The spot of sand that is Caye Caulker attracts more than its share of visitors. With its clear blue waters and collection of chill restaurants and bars, it’s easy to see why. Still, on my visit to Caye Caulker, I noticed plenty of room for improvement. Naturally, the lack of customer service, the high prices, and the diesel fuel generators running the island come to mind. After my 3 days in Caye Caulker, I found my way to navigating these annoyances. More specifically, here are 15 ways to do Caye Caulker right.
1) Seabreeze over the Split
The split is arguably the island’s most popular hangout. Located on the washed away north side of the island, the split is a great spot to enjoy a drink and take a dip. That said, cocktails are pricey, there isn’t much of a beach, and the current is strong. Instead, we found the dock off the Sea Breeze hotel to be the perfect hangout spot. Even though we were not guests at the hotel, we were able to use the dock to relax and swim off of. Plus, outside drinks are allowed making it much cheaper than the split. It’s also on the calmer side of Caye Caulker to boot.
2) Just Float
What’s better than enjoying the Sea Breeze dock is floating just off of it. Rent floaties for the day and tie yourself on for one hell of a relaxing afternoon. Play games with your friends for who has to get the next round. Trust me, this is Belize living.
3) Swing Seats always beat regular seats
Life is short. Just swing.
4) Hit Happy Hour
As mentioned, Caye Caulker can be pricey. Make the most of happy hour! A quick stroll down the main strip and you can find which bars offer happy hour specials with the chalkboards displayed out front.
5) Banana Bread and Meat Pies
In the morning keep an eye out (and ear) for the meat pie man. He bikes the main strip pushing his cheap and delicious meat pies and fresh banana bread. As meals are pricey on the island, this is a cheap way to start the day.
6) Bicycle not golf cart
Caye Caulker is small and there are no cars. There are, however, plenty of golf carts. As fun and tempting as they look, local police routinely stop and fine people for drinking and driving. It’s also very expensive to rent one. It’s not worth it so just walk or rent a bike to get around instead. Trust.
7) Out of the way Grocery Stores
If you’re staying on the Southside or if you have a bike rental, get your beer and groceries at the shop tucked away from the main strip. The shop caters to the locals and therefore it is cheaper than the tourist gouging shops on the main strip.
8) Refill your Water
With the delicate ecosystem that is Caye Caulker, consider bringing your own water bottle and refilling it. Most hotels offer this for free in an effort to reduce plastic on the island. Play your part.
9) Ice and Beans
Finding a decent cup of coffee on the island proved to be tricky. Ice and Beans is the best I found. Not convinced? They offer free samples to entice you in.
10) Street Eats
After asking our waitress what the “house sauce is” and being told it’s “ your standard sauce” I swore off restaurants on Caye Caulker. Instead hit the streets. You can get crazy good grilled seafood for fair prices.
11) Eat Breakfast at Amor y cafe
The one exception to restaurants on the island is the Dutch ex-pats owned and operated Amor y Café. There you will find the best breakfast on the island. Be prepared for a wait.
Also, Errolyns House of Fry Jacks. they may be artery-clogging but God damn!
12) Kayak Caye Caulker
The island of Caye Caulker was split in two after Hurricane Hattie had her way with it. Although the devastation was minimal, locals dredged out “the split” so larger boats could pass. The main town is on the south island, the north is home to some private residences as well as some resorts. Rent kayaks and head over for drinks. Swing off of the secluded docks and enjoy the quieter side of Caye Caulker.
13) Snorkel from San Pedro
If you’re on the tourist trail chances are you’re heading to San Pedro next or were there before Caye Caulker. The Belize Barrier Reef, the second-largest reef in the world, is just off the shores of San Pedro. Save your snorkel or diving trip for there. Otherwise, you face a long and choppy boat ride to and from Caye Caulker.
14) Or combo that trip
That said, if you want to kill two birds with one boat, hire a snorkel trip that will take you to Hol Chan and then drop you off in San Pedro, effectively saving you the ferry in the process.
15) Watch the fishermen feed the birds
Looking for free entertainment? Grab an ice-cold Belikin and head to the docks where fishermen clean the day’s catch. Not sure where to find them? Look for the birds seemingly suspended in mid-air, waiting for a snack to get tossed their way.
Bonus Round – Visit the Blue Hole
My one regret from my time in Caye Caulker was missing out on a flight over the Blue Hole. Although pricey, unless you are into free diving, it is the best way to see this odd site. Book ahead though as it is a popular activity and weather can cause cancellations.