Living Aboard a Sailboat in Caribbean Belize - International Living

As I write, I’m in Placencia—the remote, but very popular, fishing village in Southern Belize. I am lucky enough to be spending some time living on a sailboat in Robert’s Grove Marina—a wonderful opportunity I am very grateful for!

Robert’s Grove is a resort located about a 10-minute drive outside of the village of Placencia. From here, you can easily reach Placencia and its conveniences such as grocery stores, etc., via bike or golf cart, you don’t even need a car. Robert’s Grove is located just south of the village of Seine Bight. Seine Bight might take a little getting used to for the average visitor—it is not meant for tourists, it is a local, authentic village where the Garifuna people live. In their culturally-rich villages, both in Seine Bight and Dangriga, you’ll find a lot of wonderful, unique foods and amazing drumming, dancing, and music.

I am fortunate enough to watch the sunrise from the Caribbean side of Robert’s Grove, and the sunset from the lagoon/leeward side where the marina is. The marina is quiet right now—very few boats are coming in thanks to Covid, so it is easy to socially distance here. Happily, a fun, open-air restaurant called Habaneros is open at the marina—it’s where I enjoyed fried ice-cream last night…

Savoring the sunset—and fried ice-cream—at Robert’s Grove marina.
Savoring the sunset—and fried ice-cream—at Robert’s Grove marina.

On the sea side, there is a nice restaurant and café, but right now, the hours for both are limited. You are allowed to use their three pools and enjoy the seafront atmosphere and restaurants as an outside visitor, even if you are not staying here, and it’s a nice place to have a quiet afternoon.

Many readers have asked me about liveaboard boating in Belize. There is not an actual active, lively marina like you might see in Key West or other places in the Caribbean. We are technically living aboard at Robert’s Grove, with shore power, the ability to fill up water tanks easily, and we have everything we need, so we are experiencing about as close to that marina atmosphere as you can find in the country.

A couple other places that may be busier are the marina in Belize City, which has more services for pulling your boat out for maintenance. We have also used Thunderbird Marina for a pull-out repair. Robert’s Grove doesn’t have repair staff on site, but it is right down the street. Finding parts can be a challenge but try Westrac, it’s an automotive store but they have boat items and we’ve had some luck there. Also, Duke Marine in Belize City or Captain Sharks in San Pedro are places where liveaboard boaters can find what they need in Belize. There is some protection from significant storms (not hurricanes!) in the mangroves, in southern Belize. Provisioning and hardware is ample in the village.

The beachfront bars in Placencia are great. There’s no real night life here but it’s well-known for spectacular dining and happy hour experiences in a village that looks like a vintage Caribbean postcard.

Another great part of being close to Placencia is the ample nature experiences. You can visit a dozen wonderful islands on a day trip from the village. Yoga and art abound here too. And make sure you have your camera out while walking through the village—between the hand-painted signs, farmers’ markets, and little candy-colored wooden cabanas, you’ll be overwhelmed by the photo opportunities that can be found everywhere you look.

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