If total escape is the goal, then Belize is the place to charter a yacht. Its cruising grounds are rich in blue holes and barrier reefs—all situated in what feels blissfully like the middle of nowhere.
A rare dichotomy exists when venturing to such a raw and rugged aquatic playground aboard a superyacht. While the yacht comes with all the fineries and service expected of a five-star hotel in the heart of civilization, it is often anchored in the lee of a remote cay, miles from the mainland, where the only sign of human life may be a faint strobe from an airplane in the distance. Many yacht charter destinations claim to offer this type of “best of both worlds” experience, but Belize is arguably one of the places on Earth where it is best exemplified.
Sitting on deck, perhaps in the yacht’s hot tub, and simply gazing out at the region is an exercise in fantastic sights, sounds and feelings. The evening darkness advances from the east like a smooth jib unfurling over the diamond-speckled water. To the west, the mountaintops of southern Belize squeeze the last droplets from a drenching sunset, until water gently licks the yacht’s hull sides—the only sound to be heard. There are no throngs of cruise-ship passengers vying for the best camera angle; only solitude in its purest form. The isolation and feeling of vastness can be difficult for mainlanders to comprehend, and the sensations become something that charter clients remember for many years to come.
The southern out-islands of Belize encompass a panorama of jewel-tone water dotted with secluded sand spits, cays and atolls with lazily swaying palms and white sand beaches, all protected by the world’s second-largest barrier reef (first is the Great Barrier Reef in Australia). In fact, rolling backwards off a tender into the turquoise and emerald waters off Belize places charter guests above what is perhaps the richest coral reef system in the tropics. The waters are crystalline, and the local inhabitants range from inquisitive rays and skittish sea turtles to fiery sea fans and colossal coral heads.
Hundreds of mangrove-covered islands interspersed with creeks and picturesque lagoons make up Belize’s largest atoll, Turneffe. This unspoiled paradise has some of the best diving worldwide, for every level of diver. Wrecks, drop-offs and currents can make for challenging dives at certain sites, so Sequel P has a certified dive instructor on board. The exposed southern point of Turneffe Atoll, known as “The Elbow,” is a congregation area for schools of jacks and snappers. Thousands of groupers come here to spawn, and all the fish action attracts sharks and rays. “The Elbow” is a must-do for underwater adventurers.
On the bucket list of nearly every dive enthusiast, Belize’s famous Blue Hole is an underwater shaft nearly 1,000 feet wide and more than 400 feet deep.