Re: Belize - advice on 4 day catamaran charter

Thank you for your message. Very helpful!

The sane, rational part of me knows the risks are low. We'll take all the precautions we can. My husband is a sailor and has been dreaming about taking our kids on a charter for some time - and teaching them how to follow a chart, use a sextant, etc. - so having a captain on board is not an option for him.

We are still considering picking a skipper/captain up on a nearby caye and going out to Glover's. But, this may be a decision we'll have to make once we're there.

Thanks all - you've been SO helpful.
__________________
JeanineMR is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2016, 09:32   #12
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: W Carib
Boat: Wildcat 35, Hobie 33
Posts: 7,962
Re: Belize - advice on 4 day catamaran charter

No matter how experienced your husband, having a local guide/captain aboard is a good idea in Belizean waters.

For bareboat inquiries, I used to always encourage them to take on a local guide/captain. The more experienced guest were usually more open to this than the less experienced because they understood the value of local knowledge. The local "captain" does not need to be there to run the boat, but really just for his local knowledge. In fact, many local captains actually know very little about sailing. So, your husband can still run the boat and teach your daughter all he wants. Ive even booked snorkel tour guides, who knew nothing of sailing, as guides aboard charters before for nothing but their local knowldge. I encourage you to discuss this with Moorings, they will be accommodating because it is in their best interest too...at least a few bareboats each year wind up on the reef due to lack of local knowledge...not a fun way to end your vacation.

Be sure your husband gets a copy of Freya's guide well before your chater dates and give him the link to my notes. Be happy to answer any questions he has.
__________________
belizesailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-02-2016, 09:43   #13
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 7
Re: Belize - advice on 4 day catamaran charter

Thank you! I will pass along your notes to my husband. We ordered the Freya's guide and will look it over carefully when it arrives.
__________________
JeanineMR is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2017, 09:32   #14
Registered User

Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 2
Re: Belize - advice on 4 day catamaran charter

Hi Jeanine,

I am about to head down to Belize for a 10 Day charter, starting in Placencia. We will have a Sunsail 444 with a crew of 4 adults.

Was wondering if you had any feedback on how your trip went? We already have Freya's guide, and have done as best we can to study the map.

Any advice you can offer is very much appreciated!

Thanks in advance!

Trudy
__________________
TrudyLT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2017, 10:00   #15
Guy
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: So. Oregon, USA
Boat: Seafarer36c
Posts: 4,308
Re: Belize - advice on 4 day catamaran charter

On behalf of the Belizians I am offended by all this talk of danger. Hearing it being disparaged is too much, maybe you should go somewhere else. Believe it or not but they think the US is dangerous.
__________________

__________________
Guy is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
Belize, catamaran, charter

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Catamaran day sail charter in Crete, Greece? gixxxer Europe & Mediterranean 0 21-03-2015 12:37
Need Advice for Day Sail Charter Business M012916 Boat Ownership & Making a Living 6 28-04-2011 10:56
Advice on Monohull vs Catamaran Bareboat Charter in Belize mfinley919 Atlantic & the Caribbean 40 20-10-2010 10:15
Private Charter 38' Sail Cat in Belize ? Xylophil Multihull Sailboats 0 12-01-2008 16:05
Belize Charter wallm Other 0 21-12-2005 11:08



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 03:55.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.