Belize lies on the eastern or Caribbean coast of Central
America, bounded on the north and part of the west by Mexico, and on the south
and the remainder of the west by Guatemala. The inner coastal waters are shallow
and are sheltered by a line of coral reefs, dotted with islets called 'cayes',
extending almost the entire length of the country. We especially enjoyed
Caye Caulker, Placencia & Tobacco Caye.
Belize Tourist Dept website
says this about fees: No entry fee for up to 30 days. Departure by
boat from Punta Gorda, Dangriga or San Pedro there is a conservation fee of
$3.75 US. This is supposedly the only fee.
02/07: Checked into Belize at Big Creek (no fees, unless they
decide to board you and then there is a $25 US boarding fee) and out of
San Pedro (paid $3.50 US per person).
06/01/06 - Checked into Belize in San Pedro for 30 days. No fees.
Visit Immigration first with your passports, zarpe from last port and crew list
from last port. Next door to Immigration is the Customs office. They
need your passports, zarpe from last port and crew list from last port.
They have you complete forms stating quantity of cigarettes, liquor, food on
06/19/06 - Checked out of Belize at Big Creek. Did not have to take boat
over. Took the water taxi from Placencia to Big Creek. Checked out
at customs. Then took a taxi into Mango to immigration where they
charged us $7.50 BZ ($3.75 US) per person to check out.
In San Pedro, Customs & Immigration are right next door to each other.
There is a lot of talk about fees in all the parks now. There is some info on the
NW Caribbean website that discusses
|Just for fun, our past
experiences checking in & out of Belize:
IN: June 29, 2004: 1st time into Belize we checked in at San Pedro
on Ambergris Cay. Customs and Immigration around 2:00 pm with no
problems and no fees. Our friends on Blue Sky and Necessity arrived
later in the day and went to check in at 4:00 pm. Both were charged
$20 US at customs and immigration for overtime. Objecting to 4:00 pm
being overtime did no good. We were asked to fill out a form stating
all food/liquor items on the boat. They seem to mostly be interested
in fresh fruits & veggies and liquor ... but truthfully, they seemed to just
want us to put something/anything down so they wouldn't have to come to the
boat and check us out!
OUT: July 12, 2004: checked out at Big Creek (by Placencia).
Customs is close by, but immigration is in Mango Creek. The trash
officer gave us a ride for $15 BZ. We checked out and walked back, I
think it was about 2 miles.
IN: Nov. 13, 2004: 2nd time into Belize we checked in at Punta Gorda. Cost was $40 US, but it was Saturday so we expected to
get charged overtime. Took about 2 hours of waiting, but it was
Saturday and they are not in any hurry. If you are cruising, it's best
to learn not to be in a hurry anyway.
OUT: Nov. 29, 2004: We checked out of San Pedro on a Monday at about 2:00
pm. It was free to check out the last time we left Belize. This
time they charged us $82 BZ. They wrote on our papers overtime
charges, we objected so they scratched that out and wrote boarding fee.
Of course, they didn't board.
have an SSB, 6209, with an alternate of 6212, at
1400z (8:00 am central time) is the
NW Caribbean Net.
They keep track of cruisers under sail and share information about weather,
conditions, etc. There is no organized VHF net.
This info was obtained from the
Bringing a pet into the country falls under live animal importation and is
regulated by the Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA).
Requirements: Domestic pets will be allowed to enter the country
provided that owners present the following:
- valid import permit
- international veterinary certificate (needed 7 days prior to departure)
- valid rabies vaccination certificate
- inspection by quarantine officer
- US $30 entry fee + US $12.50 fax fee
Import Permits: To apply for an import permit, request
application form from the Permit Unit, however, we found that they would not
respond to email or answer their telephone. We did receive a response from
the Animal Health Department.
Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA)
Tel: 822-0197 or 822-0818
return completed form to Permit Unit of BAHA
(Note: date of arrival must be
Animal Health Department
Dr. Victor Gongora
Approved permits will be faxed to applicant at a cost of US $12.50 to be paid
at the point of entry on the day of arrival.
