Our Leopard 444 catamaran is at a charter base on the long peninsula of Placencia. See our main page for travel tips to get to Placencia. The base is a couple miles north of the airport. Tons of info from the base below. Note most actions required are handled by Captain Woody.
Info from the charter base …
Base Address: Laru Beya Resort / Placencia Peninsula / Belize
Fly to Placencia Regional Airstrip and it’s a 30 minute transfer to the Sunsail base at Laru Beya Resort & Marina.
Base Open Hours
8am – 5pm, 7 days a week.
Showers & restrooms
Bars & restaurant
Hotel & pool
Selection of shops
Belize is in the Central Standard Time zone (GMT – 6hrs), and does not utilize daylight saving time.
Placencia Regional Airstrip is approximately a 45 minute flight from Belize City International Airport.
Belize is about 2 hours and 15 minutes by air from Miami, Florida and Houston, Texas. U.S.gateway cities to Belize include Miami, Houston and New Orleans, Louisiana. Direct flights are also available from Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C; and from Toronto, Canada. From Mexico, direct flights to Belize are available from Cancun and Chetumal. Most Central American countries offer direct flights to Belize, including Guatemala, Honduras and Costa Rica.
Transfers from the airport to the base are not included. Taxi fares are $3.00 US per person from the airstrip to the base with a minimum charge of $6.00 US. From the village it is usually $10 US PER TAXI – not per person. Transfers cannot be pre-booked.
We would highly recommend packing prescription medicine and essential clothing (swimsuit, t-shirt and shorts) in your hand luggage as occasionally your luggage may arrive at the base after you do.
Please pack using soft-sided bags, as these are easier to store on your yacht.
Passport and Visas
Please ensure your passport is valid for the period of travel and for six months after you return.
Your passport name must match the name on the flight ticket otherwise you may not be able to travel and insurance may be invalid.
It is the responsibility of each individual to ensure relevant visas are obtained where necessary. Sunsail cannot be held responsible for refusal of entry or travel due to lack of visas. If you are in any doubt please contact your Embassy for full details.
Please note country entry/exit requirements are subject to change. Please check http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/country.html for the latest information before you leave. Sunsail is not accountable for any requirement changes.
Customs and Immigration
Customs: U.S. residents are permitted a $400 per person (or $1,100 per family) duty-free tax exemption upon returning to the U.S., and can also bring back one quart of alcohol and 200 cigarettes duty-free.
A departure tax of US$39.25 per person is charged on leaving Belize, this must be paid in US Dollars only. Travellers entering Belize International by air and connecting to in-country flights are charged a US$.75 security fee.
Your yacht will be ready at 6:00pm for boarding.
The yacht briefing introduces you to your yacht, its systems and rigging. It is carried out individually for each yacht. It is important that all systems and equipment are fully understood. Briefings are mandatory.
Yacht & Chart Briefing
If you arrive before 6:00pm, you may request a briefing for that same day. If you arrive after 6:00pm , your briefing will take place the following morning after 8:00am.
The chart briefing describes the cruising area and any potential hazards.
Out of hour’s arrival procedure
A Sunsail Representative will be at the base, waiting for your arrival. As a back up an information sheet, with name of the boat, times for briefings etc. will be given to the Security Guards or placed on the wall in the lobby. The cockpit light will be switched on.
At the end of your charter your yacht will need to be vacated by 11:00am so we recommend that you return to the base the day before.
Before departing your boat please collect a debrief form from reception.
The debrief form is to let us know if you have encountered any problems with the boat or broken anything during the trip. This enables us to rectify problems for the next charter.
In addition to filling in forms we also require you to bag dirty laundry and leave in the cockpit, empty all cupboards and refrigerator of food and throw away, return snorkel gear and any lifejackets borrowed from reception and ensure that the boat is handed back to Sunsail in a clean and tidy state. We reserve the right to charge for boats left less than shipshape.
Belize is a Level 3 sailing area.
