Cruise Belize on a Colgate Sailing Adventures Flotilla Cruise
Come Sail on this Authentic Tropical Paradise Getaway
May 5-12, 2018
This special Colgate Sailing Adventure takes you to the tiny country of Belize, one of the few unspoiled destinations left on Earth. Located in the northern part of Central America, south of Mexico and east of Guatemala, Belize is a sailor’s paradise, providing relaxed tradewind sailing along the incredible Mesoamerican Barrier Reef – the second largest barrier reef in the world, stretching approximately 350 nautical miles from the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula down the Belize coast.
If you love eco-adventures this cruise is for you. This is an area rich in Mayan cultural heritage, where locals exude the slow rhythm of island life. Here mangrove-fringed forests protect endangered manatees, snorkeling reveals an amazing array of sea life in protected lagoons fringed by sandy beaches and swaying palms. Some days are spent reaching in deep waters, others navigating inner channels that challenge your piloting skills. Each evening you relax in a comfortable anchorage among these 400 pristine islands and cays.
Belize boasts a sub-tropical climate with average temperatures around 80°F. Trade winds range from 10-22 knots, with pleasant sailing throughout the year. The Belize sailing vacation takes place in May, the last month of the dry season. It’s a great time of year with delightful sailing, snorkeling and swimming in water temperatures averaging a balmy 81°F. Sailing is inside the huge, sheltered barrier reef with minimal waves and fresh breezes. What could be more perfect?
Steve and Doris Colgate led this very same cruise in December 2011, and some of the photos on this page were taken then. Not much has changed since then.
The Sunsail Base and Laru Beya Resort in Placencia
The cruise starts in Placencia at Sunsail’s base at Laru Beya Resort & Marina. Because we board the boats at 6 p.m. on May 5th we plan to have the fun Meet and Greet party the day before at the resort. There is so much to do in this part of Belize, we are recommending everyone come in a day or two early to get into the island pace. We will book your rooms for you before the cruise, and after the cruise if you want to unwind before heading home. Please see the package rates below for rooms at the Laru Beya. Placencia is a fun town to visit and the resort has a host of tours they will set up for you, which include lunch and expert guides. What follows are some of the cays and islands the 2018 Belize cruise is likely to explore. The actual itinerary will be provided during your Meet and Greet with cruise leaders, Nate and Heather Atwater.
Friendly local residents welcome you with an infectious laid-back Belizean vibe. There are several restaurants and bars offering fresh seafood and local delicacies. Locals display rustic and traditional wares for sale in shops and roadside stands, like this colorful cloth that Doris bought on the 2011 cruise. There’s a lot more to explore: Take a land-based tour to the numerous cascading waterfalls and archaeological Mayan ruins; hire a boat to take you up Monkey River to view howler monkeys, crocodiles, iguanas and many more creatures hidden in the lush green jungle; and for a real challenging thrill, don headlights and lifejackets to swim and hike through the mysterious Maya underworld at the cave at Blue Creek.
This is home to fishing legend Julian Cabral, owner of The Whipray Caye Lodge open-air Sea Urchin Bar and Restaurant. The fleet will likely moor or anchor on the west side of this cay. Dinghy ashore to sample Belizean and American food with an ice-cold beer, and listen to Julian’s inside track on catching fish in Belize waters. Snorkeling close to shore is fabulous as you swim over live coral reefs in the waters to the northeast and northwest around Wippari. Back on board, watch one of the most stunning and unforgettable sunsets you’ll ever see!
This peaceful island is part of the Belize World Heritage Site, and a great place to spend the day exploring and snorkeling off its white sandy beach, followed by dinner ashore at one of the cay’s three delightful restaurants. This amazing 15-acre coral island sits right on the edge of the barrier reef, with crystal clear waters and soft powder white sand beaches lined with majestic palms. On the east side of the cay the barrier reef drop-off is close to shore, creating one of the few places in Belize where you can literally swim off the beach for incredible snorkeling. One of the largest inhabited islands, South Water Cay has a few bars and restaurants, where you can enjoy fresh caught lobster and delicious local specialities. The fleet will anchor to the west of the cay or in nearby Twin Cays, depending on wind direction.
More excellent snorkeling beckons on the shallow reef running along Tobacco Cay’s eastern and southern shoreline, which forms the edge of the famous south Water Cay marine reserve. Watch for majestic eagle rays gracefully soaring over turtle grass beds. The fleet will anchor just inside the reef where you can watch for local fishermen preparing their catches of the day at the dock at sunset. Then go ashore to the thatched roof beach bar for a cool rum punch with locals. Don’t be surprised if they bring out their Garifuna drums for an impromptu musical treat, as the sun sets behind cool blue Maya Mountains.
This is actually two private atolls – with white-sand beaches, fine food, two bars and 5-star service ashore. The waters between the two cays are shallow enough to walk between, where you are sure to see brilliant starfish, hermit crabs, tropical fish and a variety of shells. The surrounding waters are calm, ideal for kayaking, snorkeling, fly-fishing and swimming. The fleet will likely anchor off Thatch Cay Resort. You can dinghy or kayak over to neighboring Man-O-War Cay – a designated bird sanctuary and home to a variety of indigenous bird species including pelicans, brown boobies and magnificent frigates. Thatch Caye – one of the island’s resorts – has a small marina with water, provisions, and internet (in guest areas) available. This “hand-made” eco-resort relies on solar and wind power to generate electricity. It’s a great place to see racoon-like coatimundi roaming free, as well as spider monkeys and brocket deer. Relax in a hammock with a good book ashore. Come back in to dine al-fresco under the stars after your day’s activities.
