After confirming your dates, Plan for your trip . . . The best thing you can do to get ready after booking your trip is to practice your casting. Accuracy of cast is far more important than distance. Speed of re-casting is also very important as saltwater fish tend to move across the flats. So, if you have an accurate 40’ cast and can pick that fly up and recast, example from 12:00 to 2:00 to get in front of a moving school of fish, this is far better and will hook more fish, then a wild 60’ cast.
Your guides are there not only to get you into fish, but to help make your fishing trip go as smoothly as possible. They are well versed in both fly and spin fishing and know that area of Central Belize well. Some guides tend to be a bit shyer than others, and don’t want to be presumptuous, so if you need something, let them know. If you need help with your casting, the guides are experienced in fly fishing and conventional tackle. The guides will make fly/lure recommendations and help to rig rods.
When fishing, you are on the bow of the skiff and the guide is normally on the platform at the aft. Guides use the “clock” system, and foot measurements to help you locate fish. If standing facing forward on the skiff, the bow is 12:00, hard right is 3:00 and hard left is 9:00. For foot measurements, your flyrod is approximately 9’ and a spinning rod is anywhere from 6’ to 9’. Your guide should go over this before fishing so you are both referring to the same thing – if he forgets, please remind him.
And finally, guides are people and not all have the same personalities. All of our guides know fishing and the areas to fish in Central Belize and all of our guides will work hard to get you into fish. They like when you catch fish as much as you do, if not more so. Sometimes weather or the fish themselves are not cooperative and this is not the guides fault. They will be working harder to find fish in bad weather conditions.
Wading: Some wading is available from both the main Lodge and the Outpost Lodge. If you would like to wade, please let us know ahead of time, so that we can schedule you with a guide who wades. There is no wading while fishing Snook and Tarpon. If fishing for Bonefish & Permit, about 20% of our flats are wadable. Please note, that the wadable flats are usually the first to blow out in windy conditions.INFORMATION TO NOTE WHILE GETTING READY FOR YOUR TRIP
Catch & Release Only Belize River Lodge was the first to practice catch and release for Permit, Bonefish & Tarpon and as of the summer of 2009, it is now law! Belize law states that all Permit, Tarpon and Bonefish are Catch & Release only. Even though not protected by law, BRL continues its goal to improve the fishing environment, so only one Snook per day at guide’s size discretion (and only if wanted by the guest) may be kept. Some Snapper, Barracuda & Grouper may be kept for the table, again only if wanted by the guest.
Belize Fishing Licenses A fishing license is now required to sports fish in Belize. Due to the Sport Fishing regulations protecting the three main sport fishing species, Bonefish, Tarpon and Permit, the Coastal Zone Management Authority (CZMA) has been given the mandate to issue Sport Fishing licenses and collect Sport Fishing license fees. Note: Belize River Lodge has fishing licenses on-site and your fishing license can be issued once you reach the Lodge. Fishing licenses are per person - US$25.00 for the week or US$10.00 per day.Travel Documents A valid passport is required to enter Belize and must be valid at least six months beyond the duration of your stay. Visitors from the USA, UK and most of the Caribbean do not need Visas. Most other countries do. Any questions, please contact the Embassy of Belize in the USA at (202) 332-9636 or Fax (202) 332-6888. Belize Departure Tax There is a fee of US$39.25 for the Belize Departure Tax & Airport Security Fees that may be included in your ticket or must be paid at the airport upon leaving Belize. If not included in your ticket, this must be paid at the airport in US Dollars before departing Belize.
Travel Arrangements Guests fly to Belize International Airport, airport code is BZE. You are met by a member of the Lodge staff, who will shuttle you to the Lodge which is only a few miles away. Agents normally handle airline ticketing or you can get it online. The following airlines fly to Belize and you can contact them online:
Avianca offers a red eye out of Los Angeles, CA American Airlines offers direct service from Miami, FL; Dallas, TX and Los Angeles, CA Copa Airlines will offer direct service to Belize from Panama, Central America – starting in December 2015 Delta offers direct service Atlanta, GA and Los Angeles, CA Southwest Airlines will offer direct service to Belize via Houston, TX – starting in August 2015 Tropic Air flies daily to San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa and Roatan, Honduras; Guatemala City and Flores, Guatemala and Cancun and Merida Mx. United Airlines offers direct service Houston, TX daily and Newark, NJ and Chicago, IL US Airways offers direct service Charlotte, NC
If you are arriving in your private aircraft, planes should clear through Philip Goldson International Airport (airport code: BZE) with the Belize Civil Aviation Department and the Belize Airport Authority. For more details, please check the PGIA website.
Travel Protection Travel Insurance and protection is always nice to have as you never know what the future will hold or if plans need to be changed at the last minute. Travel protection is available from most travel agents or is available online. Many travel insurance sites are available, here are a few that we know about: Travelex Insurance Services or Travel Guard Insurance. Note: If you are booked during hurricane season (June to October), and you have paid for your trip, if a storm brews and your trip has to be postponed, no problem, you don’t lose any money, you have one year to reschedule your dates.
Currency The Belizean dollar is worth half of a U.S. dollar. Dollars are accepted everywhere, but change will be given in Belizean dollars. For your convenience, please bring small bills to cover small expenses, such as Departure Tax, bar bill, & incidentals.
Gratuities/Tipping BRL does not include a service charge or gratuities on your bill. Gratuities are appreciated by our staff who work hard to make your stay enjoyable and memorable. Please tip your guide on your last day of activity and the staff on your departure day. Tipping is a personal thing based on service. Please plan on tipping in cash for both guides and lodge staff. If help is needed, please ask the Lodge manager for guidelines.
Carry-on Baggage Most anglers like to carry on their rods, reels and fishing equipment. Carry-on regulations are not set in stone and depend on the airport that you are traveling from. The most up-to-date information on security procedures can be found on the web. While not specific, it is a good guideline; however, it does state the following:
Medications – any medicines prescribed by a doctor and taken daily should be packed in carry-on. Fishing rods - Fishing rods are permitted as carry-on and checked baggage. However, please check with your air carrier that it fits within their size limitations for carry-on items. Ultimately, it is the carrier's decision as to whether or not it can be transported as carry-on baggage. Tackle Equipment - Fishing equipment should be placed in your checked baggage. Some tackle equipment can be considered sharp and dangerous. Expensive reels or fragile tackle such as fly's should be packed in your carry-on baggage.
Natural Pests/Wildlife Due to the tropical climate of Belize, it is very likely that you will encounter natural pests. Belize River Lodge is a jungle lodge so the possibility of seeing lizards, geckos, iguana, frogs and spiders are common and are harmless. They all help to eliminate unwanted pests. If you encounter a scorpion or a snake, don’t panic! Usually they are more afraid of you and are trying to get away. Let us know if you need help removing them from wherever you are.
Mosquitos We try to protect the environment and we minimize the use of sprays and insecticides, as they also harm birds and butterflies. Mosquitos and No-seeums (sandfly’s) can be pesky, especially around sun-up and sun-down, and are the worst you will encounter. Mosquito repellant is a good deterrent and light weight long pants with socks and light weight long sleeve shirts also help to keep them from biting you.
Marguerite’s Restaurant & Meals BRL serves family style meals and our daily menus are varied and very tasty. It is best if we know before you arrive in Belize if you have any special dietary restrictions (food allergies or special requests), so that we can prepare your meals to your needs. However, the main Lodge is near supplies, so we can usually accommodate requests quickly. When checking in, we double check with you on dietary requirements and if we somehow missed yours, please be sure to let management know of any dietary restrictions or requirements that the kitchen staff needs to be aware. It is extremely necessary to know your dietary need before your arrival in Belize if you are staying on Long Caye.
BRL’s kitchen can handle an assortment of dietary restrictions and have a menu planned for your requirements. Please let us know if you need a diet to take into account: _____ Diabetes _____ High Cholesterol _____ Celiac Disease _____ Vegetarian _____ Other Notes on other: ________________________________________
If you do not eat on of the below foods, due to allergies, dietary needs to just plain dislike, please let us know ahead of time so that we can plan your menu accordingly. (** Alternative) ____ Milk, ____ Eggs, ____ Eggs cooked in breads, ____ Milk cooked in breads, ____ Butter, ____ Cheese, ____ Sugar, white, ____ Pasta, ____ white flour, ____ White Rice (** brown rice), ____ Potatoes (** sweet potato), ____ White bread (** wheat), ____ Onions, ____ Mayonnaise, ____ Mustard, ____ Pickles, ____ Relish, ____ Beef, ____ Pork, ____ Chicken, ____ Fish, ____ Shellfish - shrimp, lobster, conch, etc, ____ Other _______________, ____ Other _______________ Available upon request: Soy &/or Almond milk, bran cereal.
Continental breakfasts at the Lodge Available upon request; however, notice needs to be given before 7:00 p.m. on the previous evening. If you and your guide feel fishing early will be beneficial, it can happen and continental breakfast is served to facilitate. Your guide will not be available to depart early unless an early departure is set up with him before the end of the previous fishing day
Liquor at the Lodge The Lodge has a small self-service, honor system bar and guest sign a tab for drinks. We have open bottles of alcohol (a Belize rum, a vodka, a gin, a whiskey, & a tequila) at the bar for you to mix drinks in the evening. We also have alcohol & wine for sale by the bottle. Please check with the office to see what is available by the bottle. You may bring your own alcoholic beverages, if you like. When entering Belize, after Immigration and before luggage retrieval, there is a “Duty Free”. This is an easy place to pick up your liquor and tobacco. If purchased at the duty free in Belize, visitors are allowed 4 liters of alcohol duty free each.
GPS’s GPS’s on a fishing boat always ensures that the fishing is never as good as when it is just the anglers and the guide on board. Please leave your GPS at home.
Salt Water Saltwater is very corrosive. Rinse your rods & reels daily with fresh water. At the Lodge, it is policy that at the end of the day, your guide or Mike will rinse your rods & reels down with fresh water at the dock. After your trip, rinse & clean all equipment & clothing thoroughly before storing.
Photos All of our promotional material, brochures, magazine ads, website, dvd, flyers etc are guest photos. If you have any pictures from you trip that you would like to share and don’t mind us using your photos, please let us know. We can download the pictures to our computer before you leave the Lodge. We appreciate all pictures of all fish, flora, fauna or anything that you find interesting while visiting.
Facts about your hosts
Mike and Marguerite purchased the Lodge in 1986 and have owned and managed it since; however, their tourism career started years before. Mike and Marguerite managed the Lodge, when it was known as Keller’s Caribbean Sports (KCS) from 1980-1981. In late 1981, they were hired to manage Pyramid Island Lodge and moved to Caye Chapel. They left Caye Chapel and opened up Discover Belize, known for live-aboard (the Permit) fishing and duck hunting trips, yes, there are blue-winged teal in Belize. In the mid ‘80’s with Belize’s regulations on gun control tightening and Mike and Marguerite’s focus to conservation beginning, they phased out the duck hunting and continued fishing with a big focus on catch and release on the sporting species. When KCS went on the market in 1986, it was the right transition for them. When Mike and Marguerite managed and then purchased the Lodge, the guides were from good Ole’ Vic’s days – Jimmy Evans, Richard Smith, Phillip Andrewin, Roy Baptist and Leroy Eiley. These guides were a font on information on the old days and the fishing of Central Belize. With Mike and Marguerite’s experience of Belize, tourism and fishing, they are entertaining and knowledgeable hosts.
Telephone To receive calls while at the Lodge, the main phone number, dialed direct from the USA is 011-501-225-2002. For making calls while at the Lodge, there is a telephone in the office that uses local (BRL) calling cards and sometimes you can use credit card phone cards. BTL phone cards are available in the office in increments of US$5.00 and US$10.00. The US$10.00 card gives you approximately 12 to 15 minutes of call time to the USA. Lodge internet computer, fax and computer services are available for a small fee.
If you will be using your US cel phone in Belize, you will need to call while in the USA (country of origin) and have your service provider open it up for International calling and Belize in general. Your US cel should work around the Lodge with no problems. Belize rental cel phone available, please contact us for more information and rates.
Fax Fax services are available. The fax number, dialed direct from the USA is 011-501-225-2298. There is a fee to send faxes and will depend on the number of pages and length of time of the call to send the fax. If a fax is received, there is a minor per page fee.Internet services The main Lodge porch and living room is set up for wireless internet, please ask the office for the password. If you have brought your laptop, please feel free to use our free wireless service; however, only a few guest computers can be used at a time. This is minimal access for e-mail only, no big downloads, please! Long Caye Outpost Lodge does not have phone or internet services
If you have something with big upload/downloads that you need to do while at the Lodge, internet is now available by wireless router, via Smart 3G. We have the routers for rent for US$5.00 per day, and you can let us know how much time you would like us to have on it.1 GB = US$15.00 ~ 2 GB = US$25.00 ~ 5 GB = US$35.00 ~ 10 GB = US$45.00 15 GB = US$55.00 ~ 20 GB = US$65.00 ~ 25 GB = US$75.00
If you let us know, we will charge up the Smart router, and it can be paid when checking out.
Electricity and electrical outlets The main Lodge gets electricity from Belize Electricity Limited. Belize is on the same electrical system as the USA (110 volts, 60 cycles), so if coming for N. American, no special outlet plugs are needed. Some of BRL’s outlets are two prong, so you may want to bring a two-into-three prong electrical plug converters (about $1.00 at a hardware store in the US). If you have a lot of camera equipment, etc, you may want to bring a small power strip to handle your electronics in one area of your room.
Music The main Lodge and Long Caye Outpost Lodge both have a cd/ipod player if you would like to enjoy music in the evenings or during dinner. If you don’t see if, just check with us.
Lodge TV /DVD at the main Lodge On the main Lodge porch, we have a TV and DVD player. While the main focus of the Lodge is not TV, we know that there are important sports games throughout the year and it can also be used to see video footage of fish landed during the day.
Mike's Closet (Tackle Shop) BRL has a small tackle shop with an assortment of fishing supplies – flies, lures, backing, lines, leaders and tippet. Mike's Closet has a good selection of flies and lures on sale (based on the BRL recommended lists), however, you can follow our fishing list and bring everything that you will need, using Mike’s Closet as a back-up. If you cannot find something on the recommended list, don’t worry, we have it available at the main Lodge. Rental equipment, both fly and spin, is also available.
Fly Tying Bench Belize River Lodge has a fly tying bench with tying materials available for guest use. If you have a particular fly that you like to tie, maybe bring a few of those materials with you. If you would like some instruction or would like to learn to tie flies during your stay, Mike & a few of the guides can help you. Only available at main Lodge, if you would like a tying vice available at Long Caye Outpost Lodge, please let us know. If requested for Long Caye, the vice will be available, not tying materials.
Rental Equipment Belize River Lodge has rental equipment, subject to availability. Fly fishing equipment is top quality, mainly Sage rods, 8 wt’s, 10 wt’s & 12 wt’s, & Teton or Sage saltwater reels. All reels have Rio lines. We also have a few 8 wt Winston rods in our rental equipment. Spin fishing equipment is also top quality, mainly Ugly Sticks with Shimano or Penn reels. If you find that you are short of the needed equipment, flies or lures, we have a good stock of flies & lures that work well for the local waters. Please check with someone in the office.
Cigars The Caribbean is known for some of the finest cigars in the world, we have a good stock available for sale in the small humidor on the porch. However, if you wanted to try a Cuban, let us know and we can get them for you. 24 hours notice is required on this service.
Massages Massages are available at the Lodge and can be arranged; so plan to unwind and treat yourself to a relaxing and therapeutic massage! Let us know you are interested, and a licensed masseuse will arrive at the Lodge after dinner and relieve your body’s aches. 24 hour notice is required for this service. Massages are available only if a masseuse is available. Price is based per 1 hour.
Hairdresser Ladies, while Belize River Lodge does not have a cosmetologist on site, we can make arrangements for you to go into Belize City for a hair or nail refresher. 24 hours notice is required on this service and based upon availability of the cosmetologist. Not available on Sundays and Mondays.
Transportation to Belize City If you would like to visit the casino or see a little of Belize City, taxi service is available. The cost for one or two people is approximately US$25.00 one way into Belize City or US$50.00 round trip. The driver will stay with you (up to a party of 2) on your excursion for an additional US$10.00 per hour. Other destinations are different costs. The driver is paid direct at the end of your trip.Suggested Reference Books ~ Fly Fishing in Saltwater by Lefty Kreh ~ Fishing the Flats by Sosin & Kreh ~ Fly Fishing for Bonefish by Dick Brown ~ Practical Fishing Knots II by Mark Sosin & Lefty Kreh ~ Saltwater Fly Fishing by Jeff Currier
Fly Fishing Belize by Jim Klug From Vic Barothy’s time to present day, this is a beautiful book with photos of all over Belize from the 1960’s till today. From Jim’s website: “With images and text from photographer and fly fishing travel professional Jim Klug, Fly Fishing Belize provides an in-depth look at all the country has to offer anglers, travelers and modern-day adventurers. The large-format book includes a stunning collection of photographs shot throughout the country, information on Belize's numerous coastal fisheries, and historical writings and contributions from some of the biggest names in fishing. This book is a must-have for both saltwater flats fishermen and non-anglers who truly appreciate the scenic beauty of this Caribbean country. From a photography perspective, this book will speak to those who have fished Belize and those who plan to in the future.”
Trip Feedback We do not always get in touch with you after a trip, this is not because we do not care about your thoughts on what could have made your trip better, it is because we are giving the guest at the Lodge the same personalized attention that you received. Please contact us with feedback so that we can continue to make the Lodge better and we always appreciate hearing when you just enjoyed your trip.