Belize Reopens Maritime Borders for Yachting Tourism

by Carolee Chanona
old belize marina yacht maritime borders

Warm trade winds and line-of-sight sailing makes Belize’s miles of cayes and palm-studded beaches a sailing paradise. And now, yachters can enjoy it for themselves after nearly 12 months of border closures: Belize reopens its maritime activities for yachting tourism, authorizing San Pedro, Belize City and Placencia as ports of entry. With privacy being a buzzword in travel, yachting tourism takes a new spin on a travel bubble into account. After all, your sailing vacation in Belize is a laid back yet intimate experience. Each charter day awaits with new surprises of vibrant marine life, barefoot perfect beaches, and hidden-away treasures. 

NEW ENTRY REQUIREMENTS AMIDST COVID-19

Enjoy your own travel pod onboard. Photo by ROEming Belize

The Port Authority Act mandates each vessel requires a licensed shipping agent for entry into Belizean waters. However, it should be noted that Shipping Agents with specialized licenses will be authorized to deal primarily with these non-commercial vessels. Although, a set Tariff of US$150 (maximum) is approved for this service. Additionally:

  • The authorized maritime ports of entry are to be San Pedro, Belize City and Placencia.
  • A notice of 72 hours is required for entry [all sister agencies are to be informed immediately upon receipt of the NOA: Immigration, Public Health, Tourism, Customs, BAHA].
  • All public health safety protocols related to COVID-19 remain in effect. Specifically, Belize requires a negative Covid test for entry; all crew and passengers must test negative prior to arrival. Whether as a PCR test up to 72 hours prior to arrival or as a Rapid Antigen test up to 48 hours prior to arrival.

Within the press release, it reiterates that the reopening the maritime borders for tourist sector requires efficient, safe boarding and vessel clearance practices. However, the Belize Port Authority is confident that by following the health guidelines set out both locally and internationally coupled with the established boarding procedures and protocol, the reopening of our maritime borders for yachting tourism can be done safely.

CRUISING THE COAST

Sailing into the sunset. Photo by Duarte Dellarole Photography

Booking with a charter allows you to customize your all-inclusive adventure with an itinerary to match your vacation vision. Head south through Turneffe Atoll to visit idyllic South Water Caye, a coral island that makes up part of the country’s World Heritage Site, and fish all along the way. Or, head east to Lighthouse Reef to explore the world-famous Blue Hole by tank or snorkel; the near-perfectly circular limestone sinkhole plunges 480 feet into deep blue water. A westward sail introduces you to explore picturesque anchorages hidden along palm-fringed cayes and see over 500 species of tropical fish along coral reefs.

Related: Cruise the Belize Coast by Catamaran
sailing belize vacation

Photo Courtesy: ROEming Belize Travel Agency

Once anchored, it’s time to truly kick back and relax; fish from the back of the boat, lounge in the inner tubes to swim, or simply soak up the sun at the netted bow. At sunset, sip sweet rum-infused cocktails or sample buttery lobster tails or crispy conch fritters (seasonally available). Meanwhile, count your blessings as you marvel at curiously playful dolphins during the day, and spotted eagle rays that shine under the stars. 

Feature photo courtesy of Old Belize Adventure. For more information, contact The Belize Port Authority (BPA) at (501) 222-5666/5665/5662/5663. Alternatively, you can email bzportauth@btl.net. Source: BPA (A)-51-2/2021 (05) Vol. 2

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