Last winter, the owner and crew aboard the 124-foot Christensen Reflections spent the Christmas and New Year’s holidays in Belize. They had such a great time that this winter, they’re going back for several months that could stretch from November through February, if there’s enough interest from charter clients too.
“There are so many little islands to explore,” Capt. Darren Shepherd told Yachting. “It’s never-ending, the amount of stuff. You’ve got the three main atolls, which are stunning, but you also have the outcropping with a national park on the mainland inside the barrier reef. There are hundreds of little islands there where you can hop around. The water is pretty deep. There are coral reefs all over the place.”
He and the crew are especially eager to welcome charter guests who enjoy snorkeling and fishing—both of which the yacht is equipped to offer—as well as scuba diving, which the crew coordinates through local partners. Reflections charters with a 36-foot Everglades tender that can be rigged for whichever activity guests desire.
The snorkeling, he says, is usually a group favorite: “It’s phenomenal. Some of the areas, you have turtles, rays that are 5 feet across; they’re absolutely massive in some of the areas. Sometimes you see the massive spotted eagle rays. The marine life is incredible. Especially out on Lighthouse Reef, you don’t even have to pick one of the dive sites. You just jump in the water, and you see all kinds of things everywhere.”
He adds that Belize is a great destination for anyone interested in chartering off the beaten track, but without having to fly halfway around the world. The yacht’s owner, he says, had “mostly done the Bahamas and the Caribbean before. After last year, he enjoyed some of the trips so much, he really has that adventure bug.”
The country is on the Caribbean Sea side of Central America, with Mexico to its north and Guatemala immediately to its south. Just offshore is the world’s second-largest barrier reef (after Australia’s Great Barrier Reef), running along much of the Belize coastline. The Belize Barrier Reef is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Natural forest still covers about 60 percent of the land in Belize, and much of the country’s land is designated for protection against development.