Persons who forego the application process will be subject to a US $100.00
violation fine in addition to the US $30 entry fee. This happened to
several people we met in Placencia. They have a regular customs officer
that goes to the dinghy dock to check out arriving boats.
2006 note on birds: Belize is not allowing any pet birds into the
country at this time because of the bird flu.
Cucumber Beach Marina
Belize is expensive compared to Mexico or Guatemala. Do
as much of your provisioning as you can elsewhere. Wine,
liquor, beer & soft drinks are very expensive here. You
will want to come prepared. For example: a gallon
jug of Gallo wine costs $32.00 US!
We stayed at Cucumber Beach Marina. The marina was nice
with internet & cable, however it also has major NO SEE UMS.
We had always avoided Belize City as we heard it was so
dangerous. However, we didn't find any problems anywhere
we went...but, we did only venture out during the day.
There's a pretty good bus system that will get you from the
marina to the City. A taxi ride into town was about $7.00
Groceries: This is the best place in Belize to
provision. Prices are still high (after all you are in
Belize), but more reasonable than anywhere else in the country.
There are two Brody grocery stores in town. The older one
is in downtown & a new larger one is on the outskirts of town.
You can find meat markets & veggies stands without too much
Entertainment: The Belize City Zoo was very nice.
It was about a 30 minute bus ride outside of Belize City.
It's a small zoo, but very entertaining. We enjoyed
visiting the cruise ship area. This is definitely the
tourist area & we had lots of fun talking with the taxi drivers
& sellers of tours.
at Cay Caulker is very nice. It's a grassy bottom, but we were able to
find a sandy spot to set the anchor. We went thru several blows and never
had a problem. There are dive boats, etc. that race by and kick up a wake
now and then. The dinghy dock is easy to spot. It's a short walk up
the dirt road into town.
Fuel & Water: You can procure diesel & water from Pelican Point Marina.
They monitor channel 16. Contacts are Liz Ross or Danny Wooldridge.
Phone #'s: Marina phone 220-4210; Liz's cell: 670-4021; Danny's
Groceries: The main grocery is Chan's (just a
short walk up the road from the dinghy dock). There was no fresh meat, but
several freezers with pork, chicken & beef. The vegetable selection is
limited. Canned goods are pricey. There is a fisherman's co-op
right next to the dinghy dock. There is a bakery just down the street from
Chan's that makes wonderful bread. There is a tortillaria in town
if you want Mexican corn tortillas ... just ask a local for directions.
Restaurants: We didn't eat out very much
in Caye Caulker so our restaurant review is limited until we return in May 2006.
- Herbal Tribe: We ate grilled chicken here. The food is
mediocre and the service gives a new meaning to the word slow.
- Rasta Pasta: Good lobster burrito, reasonably priced.
Service was good. The burrito was large enough for two.
- Street vendors: We were here during Lobster Fest and there were
plenty of locals dishing up their specialties from booths. We ate
lobster, but found it to be a bit tough so we stuck with the chicken which
- The Lazy Lizard Bar: Bar located on the tip of the island by
the cut. Can swim, snorkel, eat & drink here. We did
everything but eat. Fun place.
- Oceanside Bar: The band wasn't really that good, but there's a
dance floor & we enjoyed it.
Our favorite activity here was just walking around the streets of
town. There are lots of interesting people & sites.
We anchored between Placencia and Placencia Cay. A large
portion of the anchorage is taken up by the charter company The Moorings
. The center of the anchorage is around 20' which is too deep for
us. We pulled in fairly close to Placencia Cay and found water
around 8' which works for us. The dinghy dock is easy to spot from
the anchorage, just look for the gas pumps.
When a big west wind came thru we moved to the north end of the
peninsula and we were quite comfortable. After the winds
turned back to the east we moved back to the anchorage.
Groceries: There are several grocery stores in Placencia. We
shopped mainly at Wallens. No fresh meat, but a freezer with
chicken, pork & beef. Vegetables are re-stocked once a week and
you'd better be there on those days as they go fast. Big
restocking day is Saturday at 4:00 pm. There is a new veggie store
called Veronia's along the main road.
