Caye Caulker – Where the pace is as slow as the waves.
If you’re looking for a very relaxed island, where time hardly moves, then Caye Caulker is for you. When I stepped onto the island on the 16th of December 2018, my worries instantly disappeared, the sound of reggae and dance hall music at every corner made me excited. In Caye Caulker, vehicles larger than golf carts hardly roam the streets. Despite the growth of tourism, this piece of paradise remains a small village with a distinct cultural flavour. It is a colourful island and has the kind of vibe that I always imagined a Caribbean island to have.
Caye Caulker is small enough that you can get by on foot if you want to. However, If you want to rent a bike, they are offered for about 15 BZD / R 100 / 7.50 USD) for 24 hours.
I found the island prices to be quite expensive. How can a packet of Doritos cost 12 BZD / R 82 / 6 USD? Imagine! Although, we did find an Asian restaurant that was really affordable, a big portion of chow mein was 7 BZD/ R 50 / 3.5 USD. I wasn’t complaining because this happens to be one of my favourite dishes.
The small island of Caye Caulker was split in two by Hurricane Hattie in 1961. Over the years, this natural channel has widened and this split is now the heart of the island. You can spend your days swimming and enjoy the sun with a cocktail in hand.
The current that runs between the two islands is extremely strong and many people have required rescuing from its waters. Therefore, swimming across the split to the other side is not advised. But guess what? There is a free boat that leaves every 30 mins. Well, the boat is free if you agree to spend a minimum of 10 BZD / R 70 / 5 USD at the bar. In exchange for spending money at the bar you’re given a wrist band which entitles you to a free boat trip.
Because tourists make up a huge percent of the island’s population, Caye Caulker has been going through a beach rehabilitation phase for the past few years. What I did find strange about the island is that there is no real sand beach.
In 1996, the Belize Barrier Reef was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The reef spans across about 900 km and is part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System. The coral reef itself, is a distance of approximately 300 km, making it the largest reef in the Northern Hemisphere and the second largest in the world, after Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
Comprising of mangrove forests, sandy islands, and coast lagoons, this reef has made Caye Caulker a popular destination for scuba diving, snorkelling, spearfishing, and swimming with nurse sharks and stingrays. If you are lucky enough, you can catch your own dinner and have a braai/bbq on the beach with locals.
These adorable houses on stilts, will cost you 54 BZD / R 380 / 27 USD per unit (each unit sleeps 2 people).
On Friday the 21st of December 2018, we left Caye Caulker. I would have loved to spent more time exploring Belize, looking forward to returning someday!
Thank you for reading,