Belize essential information

Sailing in Belize

Back to Belize

Find everything you need to prepare for a charter in Belize. From important base information to required documents for international travel, you can use this information as your guide before and during your charter. Don't forget to pack a copy to take with you.


Before you go


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

Base hours
The base is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week.

Time zone
UTC/GMT -6 hours (Belize doesn't utilize daylight saving time)

Tourist information centre
Located in Placencia village

What to bring

Customs + immigration
Entry, exit, and visa requirements depend on the locations you are departing from and traveling to. You are responsible for having the correct documents so make sure to check with the consulate of the countries you plan to visit before you travel. Visit for the latest information.

Sailing licences
This destination has mandatory sailing requirements. Please visit here to learn more.

The skipper and first mate will be required to fill in a sailing resume prior to arrival at the base to confirm that they have the necessary skills to sail in this region.

Luggage + packing list
Please pack using soft-sided bags, as these are easier to store on your yacht. The base has no facilities for holding luggage. Pack lightly and review our suggested packing list below for required and necessary items to bring.

  • Pack essential prescription medicine and change of clothing in a carry-on bag*
  • Passport and other travel documentation
  • Tickets and paper confirmations for pre-planned activities
  • Light-colored, light-weight clothing
  • Formal wear for upscale dining establishments
  • Swim wear and cover up
  • Hats and sunglasses
  • Sandals and flip-flops
  • Athletic shoes and hiking boots
  • Travel-sized toiletries and hygiene products
  • Bug spray and OTC pain relievers/ointments such as motion sickness relief
  • 12V DC to 110V AC power inverter (for boats without generators**)
  • 12V to USB power adapter for charging mobile devices

*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.
**All boats include a 12V DC outlet (a "car" outlet). Boats with generators have 110V outlets in the Caribbean and 220V in the Mediterranean and Exotic locations.

The use of flying drones may be restricted in some areas. For current drone regulations in this destination, please visit

Local currency – Belizean dollar

Accepted Forms of Payment: US Dollars and US travelers checks accepted throughout. Visa and MasterCard are also accepted at resorts and most restaurants on the mainland but supermarkets in Placencia and restaurants at the cayes will require cash. Most restaurants, markets, and other service providers will generally give you change in Belizean dollars unless you request otherwise. 

Tipping is standard and expected in all restaurants / bars and for other services undertaken during your vacation. The rule of thumb is generally 10-15% of the amount charged. Some establishments automatically add this onto the bill.

Security deposit
A security deposit must be paid at the base by Visa or Master Card and is refundable at the end of your charter subject to there being no loss or damage. To significantly decrease your security deposit, purchase our Yacht Damage Waiver insurance ahead of time.

What's on board

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.

Mobile phones
Check with your service provider for information about cell coverage in this region.

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. 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.


WiFi is available at The Moorings base in Belize. WiFi Connection at Thatch Caye Resort and Hatchet Caye. WiFi is not available on the yacht when you leave the marina.

Music + iPods
While most of our newer boats have Bluetooth capability, we cannot guarantee all boats are outfitted with this equipment. For your convenience, we highly recommend you bring an AUX cord so you can listen to music from your mobile devices.

The standard voltage on all yachts is 12 volts.

For more information on what's included on your yacht, please view the full list here.

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About the marina

Marina facilities
Showers & restrooms 
Bars & restaurant
Hotel & pool
Swimming pool

Dock facilities
We would highly recommend that you pre pay fuel for your convenience.  Fuel station is in the lagoon but can be busy so may cause delays when returning the yacht.

Sailing grounds

Experience level
Level 3

Experience levels are based on sailing conditions and the length of passages within your chosen sailing area. View here for more information.

Sailing area
All bareboat charters are required to stay inside the barrier reef. Local skippers must be on board for any and all excursions outside the barrier reef.

South Water Caye 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 Caye and all places between
Gladden Spit/Silk Cayes* Marine Reserve - From Gladden Spit* south to and including Queen Cayes
Laughing Bird Caye*
Sapodilla Cayes* - stretching from Tom Owens in the north to Sapodilla Caye* in the south and out to Seal Caye in the west

*These reserves require guides for entry and have a daily fee. Our Belize base will go over these requirements during the charter briefing and share the ways we can get tour guides to the yachts you would like to enter those reserves as well as suggest alternative snorkeling sites. While the base can assist in securing a guide for your yacht, this will be an additional expense that the charterer must pay. The cost of a guide will vary depending on how we get him/her out to the yacht. If they accompany a boat going out to the reserve and we can arrange a minimal cost for the transport to and from the reserve, the guide is going to cost about US$50; if we have to arrange transport to the reserve, it will cost in the region of US$150 for the guide.

Download Sunsail's Belize Cruising Guide here

Sailing area restrictions
The Belize authorities take the protection of their reefs very seriously and you must ensure you are aware of and understand the strict sailing area restrictions and regulations of where sailing is prohibited, and ensure you stay well clear of the reefs at all times during your charter. Please be aware that should you damage the reef during your charter the Belize authorities have the option of imposing fines and/or confiscating your passport, with potential criminal implications, until such time as any fine or resolution is achieved.

