Belize - Profile
- Belize, formerly known as British Honduras, fronts the Western Caribbean Sea and borders on Mexico and Guatemala.
- Belize's main attraction lies offshore, a 175 mile long barrier reef, second only in size to the Great Barrier Reef of Australia, and the underwater scenery is reputed to be amongst the best anywhere in the world.
- Between the reef and the coastal strip are hundreds of uninhabited islands and cays, and therein lies Belize's popularity as a cruising destination; the number of secluded anchorages, unsurpassed diving and excellent fishing will ensure Belize's attraction as an alternative to the crowded Eastern Caribbean.
- Many of the navigation lights or marks are reported to be either out of action or missing and therefore night passages should be avoided. Even in daylight the barrier reef area should be navigated with caution.
- Yachting facilities are limited in Belize: Belize City has some repair facilities, good provisioning, a limited supply of hardware but very little yachting equipment. Frequent theft from boats and lengthy formalities means however that few boats now go to Belize City if this can be avoided. There is a new boatyard in Placencia.
- A more convenient and safe place to leave the boat if intending to visit the interior, which is another of the main attractions of Belize, is the new marina, Cucumber Beach Marina, just south of Belize City. It has been reported that the marina is also a good place from which to visit the Mayan sites in Guatemala, such as Tikal.
A particularly violent attack on a charter catamaran in 2012 in the Pelican Range of Cayes (see news item here) means that cruisers are recommended not to anchor here overnight.
Whilst the Pelican Range of Cayes have seen a few security incidents against yachts in the past, this is the first violent attack against a yacht in Belize that has been reported to Noonsite.
You should take precautions against street crime. There have been occasional violent incidents against tourists. The George Street and Kraal Road areas of Belize City are particularly dangerous due to gang violence and gun crime.
The Caribbean Safety and Security Net (firstname.lastname@example.org) provides information by anchorage or by island, so sailors can plan their cruising in the Caribbean with an eye to appropriate behaviour and precautions wherever they decide to go. Should you have suffered a boarding, robbery or attack on your yacht or have information about a yachting-related security incident, go to the CSSN homepage and click on the "Report an Incident" icon. The associated form is quick and simple to complete and ensures that all the necessary details are reported. The CSSN is the most comprehensive source of Caribbean security incidents against sailors. Remember, it is every cruiser's responsibility to ensure that incidents are reported. Also cruisers can subscribe to e-mail alerts, follow on facebook and twitter and listen to the SSB Voice Service.
The Caribbean Security Index (CSI) is a a tool to assist cruisers in assessing the probability of crime at ports and anchorages throughout the Caribbean. The CSI provides a means of assessing risk in a given area.
Also be sure to check the noonsite Piracy & Safety Pages
Last updated January 2016.
The tropical climate can be hot especially February to May, although the prevailing wind helps to keep the coast cooler. During winter months the anchorages are rather exposed to the northerly winds which sweep down across the Gulf of Mexico. The hurricane season lasts from June to November.
For links to free global weather information, forecast services and extreme weather information see the Noonsite Weather Page.