Experience levels are based on sailing conditions and length of passages within your chosen sailing area. Follow the link for more information on the sailing conditions.
A sailing certificate is required to sail in Belize. Please ask your vacation planner for more information.
If you have not already done so then both the Skipper and 1st Mate will also be required to fill in a Sailing CV to confirm that you have the necessary skills to sail in this region.
Bareboat Cruising Requirements: To charter in Belize without a skipper, you must fill out this application to obtain a temporary Certificate of Competency and send it along with a color copy of your passport. Your application will be submitted to the Belizean Port Authorities. This temporary Certificate of Competency is required for all bareboat charters in Belize.
Cruising Permits & Taxes
There are marine park fees in effect in large parts of our cruising grounds and a flat rate of USD10 per person per day applies in all of them now, including at Laughing Bird Cay. These fees are not for use of the mooring buoys which are now in place in some of the cays but are simply a fee to be in the marine reserve* and these fees apply to people staying on cays there too.
*The marine reserves in the southern cruising grounds are the following: South Water Cay Marine reserve – stretches from the Tobacco Range in the north, through Southwater and Twin Cayes, Blue Ground Range, Pelican and Lagoon, south as far as Crawl Cay and all places between. Gladden Spit/Silk Cayes marine reserve – From Gladden Spit south to and including Queen Cayes. Laughing Bird Cay itself. Sapodilla Cayes, stretching from Tom Owens in the north to Sapodilla Cay in the south and out to Seal Cay in the west.
Night Time Sailing
You are not permitted to sail at night unless it has been agreed with the base manager prior to departure.
Cruising Area Limits
All charters are restricted to sail inside the barrier reef. Restricted zones are: Glover’s reef, Turneffe reef and Lighthouse reef. Local skippers must be on board for any and all excursions outside the barrier reef.
Tom Owens: A definite red area for our boats – approach is difficult and full of reefs and we discourage people from going there.
Charts & Pilot Book
All the charts and pilot books you will need for the sailing area are on board the yacht.
Skippered Charter Information
The skipper’s time is booked from 12:00pm to 12:00pm in 24-hour periods. If you have reserved him for the first day of your charter and have a 6:00pm start, he will use this time to ensure he is happy with all aspects of the yacht and will be at the base to meet you upon your arrival. If you have reserved him for a later date on your charter he will start at 12:00pm on that day.
The skipper is responsible for the safety of the yacht at all times. He is not permitted to dive with you, nor leave the vessel overnight. He must conduct a safety brief with you before leaving the dock regardless of the duration of his contract with you.
For “check out charters” (anything less than the full duration of the charter) the check out skipper’s time is booked from 6:00pm to 6:00pm to allow for a meet and greet in the evening and go over basic systems, then a full day with you the next day. This skipper is required to give you a thorough briefing on all aspects of the yacht and dinghy in addition to assisting you with planning an itinerary for the trip and advising you how to contact the base, the return to base procedures and the emergency assistance procedures. It is suggested that you attend the scheduled chart brief that will be supplemented by the skipper during his time with you on the yacht. It is also suggested that you make it clear exactly what you want to cover…anchoring, docking, etc.
The skipper will be required to give you as much information as you require concerning the yacht and its systems, sailing skills and navigation in general.
We would highly recommend that you pre pay fuel due to the distance of the nearest fueling station from the base – i.e. the boat will not be full when they hand it back to us! Fuel is available at the base
Coolers are available at the base on a first come first served basis at no additional charge. Please sign these out and return them clean and undamaged otherwise there will be a charge for replacement. Only one per boat.
Atlantic Bank: Opening hours: 8am – 2pm Monday to Friday
Scotiabank: Opening hours: 8am – 2pm Monday to Friday; 9am – 12 noon Saturdays.
While most banks have ATM’s, only Barclays Bank offers ATMs that accept foreign cards. This could be a problem because there are only two Barclays Banks in Belize – one in Belize City and the other in Dangriga.