The fish co-op is very good here.
You can get lobster, fish, conch (in season) at reasonable prices
(prices have gone up quite a bit in 2007).
You can buy fresh bread from John the Bakerman located along the sand
de Thatch: Good lobster fritters, reasonably priced rum punch
& try the fry jack for breakfast ... yum. It's on the beach so
there's a nice view too.
Wendy's: Okay breakfast. Thane got pancakes for $6.00 BZ
... 3 pancakes and that's it ... that's $1 US per pancake!
Purple Space Monkey: It's back. It burned to the ground
in 2005, but was rebuilt when we came thru in 2007.
Pickled Parrot: They serve food here too, but we never ate,
only had our afternoon cocktails. Almost everyday around 3:00
we stopped by and had a rum drink or two while we watched people
stroll by on the sand pathway.
Tipsy Tuna & Barefoot Bar: Tipsy Tuna has the all important
sports TV thing going. The Barefoot Bar is in the same
location just outside the Tipsy Tuna's door. On Sunday night
they have a band and most of the town can be found there dancing up
Here are some new rules and regulations for the Sapodillas.
General Park Rules
To commercial fish you need a valid Belize Fisher Folk license from
the Belize Fisheries Department.
No use of long-lines, spear gun or gill net in the Sapodilla Cayes
No use of Scuba gear to fish.
No casting or dragging of any anchor in the manner which may damage
All Scuba divers shall register with the Reserve manager prior to
All dive boats shall fly the “divers down flag” when divers are in
Only certified Scuba divers, or divers undergoing training course
conducted by a recognized instructor shall be allowed to use Scuba
equipment in the whole of the reserve.
Dive guides shall be required to explain the rules of the Reserve to
divers within the reserve.
For Scuba tours a maximum of eight divers per licensed dive master
will be permitted.
For snorkel tours a maximum of eight snorkelers per licensed tour
guide will be permitted.
No harassing of any fauna shall occur within the Reserve.
No person shall engage in water skiing orjet skiing in the Reserve.
Any person who is desirous of conducting recreational fishing within
the Reserve shall check with the Reserve manager.
When recreational fishing, an individual shall be allowed a bag
limit of three fishes only.
All tour guides will need to have a valid tour guide license issued
by the Belize Tourism Board and must be worn where visible while doing
tour within the Reserve.
Any person in an accident which involves personal injury or damage
to property or the environment within the Reserve shall report such
accident to the person in charge of the Reserve or to any officer of the
Reserve or the Fisheries administrator as soon as possible or at least
twelve (12) hours of the occurent of the accident.
The Government shall not be liable for any personal injury or damage
to property occurring within the Reserve.
The Reserve office shall be open daily to the public between the
hours of eight a.m. to five (5) p.m. However, there is always the
presence of an officer at the base at all times.
An admission fee of $10 U.S. per person per day or $25 U.S. per
person for three (3) to ten (10) days shall be paid to the Reserve upon
entering the Reserve. No fee shall be paid by children below eleven (11)
years of age.
No person shall remove or have in his possession any flora or fauna
within the Reserve.
No person shall deposit any material in or on the waters of the
No person shall deface or tamper with any signs, bouys or notices
installed in the Reserve.
All commercial, recreational, subsistence and sports fishermen shall
render the weight of fish caught within the Reserve to the Fisheries
officer upon request.
No person shall have in his possession lobster during the lobster’s
closed season which begins Feb. 14 of each year and ends June 14 of the
No person shall have in his possession conch during the conch’s
closed season which begins June 30 of each year and ends on September 30
of the same year.
No person shall have in his possession Nassau groupers during the
Nassau grouper’s closed season which begins on December 1 of each year
and ends March 31 of the following year.
Any person who contravenes any of the provisions of the regulations
commits an offence and shall be liable on summary convictions to a fine
Any person who damages corals will pay a fine not exceeding $25,000 Bze. And a penalty based on damage assessment not exceeding Twenty five
Take a photo tour of Belize:
Heart of Gold's
Visit our ship's logs:
We were in Belize in 2004, 2005 & 2007.
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