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Which Towns Should You Visit While Sailing in Belize?

Known for untouched jungles and a Unesco-listed Barrier Reef, Belize is home to some incredible towns on its shores
Known for untouched jungles and a Unesco-listed Barrier Reef, Belize is home to some incredible towns on its shores | © JАлександар Тодоровић / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Nick Dauk
29 October 2021
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Though the jungles and jaguars of Belize are worth jetting off to see, the Jewel of Central America has so much more to offer where the trees meet the sea – making it perfect for a yacht or sailing holiday. Belize has 450 cays washing up along 174mi (280km) of sandy Caribbean coastline. Rich biodiversity extends beyond the shoreline to the Unesco-listed Belize Barrier Reef, putting you within a few rudder yaws away from some of Central America’s most stunning scenery. Bounce your way around Belize and buoy your boat in these awesome towns.

Sail the coast of Belize by renting a yacht from SamBoat.

Corozal Town

Architectural Landmark
Map View
A car drives down a road in Corozal, Corozal District, Belize, Central America
© Jan Csernoch / Alamy Stock Photo
Where better to begin a voyage than Belize’s northern border with Mexico? Corozal Town has quiet streets and a large ex-pat community, making it a prime spot to share a drink with some locals and get them to reveal their coveted fishing holes along the coast. Double-check your haul and find any missing items at the Corozal Free Zone, a minimally taxed haven by the Mexico border where you won’t need to empty your wallet to stock the ship.

Sarteneja

Natural Feature
Map View
Maya man in canoe at Chetumal Bay near the village of Copper Bank, Belize, Central America
© Witold Skrypczak / Alamy Stock Photo
Sarteneja is content to mind its own business floating along the Corozal Bay, so you’ll be warmly welcomed if you help keep this safely-guarded secret. Boatloads of tourists haven’t discovered this huge fishing community, but schools of snook, tarpon and snapper have. Come with a loose wrist and a tight grip – you’ll be reeling in catch after catch until you’re out of bait. Walk right from the pier into Crabby’s Hut and dive into ceviche so fresh, you’d think they swiped a fish right from your rod.

San Pedro

Architectural Landmark
Map View
An aerial view of the Great Blue Hole, a Unesco world natural heritage site in Belize, Caribbean Sea
© Travel Pix / Alamy Stock Photo
There’s no hiding San Pedro’s popularity, but don’t let the marina full of boats turn you away. The local coffee and chocolate of this Ambergris Caye town alone are worthy of your disembarkment. Grab a bag of beans from Caye Coffee, a box of chocolates from Belize Chocolate Company and head to the nearest dive shop. The Belize Barrier Reef is easily accessible via scuba and snorkelling trips. Don’t miss sailing to the scenic sinkhole – the Great Blue Hole – carved into the middle of the Lighthouse Reef.

Punta Gorda

Natural Feature
Map View
A boat glides on a river in Belize
© Cannon Photography / Alamy Stock Photo
If you didn’t see the reef in the north, you’ll have ample opportunity to get beneath the surface when you wade into Punta Gorda. PG’s underwater residents – namely whale sharks and turtles – will show you the southern side of Belize. Naturally, fishing is always on the agenda around town and Garbutt’s Fishing Lodge up the road in Hopeville will be your guide to fly fishing for the big three: bonefish, tarpon and permit.

Hopkins

Architectural Landmark
Map View
A little garifuna fishing village in Hopkins, Belize
© Guiziou Franck / Alamy Stock Photo
Sail to Hopkins for the lobster and conch, stay docked for the jaguars and ruins. No matter which day you arrive at this village – home to Belize’s Garifuna people – you’ll either be deep into the lobster season, conch season or both. The “friendliest village in Belize” will keep your plate full from stuffed jacks at Maggie’s Wildlife Cafe to curry lobster for dinner at Luba Laruga. Speaking of wildlife, block off a few hours to explore the Cockscomb Jaguar Preserve – where big cats lurk among Mayan ruins.

Placencia

Architectural Landmark
Map View
A yellow beach hut on the beachfront of Placencia, Belize
© Sergi Reboredo / Alamy Stock Photo
After days of hoisting sails and swabbing decks, you deserve some playtime on the Placencia peninsula. Get your fill of fun at the Tipsy Tuna where even off-key karaoke is always welcome. Don’t feel marooned to just one spot on the sand – rent a golf cart from Captain Jak’s and ride your way through this resort town. A martini is never a bad idea at Sirenian Bay, but don’t be surprised if your short game is a little sideways when playing a round on Inky’s mini-golf course.

Caye Caulker

Natural Feature
Map View
The Split Bar and Recreational area in Caye Caulker, Belize
© Christine Wehrmeier / Alamy Stock Photo
No matter your flexibility, the narrow Split channel that divides Caye Caulker in two is one that even the stiffest sailor can handle. There’s a lone bar – the iconic Lazy Lizard by the Split if navigating it got your pulse racing and you’ll find laid-back bars and cafes on the south end, too. The underdeveloped north end is a cool place to sail around the mangroves in silence.

Dangriga

Architectural Landmark
Map View
Jetty and palm trees on tiny Tobacco Caye, an island off the coast of Belize
© Paul Harding / Alamy Stock Photo
Cruise into the cultural capital of Belize and get to know the Garifuna way of life. Though Dangriga is typically regarded by tourists as a means of getting out to the cays – along with learning about the history of the Garifuna people at the Gulisi Garifuna Museum, the Austin Rodriguez traditional drum shop and the Cayetano family’s gallery full of art, music and books – sending you out to sea with a glimpse of Belize few visitors get to see.

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