Earlier this week, I shared the first half of our Belizean vacation in Hopkins. Today, I’m sharing the second half of our trip in Caye (pronounced “key”) Caulker, an island off the coast of Belize.
Our location selection when it came to this entire Belize trip could not have more perfect; whereas Hopkins was low-key and relaxing, Caye Caulker was more lively and bustling. It was a nice contrast and gave us two very distinct Belizean experiences, both of which we loved.
Like Hopkins, you’re going to get an authentic Belizean experience in Caye Caulker, as villagers and tourists interact all over the island. I should mention, there are a lot more tourists in Caye Caulker, but it’s still not really the resort-style experience that you may expect from other Caribbean locations. If you’re a lower maintenance traveler looking for an island adventure full of great people, delicious food and crystal clear water, keep reading!
What to Know
Caye Caulker is a true melting pot of people — from families who have lived on the island for generations, to transplants who fell in love with it (we met some from nearby countries like Mexico and Nicaragua, as well as the US, Italy and France), to tourists from every corner of the world (seriously — I can’t even list all the countries it would be so long). The result is a really fun experience full of nice people from around the world just looking to have a good time on this “go slow” island.
There are no cars on the island, so everyone gets around via golf cart or bike, or just simply by walking, as the island is only a few miles long. There are also golf cart taxis to assist with transporting you around the island, which comes in especially handy when you’re getting off the water taxi with all your luggage.
Where to Go
Like in Hopkins, we did quite a bit of eating while in Caye Caulker, but luckily we did a little adventuring too. Caye Caulker is near the Belize Barrier Reef, so it’s a great starting point for snorkling and diving tours, as well as deep sea fishing trips.
Caye Caulker isn’t really your “lounge on the beach all day” type of vacation (although you can do that some), so planning some excursions is a must if you want to take full advantage of a Belizean vacation!
While snorkling with Cave Man Tours, we saw nurse sharks (they were harmless, although it was a little scary at first to jump in with them), rays, turtles, tons of different types of fish, and beautiful coral. I also fed a Tarpon out of my hand, which was slightly terrifying but pretty cool to have done.
Caye Caulker doesn’t really have the types of beaches you might imagine in an island destination, but it does have “the Split,” a popular spot for lounging during the day and enjoying the clear, warm water of the Caribbean sea, as well as a Belikin beer or rum punch.
Formed by a hurricane back in the ’60’s, the Split actually splits Caye Caulker into two islands; the South island is the more developed of the two, but we heard that the North island just got power, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s much more developed in the next couple of years. Michael and I rented and kayak so we could explore the North island a bit, as the only way to really get there currently is by boat, or a little swim (which we did notice quite a few people doing).
As day turns to night, the majority of island goers grab dinner at one of many quaint restaurants around the island. I couldn’t get enough seafood while we were there and even got to try a Lionfish, which we learned pose a serious threat to the reef and must be fished out despite how poisonous they are before they’re filleted.
From there, everyone it seems goes to the Barrier Reef Sports Bar, a great spot for locals and tourists alike to interact and enjoy a drink, before heading to the I & I Reggae Bar to finish the evening. If you’re into clubs, you’ll be surprised to find the I & I is pretty club-like on the inside, although it looks like a lot like a house from the outside!
How to Get There
Caye Caulker is accessible by small planes, but is most often accessed by water taxi. It’s a 45-minute ride from Belize City and only costs $25 US round-trip.
Where to Stay
Per usual, we found a rental home on Airbnb. (If you haven’t ever used Airbnb, click here for a $20 credit off your first stay.) In addition to rental homes, however, there were quite a few boutique hotels around the island that would make for a great place to stay.
Overall, we had a blast in Caye Caulker, and it was a great way to end our Belizean vacation. Whether you’re going to Belize for a day as part of a cruise stop, a week, or even a month, it’s definitely worth a visit!