Sarteneja is a small village on the coast of Northern Belize’s Corozal district that can’t help but charm. The water is a distinctive chalky aqua, the old style fishing boats are bobbing in the breeze and the white village streets are lined with neat homes and huge almond & mango trees.
The village has a bit of an odd orientation. In Belize, the sea is generally to your east. But Sarteneja sits on a mainland bump – and faces north-west. So rather than seeing the sun rise over the ocean, here it sets.
It takes a while (for me, longer then the 2 days we had) to get comfortable with that.
It’s a place that, in the past, revolved around ship making and fishing. And both times I’ve visited, the sea views, low prices and SPACE make me feel like I’m about to see a real estate boom. BUT Sarteneja can only be reached two ways – by boat or by a 40 mile road from Orange Walk that is usually in horrible shape – if open at all.
And, there is very little to do in town other than walking around, admiring the sea and docks and perhaps taking a swim and…reading. Almost everything is very neat and well cared for.
Let me just show you what I saw…it’s the easiest way.
The municipal dock. Here the Thunderbolt Water Taxi arrives and departs. The boat leaves from San Pedro at 3pm each afternoon – 1.5 hours to Sarteneja and 2 hours to Corozal. It departs Corozal each morning at 7am for San Pedro. RT ticket is $90bzd.
The seafront really is lovely – clean with lots of pretty murals and public space.
The sea bottom is a very silty limestone that turns the water this chalky color.
The view from our guest house, Fernando’s. Fernando’s Seaside Guesthouse.
And Fernando’s spot – it is really the only game in town. $50US a night from AC and hot water with CRAZY water pressure. *Best in Belize!
You can also try this – I’m putting it on my Bucket List Belize. A homestay in the Village of Sarteneja.
I hope they don’t mind visitors that take long afternoon naps.
The police station and the cemetery are on the waterfront.
Heading back into the village, there are homes and a very few simple shops. A vehicle might pass every hour or so…
The community center (built in 1946) and a town library.
They are also building a health clinic at the corner of this block. Good stuff.
We had some tasty breakfast tacos at Taste Twister.
And then restaurants. There are few. Crabby’s Restaurant is the newest and most tourist friendly. It’s set right on the sea…
We ate at Pablito’s/Estrella del Mar – the lion fish was decent and the food is cheap! A plate of stew chicken is only $6bzd.
Liz’s Fast Food stand is a good choice for cheap and tasty burritos, garnaches, tostadas and other local fare.
This is not a town you want to visit for huge selection or fine dining. It’s all very simple.
Here’s my favorite place to visit in Sarteneja (other than Wildtracks Rehabilitation for Primates and Manatees – but we’ll get to that)…
One quick pic.
Chuy’s Arts. Chuy is a very talented guy who paints beautiful pictures of the old Sarteneja fishing boats. I’ve ordered paintings from him before – and he’s been so great about sending them over to San Pedro on the Thunderbolt.
Where else can you get ART for $10 or $20bzd?
He’s always been more than happy to send me photos of his recent work over FB messenger…
Aside from fishing and boat building and Chuy, the sunset over the sea is Sarteneja’s claim to fame…and while hazy, it was still a pretty one.
Chuy’s rendition is a bit more eye catching.
Tours offered from Sarteneja: There was a pamphlet in our room for boat tours operated from Fernando’s Guest House.
Snorkel and/or fishing tour to Bacalar Chico: Listed at $40US per person up to 8 people or $300US charter for boat – 7am to 4pm.
Sport fishing on the bay
Tours to Santa Rita Maya Site or Cerros Ruins – All day by boat $200US, 2-4 people.
Also, Shipstern Nature Reserve is not far from the village.