Introduction to the Itinerary
Wildlife, wildlife, wildlife! While cruising the lagoon keep an eye out for dolphins and crocs. Jaguars have been spotted swimming across the lagoon, even in the daytime. It's common in early morning to hear manatees, and occasionally see them even at the dock.
Plenty of seabirds and migratory birds. Sometimes they take a break on our yachts!
We have found seahorses at two islands so far, however even without finding seahorses, Snorkeling in the mangroves is an amazing experience: pinky-sized barracuda, vibrant sponges, crazy crabs and shrimps. The slower you go the more you see! Before/after your trip, go to the mangroves near the village dock. There are often seahorses there so you can practice training your eyes to find them while staying dry.
Whale sharks in the late spring/early summer months best during the full moon and ten days after. It is rare to find them inside the reef—if this is important, best to go on a dedicated tour boat before/after charter. On a full boat, we can sometimes search for them depending on weather/circumstances
Snorkel around the fishing boats while they clean their fish and see turtles, rays and more.
PLEASE note wildlife is WILD none of the above is a guarantee!
We have multiple routes in Belize that can be adapted to the guests and weather, if you have done Belize once or twice you have only scratched the surface! 1 captain has 22 years of experience in Belizean waters, and is still finding new and interesting spots
On non-holiday weeks, we often get our anchorages and snorkel/dive sites to ourselves, and share with maybe 10 other boats over the whole week
Beautiful Island beaches of Moho, Ranguana, North long Cacoa to name a few.
Of course being the second largest barrier reef in the world the spectacular diving/ snorkelling from Tobacco Caye in the north of our range all the way south to the gorgeous Sapodilla Marine Reserve in the south where in calm weather you can snorkel a ship wreck in 10 feet of water that has hundreds of resident fish and other wildlife. Guests spotted 2 species of extremely rare toadfish endemic to Belize during one week.
Before or after your trip if you want even more diving and island time we would recommend staying on Turneffe or Glovers reef (atoll reef systems outside the barrier reef) or stay with Reef CI (in the south of our cruising areas). At reef CI you can get certified or advance your diving certificates. Hamansi in Hopkins has been well rated as a diver-focused resort, or can stay ON Lighthouse Reef where the Blue Hole is. (that is too far for a 1 week charter)
Before or after your trip if you want a change of scene stay in one of the fantastic rain forest lodges (Caves Branch, Black Rock Lodge) or Pine Ridge Lodge en route to Caracol and waterfalls)
Here is a sample itinerary of what you may expect while enjoying a sailing vacation with TradeWinds in Belize. Weather or other outside factors may mean that your Captain sets an alternative course. With hundreds of cays to choose from it is rarely the same trip twice!
Arrival Day - Saturday
You are welcome to check in at TradeWinds' new office at Cocoplum Marina and drop off your luggage when you arrive. You will be greeted by our base manager who will take you through the check-in procedure.
Naia resort (across the road from us) is a pleasant place to wait for boarding time. You can have snacks and drinks here, and their spa and 1/2 day tours can be pre-arranged, or occasionally organised the same day. TradeWinds’ guests are welcome to use their cafe/pool/beach. They will only do pick-ups from airport if guests are actually sleeping at their hotel, but they will transport between the TradeWinds base and the resort if desired. www.naiaresortandspa.com/
If you would rather do some exploring while you're waiting to board then you can take a taxi into Placencia - a 20 minute taxi ride costing approx US$20.00.
Boarding is at 5pm. Once you board the yacht you will be greeted with a refreshing welcome cocktail and introduced to your crew and fellow sailors. You will be shown to your cabin and helped to settle in.
Just prior to sunset, we'll cast off our mooring lines and head out into the bay of Placencia, where you will enjoy a delicious dinner aboard, followed by a good night’s rest before we set sail the following morning.
Cruising Day 1 - Sunday
Wake up for breakfast and have an early swim if you fancy it. Then we set sail to nearby Moho Caye which is around 12 nautical miles north east of Placencia. Here you will find calm waters for swimmers and sandy coves awaiting exploration by kayak.
