Belize - Facts

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Belize FAQs

Pre-Arrival Boat: SailClear is optional but helpful prior to arrival and a Notice of Arrival must be submitted at least 48 hours prior to arrival. See Clearance for details.
Pre-Arrival Crew: Some nationalities may require a Belize Entry visa. See Immigration for details.
Where can I enter? Click on “Explore Country” and “Main Ports” to see ports of entry highlighted in orange.
Are fees high to enter by yacht? Fees vary between ports of entry, Punta Gorda being the most yacht-friendly and cheapest – see Fees for details.
What security concerns should I know about? Most tourist travel in Belize is incident-free. See Security for more info.

Belize Facts for Sailors

  • 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 a marina is also a good place from which to visit the Mayan sites in Guatemala, such as Tikal.

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Belize was last updated 2 months ago.

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  1. June 24, 2024 at 6:20 PM
    Linda Williams says:

    We need to extend our visas in Belize City. I understand we have to go to – in this order: Immigration / Customs / Port Authority. Any advice?

  2. February 15, 2023 at 7:22 PM
    profile photo
    feelnfroggy says:

    S/V Feel N Froggy

    We checked into Belize at San Pedro – we were very concerned after hearing the high fees and fines.
    NOTE: Immigration office requires you go to the Dive shop (Amigos Del Mar) right in front of the Anchorage to check in and they call the immigration office for you. All 5 of the offices came down and met our Captain and 3 crew members to check in on the dock. They were super friendly and did not board the boat, we paid for our 30 days in Belize and all the fees for agricultural, Heath, Port etc…we paid about 650 US in total.

    NOTE: Check in with SailClear and keep the email they send you – also if you can’t radio the Port Authority when you arrive – then send an email to notify them you have arrived in Belize. They will fine you for not giving them a heads up you are there prior to check in. We arrived the evening prior to check in but they were good with that since no one left the boat. Plus, they gave us all copies of our permits and receipts right there to keep on the boat for our time in Belize.

  3. January 27, 2020 at 4:52 PM
    bullture says:

    from s/v Coragem:
    Information about check-in in Punta Gorda
    Immigration first month FREE
    customs – FREE
    BAHA agricultural – B$ 50.00 or USA$ 25.00
    Port Captain – B$ 100.00 or USA$ 50.00 for a sailboat monohull around 40ft
    Port captain – B$ 2.50 or 1.25 a day
    you have to renew your visa every month.
    the boat can stay 3 months and you can pay the extra days in the check out
    Those are the real prices without extra fees.
    Check out – B$ 40.00 or USA$ 20.00 per person

  4. January 22, 2020 at 10:07 PM
    farouba says:

    Just checked in at San Pedro. I dropped my anchor at Caye Caulker and ferry to San Pedro (departure 0845, well done because paperwork could take a while), 25 USD round trip, last return at 1630. First stop immigration, lovely, 50 USD for one person, 30 days. Second stop, get ready for troubles, customs : 50 USD boarding fees (they didn’t board me) then 100 USD fine because my clearance from Livingston Guatemala have Cozumel as next port of call. Agriculture office, 60 USD, very nice guy and supportive after what I get in custom office. I walk to port authority and get a ride by an officier heading to the office, then return with a truck driver, all lovely peoples. Port authority 50 USD then 40 Belize for 8 days (5 Belize by day), very lovely officier as well, giving me some tricks for get my girlfriend here from Cancun by the ferry running from Chetumal México, I should meet him before!

    Well, custom supervisor is a bad guy, he pretend be the king of the island and from numerous local sources I can’t name here he put everybody in trouble just for make speak about him and he don’t do nothing for drug traffic an contrebande importation from Mexico specially. The 100 USD was totally unfair regardless of the circumstances, in additional of that he didn’t mentioned the exact reason of the fine on the receipt and sign as the controller of custom of Belize who he is not. Even Port authority didn’t understand why he put me this fine. I will claim to the controller and Belize authority. Do you imagine! 100 USD because I was not planning to stop in Belize and I get stuck by bad weather with a 32 feet sailboat, alone on board. This guy should go directly to hell and I weigh my words.

    Custom supervisor was the only one complaining about the fact the boat was at anchor at Caye Caulker because I get there because of the weather instead of Belize City.

    Good luck San Pedro Custom Supervisor, your time is count.

    1. January 23, 2020 at 12:32 PM
      farouba says:

      As justification for the fine, he present me the CUSTOMS REGULATION ACT CHAPTER 49 PART II #12 (1) :

      “The master of every ship arriving within the waters of Belize from parts beyond the seas laden or in ballast and bound to any place in Belize shall before touching at or having communication either directly or indirectly with any place within Belize other than a port, proceed to a port in Belize, and shall within twenty-four hours after arrival at such port personally appear at the Custom House at such port, unless prevented from doing so by reason of illness or of his ship being in quarantine, in which case the agent of the ship shall act in his behalf, and there make a report and manifest in writing in the form of the First Schedule containing the several particulars indicated in or required thereby, or in such form as the Comptroller shall from time to time prescribe, and shall make and subscribe a declaration to the truth thereof before the Comptroller or other proper officer, and the master shall further answer all such questions concerning the ship and the cargo and the passengers, crew and the voyage as are required of him by such officer, and if he refuses to answer or does not answer truly the questions required of him, or fails to make due report, or if the particulars or any of them contained in such report is false, he shall be liable to a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars.”

