It’s been a few years (*cough* eight) since I visited Belize, but Caye Caulker (pronounced “key caulker”) stands out in my memory as just the best island ever. It is tiny, only 8km by 1.6km, surrounded by the bluest of blue water. No cars are allowed on the island’s three roads (Front Street, Back Street and Middle Street!). There is no asphalt, no traffic lights and the only traffic signs quaintly urge the golf carts and cyclists to ‘go slow’.
You can get the freshest seafood straight from the sea and eat it at your leisure in possibly the most relaxed atmosphere I have ever encountered.
Key activities for visitors to the island involve snorkelling and diving to see the Belize Barrier Reef – which is the second largest barrier reef in the world.
If you visit between April and September you might even see a turtle or manatee. At all times of the year you can visit Shark and Ray Alley and swim with nurse sharks and rays. Yes, nurse sharks do bite but these ones were safe because they were used to humans. It’s entirely up to you if you want to believe that. I didn’t die.
You can also explore the north of the island via kayak, wending your way between mangroves and discovering the vast array of birdlife. Or go windsurfing, or explore the ‘dry reef’ out the front of the island.
Or, if you wish, just relax on a waterfront hammock, listening to some reggae and sipping a piña colada out of a locally grown coconut. Cliché? Perhaps, but so perfect. The island’s only beach is at the Split, and sports a bar called the Lazy Lizard.
You can also take a Great Blue Hole tour, which is one of the deepest dive locations in the world and very well known. You would have seen the photos of it from the air like this:
Wander up and down the three sandy streets and you will be able to choose from the array of local tour operators available.
The high speed taxi from Belize City airport takes less than an hour to cover the 32 km to the island and costs only 10USD. The island now has a runway for small planes to land if you prefer (airport code is CUK).
Good to know
Language: English is the official language of Belize. If you know some Creole you can practice it here too.
Currency: The Belize dollar and the USD are standard.
Sleep: there are plenty of locally owned accommodation options to choose from. A standard room is about 30USD per night, making your stay really cheap.
Internet access: leave your phones at home guys and disconnect for a few days. The island is served by a single cable to the mainland, so it does have internet but … I wouldn’t bother.
Complete your experience
Ode to a Fish Sandwich by Rebecca M Hale
A beautiful and mysterious adventure to a Caribbean island with beautiful beaches, soft waves and the best fish sandwiches for hundreds of miles. Jilted at the altar, Dr. Walcott Emerson Jones sets off on his honeymoon without his bride. A week on a remote Caribbean island is just what the sun-averse dermatologist needs to mend his broken heart.
Along the way, he braves a creepy cane field, tracks a grief-stricken fisherman up the side of a volcano, and befriends a chef at the local beachside diner.
But the cook has broader ambitions than spending the rest of her life serving up fish sandwiches, and the spurned diamond ring hanging from the doctor’s neck is a prize too tempting to resist. Will the vacationer’s last meal on the island turn into his last meal – ever?
A fun quirky story, beautiful and visually written so that you can feel the sand between your toes.
Pirates of the Carribbean, or maybe Into the Blue
The island has a fair choice of restaurants at a range of pricing options. It’s the perfect opportunity to try some fresh lobster.
The Tropics by LDRU
or maybe some Damian Marley. I like Road to Zion