With a laid back Caribbean vibe, the unofficial motto of Caye Caulker is “go slow”. Since I rarely go slow, especially when travelling, I wasn’t sure I could embrace this attitude. But, I’m always up for a challenge so I spent two days on Caye Caulker, soaking up the sun and Belikin’s.
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By the time I left, I had learned the art of “go slow” and had grown to appreciate the carefree attitude of the locals and expats who lived here.
How to Get to Caye Caulker Belize
I travelled to Belize from Mexico. (Click here to read about my experience visiting Chichen Itza). I took the 9:20 AM ADO bus from Playa del Carmen to Chetumal. From there I took a ferry over to Caye caulker. I arrived at Caye Caulker’s main pier around 6:30 PM.
I use the term ‘ferry’ loosely here because it was, in fact, a speed boat.
A speedboat equipped with a driver who seemed to be on a mission for the first 40 minutes of the 2.5 hour ride to see how hard he could hit the waves without shattering the boat into little pieces.
Where to Stay on Caye Caulker Belize
As soon as I walk off the pier, there is a basketball court right in front of me. A few locals were nice enough to direct me through the court. On the other side, I found myself on Front Street. Walking in further one more street landed me on Middle Street. Finally, I walked one more block and was on Back Street.
My point is, it’s super easy to find your way around.
I’ve gotten lost in my own parking garage at home before (true story, don’t laugh!), so if I can find my way around here, anyone can!
I found my hostel within ten minutes. I chose Traveller’s Palm and loved it! Next time I am on Caye Caulker, I will definitely stay there again.
Traveller’s Palm is located away from the main area near The Split, but the island is small so it really doesn’t matter where you stay, everything is within walking distance.
Good thing too because there are no cars on Caye Caulker. Another thing that I loved about this place!
And I should point out, that as a female on my own I walked everywhere day or night by myself and was fine. So, don’t feel like you have to book a place right beside The Split or you’ll be left out of the action. That is not at all the case here.
Where to Eat on Caye Caulker Belize
I ended up at Enjoy Restaurant on my first night. As soon as I walked into my dorm room, my roommates invited me to join them so I dropped my bag and off we went. I had never heard of Enjoy but it was the best decision ever. I had jerk snapper with a pina colada to wash it down. Wow.
You guys, it was ridiculously good!
It was so good that I went back the next night with a different group of people that I randomly met at The Split that day.
I’m both happy and sad about that. Awesome because the food was incredible both times, but sad that I missed out on trying other fantastic places, like Chef Kareem’s UnBelizeable Lunch, which I heard amazing things about.
An excuse to go back and eat all the food!
For breakfast Caribbean Colours Art Cafe has great coffee and food, but is a bit expensive.
Instead, head to Mama Lizz’s for her infamous Johnny cakes. I’d heard nothing but good things about this place but I gotta be honest, I wasn’t overly impressed.
Maybe I was supposed to order more than just cheese on the Johnny cakes. At $1.50 US a piece, I will go back and try something different next time I’m on the island before making a final decision on whether or not I like the place.
I also tried Errolyn’s, which conveniently enough is right across from Mama Lizz’s. I heard amazing things about this place too.
Not knowing what a Fry Jack was, I ordered TWO thinking they were the same size as the Johnny Cakes. They are not the same size. At all.
Turns out, they are insanely large and I ended up with enough food to feed five people. For $5 US. But wow were they ever good!!
For a sweet treat, stop by Caye Caulker Bakery – which is right across from Errolyn’s and Mama Liz’s – for a freshly made warm cinnamon bun that will be about the size of your head, for $1 US!
Needless to say, I was very well fed while backpacking in Belize!
What to do on Caye Caulker
Many backpackers travelling through Central America only stay on Caye Caulker for a couple days because it is thought to be one of the more expensive spots. I didn’t find it expensive at all and could have easily stayed longer.
For such a short visit though, I did a lot and got a really good feel for the island and what it’s all about.
I rented a bicycle from Marc’s Bike Rental and spent a morning zipping around. This is a budget friendly way to see the whole island and I highly recommend it. I paid $7.50 US for the day (until 6pm). It was awesome!
…What was not so awesome was the fact that I managed to tip myself over while trying to turn around on a dead end road. But that’s another story…
I also spent an afternoon at The Split enjoying a Belikin or two and watching the sunset. The Split is “the” place to hang out on Caye Caulker. This too proved to be a LOT of fun!
Since I was by myself, naturally I hung out at the bar. Sure enough, I met people right away and had a fantastic time! The sunset is beautiful, the people are friendly, and it’s an amazing atmosphere overall. Definitely spend at least one afternoon mingling at The Split during your visit to Caye Caulker.
(Side note: everyone signs the bar. If you are standing mid bar, look up, you’ll see my name written there. Hello!)
Another thing I did was take a full day snorkel tour with Raggamuffin Tours. This was the most expensive part of my visit to Caye Caulker but it was absolutely worth it. I would love to do this again and definitely recommend it.
The company itself is very professional, organized and well run. The lunch on the boat isn’t great but the ceviche and rum punch certainly are!
I won’t give too much detail away but overall, expect a fantastic day on the water. The snorkelling in Hol Chan Marine Reserve is the best I’ve experienced to date.
Expect to see a lot of huge sting rays, eel, beautiful varieties of coral in all colours, shapes and sizes, big schools of huge fish with names I will never remember, many varieties of small colourful fish (more names I will never remember), a lot of conch, and if you’re lucky…massive sea turtles that will hang out with your group for a while.
Be prepared when you pull up to Shark Ray Alley – the sharks are much bigger than I expected, definitely curious, and seemed to enjoy circling the boat. So awesome!
Leaving Caye Caulker
I bought a ticket at the pier the morning I was leaving that would take me right through to Flores, Guatemala. I took a ferry over to Belize City, and from there I took a bus into Guatemala.
It’s a very simple process and a lot of backpackers do this. I was alone, and didn’t speak any Spanish at the time and was just fine. Don’t fear the land border crossing, it is not difficult at all.
Also, there is a 40 BZD ($20 US) fee to exit Belize.
Caye Caulker Belize Tips…
- Water is expensive. Bring your own bottle and fill up at your guest house. Traveller’s Palm has filtered water systems in each room.
- Be aware that although this is an island, there are no real beaches, because the island is built on coral
- The exchange rate will be about $1 US : 2 BZ. Locals will simply say, “two dollars”. They are usually referring to Belizean dollars, not US dollars. This threw me off numerous times!
- There is a dock on the west side of the island that has “horse stables”. How confused was I when I I first heard this? Turns out, the horse stables are an area where seahorses hang out in the netting in the water. Get it…horse stables? I was mildly amused.
- There’s also a small bay on the west side of the island where you can walk down to the end of a dock and see tarpon. I had never heard of tarpon, let alone seen them. Turns out, they are a ridiculously large fish. Tour boats will come along and feed them, so the younger fish hang out in this area. The full grown adults stay out in deeper water. HUGE fish! Definitely check them out. I could have watched them for hours.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Caye Caulker. Now tell me, have you been to Belize? Did you enjoy it?