The fixed rate of exchange between the Belizean dollar (BZ$) and the U.S. dollar (USD) is 2 to 1, but street money changers may give you a slightly better rate. Most locations will accept U.S. currency, Belizean currency and credit cards.
Euro’s are still not accepted anywhere except at the Central Bank in Belize City. The only foreign currency which will be accepted is USD.
Credit Card Information
Visa is widely accepted. MasterCard can also be used but to a more limited extent. American Express is not widely accepted in Belize and is not accepted at our base.
ATM’s in Placencia do not take foreign cards at all.
The official language is English, with Spanish spoken as second language.
Cost of living in Belize
A meal for 2 at a mid range restaurant is approximately US$50 (without wine). A bottle of beer is approximately US$3. A bottle of wine costs approximately US$20. A cost of a snack is approximately US$10.
The Quarter Deck – On site at Laru Beya Resort
Placencia Peninsula, Belize
Toll Free: 1-800-890-8010
The Inn at Robert’s Grove
Tipping is standard and expected in all restaurants / bars and for other services undertaken during your holiday. The rule of thumb is generally 10-15% of the amount charged. Some establishments automatically add this onto the bill.
Simple souvenir shops are abundant in Placencia. You will find Guatemalan, Mexican and Nicaraguan crafts. There is very little in the way of “local” crafts. There are traditional trinkets and souvenirs, as well as some higher-end ceramic, wood, and metal artworks.
Laru Beya Resort and Villas (at the base)
Laru Beya is a full service, beach front resort located on the Placencia Peninsula in southern Belize with a wide selection of rooms and villas to choose from. All of our accommodations feature ceiling fans air conditioning, and high speed internet access.
The Inn at Robert’s Grove
The standard voltage on all yachts is 12 volts.
Please check with your provider before leaving to make sure your phone is set up for international roaming and you will then be able to use your phone in Belize. Coverage in outlying areas with this system appears to be somewhat better than the GSM network phones.
If you need to rent a mobile phone – this can be done at Belize International Airport. There are no other options available for rentals, so this must be dealt with at the airport before departing for Placencia. Local BTL offices do not deal with rentals.
The fee is $10 daily and 9% tax will be added. A deposit of USD150 has to be left with the BTL company. These are prepaid mobile phones and cards should be purchased. cards. Mobile phone coverage out at the cayes is sketchy, as it is throughout the country, so there are large areas where they will have no reception at all.
All boats are fitted with a radio and CD player. If you wish to listen to your IPOD whilst sailing you will need to bring along an I-trip or FM radio transmitter.
Car and Jeep Rental
If you are planning to make a tour of the country, spending a few days in the mountains and a few days at the beach, you might want to rent a car. However, if you are just coming to the base, we suggest that you fly to Placencia. The scenery driving down is quite lovely, but chances are, once you make the drive down, you won’t feel like driving back (and if you are renting a car in Belize, you must return your vehicle to where you picked it up otherwise the one way drop off fee in Placencia of $140USD will be charged). Car rentals in Belize range from $75 US to $85 US per day.
Budget: Tel# – 501 223 2435
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org Website – www.budget-belize.com
Crystal Auto: Tel# – 501 223 1600
Email – email@example.com Website – www.crystal-belize.com
Car rental agencies that allow one-ways from Placencia to Belize City: There Prices range from US$75 – $158 per day for the vehicle, depending on what type of vehicle, US$15 for insurance per day and then the pick up fee if the vehicle is dropped off at the International airport in Belize City would be US$100. No mileage fees. Contact Candy Powers – Email firstname.lastname@example.org; Tel: +501-523-3284
A new law has been passed in Belize affecting sport fishing. What this means is that anyone wanting to fish for leisure has to hold a sport fishing license – the fees are US25 per week. Fines for noncompliance can/will be US$250 or 6 months’ imprisonment – or both. You can purchase these licenses at the base.
