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Belize Yacht Charter

Essential Information

 

Important information

To sail in Belize without a skipper, you must apply for a temporary Certificate of Competency. This is issued by the Belizean Port Authorities, and is required for all bareboat charters.

Download the Temporary Certificate of Competency

 

Address & Map

 
Address

 

Sunsail Belize
(c/o Laru Beya Resort)
Placencia Peninsula
Placencia,
Belize,C.A.

Location

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.

Base/Shore Facilities

Showers & toilets
Provisioning
Bars & restaurant
Hotel & pool
Selection of shops
Laundry
Swimming pool

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Arrival & Departure

 
Time difference

Belize is in the Central Standard Time zone (GMT - 6hrs), and does not utilize daylight saving time.

Flights

Luggage allowance is 20kg per person. Only one item of hand luggage per person is allowed and this must not weigh more than 5kg. For storage aboard we recommend travelling light and using folding luggage.

Lost or damaged luggage while flying is the responsibility of the airline and is not covered by your travel insurance. You must not include in checked baggage money, jewelry, precious metals, computers, personal electronic devices, negotiable papers, securities or other valuables, business documents, passports and other identification documents or samples.

If an incident occurs, immediately report it to airport officials. Claims will not be considered once you have left the airport

Alcohol may be taken on flights but only in checked luggage (well secured from breakages) not as hand luggage due to airport security restrictions.

Airport

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

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.

Luggage

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.

On Arrival

Your yacht will be ready at 6:00 pm 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  Brief

If you arrive before 6:00 pm , you may request a briefing for that same day. If you arrive after 6:00 pm , your briefing will take place the following morning after 8:00 am .

Chart Brief

If you arrive before 6:00 pm , you may request a briefing for that same day. If you arrive after 6:00 pm, your briefing will take place the following morning after 8:30 am.

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.

On Departure

At the end of your charter your yacht will need to be vacated by 11:00 am 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.

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Sailing Information

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.

Sailing Licenses

A sailing certificate is required to sail in Belize. Please ask your holiday 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.

Area & Sailing

More information on the sailing in this area.

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.

The skipper fee does not include food or beverages for the skipper and are the responsibility of the client. It is suggested that you discuss this on the first day with the skipper and establish whether you will give the skipper cash for meals, whether you have included him in your provisioning or whether you will accommodate him as part of the group for meals ashore.  The skipper must have his own cabin.

For one-day check out skipper’s it is the client’s responsibility to get the skipper back to the base. If you prefer not to come back to the base you must pay for his expenses (ferry, taxi, etc.) to get him back to the base.
 
The average tip for a skipper is 15 to 20 percent of the skipper’s fee. This is, of course, at the client’s discretion.

More information on Skippered Charter Options.

Fuel

We would highly recommend that you pre pay fuel due to the distance of the nearest fuelling 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

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.

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Banks & Money Exchange

 
Banks

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.

Currency

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, traveller's cheques, 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 and USD travellers' checks. Euro travellers' checks are not accepted.

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.

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General Information

 
Language

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.

Restaurants

The Quarter Deck
Serving Great Food and Drinks on the Beach!
Location:
On site at Laru Beya Resort
Placencia Peninsula, Belize
Central America
Toll Free: 1-800-890-8010

The Inn at Robert’s Grove
Merlene’s Café
The Galley

Restaurants closed during September – Low Season
If you are travelling in low season there is likely to be a limited choice of restaurants to eat ashore and you should provision accordingly. This would be a perfect time of year to enjoy a BBQ off the back of your boat.

Tipping

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.

Shopping

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.

Hotels

Laru Beya Resort and Villas
Placencia Peninsula,
Belize Central America
Toll Free: 1-800-890-8010
USA Dial Direct: +501-523-3476 USA
Fax Direct: +501-523-3483
Email: Info@Larubeya.com Website: larubeya.com
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
Placencia Peninsula
Placencia,
Belize Central America
Tel +501-6-23565
Fax +501-6-23567
Toll Free 1-800-565-9757
E-mail info@robertsgrove.com

www.robertsgrove.com

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Electrical, Phones & Music

 
Electricity

The standard voltage on all yachts is 12 volts.

Mobile phones

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.

Music/Ipods

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.

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Activities

 
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 - jmagroup@btl.net Website - www.budget-belize.com
Crystal Auto: Tel# - 501 223 1600
Email - crystal@btl.net 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 stanncreekautorentals@hotmail.com; Tel: +501-523-3284

Fishing

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 fredsea1@yahoo.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.

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Provisioning

Provisioning is available in this location. Click here for more information or to order provisioning online.

Supermarkets

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.

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Health & Safety

 
Illness or Injury

If you are sick and visit the doctor or hospital during your trip contact a member of Sunsail staff as soon as possible on either a lead boat or at a Sunsail base or Club.
If you need to make a claim for curtailment due to illness, ask the base manager for assistance and contact your insurer’s emergency medical service immediately.
Your insurance company will assist with travel arrangements, advice and payment of bills.
Obtain receipts for any medication, treatment or transport you have to pay for and submit with your claim

Hospital

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.

Safety

All yachts are equipped with adult life jackets harnesses we leave it up to you to decide when personal safety equipment should be worn.
We have a limited supply of children’s life jackets (age 4+ only) if you have your own children’s life jacket we would encourage you to bring it along.
We suggest that children who are not strong swimmers should not be allowed in a dinghy without a life jacket or buoyancy aid and that they should wear a buoyancy aid or harness when on deck.

Children under the age of 16yrs should not operate an outboard engine and should be supervised at all times when in the dinghy.

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