A Trip to Beautiful Sarteneja, Belize to See About A Canoe

Sarteneja, Belize is a village about 30 miles NW of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. Sarteneja is well-known in the country for a few things: 1. traditionally, it is where many of the wooden fishing boats in Belize were made (and I believe some still are) and 2. it is known as the only seaside spot on the mainland where you can watch the sun set over the water.

Sarteneja Sign
Where the sun sets on the water

It is a lovely village. A village that I suggest to folks when they tell me that they want a “non-touristy” seafront spot. But non-touristy can also mean quiet…very quiet. For example, yesterday, I walked down the center of Main Street for blocks, and I wasn’t interrupted by one vehicle. Not one – at about 1:30pm.

Very cool mural of a lionfish
GORGEOUS mural of a lionfish – the tee shirts you could make!

There are a few restaurants—that may or may not be open. The supermarkets are tiny and have a very limited selection. (I brought 30lbs of cat food over for a friend who lives there)

Quiet means that there is one finicky ATM machine—that, from what I gather, may or may not be working right now. AND…until the new roads and bridges are completed, you are still taking the 4-car ferry-barges to get to the next good-sized town, the town of Corozal—a drive that can take up to 3 hours. (Here is the announcement of the project/groundbreaking in 2019)

That could be 100% your cup of tea—or it might not. I leave it to you to visit. But yesterday, we (Captain Carlos and I) took Jeff’s boat over to Sarteneja to pick up a canoe. The water was glowing, the mango trees were just starting to mango, and I took a bunch of photos.

The municipal dock
The municipal dock in Sarteneja

For more/longer trips to Sarteneja that I’ve taken see:

2014: My First Visit to Help with a Vet Clinic

2017: Sarteneja: A Charming Quiet Village on The Sea

2019: Sleepy Sarteneja: Glowing Water and ART on my Quick Visit

Here are yesterday’s pics.

Real quick first…some quick details. There are currently two boats that go back and forth from San Pedro to Sarteneja to Corozal and back. They are the Thunderbolt Water Taxi and Belize Sea Shuttle. (Always check ahead on the boats – and make sure they will be stopping at Sarteneja)

San Pedro to Sarteneja Map
As the crow flies, San Pedro to Sarteneja is 32 miles

You pass a few islands – like beautiful Blackadore Caye. But mostly it’s shallow (10-20 feet?) but not still water – the Bay of Chetumal is coming in…and it can be a bit choppy at times. But the water goes from crystal clear closer to Ambergris Caye to glowing chalky aquamarine.

The ride in the skiff was about 1 hour 40 mins on the way there and about 2 hours, 15 minutes on the (choppier) ride back.

Captain Carlos
Captain Carlos bringing me over…his mom lives in Sarteneja
The glowing water
Water glowing as we move past Blackadore Caye

As we reach the shore at Sarteneja…

Shorelines at Sarteneja

Making sure the canoe fits…(Jeff bought it a few months ago on Belize Buy/Sell from someone in Orange Walk)

Canoe delivery
Canoe in he skiff

Now let’s walk around a bit…

Sarteneja is from Maya — Tzaten-A-Ha which means water from stone. Apparently it is a good place to dig a well.

An fishing boat
One of the fishing boats built in Sarteneja

These guys were getting ready for lobster season (July 1st)

An almond tree by the water
Almond tree over the water
Some of the mango trees are starting to ripen
Gorgeous gorgeous mangos – we saw folks harvesting from some of the village trees
The public library and a school
A school next to the library
An older house
Rather than wood, the older houses are made from stone and cement
The health clinic
The (newish) clinic
Picnic table
The front road
The road along the sea is getting ready to be paved
Fernando's guest house
One of the hotels/guest houses – Fernando’s

I had a tasty burger at Izadora’s Restaurant – and enjoyed the killer view from their outside seating.

View over Corozal Bay

And we headed back…bumping along with the canoe secured tightly. And…I’m pretty sunburnt despite what I thought was some pretty impressive sunblock application. (Mostly just my nose and lip…it’s ALWAYS THE LIPS!)


Silty shore
The sea bottom is mostly silty…which makes for the beautiful chalky water

I’ll be back. SOON! Mangos will be coming into full season in the next month or so and I’ve always wanted to eat fresh, warm mangos straight from the tree…

2024 will be my year!

Pretty view

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  1. Broderick on April 26th, 2024 at 10:34 am

    I’m shocked that it takes three hours to get to Corozal from there!

    I ate a mango 🥭 that dropped from a tree while in Tequila, Mexico. What a beautiful, juicy memory 😊

  2. Scott Boyd on April 27th, 2024 at 8:21 am


  3. SPmQQseBZ on April 27th, 2024 at 2:31 pm

    i do hope that li’l town doesnt get crap roads built as is done in san pedro town.

  4. Margo Cline on April 30th, 2024 at 2:19 pm

    I hope next time you visit our airbnb, Iguana Beach House Belize. A seafront gated home with a private pool. It was the fisherman cooperative for several years, where all of the fishermen from the islands came to sell their fish. We also have the best location for watching the sun set over the sea

    • San Pedro Scoop on May 1st, 2024 at 7:15 am

      I would love to – I definitely plan to come back for a night or two in the very very near future. I’m loooking you guys up now!

  5. Alon Gurman on May 4th, 2024 at 8:25 am

    Thank you so much for exploring this wonderful village and what it has to offer the tourists. It’s a nice quiet paradise.
    We hope to meet with you in your next visit.
    Alon Gurman

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