Quick Facts

  • Price: STARTING AT $2938 // 7 NIGHTS / 6 DAYS FISHING
  • Fish Species: PERMIT, BONEFISH, TARPON
  • Seasonality: YEAR ROUND
  • Location: SOUTHERN BELIZE

PLACENCIA, SOUTHERN BELIZE

Blue Horizon is located in the famed “Permit Alley” of southern Belize. Guests fly commercially to Belize City (BZE), then take either a 15 minute flight to Dangriga or 30 minute flight to Placencia, depending on where they choose to stay. After arrival, guests either drive a few minutes by car or or take a 30-45 minute boat ride to reach their chosen lodging.

PERMIT, TARPON, BONEFISH

Southern Belize offers some of the best permit fishing in the world. The bonefish fishing is limited but reliable, and tarpon are available seasonally, but permit are absolutely the main event. Blue Horizon covers an enormous fishery with crystal clear water and countless cayes, pancake flats, and reef flats surrounded by coral. The area is known for consistently tailing permit.

BLUE HORIZON IS OPEN YEAR ROUND

“High” season is considered January-May, but the permit fishing is good year round. Tarpon fishing is best in summertime when more adult tarpon are around. Southern Belize is far enough south to be out of the hurricane zone, and the fishing can be great in summer/fall when most Caribbean and Bahamian destinations are on storm watch.

Blue Horizon offers a number of lodging choices that fit any budget, from no-frills bungalows overlooking the permit flats, to family friendly resorts, to private islands with excellent amenities. There are endless non-angling activities for families and companions, including coral reefs in every direction. For the hard-core angler, the permit fishing is second to none. Blue Horizon is truly a perfect destination for all saltwater anglers, whether traveling alone, with fishing buddies, non-angling companions, or families.

Starting at $2938

7 Nights / 6 Days Fishing starts at $2938 in the low season (August – November) and $3778 the rest of the year. Shorter and longer packages are available, as well as a number of lodging options. See RATES for more details.

You the client don’t pay a penny for our travel services! Our destination recommendations, organization, and pre-trip planning services are completely free of charge – and oftentimes less expensive than booking direct with a lodge or outfitter. We can assist with every question, concern, or special request related to your adventure at zero cost!

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Blue Horizon is a fly fishing operation located in “Permit Alley” near Placencia, Belize. The fishery is huge and the permit fishing as good as anywhere. The flats are easily the most beautiful of any permit-centric destination. Almost every flat is ringed with scuba-quality coral. And almost every flat is topped with happy, tailing permit.

Legendary permit guide Lincoln Westby founded the operation decades ago and, at 76 years young, is still putting anglers on permit with amazing consistency, along with the guide team he personally trained. Westby and his team practice a conservation ethic that should be a model for guides everywhere, treating the flats and fish with utmost care. This philosophy ensures a healthy fishery and happy permit for years to come.

In addition to the wonderful fishing, the accommodations at Blue Horizon set it apart from almost every other fishing lodge. Whereas anglers have only one lodging option — and one price point — at most destinations, Blue Horizon offers anglers a choice of lodging that fit any budget. From basic open-air bungalows overlooking the flats, to family oriented resorts on the mainland, to luxury private islands, Blue Horizon allows anglers to choose their own level of comfort, service, and price. But regardless of where they choose to stay during their trip, all anglers experience the same gorgeous flats, highly skilled guides, and incredible opportunities at permit on the fly.

Destination Details

Destination Description

Conjure up the most picturesque flats you can imagine. Now, add some more coral around the edges, and sheer walls dropping into deep blue beyond that. Put an iconic permit guide on the back of the skiff behind you. Finally, scatter tailing permit all over the skinniest parts of the flat. That is Blue Horizon in a nutshell.

Blue Horizon was founded by Lincoln Westby, a legendary permit guide who still poles the flats at age 76 and probably knows permit better than any guide in the world. Decades ago, he built a fishing lodge on a caye in the middle of the fishery, but over the years the elements took their toll on the buildings and infrastructure. The lodge is currently closed pending renovation, but in the meantime Blue Horizon offers anglers a wonderful variety of accommodations to its guests — luxury private islands, family-friendly resorts, or basic bungalows overlooking the flats.

Along with the many lodging options come a dizzying variety of activities for non-anglers, from world-class snorkeling and scuba diving, to exploring Mayan ruins, caves and waterfalls, to simply chilling out in the pool. With so many accommodations and activities to choose from, Blue Horizon is an easy choice for just about every permit fisherman: hardcore anglers on a budget, those seeking a high level of comfort and style without sacrificing fishing quality, or those with families, significant others, and non-anglers in tow.

