From the moment you step off the plane or onto the water taxi dock, you are quickly enveloped into Caye Caulker’s charm and motto of “go slow”. Caye Caulker boasts a laid back island lifestyle where shoes are optional and the closest thing to rush hour traffic is the passing occasional golf cart.
Only five miles long, Caye Caulker is a tiny island one mile west of Belize’s Barrier Reef offering easy access to a number of water activities and even excursions back to the mainland.
The main modes of transportation on Caye Caulker are bicycles and golf carts. Rent a golf cart and go exploring or take a walk along the island’s sandy streets to reset your internal clock to “island time”.
Caye Caulker has become extremely popular with backpackers and budget travelers looking for a tropical escape with a local vibe that won’t break the travel budget. And while there is a low-key budget vibe, Caye Caulker also has a number of properties catering to honeymooners and travelers looking for a bit more luxury.
Thankfully, Caye Caulker has escaped major commercial development, allowing visitors to the island to see a genuine side of Belize. Don’t expect a cruise ship port set up with rows of tourist stores. Instead, wander into small family-owned shops and restaurants filled with a mixture of locals and tourists.
One of the best ways to spend a day on Caye Caulker is to lounge at “The Split”, the channel that separates the island in two. Grab a book and your iPod and escape to the beach where you can get lost in the tranquility that Caye Caulker is known for. If you are hoping to be a bit more social, stop by the Lazy Lizard bar at The Split where you can try a variety of local Belizean drinks and mingle with locals and other travelers.
Given its proximity to the barrier reef, Caye Caulker is a popular spot for divers and other water enthusiasts. Take an afternoon and go kayaking around the island or get adventurous and try your hand at windsurfing. Divers and snorkelers will enjoy the short boat ride to a number of remarkable sites along the reef.
If you are worried about getting a case of island fever, tour operators on Caye Caulker offer a number of excursions back to the mainland. Choose from trips to visit Belize’s renowned zoo, go cave tubing and ziplining, or explore ancient Maya temple sites. The benefit is you can still return that afternoon and spend a bit of time unwinding on the beach.
Fresh seafood and great Belizean cuisine are two of Caye Caulker’s highlights. If you have a hotel with cooking facilities, look for people selling fresh seafood on the streets, or try one of the island’s many popular restaurants and bars. Confused on where to go? Ask any one of the locals and they will gladly share their favorite spots.
No matter how you choose to spend your days on Caye Caulker, you will undoubtedly fall under the island’s spell, finding it hard to leave and transition back to fast-paced “real life”.
Where to stay when you go:
De Real Macaw - www.derealmacaw.biz
Seaside Cabanas - www.seasidecabanas.com
Barefoot Beach Resort - www.barefootbeachbelize.com
Trends Hotel - www.trendsbze.com