Less crowded and less spoiled than other portions of the Caribbean, Belize is a laid-back paradise comparable to the sailing waters of the South Pacific. Mostly known for its world-class scuba diving, snorkeling, and unparalleled natural beauty, sailing Belize is quickly becoming popular among world travelers.
One of the most striking features, which makes this destination great for sailing Belize, is the reef that stretches almost 350 nautical miles, north from the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula down through all of the Belizean coast. Only Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is longer. The Belizean reef provides shelter for more than 400 islands and cayes. Most are bordered with even more reefs, which are comprised of over 50 species of soft and hard coral. whale sharks, Manatees, and about 500 other species of tropical fish flourish in these waters, and all kinds of seabirds are abundant, including the Brown Booby and the Magnificent Frigate.
Ambergris Caye Is Your Sailing Destination
With its lovely beaches and wonderful location, Ambergris Caye is the largest of over 400 islands and cayes that lie off the coast of Belize, to the north, near its border with Mexico. In addition to the sights held on and around the island itself, it also rests less than half a mile from Belize’s Barrier Reef, the second longest in the world.
It’s surrounded by dozens of deserted islands to examine, scuba diving opportunities for every skill level, and some of the world’s greatest fishing. The abundance of options makes Ambergris Caye an exceptional central hub for enjoying a dozen aquatic adventures. And there are no better means to get from one adventure to the next than by sailing Belize.
Sailing Options and Conditions
The region around Ambergris Caye is cooled by trade winds during most of the year, so it’s not as warm as you might suspect. The Barrier Reef offers shelter from the large waves of the open ocean, so the sea is usually quite calm. In fact, there’s only one spot on the island, Mar De Tumbo, where the waves truly break onto the beach due to a small cut in the reef.
Navigation is also made apparent by the many islands that assist as landmarks. A few of the different cayes may have spots to pick up a few essentials, but San Pedro is the best choice for stocking up on provisions. Boats, ranging from crewed yachts to catamarans, may be chartered for virtually any length of time, including day cruises. While a week is an ample time to enjoy virtually everything the waters have to offer, adding several extra days to your journey gives you the possibility of exploring the island’s depths as well.
A Few Challenges
While the waters around Ambergris Caye are comparatively calm and effortlessly navigable, it can be tough to read the shallow waters and identify coral in the water. Even though local charter companies do provide directions and guides to help you make the safest possible journey, just know that you can’t solely set the craft on autopilot and head to the galley to mix yourself a drink. Sailors are also encouraged to steer clear of the outer reefs. They’re far riskier and much less charted. In fact, several areas are simply marked with the warning of “numerous coral heads or patch reefs.” Since search and rescue forces in Belize aren’t especially well organized, your best play is to visit the safer waters.
What Are You Waiting For?
So, whether you’re searching for smooth sailing through crystal blue waters, fishing or diving off the shore of a deserted island, or just a spot to dock and investigate some ancient Mayan ruins…the waters of Ambergris Caye have it all. This sailor’s paradise is one spot you don’t want to miss. Sailing Belize is fantastic!
Catamaran Tours – AMAZING SAILING AND SNORKELING ADVENTURES
CAYE CAULKER DAY SAIL WITH SHARK RAY ALLEY and HOL CHAN
Open your day by sailing Belize to Hol Chan Marine Reserve & Shark Ray Alley. You will experience a guided snorkel tour through the Marine Reserve and neighboring Shark Ray Alley. Once back on board, you may wash off with fresh water, lie back and relax for the sail to Caye Caulker. When you arrive at Caye Caulker you will have time to grab lunch on your own & investigate the charming sister island. After lunch, you will enjoy a comfortable sail back to San Pedro.
Includes Beer, rum punch, soda, bottled water, fresh fruit and shrimp cocktail.
- $100 US per person.
Mexico Rocks Sail & BBQ
Your day commences sailing north to Tres Cocos for your first snorkel. Then you set sail on to Mexico Rocks for your second snorkel stop where you will discover considerable coral heads & lots of smaller fish. After snorkeling, you may wash off with fresh water & sit back to enjoy the sail to Habaneros. Their guides will then arrange a tasty BBQ.
- $125 US per person.
Departs at 4:45 pm & returns 7:15 pm. Relax and observe the sunset on the crystal-blue Caribbean Sea. Includes Beer, rum punch, sodas, bottled water, shrimp cocktail and fresh fruit.
- $50 US per person
Visitor / Guest Water Safety Tips
When snorkeling, sailing or swimming on Ambergris Caye, please BEWARE OF BOAT TRAFFIC and obey these 11 safety guidelines:
- Swim/snorkel between piers and in assigned swim areas when possible.
- Consider not wearing jewelry when swimming or snorkeling.
- Do not try to swim out to the reef.
- Your belongings should not be left untended on the dock or beach.
- Use a marker or diver down buoy for discernibility when swimming or snorkeling.
- If any craft is heading in your path, signal to make yourself noticeable.
- Always have somebody watching when swimming or snorkeling at night.
- Touching plant life, coral, or dock posts can cause extreme allergic reactions.
- Pay attention to the wind direction and speed when kayaking away from shore.
- Do not dive from docks as there may be shallow water or impediments underwater.
- A kayak and/or paddle are beneficial in making yourself visible in the water.
I want your holiday on Ambergris Caye to be a memorable and pleasant one so please be safe while investigating its natural wonders.
Sailing in Belize
Trade winds blow along the coast and on the cayes most of the year, which keeps temperatures mild, even in the hottest months, except for a couple weeks, usually from mid-August through to mid-September.
The dry season occurs from November to May; the rainy season is usually June to November. Waves inside the reef are minimal but the wind is fresh, generating outstanding sailing conditions. Water temperature averages between 80 – 83 F (26 – 28 C), with very little tide.
Belize has some of the most natural, unspoiled, inherent beauty you will find anywhere in the world. The ocean waters of Belize grant a novel and wonderful sailing experience with the world’s second longest barrier reef, hundreds of sun swept tropical islands to investigate, and three major offshore atolls. The barrier reef provides over 125 miles of protected waters from the ocean wave and the reef is teeming with fish, coral, and creatures. The coral forms bright, surreal panoramas with jutting heads, spires, and arches that offer unrivaled snorkeling, sandy bottom canyons, and diving for both the beginner and the more advanced.
Exploring the Belizean Waters
Whether your pursuits are fishing, snorkeling, diving, or sailing the islands for a week or a day here is some info and anecdotes to start you on your island adventure.
Belize is an incredible place to experience fun in the warm, crystal-blue waters of the Caribbean.
Sample Itinerary for Sailing Belize
Sailing Belize offers about 3,000 square miles with hundreds of cayes and islands along with three major offshore atolls. I have sailed here for over a decade and still have not seen all the islands that Belize has to offer. Belize provides such a varied experience depending on your interests and time. The northern part of Belize delivers some great snorkeling, diving, and stunning islands to investigate along with the local lifestyle and nightlife of Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye. The southern part of Belize delivers the same great diving and sailing with more of an off-the-beaten-path experience and no big cities (except for Placencia). While sailing Belize’s southern islands you may discover postcard perfect cayes with just a single dive shop, a small resort or with no people at all.