Traveling to Belize is as easy as 1, 2, 3.
There are many direct flights from Canada and the US, and European travelers can fly via the US or Cancun and catch a puddle jumper to Belize City.
What Airlines fly to Belize?
- Alaska Airlines
- American Airlines
- Sun Country*
- Tropic Air
- Air Canada*
*Some airlines have seasonal schedules, usually from December to April each year.
- Calgary (YYC)
- Toronto (YYZ)
- Atlanta (ATL)
- Charlotte (CLT)
- Chicago (ORD)
- Dallas (DFW)
- Denver (DEN)
- Houston (HOU and IAH)
- Los Angeles (LAX)
- Miami (MIA)
- Minneapolis (MSP)
- Newark (EWR)
- New York (JFK)
- Seattle (SEA)
- Cancun (CUN)
Central American Gateways
- Guatemala City (GUA)
- Panama City (PTY)
- Roatan (RTB)
- San Pedro Sula (SAP)
- San Salvador (SAL)
If you are spending time traveling in Belize before or after sailing, domestic puddle jumpers connect the mainland to the cayes and tourist destinations in the north and south of the country. The two carriers are Maya Island Air and Tropic Air. Be sure to have your camera handy, as the views of the reef and cayes are breathtaking.
Please refer to the Belize Tourism Board’s website for the most current list of airline carriers providing services to Belize, or contact us to find the easiest route.
All visitors must have a passport that is valid for no less than 6 months after arrival. Except for a few countries, most individuals do not require a visa. Countries that don’t require a visa include Members of the European Union, CARICOM, Canada, and the United States of America, to name a few.
Traveling with Children
For children traveling with one parent or with another relative or guardian: Please make arrangements to bring a permission letter – signed and notarized before your arrival in Belize. Most International Airlines will deny boarding privileges to individuals who do not possess proper documentation for a child to leave the country (US, Canada, and even some European countries).
We encourage you to contact the airline or immigration department before your vacation dates to ensure you are not hindered at the airport when trying to board your flight to Belize.
Upon returning to the US, residents are allowed a duty-free tax exemption of $400 per person (or $1,100 per family). In addition, they can also bring back one quart of alcohol and 200 cigarettes without being charged duty fees.
English is the official language of Belize, but most of the population also speaks a creole patois, and many Belizeans are multilingual. Yucatec, Mopán, and Kekchí are spoken by the Maya in Belize. Mestizos speak Spanish, and the Garifuna speak an Arawak-based language and generally also speak either English or Spanish. The Mennonites in Belize speak Plautdietsch, an archaic Low Saxon (Germanic) language influenced by the Dutch.
The Belize dollar is the official currency in Belize. The official value is pegged at 2 BZ$ = 1 US$. US dollars are widely accepted, so there is no need to exchange your money before arrival.
Most accommodations and tours are listed at US prices, as are most hotel bars and upscale restaurants. Most small restaurants and shops are listed in BZ dollars. ATMs are available across the country, particularly in most tourist destinations, including Belize City, Belmopan, Caye Caulker, Corozal, Orange Walk, Placencia, Punta Gorda, San Ignacio, and San Pedro.
Be sure to check whether prices are in Belize or US dollars!
Belize’s climate is classed as sub-tropical, with a cool continuous air stream flowing over from the Caribbean Sea and a mean temperature of 79 degrees Fahrenheit. The dry season is from December to May, although December can still receive some good downpours. March can get a little windy with the trade winds, which is great for those into kite/windsurfing, and April to June are the ultimate months for sun and barely any clouds in the sky.
The rainy season runs from June through November, and whilst the early months can still be spectacular times to visit, some mainland attractions, such as caves and jungle treks, are closed due to the risk of flooding. In the height of the summer months, the coast can get extremely hot and humid. September and October are the prime time for tropical storms; hurricanes are rare.
