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Old 05-01-2003
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Belize versus BVI

We have chartered in BVI for 2 years. Looking for some place similar, but different for 1st of July. We are a family with kid 17, 13 and 10. Belize looks like a good option. The kids love snorkeling. Any comments.
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Old 05-01-2003
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Belize versus BVI

I went to Belize for a week a few years ago to dive with an outfit called Peter Hughes. Departing from Belize city we hit the major atolls of Lighthouse Reef, Glover''s Reef and the Turneffe Islands. Belize is the only spot in the Western Hemisphere with a barrier reef. The country itself is quite unique as it was a British colony (British Honduras at one time) and as such its people speak English and a language they refer to as creole. In any case, as compared to BVI, Belize is much less developed; some would say a 3rd world country. I found that between the rain forests and the diving it was a spectaculatar place. That being said, I, unfortunately, did not feel comfortable leaving my hotel in Belize City. If memory serves the Atolls have only one or two resorts on them. As such, you could sail and basically have the place to yourselfs. We never made it but Ambergis Caye is supposed to be very nice with hotels, bars, and restuarants catering to the tourist visitor.
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Old 05-02-2003
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Belize versus BVI

We sailed in Belize this February (have also sailed the BVI multiple times). While we thoroughly enjoyed Belize, and felt completely safe, this is a destination that is VERY different from the BVI. We sailed with TMM from San Pedro (Ambergris Caye), so my observations are based on that perspective.

Here are some key differences:

- Provisioning (food, ice, water, fuel) -- once you get south of Cay Caulker, there is nowhere to get anything until you get to Placencia, which you are not likely to do in a week''s sail. You need to plan ahead and conserve. It needn''t be a big deal, but it''s something to think about.

- Sailing conditions: with steady trades coming from the east at 10-20 knots, you will be beam-reaching almost all the time, as you sail from north to south -- the sailing is the best we''ve ever experienced on charter. The waters are quite shallow, and there are many spots where you need to be especially attentive for coral heads and patch reefs.

- Anchoring and anchorages: there are no moorings, so you will need to anchor almost every night, mostly in silty sand or grass. Make sure your anchoring skills are up to snuff. There are a few classic protected anhorages (St. George''s Caye, Bluefield Range), but other nights you will simply find yourself in the lee of an island.

- Nightlife and restaurants: again, virtually nothing south of Caye Caulker, with the very pleasant exception of the dive lodge at St. George''s Caye (you must reserve to dine here). Of course, I''m happy to trade a night in a restaurant for grilling just-caught lobsters on my own.

- Activities: it''s mostly about nature here. Snorkelling and diving, and manatee-watching are the highlights. Lots of great land-based activities (Mayan ruins, jungle tours), but those are typically reserved for before or after your trip, as they are a good distance inland.

- Beaches: if you come here for the beaches, there''s not much to them. A handful on the reef (can''t stay overnight), and that''s about it.

Don''t get me wrong ... we absolutely LOVED sailing in Belize and would return in a heartbeat. But we went prepared, with our expectations properly managed. If you are looking for something different, but not too different, consider the Abacos.

I have a report of my sail on my webpage at www.homestead.com/islandtime/MainPage1.html (you''ll also find a couple of reports on the Abacos). Also, feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions: lattitudes2@hotmail.com
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