Belize is a wonderful country filled with natural beauty and some of our favorite people on earth. Belizeans have an infectious sense of humor, fun-loving attitudes, are proud, smart, laid back, environmentally conscious, generous, and simply a pleasure to be around. Travel there is surprisingly easy — most U.S. anglers leave home in the morning and have a cocktail in hand at their lodge of choice by late afternoon.

With such good fishing, excellent guides, gorgeous surroundings, accommodations to fit any budget, and tons of other activities, Blue Horizon is a must-do for every angler.

The Fishing

Blue Horizon is often described as the permit fishing equivalent of dry fly fishing, due to the sheer number of tailing fish in ultra shallow water. And not just any shallow water — crystal clear water barely covering countless pancake flats, reef-style flats, and cayes ringed with multi-colored coral. The tops of the flats are mostly sand and/or turtle grass, and on the correct tidal periods, almost every flat is adorned with schools of tailing permit. Other dedicated permit fishing destinations might match the overall quality of the fishing, but no other permit fishery has flats as beautiful as those at Blue Horizon.

No other permit fishery is as large, either. The Blue Horizon fishery is some 40 miles north to south, inside the Belize barrier reef from Dangriga to south of Placencia, dotted with flats along the entire length. Most of the flats themselves are relatively small in fishable surface area. That leads to a pretty good tradeoff: more frequent boat runs between flats, but the fish are easier to locate on each flat and there are very little periods of extended poling without shots or encounters.

The permit fishing is closely tied to tidal fluctuations, with fish appearing on the flats on either side of the high tides but disappearing into the depths around the lows. When booking your trip, Tailwaters Travel will walk you through the tides for prospective dates to pick a week with advantageous tides.

In addition to the pancake flats and cayes near the barrier reef, there are also several lagoons on the mainland between Placencia and Dangriga that hold permit, tarpon, and snook. While the water in the lagoons is not as pretty as it is closer to the reef, the lagoons provide variety and the permit there tend to be eager to eat a fly.

Another intriguing option when weather conditions allow it is Glover’s Reef, an uninhabited atoll over ten miles offshore of the Belize Barrier Reef. It is a pristine, seldom-fished area teeming with bonefish, including bonefish upwards of 10 pounds. Glovers also holds plenty of permit that hardly ever see a fly. Anglers lucky enough to have the right conditions for a run in the open ocean to Glover’s should definitely take the opportunity to do so.

THE GUIDES

Lincoln Westby founded Blue Horizon and is still the and head guide. He has fished the area’s flats for fifty years and may know more about permit fishing than any guide alive today. His ethic towards the flats environment and fish truly sets him apart. For example, he avoids wading to preserve the sensitive coral, turtle grass, and permit food such as immature sea urchins. As soon as permit become jittery he backs off to find other fish. He meticulously rotates flats in order to keep pressure to a minimum. And he has instilled these values in all of the Blue Horizon guides, ensuring healthy flats and happy permit for many years to come. Many of the Blue Horizon guides are not only mentored by Westby but are also second generation guides raised around permit and are capable, knowledgeable, and experienced. When Westby does decide to put down the push pole, he will leave an incredible legacy of guides who know how to put permit in the boat, and who care deeply about preserving the flats environment and fishing quality.

The Blue Horizon skiffs are comfortable 23’ superpangas. Almost all of the fishing is done from the bow of the skiff in order to protect the flats, coral, and all the life in these sensitive areas from repeated foot traffic.

OTHER SPECIES

Tarpon, bonefish, snook, barracuda, snapper, jacks, triggerfish, and all the species usually encountered on or near the flats of Central America are found here.

The bonefish fishing is reliable if unspectacular, with large schools of bonefish holding in specific locations around certain cayes and scattered across some of the other flats. If you want to catch a bonefish at Blue Horizon, tell your guide and he will motor to a spot where a school of bonefish is almost guaranteed to hang out. Cast into the middle of the school and hope a fish is hungry at the time. You would not dedicate a trip to bonefish at Blue Horizon, but if you are lucky enough to catch a permit and tarpon on a particular day, a grand slam would be within easy reach.

