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Old 09-09-2015, 14:16   #1
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Belize Anchoring fees... HELP PLEASE!!

We are planning on leaving Guatemala to go cruising Belize this fall... I do not question initial Customs, Entry, Visa fees... But once the initial myriad of fees paid, can we be left alone with other fees while cruising around for a few months... ?

I seem to read of cruisers being asked $5 to $20 a person per night to anchor in so called "Marine Parks" which I cannot seem to find a proper map for...
Anyone with experience last year(2014-2015 season ) with a list of areas to avoid? A Map of some sort? We would be grateful!!!
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Old 09-09-2015, 15:15   #2
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Re: Belize Anchoring fees... HELP PLEASE!!

The marine parks are all over. There is a local chart that shows the marine parks etc. We were still surprised sometimes. The worst are the places that charge you to anchor and you still have to pay the marine park guy too.
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Old 09-09-2015, 15:24   #3
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Re: Belize Anchoring fees... HELP PLEASE!!

Can you tell me where to find tyhe most up-to-date map of thewe Parks??
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Old 09-09-2015, 16:13   #4
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Re: Belize Anchoring fees... HELP PLEASE!!

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Originally Posted by alphabravo2 View Post
We are planning on leaving Guatemala to go cruising Belize this fall... I do not question initial Customs, Entry, Visa fees... But once the initial myriad of fees paid, can we be left alone with other fees while cruising around for a few months... ?

...

Short answer "No". Each marine reserve area is administered independently and collects their own fees.

However, while they are permitted to charge a fee to be in the reserve area they are not permitted to charge a separate fee for anchoring. Any legitimate park ranger will have a receipt book and will normally issue a reciept without being asked. He should also have ID. No receipt, dont pay.

Moorings become public property the moment they are installed under Belizean law. Thus, no one has the legal right to charge for a mooring. There is at least one place that asks for a donation for maintenance (a reasonable request I think), but you are not obligated to pay it.

There used to be a map online of all the marine reserves, will see if I can find it.
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Old 09-09-2015, 17:32   #5
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Re: Belize Anchoring fees... HELP PLEASE!!

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Can you tell me where to find tyhe most up-to-date map of thewe Parks??
The best map of all the protected areas that I know of, including the Marine Reserves, is by PACT (Protected Areas Conservation Trust). When you clear out of Belize, part of your fees will be a PACT fee. PACT in turn grants money to the myriad of protected areas. Each of these protected areas, on land & sea, is typically mananged by a seperate entity (though some manage more than one).

Each entity sets their own policies & fees for each reserve, and the rangers enforce them somewhat as writen, thus all the inconsistancies & frustration.

Link to PACT map:

www.pactbelize.org/ProtectedAreas.aspx

More to follow...
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Old 09-09-2015, 19:44   #6
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Exclamation Re: Belize Anchoring fees... HELP PLEASE!!

Ok, thanks I get the map!
One has to wonder if they want any of us cruisers around??? Maybe we need to just bypass the country and go spend our money somewhere else in the Carribean!!, If enough of us do it, maybe they would get the message!
We seriously need the reconsider our options as cruisers... I know we will!
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Old 09-09-2015, 20:00   #7
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Re: Belize Anchoring fees... HELP PLEASE!!

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Ok, thanks I get the map!
One has to wonder if they want any of us cruisers around??? Maybe we need to just bypass the country and go spend our money somewhere else in the Carribean!!, If enough of us do it, maybe they would get the message!
We seriously need the reconsider our options as cruisers... I know we will!
In the end the fees don't amount to much. Plenty of places to anchor with no fees. It encourages you to stay longer in some places, a full week for the the price of one night. You do need to carry a little more small cash to pay all the fees.
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Old 09-09-2015, 20:10   #8
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Re: Belize Anchoring fees... HELP PLEASE!!

Some cruisers are quoting $10 per person on board per night... rangers asking for an additional $5 all in USD... that adds up to more than a little change in my view for a 60 day stay... If it is true of course! I am just trying to figure it out given all the different views and experiences out there...
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Old 09-09-2015, 20:12   #9
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Re: Belize Anchoring fees... HELP PLEASE!!

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Originally Posted by alphabravo2 View Post
Ok, thanks I get the map!
One has to wonder if they want any of us cruisers around??? Maybe we need to just bypass the country and go spend our money somewhere else in the Carribean!!, If enough of us do it, maybe they would get the message!
We seriously need the reconsider our options as cruisers... I know we will!
Some choose to do just that, but it is a great cruising ground...shame to miss it...especially since your financial protest will have no effect:

Because, in Belize, cruisers aren't a significant economic consideration. Even if no cruisers came to Belize, it really would not matter (except maybe to a couple of bars). Mainstream tourism and cruise ships bring in more dollars in a day than all cruisers combined would bring in in many years.

The fees in the reserves were not implemented with cruisers in mind, but with mainstream tourism in mind. When boat loads of tourists are brought from the mainland, they all pay those same fees...generating way more revenue than the occassional cruiser. The rules just happen to apply to any boat visiting the reserve.
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Old 10-09-2015, 06:24   #10
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Re: Belize Anchoring fees... HELP PLEASE!!

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Originally Posted by alphabravo2 View Post
Some cruisers are quoting $10 per person on board per night... rangers asking for an additional $5 all in USD... that adds up to more than a little change in my view for a 60 day stay... If it is true of course! I am just trying to figure it out given all the different views and experiences out there...
Consistency is not Belize's strong suite. Cruisers get frustrated over this, but its just the way it is...go with the flow...it works better for you that way, if you fuss & fight it just makes it worse. Cruisers in the past have gone as far as writing letters of complaint to higher ranking officials, after they left the country of course, which just made it worse for the rest of us, but only temporarily of course...its still Belize.

