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A Positive Experience in Belize

By Val Ellis last modified Feb 07, 2014 02:21 PM

Published: 2011-01-11 12:05:00
Countries: Belize

We checked-in at Big Creek in early December. We were not charged any fees from immigration or from customs. We were charged $50 BLZ by agriculture. The agriculture agent said he is supposed to inspect the boat, but he did not. We were told by other cruisers that they were only charged $20 BLZ. By the time we got to agriculture it was during lunchtime, so we don't know if that is why we were charged the higher fee.

We checked-out in San Pedro about 2 weeks later. We were charged $7.50 BLZ per person by immigration. We were given our clearance papers by customs and were not charged any fees. There is no port captain in San Pedro. We were not directed to see anyone else. Other than immigration, we were charged no additional fees.

For those cruisers that may want to pass through Belize without proper papers, please be aware that the Belizean Coast Guard has a station on Turneffe Atoll and they are well equiped with a fast (triple 250 hp) boat. This boat goes to all three atolls and does random boardings of yachts. We were anchored in Turneffe when they pulled along side. One of the officers did board the boat. They were very friendly and professional. They told us repeatedly that if we had a problem to call them on VHF 16. The officer did check our entry papers. We do not know first hand what the fee is if you do not have the proper paperwork. We had been told by other cruisers it was $500 U.S., but we cannot verify this information.

Also, if you have an AIS system, be aware that the Belizean Port Authority does monitor those signals and we were called by them when we headed out the ship's channel enroute to Roatan. Again, they were very friendly and professional, they wanted to know what our intentions were in Belizean waters. When we said we were enroute to Roatan, they responded with "Roger" and that was all.

Our experience was a good one, and because of this, we plan to go back this April.

Doug Brown & Lisa Zandt
S/V Highland Light

Our thanks to Cruisers Network Online for passing on this information.