Arrival in the Fishing Village of Sarteneja, Belize – First Impressions

So, it’s EARLY Saturday morning and I am in the small village of Sarteneja – the coast of the Belize mainland.

How did I get here you may (or may not) ask?  It was actually quite easy…

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The Thunderbolt water taxi leaves every day from San Pedro at 3pm going to Sarteneja (4:30pm) and then Corozal (5pm).  It returns leaving Corozal at 7am.  I boarded the boat on the lagoon side of San Pedro town and we were off.

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For some reason this emergency exit sign cracks me up.

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A $90bzd round trip ticket purchased right on the boat.

You can see my basic route above on the map…I drew a red line.

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An hour and a half later, we pulled up at the big cement municipal dock.  The fishing fleet, for the most part, was out to sea.  Lobster season.

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First thing that struck me is that the village is NO WHERE near as small as I thought it would be.  It’s actually quite sprawling with a handful of bars sprinkled along the water, lots of kids and adults swimming in the late afternoon sunshine, a super market, a party store and at least six churches.  2000 people all together and a growing expat population…drawn by the lower prices, the accessibility to the sea, the proximity to Corozal and the Mexico border (SHOPPING) and perhaps more…I have yet to find out.

Sarteneja is known for fishing and for the building of wooden boats.  Some gorgeous sail boats have been made here.  I didn’t see any building but I saw boats everywhere…

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A very cute little restaurant just at the foot of the dock.  Everything is so green here…

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An upstairs bar overlooking the shore line.  Not much going on…

IMG_7592Tour Guide Association.  Quiet also.

IMG_7593Some of the property for sale leaves something to be desired…

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But most of what I’ve seen is absolutely lovely.

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There are a few very impressive houses built by expats like this Sarteneja mansion on the sea.

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And lots of empty space.

IMG_7603We took a ride to the main street and the community center where this weekend’s dog and cat clinic will take place.  I rode in the back of a pick up truck because, well, that’s how I roll in Sarteneja.

There is a guest house…I need to make some time to visit for sure.  Oasis Guest House.

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1946.  I’m not sure there was much in San Pedro at that time.IMG_7606

We passed the garbage truck.  Really…this woman and her horse do the garbage collection in town.

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The small high school…

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And then, a lot or two off the beach, my friends beautiful house…

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And then right next door, this huge house.   One that is primarily used as a rental (FIVE bedrooms and $700US a month!) but was donated for the weekend for the visiting vets and assistants.

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And the view from the roof top swing.  Sarteneja is a tad bit disorienting for me.  In most of Belize, the sun rises over the sea and sets over the land or lagoon.

Here in Sarteneja?  The sun sets over the sea…THIS is going to take some getting used to.

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Time to get moving…the vet clinic set-up starts EARLY.  7am to be exact and right now the emergency revolves around coffee…

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Must get moving!





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  • Dale

    thank you for your visit to the little village of Sarteneja….one of the best kept secrets in Belize..

    • Belize Blog

      It is quite a secret…it’s so much more than I expected…I have lots more to see.

  • Have been there many, many times, I think you did a great job in your pictorial and written summary of my fav town.

    • Belize Blog

      Thanks so much…I’m really enjoying it so far. Love and am always fascinated that in Belize, each town or village has SUCH a different personality.

      • Will you be there in mid August? I am coming down with a few friends, maybe we could all meet at the Del Mar or Backpackers for a lunch, both Naht/Edwardo (if he is still around) and Paublo know me well.

  • One of the places in Belize we did not get to visit, enjoyed your report and look forward to more!

  • Fabian Perez

    I was born in Sarteneja but am presently living in San Ignacio, Cayo. I really enjoyed your report, very informative. That 1946 building is where I attended elementary school and many others before and after me. That was the only school in the village at the time, it also served as the R.C church since the church building which was immediately infront of it was destroyed by hurricane Janet. In fact my parents told me that that is where they sheltered during hurricane Janet

    • Belize Blog

      You just got me reading about Hurricane Janet – 1955 – one of the most powerful on record. How terrifying. Thanks so much for the history. I LOVE to hear it and I have a feeling that Sarteneja is filled with it. I’m definitely going back soon.

  • KanDee Shatney

    Hi this looks like its just the place for us!! Thank you for posting. Do you have the contact information for the people who rented your group the 5 bedroom house? We have 4 children 17,16,14 and 11 and a small dog and kitty. We are looking for a long term rental and would love to rent this beautiful house.

    • Belize Blog

      Hmmmm, I’m sorry…i’ll look around but I don’t know how to rent it. Let me see…

      • KanDee Shatney

        Thank you any information is appreciated. We will be in Hopkins from Jan 1st until the 8th then on to Sarteneja to look for a long term rental.