Belize Kayaking Vacations

Learn Kayaking in Belize to Access Fantastic Snorkeling

The tides in Belize are small, and there are few currents to speak of, so Belize is a great place to learn kayaking.

Belize kayaking trips have grown in popularity since our simple beginnings in 1986, when we were the first sea kayak outfitter in the county. The environment is perfect for these small, individual craft, whether it is for a self-supported, extended sea kayak trip or for day excursions out of a private island.

Sea kayaking to a nearby snorkel spot at Glover's Reef

Sea kayaking to a nearby snorkel spot at Glover’s Reef
Beth Epstein

Sea Kayaking is Part of the Package

Sea kayaking at our island is not available without purchasing one of our Belize vacation packages. Our island is located far out to sea, which is one of the reasons it is such a fabulous place; we experience none of the crowding found in other parts of Belize. There is no way to visit our island only for the day, a 5-night package (3 nights on the island) is our minimum as our private boat charter only goes to and from the island two days a week. Packages include hotels and meals in Belize City before and after the trip, transport to and from the island, accommodations and meals on the island, soda and beer on the island, and windsurf and other sports gear and instruction. We specialize in Belize multisport trips; we aren’t just a kayak resort! For a complete summary of all the sea sports we offer, visit our adventure sports page.

Each sport has a mandatory orientation session where we introduce our gear to you. Once you have had the orientation session, you are free to use the gear anytime you like, as long as you have a buddy. The buddy system is different for each sport, and that’s explained during the orientation. For example, a buddy while sea kayaking is someone kayaking with you, but in a separate boat, but a buddy while windsurfing is a person on shore paying attention to your location and notifying us if you need assistance. During scheduled activities, guides are on hand monitoring your progress and a buddy may not be necessary, since the guide is effectively your buddy.

[photo credit at top of page: Keith Fialcowitz]

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Let's go paddling!

“The trip was excellent; everything happened as described; better than I had even imagined. What a tremendous variety of activities, sports, talks, and tidal pool excursions. I loved the freedom to explore, the complete break from my normal routine, and the great companionship. It was like camp—I got to know all kinds of different people. All of the positive energy helped me overcome some of my fears (I had never done any of the activities) and really throw myself into it.

M.J. was particularly crucial in helping me learn to sea kayak, which became very important so that I could paddle and snorkel.”

Marcia Aldrich, Okemos, MI

Adventure Island at Glover's Reef , December 2011

Sea Kayaking at Glover’s Reef

Sea Kayaking Tours

The shallow waters inside the Belize Barrier Reef are usually quiet and contain no strong tidal currents, and the swells of the open sea are stopped by the long reef offshore. The remote, offshore atolls also have excellent kayaking opportunities. The atolls of Belize: Glover’s Reef, Lighthouse Reef, and Turneffe Islands. All Belizean waters are clear and warm (80 degrees), just like the rest of the surrounding Caribbean Sea.

To learn more about Belize’s premier sea kayak vacation, visit our Adventure Island at Glover’s Reef Full Week page.

Sea kayaking at Glover's Reef in Belize
Keith Fialcowitz

For Your Kayak Adventure – Be Sure You Have Access to Good Gear

When signing up for a guided sea kayak trip, make sure the company you select has a choice of kayaks for all bodytypes. Ideally you will be able to choose between singles and doubles, decked boats and sit-on-tops, boats for advanced kayakers and stable boats for beginners, and kayaks for small women and children, and also boats for tall men.

Safety is all important, be sure that any kayak you use includes instruction, warnings about local tides, currents, and spots to avoid, as well as lifejackets, kayak flotation, bulkheads, bilge pumps, and sprayskirts.

At right you will see Slickrock’s single, decked boats. In addition to this we have doubles and sit-on-tops as well. Starting at the top of the image:

Sea Lion by Perception, Sealution II XL by Wilderness Systems, Magellan by Dagger, Spartan by Atlantis, Shadow by Perception, Eclipse by Perception, Eskia by Necky, Looksha IV by Necky, Elaho by Necky.

To see a complete list of gear that Slickrock Adventures provides on Long Caye, visit our island sports equipment page.

Our single, decked sea kayaks
Victor Myers

Sea Kayaking at Glover’s Reef in Belize

Eco-tours in Belize provide a unique method of exploring the off-shore islands and reefs, where one can still find mangrove swamps on the islands with hidden reefs teeming with tarpon and snook, and quiet patch reefs surrounded by colorful schools of tropical fish.

The barrier reef and atolls presents another exciting environment to explore by kayak, trips that take place when the weather is quiet allows one to snorkel from the sea kayaks over the walls on the outside of the reef that plunge into the dark depths. Turtles, porpoise, sharks, and huge groupers are commonly encountered here.

Getting ready to snorkel by kayak
Keith Fialcowitz

What Time of Year is Best for Sea Kayaking in Belize?

December – April is the best time to visit Belize for all water sports. Summer and fall are rainy season, which morphs into hurricane season in the late fall. During December – April, the wind is more likely to be higher in the early part of that season, which means peak sea kayaking would be later, ie Feb – April. This doesn’t mean it’s not good in December and January, but better beginning mid-February.

Paddling toward our island, Long Caye at Glover's Reef in Belize
Keith Fialcowitz

Sea Kayak Instruction

Each Slickrock package, whether full week or half week, includes a mandatory sea kayak orientation session. This is offered the first full day that you are on the island, and takes most of the morning. Everyone participates in this session regardless of past experience. This is a safety issue, which is our number one concern.

The session includes the various parts of the kayak, how to paddle, how to get in and out of the kayak for snorkeling away from the island, and how to rescue your buddy who tipped over accidentally. After all of this is introduced on shore, everyone gets outfitted in the best boat for their body type and experience level and goes out into the water to practice each of these maneuvers in turn. This is often followed by a short paddle, either around our island, or over to the island next door.

Once you have completed this session successfully you may join the guide on paddles to snorkel or longer paddles, or use the kayaks on your own without a guide as long as you have a buddy and you run your kayak plan by us. We do reserve the right to veto your plan if we deem it unsafe.

Everyone practices rescuing their buddy and getting rescued as well
Henry Georgi