Adult tarpon show up in the summertime, but at other times of the year the tarpon fishing is sporadic. If your trip is in the summer, you should definitely bring an 11 or 12 wt. If you hit it right, you will find big schools of fish from 50-150 lbs. They are usually found holding in deeper water near the flats, and a sink-tip line increases the number of eats and hookups dramatically. We also typically encounter singles or small groups of tarpon cruising the flats. These can provide an unsurpassed visual fishing experience if they hang out long enough for you to switch from your permit rod to tarpon setup and get a shot.

Snapper, jacks, triggerfish, barracuda, and other species are often encountered if you would like a diversion from the hunt for permit. But the opportunities for all other species pale in comparison to the phenomenal permit fishing at Blue Horizon.

Accommodations

Blue Horizon was founded decades ago as a dedicated fishing lodge on a caye in the middle of “Permit Alley” by Lincoln Westby. However, the years and elements took their toll and currently the Blue Horizon lodge is closed for renovation. It is expected to reopen in a couple of years. Until then, Blue Horizon offers its guests a choice between a number of lodging options for their trip.

Although the current accommodations may not have quite the same feel as a traditional fishing lodge, they provide much more flexibility and the ability to customize your trip. A typical fishing lodge has a nice sense of camaraderie with most or all of the guests being anglers, but there is only one place to stay and only one price point. At Blue Horizon, you might sit down to dinner with honeymooning couples, families, or vacationing scuba divers along with other fishermen. However, you are also sure to find lodging that suits you, any non-angling companions, and your checkbook.

It would be impractical here to try to describe every aspect and amenity of each retreat, so the following is a broad overview. Tailwaters Travel has experienced all of these properties, so we can fill you in on the details and help you choose the right one for your party — a choice that basically comes down to cost and whether your group is comprised of only fishermen, or non-anglers who would like to explore the attractions of interior of Belize.

CAYES

The widest variety of options are the cayes, ranging from an ultra-luxury private island with extensive staff, to a mid-level option that is a step up from most fishing lodges, to one with more spartan accommodations and service. We actually love the budget option (currently offered only during “low” season August — November), which is inexpensive mainly because the bungalows do not have air conditioning. But they are positioned on the water to catch the near-constant ocean breeze, and nighttime temps are comfortable enough in this region for most people — and certainly for hardcore fishermen looking to spend their money on the fishing rather than fine linens and attentive service. The bungalows have private bathrooms, are comfortable, and a great value. The caye has well-manicured paths through gigantic palms forming a solid canopy overhead. There is a waterfront bar with a pool table and beach volleyball. Meals are served family-style but are delicious. A large school of bonefish lives on the island, which is also surrounded by excellent permit flats. The caye is very well positioned near the heart of the permit grounds. Last but not least, there are a few huge tame bonefish that live by the dock. They are hand-fed and will not eat flies, but are well over ten pounds and mesmerizing to watch.

The highest-end option will blow you away with its plush cabanas, cuisine, service, and amenities, but the entire island must be reserved by a cohesive group and, due to cost, really only makes sense for groups of around 10 people. If you have a sizeable group and a luxury private island sounds like it would fit the bill, we would love to give you all the specifics about this island.

A third very popular option is a large private island frequented by couples and scuba divers. There are a number of rooming options here, from over-water bungalows and villas to on-the-water cabanas. Many of them have rooftop living areas with hammocks, a perfect place to stargaze and feel the ocean breeze before turning in for the night. The caye is large and most of the accommodations are spread out and very private. There is an over-water bar and a number of games like bocce ball and corn toss.

If you plan to fish every day of your trip, or have members of your party focused on scuba diving or snorkeling, you should stay on one of the cayes due to proximity to the permit grounds and diving sites. And no matter which option you choose, you

MAINLAND RESORTS

Blue Horizon offers two club-style resorts on the mainland. While they are further from the traditional permit grounds, they are ideal for families and guests who would like some shopping and nightlife during their trip. They are also the better option to experience the culture and wide variety of activities in the interior of Belize, such as cave tubing and exploring Mayan ruins.

One resort is located in Placencia and the other in the town of Hopkins. Placencia in particular has several wonderful restaurants, a number of shops, and a lively vibe. Hopkins has the reputation as the “real” Belize — a sleepier town but very friendly. Both have upscale accommodations, large swimming pools, and a dizzying array of activities on site such as stand up paddleboarding, kayaking, beach volleyball, or a full array of spa services.

With such a wide variety of places to stay (and corresponding trip cost), Blue Horizon caters to anglers on any budget and mixed groups that include non-anglers perhaps better than any other fishing operation.