This is a scenic island with a vast expanse of coastline where you can dinghy in and out of the many inlets and mangrove habitats. Ospreys, frigates, pelicans and cormorants call this lagoon home. Swim or snorkel to explore incredible coral life with silver-scaled tarpon and colorful parrot fish. There are plenty of moorings available here, with a good anchorage just outside the lagoon.
This island has no shore facilities, only fabulous beaches and spectacular diving and snorkeling. If the fleet stops here, you will likely anchor off the southern tip. Relax aboard or head off for a picnic lunch ashore on the sandy beach among towering palm trees. We keep talking about snorkeling, and this island truly has some of the most exhilarating snorkeling in the southern Belize area. You will likely see barracuda, butterfly fish, snapper, parrot fish, angel fish, lobster and rays gliding through the exotic coral. You might also see a whale shark if this cruise is right after a full moon. They are not known to harm humans but they are very big and pretty startling if you come nose to nose with them.
Direct flights to Belize City International Airport (BZE) are a little over two hours from Miami and Houston, with longer direct flights available from New Orleans, Los Angeles, New York, Washington, DC and Toronto, Canada. Then you connect via Tropic Air or Maya Island Air for a 45-minute flight to Placencia Regional Airstrip (PU) where taxis will take you on a 30-minute scenic drive to the Sunsail base at Laru Beya Resort & Marina.
The perfect yachts for cruising Belize are spacious catamarans with lots of deck and cabin space to spread out and enjoy the breeze. The Belize Flotilla fleet is four catamarans – three Sunsail 444s with four cabins and four heads; and one Sunsail 404 (one of the newest yacht designs in the Sunsail catamaran fleet) with four cabins and two heads. All the boats have generators and AC throughout when the generator is running or you are hooked into shore power. Total cabins available are 15 with the 16th reserved for your cruise leaders – Nate and Heather Atwater – who will assign crews, skippers and navigators to each of the boats prior to the cruise start.
Belize Flotilla Package Costs without Rooms at Laru Beya Resort
- Single traveling alone, in a private cabin – $2,950
- Two people sharing a cabin – $2,550 per person
Discount for Offshore Sailing School graduates with US Sailing Bareboat Cruising Certification: Deduct $300 per person and pay just $2,650 for a single private cabin, or $2,250 per person for a shared cabin with your spouse or SO.
To Book Your Cabin: 30% deposit is required when you sign up. The balance of your total package, plus a $300 refundable security deposit per person, is due by February 12, 2018. No refunds are allowed after February 12, 2018. Please purchase Trip Insurance.
Accommodations at Laru Beya Resort
- Ocean View Room – $205 per night
- One bedroom Oceanfront Suite – $300 per night
- Two Bedroom Oceanfront Suite – 465 per night
- Three Bedroom Oceanfront Suite – $620 per night
To Book Your Room: The above rates include 9% hotel tax and 10% service charge. Please tell your sales advisor when you book your cabin which dates you wish to stay at the resort. We recommend coming in at least two days before (May 3rd) and staying a day after (May 12th). Our traditional, fun Meet and Greet party with dinner will be at the resort the evening of May 4th. The resort requires a 50% deposit to confirm the dates you choose, and your sales advisor will add that amount to your cruise package above. The final 50% room payment is due with your final cruise payment as noted above, and is not refundable from that point on.
A Note About Personal Physical Requirements
To join this cruise you must be able to move around the boat easily on your own, get on and off the boat via dinghy easily, and be willing and able to share in all the duties aboard including setting and trimming sails, meal prep and clean-up, anchoring and picking up moorings. We are sorry, but the use of CPAPs or other medical items requiring electricity cannot be guaranteed. If you have physical issues which could impair your activities, please call Doris Colgate (239-985-7511) to discuss before you sign up.
- Your single or shared cabin on one of the flotilla fleet boats
- Meet and Greet party with heavy d’oeuvres or light supper
- Provisioning aboard for all breakfasts and lunches, snacks and three dinners
- Use of snorkel fins and masks
- Damage waiver and local taxes
- Full fuel and water tanks before you depart
- Commemorative Belize Flotilla Cruise shirt and cap
- Complete handbook to help you plan your adventure, sent when you sign up
- Travel costs including transfers from airport to base and back
- Hotel stays unless you booked and prepaid the Laru Beya Resort with Offshore
- All meals ashore except the Meet and Greet party
- Beverages you wish to have aboard or enjoy at shore facilities
- Mooring and/or anchoring fees
- Marine park fees ($10 per person per day)
- Kayak and tour rentals
We ask that each boat sets up a kitty to replenish as needed, to cover mooring, anchoring or other costs that come up during the cruise.
SIGN UP TODAY!
Call 888-454-7015 or send a note to Sail@OffshoreSailing.com
With just 15 cabins available and six already sold, this cruise will be filled before you know it. Don’t delay, sign up the flotilla holiday in Belize today!