Belize has always been a fascinating country to visit. From the heights of the cloud forest to the coral atolls surrounded by azure blue waters. Belize has something to offer everyone. Whether fishing or not, this small Central American country ticks several boxes;
- As a first saltwater experience, the opportunity of bumping into three major saltwater species.
- For those wishing to target permit.
- It is ideal for combination trips with either non-fishing spouses or families.
- As a former British protectorate, English is the official language and is widely spoken.
- Flights arrive daily into Belize City and allow for you to be at your lodge for tea, at the latest.
Belize has much to choose from in terms of accommodation and lodges, from relaxed B&Bs to large timeshare properties, small boutique hotels, private villas and private islands. Finding a starting point is often daunting. This is our pick of the top five fishing lodges, all of these cater for non fishers and each comes with varying levels of comfort and facilities. This is by no means a definitive list but purely a starting point.
Turneffe Island Resort
Turneffe Island Resort is the second-oldest sport fishing operation in all of Belize. Started by Vic Barothy in 1964, this operation is part of saltwater flats fishing history. As storied a place the lodge has been in saltwater fishing history, the grounds, accommodations, and overall operation would be totally unrecognizable to Barothy today. This immaculate private island located on the southern tip of Turneffe Atoll is simply stunning – as pristine, private, and secluded as anything in the entire Caribbean. Turneffe Island Resort’s location allows you to be on the flats fishing within minutes of leaving the dock each morning. With its location on the southern end of Turneffe, anglers are minutes from some of the best flats fishing for bonefish and permit, with opportunities to target tarpon in the various channels and cuts of the atoll.
The social centers for Turneffe Island Resort include a spacious, air-conditioned main lodge and the beachside bar. A pre-dinner gathering at the bar for hors d’oeuvres and refreshments is customary after a day fishing, diving, or snorkeling on the atoll. A large deck area and a swimming pool sit next to the bar and the main lodge, perfect for non-anglers as well as fishermen looking to relax after a day on the water. Guests at Turneffe Island Resort have three different choices for accommodations during their stay.
Turneffe Flats Lodge
Turneffe Flats Lodge is located on a private island and leans more towards being a fishing lodge. Having said that, it has far more creature comforts than you would expect to find in a fishing focused lodge. It the perfect place for anglers wishing to chase bonefish or permit on the shallow turtle grass flats and sandy cuts. It offers simple but very comfortable accommodation and is perfect for groups or couples looking to combine fishing, diving and kicking back and relaxing. Sea facing cabanas along the beach and two private houses work well for families or small groups of friends. For those not fishing, the more informal atmosphere is perfect for relaxing and unwinding. Kayaking, snorkelling or exploring the atoll are all available options. The surrounding reef and coral heads are a divers paradise as is Belize’s blue hole.
El Pescador, Ambergris Cay
A little closer to the mainland, Ambergris Cay is no more than a 15 minute hop in a Cessna. This long cay runs all the way up to the old Mayan channel which was dug centuries ago, from here it carries on all the way to the Mexican border. El Pescador is a longstanding favourite of ours and is one of the first fishing lodges in the area. The lodge is still owned and run by the same family and has a combination of lovely lodge rooms and private villas. The bustling town of San Pedro is close by for non fishers. For fishermen, Ambergris Cay is one of the best areas to target migratory tarpon in Belize from July through to September. For those not fishing, there are three saltwater pools to relax in and a variety of activities to choose from. From snorkelling and beach picnics to the mainland ruins of Altan Ha and Lamani. From ziplining through the rainforest to searching for the endangered West Indian Manatee, there is something for everyone.
Blue Horizon Lodge
In 1997, Lincoln Westby and his wife Perline decided to build a fishing lodge in Southern Belize, located in one of the worlds most productive permit fisheries. Coined, “permit alley” the fishing grounds are known for their expansive pancake flats that teem with marine life. There is no better place to fish for tailing permit in shallow water, than Permit Alley with Blue Horizon’s expert guides. This unique lodge merges Lincoln’s original “fish camp” feel with all the modern amenities a travelling angler wants.
There are no long boat rides to get to the flats. Blue Horizon’s professional team of guides will have you casting to permit (or bonefish or tarpon) within minutes of leaving the lodge. The proximity to the flats allows you to maximize your time on the water during the most productive moments of each tide cycle. They will have you fishing the tides, not the clock. The entire fishing program is determined by the tide cycle, not the time of the day or when a meal is served.
While most anglers who stay at Blue Horizon Lodge are focused on fishing for permit, but there is an abundance of tarpon nearby. Bonefish can be targeted and caught any day of the year, making this fishery one of the best places to target a Grand Slam in Belize.
Copal Tree Lodge, Punta Gorda
Copal Tree Lodge is The lodge is located on the Rio Grande, a short boat ride down river to the nearly endless flats of Belize. Most anglers visit the lodge for the world-class permit fishing; however, the area around Copal Tree Lodge (formerly known as Belcampo) also has populations of bonefish, tarpon and snook. The focus here is definitely on permit, but for those anglers wanting some variety there are opportunities close by for all of these major flats species. There are hundreds of excellent flats in the area around Punta Gorda, most less than thirty minutes from town. The lodge is about a 15 minute boat ride downriver to Punta Gorda, making the closest flats about 20 minutes away and the furthest flats about 45 minutes away.
Copal Tree Lodge maintains a top-shelf fishing program, while also offering perfect combinations for families and couples looking to combine an angling holiday with non-angling eco-tourism activities. The main lodge is spacious and inviting, and is perfectly complimented by the 12 luxury cabanas. Each cabana features air conditioning, a private bathroom, California king or two queen beds, and a large deck built out over the jungle canopy. In addition, the lodge features a spa, pool, mountain bikes, hiking trails, kayaks, and canoes.
Belize River Lodge
Only a short trip from the international airport, Belize River Lodge has access to a very diverse fishing environment. There are flats, channels, cayes, reef and mangrove islands to be explored, along with fishing on the Belize, Silburn and Manatee Rivers. It’s a large area with a great variety of conditions, fish species and scenery. Anglers will find permit, bonefish, tarpon, snook, snapper and jacks to cast at. The fishing guides at Belize River Lodge are all local, they know the waters well are and experienced saltwater operators.
The bonefish here tend to vary from two to eight pounds, with the average around three pounds. Snook can be found in sizes of five to 25lb and although they can be fished for year round, November through April are the optimum months. Large tarpon are also landed year round, with the biggest specimens found between March and early August. Permit – that ultimate fisherman’s trophy – are regularly sighted with fish anything from five to over 30lb. The fishing is mostly from skiffs although there is some wading available for bonefish and permit.
If you would like more information please contact Peter McLeod or call us on ++44 1980 847389. Alternatively click HERE if you would like us to contact you.