Latest update: 31 May 2023
How do pelicans eat, when do lobsters mate, and how to kill a barracuda? I learn it all during the trip of a lifetime. So join me on a sailing trip with Ragga Sailing Adventures (formerly Raggamuffin) in Belize.
The Ragga Sailing Adventures Overnight Sailing Trip
At the top of my Belize wish list is the Ragga Sailing Adventures Overnight Sailing Trip. Three days of sailing past uninhabited islands, scanning the sea for dolphins, and endless snorkeling. I want it! Take me there now!
Rain in Belize
I’m in Hopkins when a British couple tells me they’ve been loitering fruitlessly on Caye Caulker (where the sailing starts) for ten days, hoping the bad weather would pass. Unfortunately, during my trip through Belize, prolonged rain showers tear the country. So bad that the caves of San Ignacio are overflowing, and the sailing tours of Ragga Sailing Tours cannot take place.
It’s extra painful when people arrive at the hostel in Hopkins at the beginning of the evening with sun-tanned (or red-burnt) faces, salt-stained skin, and messy hair. They share ALL their stories about their Ragga Sailing Tours tour, which started the day after the English left Caye Caulker. Ouch.
Fortunately, the weather has improved a bit. I can enjoy three days with twenty others on and around the Ragga Sailing Tours catamaran. We are a colorful group: all continents and ages are represented. Everyone chatters endlessly. But it’s a bit too much for me at the trip’s start; I regret my farewell pub crawl on Caye Caulker. I lie down on the deck, soak up all the sun’s rays and sweat out the hangover.
Around lunch, I come to life a bit and strike up a chat with Chef Larry. I soon discover that I missed lobster season by two days. In Belize, you can catch lobster until mid-February and then again in June. I’m bummed. I’ve been looking forward to freshly caught lobster on the boat, so I didn’t eat lobster on Caye Caulker. I hope that the crew is not so strict with the rules. But no… no lobster on this Ragga Sailing Adventures tour. And right they are. Not only do they risk a fine or even imprisonment, but the temporary stop is also good for the lobsters. For four months, they can reproduce undisturbed and thus restore the number of lobsters in the sea.
Catch of the day: barracuda
Speaking of food, the food (despite the lack of lobster) is fantastic. It’s impressive what chef Larry manages to pull off in the small kitchen of the catamaran. Delicious ceviche, fresh barracuda, and endless fruit and rum punch. The barracuda is caught at the back of the boat. Some gentlemen with endless patience man the rods. After a long wait, one bites, and the next days more barracudas follow.
One of the travelers is happy to put the dangerous-looking fish out of its misery. The tactic? Pour rum into the barracuda’s mouth and club its head. Filleting also turns out to be quite a job, but the tough guy likes to take on that challenge. This man is a superhero anyhow: with two life jackets and no swimming diploma, he bravely jumps into the water to snorkel every time.
Snorkeling stops with Ragga Sailing Adventures
We snorkel in various places at the Belize Barrier Reef, the second largest in the world after the Great Barrier Reef. I’m almost afraid to say it, but I’m not particularly impressed. I have already made some snorkeling trips in Belize and saw turtles, rays, and sharks up close. But they hide during this sailing trip. However, we do meet a single ray, and we see dolphins from a distance. We also spot manatees from the boat.
The guides do their best to make something out of it, but (in my opinion) also discover few unique fish. Too bad. But I do think it’s really cool to be able to hold a sea cucumber for once. What a weird little thing!
I do enjoy floating in the water. Or, at least after a few snorkel stops. Because water and I: we are not real buddies. I quickly panic, which unfortunately also happens during this sailing trip when I accidentally mistake one of my fellow travelers for a guide and enthusiastically swim after him. We end up in much too shallow water, directly above the coral. We drift further and further and open limbs on the coral. Especially me, of course, because my panicked self has no idea what she’s doing and how she can get back on the boat safely.
Once back on board, the crew neatly takes care of my abrasions – a few scars are a lasting memory. This is when I decide to never ever snorkel without a life jacket again and that I need to buy an Easybreath snorkel mask for my next vacation.
Camping on the Ragga Sailing Adventures islands
We spend the night at Rendezvous Caye and Ragga Caye. Rendezvous Caye is the island of the first evening. It’s idyllic. That’s the only way to describe it. The island is uninhabited and partly landscaped. A man guards the island and waits for the boats with tourists. Although it feels like a paradise to me, I can’t imagine living here day in and day out. With just a helper and some visitors every now and then. There is no shower, and you throw a bucket on a string into the water to flush the toilet.
We spend the night in tents. Setting up the tent while the wind howls around us is quite a challenge. Because the rain threatens, I put my tent together with my Ragga Buddy under a palapa for extra protection against the rain. We all eat together on the small piece of the covered pier. We admire the starry sky when it is dry later in the evening. It’s breathtakingly beautiful.