Travel

Travel to Blue Horizon is easy and hassle-free. U.S. anglers generally leave home in the morning on a 2.5 to 3 hour flight to Belize City, arriving mid-day, followed by a short flight to Dangriga or Placencia (depending on choice of lodging), arriving mid-afternoon. They are picked up by Blue Horizon staff and transferred either by vehicle or boat to the lodge or resort.

Belize City is serviced by the major U.S. airlines with multiple daily flights from DFW, Houston, Miami, and Atlanta. Most of these flights leave the U.S. mid-morning and arrive in Belize City between 12:00-1:00 p.m. After arrival in Belize City, guests clear customs and immigration and then check in for the domestic flight to Dangriga or Placencia. These flights leave about every two hours throughout the day, so there is never a long layover.

Upon arrival in Dangriga or Placencia, a Blue Horizon representative greets guests and loads up luggage for the transfer to the retreat of choice — either a short drive by car if staying on the mainland, or a 30-45 boat ride if staying on a caye. Almost all guests leave home in the morning and have a cocktail in hand at their final destination by late afternoon.

Sample Itinerary

TRAVEL DAY

Depart home for Belize City (BZE). Flights on most major airlines arrive mid-day. Take the next flight to Dangriga or Placencia, Belize. Upon arrival, guests are picked up and transferred by boat or car to their choice of lodging.

FISHING DAYS

You may customize your fishing schedule, and the guides will help by explaining the tides during your trip. A typical day begins around 6:30-7:00 a.m. with coffee and breakfast. Your guide will meet you, help you load your gear, check your equipment, and then leave to fish around 8:00 a.m. Take lunch on the water and return late afternoon, depending on the tide, where you fished that day, and whether the fish are cooperating.

After fishing, clean up and decide what to do next. Simply relax and order a cocktail/appetizers, go for a swim, play corn toss, or re-live the fishing day with other guests. Dinner is served around 7:00 p.m.

DEPARTURE DAY

After check-out, guests are transferred back to the airport for a mid-morning flight back to Belize City. Check in for flight home, which typically departs early-mid afternoon depending on your destination.

When to Go

Blue Horizon is open year round and the permit fishing is good year round. Springtime is most popular among anglers for the consistent good weather. However, we have had our best trips during summer and winter, and fall fishing can be as good or better than the spring when the weather cooperates. Just as with any other fishery, bad weather can happen any time of year, and along with it slower fishing — but the reverse is also true.

JANUARY – MAY

“High” season in southern Belize. This time of year typically sees the most consistent weather – mostly sunny with moderate breeze and cooperative fish. The flats see the most traffic this time of year as it is the season favored by most fishermen.

JUNE – AUGUST

The hot, sunny days of summer really heat up the permit fishing. Occasional squalls do not seem to affect the fishing, and they refresh anglers and flats alike. Although the temperature is only slightly warmer than at other times of year, the typically light winds can make it feel hotter. But those are the conditions that make permit very happy. Summer also brings in large schools of adult tarpon to the shallow water.

SEPTEMBER – DECEMBER

Depending on the year, fall can bring great permit fishing to southern Belize. If wet weather occurs it can slow things down (as in any season), but usually the conditions are similar to those in spring. And not only are the conditions typically good, but there are fewer boats on the flats – and the fish take notice. Many other destinations in the Caribbean and Bahamas close during late summer and early fall for hurricane season, but Blue Horizon is far enough south to be out of the hurricane zone. Strong tropical storms are rare — while a number of storms have hit northern Belize and Mexico, only one hurricane has made landfall in southern Belize this century.

Unless the weather gets socked in, winter is a GREAT time to be on the flats in southern Belize. Sunny winter days mean comfortable temperatures, light breezes, and unpressured permit.

Non-Angling Activities

Non-anglers have plenty to do at all of the Blue Horizon properties (in addition to being wonderful places to relax and do nothing!). The mainland resorts have large swimming pools, and there is wonderful snorkeling around all the cayes. All properties offer kayaks and paddleboards. They each also have some sort of game or games, such as beach volleyball, bocce ball, corn toss, or billiards.

Beyond the activities on the properties themselves, there are dozens of things to see and do around the area, both on land and at sea.

WORLD-CLASS DIVING

Several famous dives are located in the area around Blue Horizon, including Lighthouse Reef’s Blue Hole, Glover’s Atoll, and Turneffe Atoll, in addition to scores of other impressive sites such as Half Moon Caye, the Aquarium, and South Water Caye. Half-day diving excursions are available for sites located close by, as well as full day dives for all of the sites. Certification classes and dives are also offered for those not yet certified.