The fees only apply inside a reserve, there are many square miles of great cruising grounds outside of reserves. So unless you plan to spend your entire time inside a reserve, and near the ranger station, you wont be paying those fees every day. See map I posted earlier.

Actual collection of the fees is another inconsistency. For example, the fees in Southwater Caye Reserve are BZ$10 (US$5)/person/day (legal residents/citizens of Belize excluded), but collection is inconsistent. If you are anchored near Southwater Caye, then the ranger will almost certainly collect because the ranger station is at nearby Twin Cayes and most tourist traffic comes into Southwater Caye. Even at Southwater I've never had them collect for more than one day (though I was often there as a known charter captain and may have been treated differently), but I've usually not spent more than a couple of nights there either. Away from Southwater Caye, but still inside the reserve, Ive never had fees collected. Ive spent many days holed up in the S end of Tobacco Range, inside the reserve, waiting out weather and never even seen a ranger.

Similar experience out at Glovers atoll. Have spent many wonderful nights there and only been collected from for one day of any given stay, sometimes not even the one day.

Ditto down in Port Honduras reserve, Ive spent many nights anchored in New Haven Bay over almost a decade and only been collected from once. Usually I was the only boat there, but the time they collected a few other cruising boats had come in. I think when they saw multiple boats it made it worthwhile to run up and collect. Ive also discussed with the rangers there the maximum they would collect if you were there for an extended period. Ive forgotten their exact answer, but it amounted to just a few nights in fees even if you were there for a month.

Ive never encountered the US$5 "fee" mentioned, but sounds like a scam to me. Demand a receipt and that should put an end to it if its a scam (they are accountable for the official receipts).
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Old 10-09-2015, 06:45   #11
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Re: Belize Anchoring fees... HELP PLEASE!!

Thank you All for your thoughts and explanations and especially the Map!!! It puts these fees in good perspective. Have a good cruising season!
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Old 10-09-2015, 09:19   #12
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Re: Belize Anchoring fees... HELP PLEASE!!

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Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
Consistency is not Belize's strong suite. Cruisers get frustrated over this, but its just the way it is...go with the flow...it works better for you that way, if you fuss & fight it just makes it worse. Cruisers in the past have gone as far as writing letters of complaint to higher ranking officials, after they left the country of course, which just made it worse for the rest of us, but only temporarily of course...its still Belize.

The fees only apply inside a reserve, there are many square miles of great cruising grounds outside of reserves. So unless you plan to spend your entire time inside a reserve, and near the ranger station, you wont be paying those fees every day. See map I posted earlier.

Actual collection of the fees is another inconsistency. For example, the fees in Southwater Caye Reserve are BZ$10 (US$5)/person/day (legal residents/citizens of Belize excluded), but collection is inconsistent. If you are anchored near Southwater Caye, then the ranger will almost certainly collect because the ranger station is at nearby Twin Cayes and most tourist traffic comes into Southwater Caye. Even at Southwater I've never had them collect for more than one day (though I was often there as a known charter captain and may have been treated differently), but I've usually not spent more than a couple of nights there either. Away from Southwater Caye, but still inside the reserve, Ive never had fees collected. Ive spent many days holed up in the S end of Tobacco Range, inside the reserve, waiting out weather and never even seen a ranger.

Similar experience out at Glovers atoll. Have spent many wonderful nights there and only been collected from for one day of any given stay, sometimes not even the one day.

Ditto down in Port Honduras reserve, Ive spent many nights anchored in New Haven Bay over almost a decade and only been collected from once. Usually I was the only boat there, but the time they collected a few other cruising boats had come in. I think when they saw multiple boats it made it worthwhile to run up and collect. Ive also discussed with the rangers there the maximum they would collect if you were there for an extended period. Ive forgotten their exact answer, but it amounted to just a few nights in fees even if you were there for a month.

Ive never encountered the US$5 "fee" mentioned, but sounds like a scam to me. Demand a receipt and that should put an end to it if its a scam (they are accountable for the official receipts).
Good information..... Can you ID typical fee's elsewhere in Belize?
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Old 10-09-2015, 09:49   #13
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Re: Belize Anchoring fees... HELP PLEASE!!

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Good information..... Can you ID typical fee's elsewhere in Belize?
About BZ$10/person/day is pretty common. I've paid that in Port Honduras & Glovers.
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Old 10-09-2015, 11:36   #14
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Re: Belize Anchoring fees... HELP PLEASE!!

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We are planning on leaving Guatemala to go cruising Belize this fall... I do not question initial Customs, Entry, Visa fees... But once the initial myriad of fees paid, can we be left alone with other fees while cruising around for a few months... ?
I have been spending about 6 months a year in Belize for the last seven years and can assure you Belizesailor's information is spot on.

Be aware that once you have checked into Belize, you have to return to Immigration and Customs every 30 days and will only be allowed to stay in Belize for 90 day at a time.

Check out the Riodulcechisme.com forum Travel to Belize for current information on check in/out charges in Belize

There is a lot of dis information available in the Rio Dulce from persons who either have never been to Belize or went once many years ago

Go and enjoy

Anchored off Brunos
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Old 10-09-2015, 12:04   #15
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Re: Belize Anchoring fees... HELP PLEASE!!

First time I checked into Belize was 2003. No charge to check in, $50 Belize every 30 days on renewal of Visa. Have gone there every year since, and have never been charged any extra fee for anchoring anywhere. But, increasing fees to check in every year since, and it varies depending on where you check in, and out. Getting to the point that it can cost as much to check in there, as it does to check into Panama
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