Away from the world
We don’t get wet that night, but a sandstorm seems to be taking place in my tent. Bye bye sleep! But it doesn’t matter; I wanted to get up anyway to see the sunrise. The days during the Ragga Sailing Adventures Overnight Sailing Trip are so relaxed. Time seems to stand still, we glide over the water that takes on 99 shades of blue and enjoy the view, the company, the crew’s jokes, and the pleasant music. There is plenty to eat and drink, the conversations flow as freely as the rum punch, and no one minds if you want to sunbathe or read a book.
The luxury of Ragga Caye
The second night we sleep on Ragga Caye, an island Ragga Sailing Adventures leases. Here are some more amenities. If you pay a little extra, you can rent a private cabana; the rest stays in shared bedrooms with a maximum of four people. Or in the crew members’ bedroom, if you know what I mean. The younger crew members certainly try to get the female guests to do so and never stop trying to seduce them. Judging by the stories, their success rate is high.
There is a shower on Ragga Caye, and we get our big backpacks again. That would have been useful information before departure because I had crammed too much into my small backpack. On Ragga Caye, I can’t get enough of the many pelicans constantly hunting for fish. They take off, make a circle and dive into the water surefooted. They raise their beaks and show their full throat pouch. The water runs out, and the fish are left behind. I have no idea how much a pelican needs to eat, but this seems like assembly line work.
Barbecue, guitar, and stars
We hope for a barbecue with freshly caught barracuda that evening, and we get it. Unfortunately, the weather just doesn’t allow us to eat outside. Later it clears up a bit, and someone takes out his guitar. Old American songs follow one another. This is a typical campfire moment. Once more, thousands of stars show. Together with my Ragga Buddy Byron, I try to photograph the starry sky. He gives me many tips, all of which I take to heart. He is the one who shot a fantastic video of this Ragga Sailing Adventures tour.
On the last day, we again have a few snorkel stops and do our best to spot manatees. We end up at an island I recognize: I’ve been here before. Which is actually impossible, right? No, with the snorkeling tour from Hopkins, I also ended up at South Water Caye. I’m hoping for a reunion with the huge stingrays I’ve seen before, but no matter how hard I swim up and down, they don’t show up today.
We have lunch on Ragga Caye, and then it’s time to continue on our own. I hate goodbyes. How bizarre is it that you can enjoy yourself so much in just three days? I wish I could have stayed another day, to relive the conversations, the songs, the raps, the dances, the food, the sailing, the water, and not having to think. We exchange email addresses and hugs. We promise to send each other the pictures; everyone knows that will not happen. But it’s fine. The memories of these three days of Ragga Sailing Tours in Belize will last a lifetime.
Dream away with this video. Back then, it was still called Raggamuffin.
Pay close attention; you will see me with a rum punch (obviously), struggling with a tent, and also chilling on the boat.
Finally, some practicalities
Reservations for the sailing tour are a must. Many people want to go, despite the hefty price ($550 US). The sailing trip will take place if at least twelve people join and the weather permits. In principle, there is a sailing trip every Tuesday and every Friday. Sometimes also on Saturdays if enough people have registered. So email Ragga Sailing Tours well in advance about your plans. They respond very quickly and are helpful by email. You are expected at the office on Caye Caulker one day before departure. There is a briefing about the sailing trip, and you immediately meet the people with whom you will experience this beautiful bucket list item in the coming days.
After the sailing trip: Dangriga or continue
On the Ragga Sailing Adventures site, you can find your options after the sailing trip. You arrive in Dangriga, and from there, you can continue your journey or stay overnight. Because I want to continue to Mexico and because time-wise it’s impossible, I choose the latter as one of the few people actually. I even have the hostel dorm to myself. Check all accommodation options in Dangriga here.
Dangriga is an unexciting town, but well worth a short walk through. However, I must also say that after my Ragga Sailing Adventures adventure, I couldn’t really explore Dangriga: too tired! So I kept it to a short evening walk.
If you only do one thing in Belize, it has to be the Ragga Sailing Adventures Overnight Sailing tour. No doubt. Book it. Book it now.
More Belize travel inspiration?
Useful links for your Belize trip
- Travel guides. I love the practical guidebooks by Lonely Planet. You can buy them at Bol.com and Amazon.
- Flights. Compare all your options! For sure check Momondo, Skyscanner, and Kiwi.
- Bus. Book buses in Belize through Busbud, Omio, or 12Go.
- Accommodation. All-time favorite is Booking.com. Book hostels via Hostelworld.
- Money. Your bank cards may not get accepted everywhere. You could opt for a Revolut card as an additional card when you travel.
- Activities. You book the best tours and activities with GetYourGuide and Viator.
- Car rental. My go-to car rental companies are EasyTerra and Sunny Cars as they have all-inclusive / worry-free offers.
- Travel gear. Buy your gear at Bever or Decathlon, or simply at Bol.com.
- Package deals. Rather go on a catered trip? Not many Dutch travel companies offer trips to Belize: try Sawadee or Shoestring.
Or, book a lovely yoga retreat in Belize!
Some of the links on this site are affiliate links. If you buy something through these links, I might receive a small commission – at no extra costs to you of course!
First published: October 2018. Updated since.