A First-Timer’s Guide to Caye Caulker – Belize
There are few things that I enjoy more than an island lifestyle, especially when I’m on vacation. Laidback, tropical and slow, Caye Caulker, Belize is right up your alley if you like spending most of your time in your bathing suit and aren’t in a rush to go anywhere. The locals are very welcoming, and everyone speaks English. The Belize dollar is 2 to 1 to the US dollar, and both are accepted everywhere. You won’t see many cars on the dirt streets, mostly just golf carts that serve as taxis that will take you just about anywhere on the island for $2.50 US.
The water temperature is between 78 – 80 degrees in January and whether you like diving, snorkeling or fishing there are plenty of activities to keep you busy during your stay. Venture out for a dive to the Blue Hole or any of the many other dive sites. Walk to the split, (where the island is split in two) and jump off the diving board into the ocean, or have any of the local beers – Belikin or Landshark underneath a palapa.
You can also take a 2-minute boat ride to Koko King to unwind on a different side of the island.
You will need a jacket, preferably one for the rain since there are occasional rainstorms that can last all night. We got caught in a massive downpour once after dinner, and another time while at sea which continued most of the way back from a snorkeling tour to Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley. The highlight of my visit to Caye Caulker was seeing the reef sharks, turtles and stingrays in crystal clear water, but I could have done without the pouring rain on the way back.
From the airport in Belize City, a cab will cost you $25 US to the water taxi. From there, I recommend purchasing a round-trip ticket to Caye Caulker for a better deal. One way tickets will cost you $18 US and the boats leave several times a day.
Where to stay
I stayed at Go Slow Hostel for one night since I arrived before my friend and then upgraded to La Isla Resort for the rest of my stay. I would recommend both, but it depends on your budget for accommodations.
What to eat
The traditional food here is stew chicken with rice, beans, and coleslaw. I also ate a whole lobster for $15 US and lots of red snapper. We celebrated the New Year at Lazy Lizard with a lobster dinner, followed by a party on the beach complete with fireworks. You are almost guaranteed to find a party any night of the week at Barrier Reef Sports Bar and Grill, and Bambooze has a two for one happy hour with pretty good food. Rainbow Bar has a great view, and I enjoyed breakfast twice at Paradiso.
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