Sargassum – a type of macroalgae naturally abundant in the Sargasso Sea – has long been seen floating in large masses across the North Atlantic. Climate change, nitrogen and phosphorus inflows, and artificial fertilizers have caused exponential growth over the past decade, affecting the shores of the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico.
There is no “seaweed season,” and we cannot foresee when or how often this phenomenon will appear along our coastline.
No vaccinations are required for entry into Belize, although a number of standard immunizations are listed for general precautions. These include chickenpox, diphtheria, hepatitis A and B, measles, tetanus, and typhoid.
Pharmacies are prevalent in tourist destinations and are generally well-equipped. Belize Sailing Vacations does not recommend any specific medications, but always check with your travel doctor for specific advice.
Belize has 110 power and uses US power outlets, so unless you are coming from a European country, you do not need a travel adaptor.
Belize has a similar tipping culture to the US. 10% to 20% is the norm for taxis, tour guides, and bar and restaurant bills. Most hotels charge a service fee; however, most villas don’t, so a housekeeping gratuity is appreciated. At some hotels and higher-end restaurants, an automatic gratuity is often added, so be sure to check your bill.
Gratuity for the captain and chef is welcome and at your discretion. The suggested gratuity is 15-20% of the charter rate, and a form to put it on your credit card can be requested either from your crew or by emailing [email protected].
Is bareboat an option?
We offer captain-only charters, and guests can sail to their heart’s content. The captain is there for local intel and general boat maintenance.
Is the crew fixed boat to boat, or can we request a captain and chef?
While the crew is “mostly” fixed boat to boat, this is only sometimes the case if they are requested explicitly by repeat guests, for ASA charters, or any other special circumstances. We typically schedule the crew 30 days before a trip; however, we can make allowances if your ability to book a charter requires it… and we’ll gladly do so!
Can you accommodate special diets like paleo, vegans, etc.?
Yes, our extensive menus cater to various diets, and we can make necessary adjustments if only one guest follows a specific diet. Belize has an abundance of fresh produce from the mainland’s local farms, fresh seafood, and locally reared meats, so catering to alternative diets is no problem!
What are my options for a sailing itinerary?
We tailor your itinerary based on your interests/tastes and pace as indicated on your Guest Preference Sheet.
- Our Northern itinerary is ideally suited for guests who want to bar hop, explore island life and restaurants, and for families with kids who prefer to sail for a maximum of a couple of hours per day.
- Our Southern itinerary is perfect for guests who wish to see the postcard-perfect islands that dot the reef while avoiding crowds!
- Northern and Southern itineraries can be merged to include some of the highlights of both routes. (Based on a minimum of 6 nights.)
Sailing itineraries are subject to weather conditions, sailing conditions, guest preferences, and your captain’s recommendations.
Your itinerary is planned around a noon arrival and is subject to change for later arrivals.
Is sailing to the Great Blue Hole possible?
Yes – we can, and we have. However, getting there is half the adventure; it requires you to sail outside the reef, and it takes a day to get there and another to get back via sailboat.
We cannot guarantee that weather conditions will always be suitable and will always avoid having guests and yachts sail in less-than-favorable conditions. As such, this depends heavily on the weather.
The Great Blue Hole is best seen from above or below. We recommend the following:
- Book a diving excursion from Caye Caulker or San Pedro if you are a scuba diver (intermediate onwards), which we can arrange at an extra cost. Experienced divers are rewarded with brilliantly colored corals, extraordinary stalactites and stalagmites, fascinating limestone formations, and myriad hues of marine life.
- A light aircraft flyover allows you to witness its sheer magnitude, its near-perfect circular shape, and the stark contrast of its deep blue interior with the shallow turquoise waters surrounding it. This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience! (There are two scheduled flights weekly from San Pedro.)
Can I dive off the boat if I bring my diving equipment?
We do not carry tanks onboard, nor have the liability provision for this. We offer “rendezvous diving,” whereby we work with the best dive shops from north to south, offering guests the ultimate flexibility for diving throughout the country’s best dive sites.
Rendezvous diving incurs an additional fee.