SNORKELING AND REEF FISHING

Although Blue Horizon offers fly fishing lessons, some companions are not comfortable enough with a fly rod or prefer conventional tackle. For those guests, Blue Horizon offers conventional fishing for species like snapper, yellowtail, grouper, and barracuda. Fish may be brought back and prepared for dinner by Blue Horizon’s excellent chefs.

Snorkeling is easily combined with conventional angling outings, or as a stand-alone guided activity.

PLACENCIA AND HOPKINS

Guests staying on the mainland have easy access to the towns of Placencia and Hopkins. The former has a number of great restaurants and shops, while the latter is a sleepier town considered the “true” Belize and a great place to hang out with locals and experience the culture.

EXPLORE MAYAN SITES

Many Mayan ruins and ceremonial sites are located in southern Belize. Popular tours for Blue Horizon guests include Xunantunich, Cahal Pech, and Actun Tunichil Muknal. Xunantunich, or “Stone Maiden,” is a major ceremonial center located on a high ridge near the Guatemalan border. The ruins of Cahal Pech in the same area are second oldest structure of the Mayan world. Actun Tunichil Muknal is a cave considered sacred by the Mayans and used to conduct ceremonies.

RAPPELLING AND ZIPLINING AT BOCAWINA NATIONAL PARK

Hike to the top of the 1,000 foot Antelope falls, enjoy the stunning view, then hike part way down. From there, rappel 300 feet back down to the base. After that, take the longest zipline in Belize at a combined 2.5 miles long (divided into eight different runs). Also includes a short but informative guided hike through the tropical rainforest.

HIKING AND TUBING AT COCKSCOMB BASIN

Hike through the world’s first jaguar preserve where you’ll visit waterfalls and see exotic wildlife and panoramic views. At the end of the trail, hop in a tube at the base of a waterfall for a refreshing and relaxing float down the river.

CHOCOLATE MAKING

Hands-on traditional chocolate making with ethnic Mayans at the Cockscomb Basin Mayan Center.

BIRD WATCHING

Over 570 species of birds live in or visit Belize, including several rare and/or endangered species. Spot as many as you can on this guided tour.

HORSEBACK RIDING

Ride through the Maya Mountains and over remains of ancient Mayan civilization. End at the Sittee River for a swim. Caters to riders of all skill levels, including beginner.

If interested in any of the guided tours/activities above, please contact Tailwaters Travel for rates and reservations.

Rates

DECEMBER – JULY

7 Nights / 6 Days Fishing starts at $3778 per person

(based on shared room / shared guide)

AUGUST – NOVEMBER

7 Nights / 6 Days Fishing starts at $2938 per person

(based on shared room / shared guide)

Shorter and longer packages are available. Please inquire for pricing and rooming options at each of the Blue Horizon properties, pricing for shorter or longer trips, for individual anglers, and for non-anglers.

WHAT’S INCLUDED

Lodging, guided fishing, food, alcoholic beverages (if staying on a caye), use of on-site amenities (such as kayaks), transfers between lodge and Placencia or Dangriga, taxes, fees

WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED

Travel between your home and Placencia or Dangriga, gratuities, off-site tours, gift shop purchases, alcoholic beverages (if staying at a mainland resort).

Round trip flights between Belize City and Dangriga are $195 per person (slightly more to Placencia), and we are happy to arrange this flight for you.

TERMS & CONDITIONS

Tailwaters Travel must adhere to the cancellation policies of the guides, outfitters and lodges which it represents. Blue Horizon’s policy follows: A non-refundable 50% deposit is required to secure all reservations. Final balance is due 30 days prior to departure. All deposits are refundable up to 30 days before the trip (except for reservations for Christmas & New Years, which must be cancelled more than 90 days before in order to receive a refund). Cancellations within 30 days of the trip will not receive a refund. Refunds of deposits/payments made on credit cards will be charged a 3.5% service charge to fully compensate Tailwaters Travel for all bank charges incurred. Receipt of deposit and/or final payment is acknowledgement that registrant has read and accepts the cancellation, refund and responsibility clauses.

RISKS & ALCOHOL: Some common guest activities such as diving, jet skiing, spear fishing, and paddle boarding create the risk of minor to severe injury. These risks are inherent in the activity and are acknowledged by each member of the guest party. The consumption of alcohol greatly increases these risks and management reserves the right to limit activities at its discretion. The legal drinking age in Belize is eighteen years old.

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