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More than 200 cays dot the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea off Belize’s eastern coast. Home to the second longest barrier reef in the world, Belize is still truly an unspoiled getaway. The reef has made this destination world renowned for diving and snorkeling. While ashore you can explore Maya ruins, walk through tropical rainforests, trek through jungles, and discover the depths of caves. Make sure to take a kayak tour down Monkey River; As you glide by, iguanas dive into the water, troops of howler monkeys race through the trees; birds dart from tree to tree; and crocodiles bask along the banks of the river.
Unspoiled and less crowded that other parts of the Caribbean, Belize offers some of the most superb sailing conditions available with the trade winds blowing steadily across the reef. Catamarans are popular here because they are shallow draft vessels, and can get to many more locations than a mono hull.
Enjoy relaxed trade wind sailing in the sheltered waters around the reef. Bask in the sunny 30°C weather, and be refreshed by short, tropical rain showers, especially during July to October. Trade winds reach 20-25 knots during the peak winter months and are north-easterly. It is best to have some sailing experience because you will have to be mindful of shallow coral.
There are direct flights from Miami, Dallas, and NYC with American Airlines, Continental, Delta, United etc. fly into Philip SW Goldson International Airport In Ladyville to the Northwest of Belize City. Tropic Air and Maya Island Air both have multiple flights daily to various towns around the country and to Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker. They fly out of both of Belize City’s airports, but flights from Belize City Airport are often significantly cheaper than those out of Phillip Goldson International. Domestic flights are generally pretty reasonable and thus popular if your time is limited and budget is not. Most flights are in small Cessnas that seat around 8-15 people.
Placencia Regional Airport is approximately a 45 minute flight from Belize City International Airport.
DAY 1 : Embark at San Pedro and head to Caye Caulker (10nm), a laid back fishing village where you can have your pick of affordable restaurants.
DAY 2 : Head south through Porto Stuck for a 5-hour sail to pristine Goff’s Caye (30nm). Situated right on the reef and boasting good snorkeling and a beautiful beach, this tiny caye is made picture perfect by its 15 coconut trees.
DAY 3 : Navigate along the reef to South Water Caye, keeping a careful eye out for coral patches. Some are worth a quick stop for a closer look with mask and snorkel. An idyllic island right on the reef, South Water Caye (40nm) is host to three resorts: Blue Marlin Lodge, IZE (International Zoological Expeditions) and Pelican Beach Resort.
DAY 4 : Relax the day away down at South Water and Carrie Bow Cayes, where the diving is spectacular. Local dive shops offer a variety of day trips, including Glover’s Reef, diving with whale sharks, manatees and reef ecology lectures. The three resorts on South Water make dining ashore easy.
DAY 5 : Take another route back up Victoria Channel. Spend the night in Bluefield Range Lagoon (36nm) where you can pre-arrange a delicious seafood dinner by Finn at a laid-back funky little camp called Ricardo’s.
DAY 6 : On your way north stop and search for the shy manatees amongst the mangrove channels of Drowned cayes. Overnight at historical St. George’s Caye, (16nm). The east side provides a great anchorage behind the sand flats. Call ahead for another dinner out at a uniquely designed resort called St George’s Lodge. After 25 years owner Fred Goode can tell a Belizean tale or two.
DAY 7 : An early start and another easy broad reach brings you back through Porto Stuck, then tighten up to make San Pedro (23nm) on a single tack.
Day 1– Laru Beya Marina
You can enjoy kayaking through the mangroves, or hire a boat and take a trip up Monkey River where you will see Howler Monkeys, Iguanas and many more exotic creatures!
Day 2– Wippari Cay
Wippari Cay offers great fishing for tarpon, snapper, and barracuda. Wippari Cay is home to fishing legend Julian Cabral, owner of The Whipray Caye Lodge open air Sea Urchin Bar and Restaurant.
Day 3– South Water Cay
Part of Belize’s World Heritage Site, idyllic South Water Cay is an amazing 15-acre coral island sitting right on the edge of the barrier reef. The snorkelling here is not to be missed, and on the east side of the Cay the barrier reef drop-off is close to the shore, creating one of the few places in Belize where you can literally swim off the beach and straight into the reef.
Day 4– Tobacco Cay
Spot eagle rays gracefully soaring over the turtle grass beds. For the early bird, some great fly-fishing can be found just beyond the reef.
Day 5– Coco Plum Cay
This private island is the perfect retreat; all you need to do here is relax in a hammock, as you enjoy 5-Star service and fine food that will make you want to stay here forever. The waters between each sandy Cay are shallow enough to walk between and paddling through the calm sea you’re likely to discover brilliant starfish, hermit crabs, tropical fish, and a variety of shells.
Day 6– Lagoon Cay
Rent a kayak to explore the coastline of this scenic island. As you weave around the mangrove habitats, keep your eyes open for ospreys, frigate birds, pelicans, and cormorants.
Day 7– Queen Cay
The best beach and anchorage is just off the southern Cay, where nestled among the towering palm trees, you can enjoy a truly leisurely lunch in the shade as you plan your afternoon adventures. Although harmless, be watchful while swimming between April and June because whale sharks are attracted to the area for up to ten days after the full moon.
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