city guides: sarteneja, belize

Sold as an off-the-beaten-track fishing village, Sarteneja remains relatively undisturbed by tourism. Although we encountered no local fishermen touting their catch on the shore, as the only place on the mainland where you can see the sun set over the ocean, this small enclave has a rustic charm.

Great for

If you are travelling north from the highly populated Ambergris Caye or Caye Caulker, Sarteneja can provide a welcome rest from the fast-paced tourist trail. Stay at Backpacker's Paradise for chance to relax, surrounded by nature and watch the world go by.

Avoid if

You get bored without the option of multiple activities or dinner choices. Although we enjoyed our time here, if you are embarking on a whistle-stop tour, looking to cover the highlights of Belize, this lazy village is not an essential. It is also worth noting that there are no sandy beaches here, but an abundance of weather-worn wooden piers stretching for metres over the water.

Must do

Hire a kayak at the local tourism office (a blue hut sign posted as 'S.T.G.A – on the sea-front, just past two bars). A two-person kayak costs $10 BZD/hour.


Getting there/away

The boat to Sarteneja is on the Corozal-San Pedro route.

The once daily ferry departs from Corozal at 7 a.m., and from San Pedro at 3 p.m.


Leaving Sarteneja, it departs for Corozal at 4.30 p.m., and for San Pedro at 7.30 a.m.

The cost to-from Corozal is $25 BZD/per person, to-from San Pedro is $50 BZD/person. For those looking to cut costs as much as possible, it is worth noting that the cost from Corozal direct to San Pedro is also $50 BZD/person; starting at Sarteneja, 30 minutes into your journey will not reduce the price.

Budget-breaker or maker? 

Maker. Although the budget accommodation is a little overpriced, a few days here is unlikely to break the bank. Activities are relatively inexpensive compared to those elsewhere in Belize and the spending a few dreamy hours stretched out and suspended over the Caribbean, won't cost a penny.

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