Can we arrange diving ahead of time?
Yes, diving is easily arranged 24 hours prior by the crew based on your personalized itinerary and where you will anchor. We schedule these excursions further in advance based on weather forecasts and overall trip planning during peak times.
Can I obtain my scuba diving certification while on charter?
Yes, of course! We recommend completing the e-learning course online, then proceeding with the referral dives in Belize. This will allow more flexibility with the charter route and will not restrict you to one area for a few days.
We can assist you in making the necessary arrangements.
Can we arrange flats/fly fishing ahead of time?
Belize is a mecca for all things fishing. With hundreds of mangrove islands, flats, and three of the four major atolls in the Caribbean, the scope for itineraries is infinite!
Combining fly fishing as part of an all-inclusive sailing itinerary is the ultimate way to access the best terrain and remote locations from the comfort of your very own “floating hotel” – complete with a skipper and private chef. The flexibility also allows you to explore multiple locations: From the extensive flats of Ambergris Caye in the north, the clear wadeable waters of Turneffe Atoll, the pristine reserves of South Water & Tobacco Cayes, to the relatively unexplored Port Honduras Marine Reserve, and so much more!
Specialist fishing is arranged as a “rendezvous” excursion. We partner with in-the-know guides who whisk you away from the catamaran to insider places where anglers rarely compete for the prime channels and flats.
Guests are welcome to bring their own gear.
What are your emergency plans and procedures if something happens at sea?
Throughout our 20 years of operation, we have never encountered any emergencies. However, we are well-prepared for any unforeseen circumstances. Our catamarans are equipped with satellite radios that enable us to contact the Coast Guard if needed. Additionally, we maintain constant communication with the marina base, which can send a speedboat to assist us if necessary. In extreme situations, we can also call for a helicopter.
To ensure the safety and well-being of our passengers, our crew is trained in both First Aid and Marine Survival.
What should I pack?
We understand that packing for a week or more on a boat may be new to you. To alleviate any stress before your arrival in Belize, we have put together some recommendations and suggestions. Please see Packing Tips below.
The average temperature in Belize is approximately 85 degrees, with occasional tropical rainfall.
We recommend the following items to make your trip more comfortable. Belize (and the destinations you will be visiting) is very casual, and you do not need to dress up for meals (unless you want to).
- A soft duffle bag, carry-on size (no hard cases so that we can stash your empty bags while underway)
- 2 swimsuits, 3-4 pairs of shorts, 5-6 short sleeve shirts (SPF sun/swim shirts are recommended), and something casual for dinner or lunch during island stops (sundress, etc.)
- Hat, insect repellent spray, lip protection, reef-safe sunscreen*, sunglasses
- 1 lightweight rain jacket, 1 long sleeve shirt, 1 sweatshirt
- 1 pair of hiking boots/tennis shoes (if you plan on hiking or running), 1 pair of sandals, 1 pair of water shoes
- A good book or two, your favorite playlist (although we have great music onboard!), cards, dominoes, and other easy-to-pack games your family enjoys
- We have snorkeling gear onboard; however, if you have that special mask that fits, bring it along
*As BSV believes in doing our part to protect the beautiful Belizean barrier reef, we recommend the use of health- and reef-safe sunscreens. Most common sunscreens include the chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate which not only interfere with the human hormone system but are also harmful to coral and underwater life and can lead to coral bleaching. We recommend mineral-based sunscreens that only include zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as active ingredients.
Thank you for helping us protect Belize’s fragile coral reef system and underwater life!
Here is a list of approved reef-safe sunscreen brands that can be purchased online.
- All Good Sport Sunscreen SPF30
- Avasol Responsible Suncare SPF 30/50
- Babo Botanicals Clear Zinc Lotion SPF30
- Loving Naturals Clear Body All-natural Sunscreen SPF30+
- Raw Elements Certified Natural Sunscreen SPF30
- Thinksport Straight Goop On Sunscreen SPF50