Restricted Zones
Glover's reef, Turneffe reef and Lighthouse reef.
Tom Owens

Charterers will receive a sailing chart that outlines red zones for the cruising ground.

It is strictly forbidden to sail alone, we require two persons minimum on board.

Night sailing
You must be moored at least one hour before sunset. Night Sailing is not allowed without permission from the base manager. The decision to allow night sailing is based on your skill level and can be requested in advance.
You will need to fill out the Sailing resume for the base to review but we cannot guarantee approval.

Charts + pilot books
All the charts and pilot books you will need for the sailing area are issued at your chart briefing.

Sailing permits + taxes
Departure Tax: A tax of $56 USD per person is charged when leaving Belize; this must be paid in US Dollars ONLY. If paid by credit card there is an additional charge.

Travelers entering Belize International by air and connecting to in-country flights are charged an additional $0.75 US security fee.

Moorings fees + taxes
There are marine park fees in effect in large parts of our cruising grounds and a flat rate of $10 USD per person per day applies in all of them now, including at Laughing Bird Caye. These fees are not for use of the mooring buoys, which are now in place in some of the cayes, but are simply a fee to be in the marine reserve* and these fees apply to people staying on cayes there too.

3 moorings in the Pelican Cayes range near Hideaway Caye
3 moorings on the east side of Thatch Caye Resort
3 moorings on the west side of Thatch Caye Resort in the Inner Channel
11 moorings at Hatchet Caye, $15 USD per night

Health + safety

Travel advice
Currently, a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travelers over 1 year of age arriving from counties with risk of yellow fever transmission and for travelers having transited through an airport of a country with rise of yellow fever transmission. Additional information can also be found on the World Health Organization's website. 

Current travel, health, and safety information can be obtained by visiting

Travel insurance
Sunsail offers comprehensive travel insurance for your complete peace of mind. If you have your own travel insurance, please make sure that it covers all of the destinations and activities of your Sunsail vacation. Visit here for more details.

*Please note country entry/exit and vaccination/immunisation requirements can and do change. Sunsail is not accountable for these requirement changes and we advise visiting the destination's authority website to receive the latest updates.

Swim Safe 

Swimming is often a fun and important part of a vacation. However local rules, flag systems, currents and where swimming may be permitted, can be different and vary from country to country. Snorkel vests, Life Jackets and Diver Down flags are all available on board. 


  • Talk to children about water safety at the start of a vacation, making them aware of the potential dangers.
  • Accidents can happen at any time on vacation, but often they happen on the first and last day, so keep watch and do not get distracted when your children are playing by, or in the water.
  • Children in or near water should always be supervised by an adult and never left unattended. 
  • Get in the water with them, it is easier to keep an eye on them as well as good fun. Floatation devices are highly recommended for children but are not a substitute for supervision.

Be aware of your surroundings

  • Check warning flags and signage on the beach and only swim where it is permitted. 
  • Beware of dangerous currents, these can be very powerful. Not all beaches have lifeguards and/or warning flags.
  • Beware of underwater hazards, such as reefs, rocks, sudden changes in depth and marine life.
  • Never swim where a sign says not to e.g. in zoned areas for jet boats or jet skis.
  • Never swim at night or after drinking alcohol.

Look out for others

  • Never swim alone, ‘buddy up’ with others in your party and use the snorkel vests provided.
  • Know how and where to get help. If you see someone in difficulty; raise the alarm, preferably the emergency services. Ensure you know the correct number for the country you are in.

Do not overestimate your ability

  • Consider swimming lessons before you go if you think it would be useful to learn proper swimming technique.
  • Even if you regularly swim in a pool, remember that open water swimming can be very different.


All yachts are equipped with adult life jackets, harnesses, snorkel vests & diver down flags. You can see all this equipment demonstrated in our online safety briefing, and we strongly recommend that you make use this equipment during your vacation. This safety equipment will be displayed in the saloon of your boat on boarding - If you have any questions feel free to ask our base staff during your briefing. 

We have a very limited supply of children's life jackets on base so highly recommend that if you are travelling with children, you bring their own. This ensures that children have correctly fitting jackets that are comfortable for them.  

Children should not be allowed in the dinghy without a life jacket or buoyancy aid and should wear a buoyancy aid or harness whilst on deck. 

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

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Around the base

The Placencia Hotel 
South Waters Resort 
Laru Beya Resort 
The Inn at Robert’s Grove

Atlantic Bank: Opening hours: 8am - 2pm Monday to Friday

Barclays Bank: Belize City and in Dangriga.

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For more information on what's included on your yacht, please view the full list here.

Choose Sunsail

Stunning sailing destinations 
Flotilla routes
Types of yachts
44 yrs
Creating vacations
4 hr
Service commitment