A beautiful island off the coast of mainland Belize, Caye Caulker is picturesque if you’re looking for laid-back vibes, white sand beaches and crystal clear turquoise water.
Located 32km north east from the mainland, Caye Caulker can be accessed by a 45-minute high speed water taxi ($30 Belize dollars/ $15 USD). The island itself is only 8km long and 1.6km wide, making it an easy place to explore in just a few hours!
Since it is so small, the main ways to get around Caye Caulker are by foot or by hitching a ride on the back of a golf cart..
While considered part of Central America, Belize offers a distinctly Caribbean culture. English and Creole are the main languages spoken while Spanish is rarely heard around the island. The common Central American (rather bland) rice and bean dishes can still be found in parts, but the Belizean cuisine is generally more flavourful and varied!
- This spicy chicken meal cost $7 Belize dollars ($3.5USD).
Home to the second largest coral reef system in the world (after the great barrier reef in Australia), Belize is a popular tourist destination for diving and snorkelling enthusiasts.
There are plenty of tour companies operating on the island (this pretty much seems to be the only industry), so finding a day trip to spear fish, snorkel or scuba dive is an easy task. However, the prices can be a little expensive for the budget backpacker as most day long snorkelling tours start at $50 USD.
Money conscious as I always am (and not a huge lover of water), I forwent the tours and simply relaxed for 3 days on the island of Caye Caulker.
While not as touristy as some spots in the Yucatan region in Mexcio (Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, etc), Caye Caulker is getting fairly popular. There is a big American sports bar which is the main party spot every night of the week. Additionally, every day there is a large gathering of people at the split (located at the end of the island, where the land is divided into two parts). Here, you’ll meet lots of travellers, watch the spectacular sunset and have drinks near the water.
While I’m not usually a fan of this type of destination (lounging by the beach and partying), I thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere on Caye Caulker. The locals are friendly and nice – even if they are trying to sell you edible pot products 24/7 – and the sheer beauty of the island stands out above everything else!
I spent 3 days on Caye Caulker island and I think that is the perfect amount of time – unless you plan to take part in some water activities. I was warned time and time again that the prices in Belize are super expensive, but I actually didn’t find them to be all that terrifying. The best hostel on the island (Yuma’s hostel) costs $17 USD per night and the local restaurants have main dishes for $15-25 USD. However, there are plenty of street food options for $2-4 USD and a few fast food type of places selling food for under $5.
While the high end places are definitely pricey, there are ways to survive Belize on a budget while still eating relatively well!
In conclusion, I would absolutely recommend visiting this small island off the coast of mainland Belize – something I didn’t think I’d say before I came here! While it’s more expensive than the rest of Central America (excluding Costa Rica, of course!), budget backpackers can survive Caye Caulker with a little bit of frugality.
And hey, on your way through Belize, you can check off a bucket list item and stop off at the world’s smallest capital city, Belmopan!
Arright? ( The local way of asking if you’re good)
Cheers : )