Equipment can be rented from Fred Cabral in the Placencia village. He can be contacted directly at telephone +501-523-3304 or +501 601-1914 or email email@example.com
Game fishing charters are available as well as local inner reef charters.
Spearfishing: Spear fishing guns are legal only when free-diving. No tanks allowed when using spear guns. Big fines and prison terms can apply if caught using with tanks. Also, it is totally ILLEGAL with scuba equipment or any type of fishing equipment within Marine Reserves and punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
Lobster: The lobster closed season runs from midnight 14 February to midnight 15 June
Scuba Diving or Snorkeling
Scuba diving packages are available through several dive operations in the area. Go Sea Tours is a reputable local dive operator. Please note that dive rental gear is subject to availability during the season.
Provisioning is available in this location. Click here for more information or to order provisioning online.
Supermarkets are located in Placencia Village; near the airstrip and base. Supermarkets are generally open daily 8am- 10pm, although the hours of operation will vary based on the day of the week and the supermarket.
Vaccination and Immunization Information
It’s a good idea to check with your physician for recommendations of optional or required inoculations and health precautions. However, for the most current information on immunizations and heath risks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintains an international traveler’s hotline at 1-888-232-3228 or (404) 332-4559.
Currently, a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travelers over 1 year of age arriving from counties with risk of yellow fever transmission and for travelers having transited through an airport of a country with rise of yellow fever transmission. Additional information can also be found on the World Health Orginazation’s website.
The closest hospital to Placencia is in Dangriga – the next town up. Dangriga Hospital, Dangriga, Belize, C.A. Tel: +501 5 22084 Travel time from Dangriga to Placencia varies from 1.5 – 3 hours, depending on road conditions Medical care for minor conditions is generally available in urban areas. Trauma or advanced medical care is limited even in Belize City; it is extremely limited or unavailable in rural areas. Serious injuries or illnesses often necessitate evacuation to another country.
All yachts are equipped with adult life jackets and harnesses, we leave it up to you to decide when personal safety equipment should be worn.
March: Max temp 84, Min temp 73, Avg precipitation 1.5″, Avg wind speed 13 knots east
April: Max temp 88, Min temp 77, Avg precipitation 3″, Avg wind speed 15 knots east
Sheltered sailing, sunny skies
Set sail on your private yacht from our base at Laru Beya Marina. With your own boat to command, you can set your own agenda while sailing beautiful Belize. Enjoy line-of-sight sailing, a selection of marinas, anchorages and buoys to moor at and consistent trade winds that create fantastic sailing conditions. Here you’ll learn what keeps luring sailors back to the stunning shores of Belize year after year.
Nestled in the lush green heart of Central America and crowned by the world’s second largest barrier reef, Belize is an exotic medley of tropical Caribbean beauty, alluring Mayan culture and welcoming Creole charm. With warm, balmy trade winds, line-of-sight sailing, short passages and miles of cays and palm-studded beaches, Belize is a sailor’s paradise perfect for experienced sailors.
Explore the 400 islands and cays of the Mesoamerican reef. Visit idyllic South Water Cay, a coral island that makes up part of Belize’s World Heritage Site, or head for Lagoon Cay for scenic kayaking opportunities. Divers can hire a local skipper to help them explore the world-famous Blue Hole in Lighthouse Reef; a perfectly circular limestone sinkhole plunging 480 feet into the blue water for which it’s named.
Take a sailing vacation in Belize and you’ll experience one of the few truly unspoilt destinations in the world. From our base in Laru Beya Marina on the west of Placencia Peninsula you can explore picturesque anchorages hidden along palm-fringed cays and see over 500 species of tropical fish while snorkeling or diving along coral reefs. In the evening, sip sweet rum-infused cocktails or sample crispy conch fritters and buttery crab claws as the sun sets over the waterfront.
Please note that to charter in Belize without a skipper, you must first fill out an application to obtain a temporary Certificate of Competency. These are issued by the Belizean Port Authority, and are a legal requirement for all yachts without a local skipper on board.
(Captain Woody has been approved)