      From my point of view, this article don’t match with my case because it’s about form filled in Belize and question ask by Belize authorities. It’s not about what is on the previous clearance as he pretend that I gave wrong information about my trip.
      Sincerely, that’s appear to me totally abusive, unfair and specially on the way he treat me. He was intimidating me by rising the voice, being reluctant to provide me a justification for the fine, refusing to clearly describe the nature of the fine on the receipt. In additional of that I had to make corrected twice by the Custom Officer the Belize Ship Report form he asked me to sign : first he put the wrong previous port (Roatan Honduras instead of Livingston Guatemala), secondly not the good kind of rig (catamaran instead of sloop or simply sailing vessel), then he totally refuse to correct a missing “a” at the end of Guatemala (after an 100 USD fine for my unexpected stop here I was afraid that he could fine me because “Guatemal” don’t exist).

    2. January 23, 2020 at 12:33 PM
      farouba says:

      Email sent to Customs House Belize City, Belize Immigration, Belize Port Authority, BAHA, Consular section of the French Embassy in Guatemala (responsible for Belize), Belize tourism board

    3. January 28, 2020 at 12:10 AM
      farouba says:

      Clearance in San Pedro :
      – immigration boarding fees (actually I went to their office, they didn’t board me) : 100 Belize $
      – 20 USD by person immigration exige fees
      – 100 Belize $ custom exit boarding fees (again, that’s me who board their office…)

      Actually, I get the 20 USD by person because I start to complaint about the first 100 Belize $, they call an agent from nowhere, who arrive with 2 receipts pretending that the exist fees and don’t know anything about the boarding fees.

      Then after complaining in custom about my fine, because there is still no legal justification for it, please read the text, the supervisor, after seeing my letter to the headquarters made me understand that if I leave the office now, we are done so I didn’t paid the presumed exit boarding fees.

      I sent a letter to the French Consul in Belize and to many secretary of minister.

      My conclusion is that everybody should AVOID Belize until they solve their corruption problem.

  5. March 10, 2019 at 8:18 PM
    Lynda Lim says:

    By no means meant as a criticism, just awareness. The officials are very friendly and courteous and provide receipts so all above board. Very bureaucratic so it takes some time, but no lines here. Our fault, we arrived on Sunday morning. If you do too, be prepared for cash requirements. Immigration 2 crew overtime $40, customs overtime $20, quarantine overtime $20. Port Authority (not sure if this is overtime for not), but 20 day stay in Belize $125. Total $205. Again no complaint, be aware

  6. January 18, 2019 at 7:15 PM
    Data Entry says:

    For departure clearance in San Pedro, immigration asked me to pay a boarding fee of BZD$ 100 and then BZD$ 20 per person (which is the regular border fee) Total for two was BZD$ 180. I probably should’ve gone directly to port authority and skipped immigration

  7. November 22, 2018 at 4:33 PM
    Data Entry says:

    Somebody knows exactly if you can extend your stay in Belize up to six months, as reported here? Somebody here state that it’s up only to three, not six. After that period you have to import the boat. Or you must leave the country, and come back. In this case, is there a minimum period they consider ‘out of the country’? Could be even two days?

  8. July 21, 2018 at 5:17 PM
    Data Entry says:

    There is a new marina at Sapodilla lagoon, “the marina at the reserve”. This marina is not on the charts yet but it’s an absolutely great spot to stay. The prices are the same as other marinas in Belize but the service is exceptional (pool, restaurants, bar, all kind of tours, etc…)

    As we talked with the owner soon they will have customs and immigration there as well. The lagoon is a “kinda” safe hurricane spot.

  9. March 6, 2018 at 8:08 PM
    Data Entry says:

    Reported by Brian Simm:

    After 30 days in Belize you need to extend or sign out. For those heading south the possible check outs are Big Creek from Placencia or Punta Gorda. The latter is a rolly anchorage in the trade winds and so we chose to stay in the popular sheltered anchorage of Placencia town.

    You can not now take a boat or dinghy to the port of Big Creek, you will be turned away by security so: –
    – water taxi to Mango creek $US 12 return for 2.
    – taxi to take you round the offices $US 12.50
    – immigration, environment charge $US 7.50 for 2 and boarding charge ( without leaving office) $US 45.00.
    – port office to check that you are up to date with your daily fee.
    – Customs for Zarpe, 24 hours to leave.
    All painless but allow 3 hours or so, best time is 10.00AM water taxi and back for lunch.

    Placencia and the southern islands are popular with the large cruising community who keep their boats up the Ria Dulce in Guatamala. Estimate is c. 1000 yachts in area.

    Brian Simm
    Scraatch, 56 ft Sundeer.

  10. November 27, 2015 at 5:20 PM
    Data Entry says:

    There is a new boatyard in Placencia called Thunderbird Marine. It is big and rather new opened, but they have no advertisment. Obviously their homepage is not ready. They have got a facebook page, /thunderbirdsmarineboatyard.
    Email: [email protected]
    Telephone +501 670 3737

    Boats with a maximum of 7′ in draft can enter by sea. From Placencia town, the dinghy dock is there, it’s about 3 miles north, just next to the airstrip.

    They can order Westmarine products.

  11. June 4, 2014 at 2:34 PM
    Data Entry says: