Sarteneja Village

About the Village

By Lebawit Lily Girma, Moon Guide – March 9th, 2014

From the Mayan “Tzaten-a-ha” (“give me the water”), Sarteneja was named after the 13 Mayan wells found in the area, carved into limestone bedrock and providing potable water. In addition to being a picturesque fishing village, Sarteneja is the only place on mainland Belize where you can watch the sun set over the water. The spot was first settled by the Maya as an important trading area. It is thought to have been occupied from 600 BC to AD 1200, and period gold, copper, and shells continue to turn up in the area. Mexican refugees from the Yucatán Caste Wars settled here in the mid- 19th century, again attracted by the availability of drinking water. The village took a pounding from Hurricane Janet in 1955 but rebounded and became known for its boat builders and free-diving lobster and conch fishers.Today, 80 percent of Sarteneja’s households remain reliant on the resources of the Belize Reef.  Tourism is creeping in, and Sarteneja offers one of the more off-the-beaten-path experiences in the country. Located on Corozal Bay, it is a well-kept secret in Belize, and few travelers have heard about its breathtaking sunsets, sportfishing, turquoise swimming waters, and importance as a protected area for manatees and bird-nesting colonies in the Corozal Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. This is slowly changing, as more travelers now stop here on their way to the northern cayes. Bring your swimwear—the water is beautiful and a stop here feels like an island getaway.

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Sarteneja Wooden Boats

Sarteneja is known for the annual Easter Regatta, during which newly painted sailboats of the artisan fishing fleet, crewed by local anglers, race against each other in a tradition that has continued since 1950. The regatta, on Easter weekend, includes live music, food, and fun, local “catch the greasy pig” games. Master boat builders Juan Guerrero and Jacobo Verde handcraft traditional wooden vessels at their workshops in Sarteneja—the wooden boat building tradition is unique in Belize and also in all of Central America. During fishing season, these boats dock in Belize City by the Swing Bridge. If you’re interested in culture and boats, ask around for the Mitzi-Ba Wooden Boat Building workshop to see master builder Juan Guerrero at work. If you’re lucky, you’ll witness one being designed from scratch.

Local Restaurants & Menus

Below is a non-exhaustive list of restaurants which can deliver orders to the hotel, and their Menu

Raquel’s Kitchen

Amazing selection of creative Belizean breakfast. Fry jacks, poached eggs and a tasty menu of regional Mestizos dishes including top-notch fresh fish and chicken dishes.

Crabby’s

One of the ocean side’s biggest culinary draws. The menu is based on fishermen specialties such as sea food ceviche and American classics like burgers, vegan/vegetarian options, along with Caribbean’s cocktails

Nay’s Pot

I am Nay and from my pot comes delicious food made from scratch with lots of love. I was born and raised in beautiful Sarteneja and I am proud to serve you.