Originally Posted by Sailorman375
Would like to know recommended marinas, cost of slips, electricity, labor rates for boat work
, availability of boat parts
. Things to look out for?
One caveat about Belize
. While you can secure dockage there for under the originally posted $500US per month target, "cheap" is not generally one of the characteristics of Belize. It is a small country, which produces very little, import
duties are very high and thus things tend to be expensive there.
Answers to posted questions embedded below:
Would like to know recommended marinas, cost of slips, electricity?
Regarding marinas in Belize -- don't believe everything you may find in a web search. While there are a few more marinas either in the works, rumored, partially operational, or places that call themselves "marinas" or even "Yacht Clubs" but really are not; there are really only two viable options for cruiser marinas: Cucumber Beach (Old Belize) near Belize City and Robert's Grove in Placencia.
Both are decent marinas with bar/resturant, fuel dock
(not necessarily at your boat), water
, and electrical
. Neither is particularly conveniently located to anything else, but fortunately they both have decent amenities on-site.
See their web sites for details including dockage and electrical
rates (remember some prices may be quoted in BZ$ so don't pass out at first glance).
See Belize Marina
See Old Belize Adventure Cultural and Historical Center - Cucumber Beach - Marina
You may also be able to make dockage arrangements with private owners etc, but that is best done after you have gotten to know people.
to get into Roberts Grove is about 5.5 feet, although I do know of boats with deeper draft
who have, with much planning and assistance gotten in there. You have to come up through the Placencia Lagoon
to get there, its not hard really, but I suggest hiring local knowledge to bring you in the first time and laying down some way points.
The mouth of the jetties at Cucumber Beach tends to silt up. They do dredge it from time to time. Be sure and confirm with the marina the current
(the web site always says 6' -- ask.)
...labor rates for boat work, availability of boat parts.
Short answer: GO TO RIO DULCE, GUATEMELA. This is the most popular option for all of the above. This is what the entire charter
fleet in Belize does too. And, that's my recommendation.
If you need to get a few small things done in Belize then you can find welders, mechanics, basic fiberglass
work, painting, varnishing, canvas
work (Placencia), alternator
shop (Belize City), seals
& bearings (Belize City), Yamaha outboard
parts and some other marine
supplies (Belize City and more limited inventory in Placencia).
Always, and only, ever work with someone who has been recommended to you by someone you trust. There are plenty of bone-heads in Belize who will try and pass themselves off as a mechanic
or glass guy who don't really have a clue and you have no recourse once they have screwed up your boat.
There is a travel lift
at Cucumber Beach marina but I have only ever seen a few "cruising" type boats being worked on there. And, the "boat yard" is not advertised on their web site....both red flags
for me. There are two good, and very busy, yards in Rio Dulce.
Re boat parts. If you absolutely must get parts in Belize then be aware that Customs
duties in Belize are very high (about 35 - 85% depending upon the item including shipping
costs). Technically, under Belizean law parts for transient vessels are exempt, but in practice it don't work that way -- if you want your parts you are going to pay someone whether officially or not.
Things to look out for?
Belizeans tend to be opportunistic, but in an amicable sort of way...especially when some naive gringo is buying
- Petty theft is fairly common in more developed locations. If you leave valuables accessible then don't be surprised when they disappear.
- More serious crimes are a bigger issue in Belize City and, to a lesser degree, Ambergris Caye.
- Violent crime against tourists is relatively uncommon, but it does happen. There has only ever be one attack on a cruising yacht (actually a chartered boat) that I know of in Belize -- ever. Arrests were made, after they also attacked a local fishing
boat, and there have not been any more problems...presumably they got the right guys.
. Belizean waters are very complex. Pick up a copy of Freya Rauschers cruising guide -- this is by far the most accurate navigation
information available on Belize.
And a few things I should not tell you because they may deprive you of the full Belizean experience (and maybe get me flamed), but I will anyway:
- Dining Etique. Careful about inviting a Belizean to join you for dinner. Odds are good that he will show up with his entire extended family
and expect you to pay the tab. ...I used to love to watch the expression on tourist's faces when the whole family
- Bar Etique. If you want to buy a Belizean a beer
then go to the bartender, buy the beer
, and hand it to him. If you tell the bartender to put it on your tab...then he, and all his buddies in the bar, will be drinking on your tab before you even notice.
Estimates. Always confirm whether the price
quoted you is in Belizean Dollars or US Dollars. A favorite little Belizean scam is to give you a price in "dollars", but not specify which type of "dollar". Then, when you go to pay....hand you an invoice in US$ (twice as much).
- WWFD -- "What Would a Fifteen Year Old Do"? Ask yourself this question before entrusting anything to a Belizean Male. Most Belizean males (not all, but most) reach an emotional maturity level of about 15 and never progress much further (the women
in general are more responsible). So, your Belizean buddy wants to borrow your dingy...hmmm...WWFD?
- Problem Resolution. Almost any problem in Belize can be worked out with a little patience, beer (free beer, preferably an imported variety, that is), and money
- Postal Service
. Don't ship anything of value through the Belizean Postal Service
-- they steal stuff. Even if it is worthless, but in a big box, it may disappear. The service is fine for flat stamped mail.
- Official Attitude. Most Belizean officials have a bit of an attitude. I think it is part of their training
. They are usually grumpy and unhelpful, but will begrudgingly complete their task. Be patient and polite even when it is really hard to do so. Remember "Choose your battles carefully"...and this is NOT one you are going to win.
- Consistency. Many cruisers have gotten frustrated in recent years because the fees
for clearing in and out of Belize change like the wind
...sometimes as quick as between you and the next guy in line! Deal with it -- where the hell do you think you are -- this is Belize. See entries for "WWFD" and "Problem Resolution" above.
- Cultural Fun. If you want to have a little cross cultural fun then secretly learn to speak, or at least understand, the "Kriol" language. The local guys will lapse into Kriol, when BS'ing amongst themselves, and/or when they don't want you to understand them. While they are whooping it up, maybe at your expense, ask them a question...in Kriol. Frist time I did that you could hear a pin drop.
However, all that aside, Belize and Belizeans, can be be quite enjoyable....you just have to learn how things really work and adapt to that reality (hint: the stuff that's printed on paper -- that ain't how it really works). If you try to change it you will just make your self unhappy.
I may have just taken years off your Belizean learning
curve...grateful? See "Beer & Money" above.