After lunch on board we set sail for the beautiful Queen Cayes, also known as the Silk Cayes. This small group of Cayes is made up of three of the most exotic sand Cayes you will ever see. Jump in for another amazing snorkel before sunset cocktails and hermit crab races on the beach. Don’t forget your camera today as Queen Cayes has an unforgettable sunset.
Cruising Day 2 - Monday
After breakfast it’s time for more snorkeling and for our scuba divers to get their first experience of the week on the second largest barrier reef in the world. A short ride in a dinghy brings us to a 60ft reef dive. In addition to the beautifully colored reef fish and corals, keep an eye out for eagle rays that can cruise by in the open water
After lunch, you can get some exercise by helping the Captain hoist the sails for a short sail to Hatchet Cay – a paradise island with a world class resort out there in the middle of nowhere. Or perhaps you would prefer to just sit back, relax and supervize the action. Maybe this sail will give the first sighting of dolphins. The experience of watching these incredible mammals, free in the wild, is a true highlight.
Cocktails are served in time for another great sunset and more mouth-watering culinary offerings.
Cruising Day 3 – Tuesday
We start with a 2 hour journey to the beautiful Ranguana Cay - 2 acres of paradise on Earth. There are hammocks set up on the beach for you to relax in before diving off the beautiful white sandy beach into the coral reef waters, or take a dinghy ride to Walkabout Reef.
After lunch we will once again hoist those shady sails to make our way, outside the reef, to Tom Owens Cay. Throw out the fishing line and see if you can catch a whopper and put some dinner on the table. The freshest catch of the day indeed!
More snorkeling and kayaking are followed by a trip ashore, where you can visit the Cay's architectural wonders. As sunset approaches, cocktails are served aboard the yacht then we will dine ashore in one of the amazing local restaurants in the area.
Cruising Day 4 – Wednesday
After breakfast we will make a short sail to Nicholas Cay. Here you can stroll on the sandy shores looking for treasures that wash ashore. Snorkel right off the beach and explore this underwater paradise. For the scuba divers you will enjoy another reef dive just 10 minutes away by dinghy, outside the reef – keep an eye out for Goliath groupers – they live up to their name in size!. After lunch your captain will move the boat inside the reef and drop you and your first mate "guide" off the boat onto Vigilance Reef. Whilst the captain watches from the yacht, enjoy the heavenly underwater views.
Once back on board we’re off to spend the night at Hunting Cay. Back on the yacht enjoy an after dinner liqueur whilst watching the shimmering lights of Guatemala and Honduras on the far horizon.
Cruising Day 5 – Thursday
5 nautical miles west lies Seal Cay. You can enjoy snorkelling and diving right off the boat with an underwater reef with a depth on top of 15ft and a vertical wall dropping down to over 100ft. Like several of our anchorages this week, Seal Cay is a marine park, which means there is no fishing allowed on or around the Cay. Because of this protected environment the Cay offers an excellent chance to see some of our bigger friends down under, including lobsters the size of footballs walking along the bottom without a care in the world.
With the sails perfectly trimmed, another beautiful sail east sees us arrive at Lime Cay. This all weather anchorage is the perfect spot to relax, identify and discuss all those terrific little critters that you spotted during the day. After cocktails and dinner aboard, adjourn to the front of the boat. The stars, so far from any light pollution, are incredible.
Cruising Day 6 – Friday
Breakfast today is followed by an early morning snorkel on a wreck outside the barrier reef. With no moorings, it’s time to once again grab your first mate “guide” and wave goodbye to the Captain as he drops you over the wreck. This artificial reef is home to thousands of fish who can hide and dart about the steel ship. With a quick wave goodbye to your new-found underwater friends, who have now made this wreck their home, it’s time to raise those sails again, drop the fishing line in the water and head North West for Colson Caye.
On arrival we drop the anchor in time for a last lunch on board followed by a refreshing swim. Keep an eye out for manatees as you re-enter the Placencia Cay area before heading back into Placencia and the end of the sailing part of our adventure together. However, to compensate for that, tonight we dine out at one of our favourite local restaurants.
Departure Day – Saturday
After a tasty breakfast onboard, it's time to gather your belongings and memories. Your crew will arrange transport back to the airport before exchanging fond farewells. You will already be planning your next TradeWinds adventure...