Caye Caulker is the ultimate backpacker’s paradise. If you’re heading to Belize, you MUST stop here for at least 24 hours – but it is better if you stay at least 3 days. This island is so beautiful, there is delicious food, and everyone is so lovely. So without further ado, here is the supreme guide to Caye Caulker!
But one quick tip – Caye is pronounced like “Key”. I pronounced it as “K” in my head, which is wrong. I embarrassed myself a couple of times pronouncing it as “K Caulker.”
This is the most important sentence out of the entire post: Last water taxi to the island is at 5:30.
When researching destinations, I mainly just use travel blogs. And none of the blogs had this key detail! Our plane landed at 7:00, aka too late to make it to Caye Caulker. But I didn’t realize this and booked a hotel on the island for that night.
Luckily, I realized this about a week before we left and booked a bed and breakfast near the airport. Then I had to email our hotel at Caye Caulker and it would only be refundable if someone stayed in our room that right. Thankfully someone did! As you can see, this entire situation worked out purely based on luck. Plan accordingly to the water taxi schedules!!
There are two main water taxi’s you can take to Caye Caulker:
San Pedro Belize Express – $28 USD round trip
Ocean Ferry Belize – $25 USD round trip
We took the San Pedro Belize Express. I liked that we took this company because the employees that work for the company double as a taxi driver to the airport. Our taxi driver said that there are scams where a taxi driver will say one price at the water taxi and then state a higher price at the airport. If you refuse to pay the higher price, they will sick airport security on you. There is a fixed price $25 USD per taxi, but the rules of sticking to it seems a bit lax.
Another thing to note, if you get into a taxi and say, “to the water taxi!” They will take you to San Pedro Belize Express. So if you chose to go with Ocean Ferry Belize, make sure to specify that.
Whichever company you chose to go with, just make sure the schedule matches up with your plans.
Caye Caulker is a tiny little island in the Caribbean Sea that is about 5 miles long (8 km). It is about 1 mile wide (1.6 km). So there are no vehicles expect a fire truck and a white pickup truck that delivers water jugs around the island.
For tourists and people who live on the island, the only way they can get around is either golf cart or by bicycle. But embrace this! It is so relaxing just riding a cute little bike around the island. Luckily, the cabana’s my family and I stayed at provided a free bike for each of us. Although it was kind of essential because we were a bit far from the restaurants and stores.
We stayed at Colinda Cabanas and absolutely loved it. There is a sweet couple that runs the place, Juan and Emelita, and they are more than helpful during our stay. They are quick to respond to emails, knowledgeable about the island, and very personable with each of the guests.
When we arrived, they somehow knew I was Shelby as soon as I walked in the door and gave me the low down of the island and the cabanas. We unfortunately arrived way before the check in time, but they let us leave our bags with them while we went off to snorkel for the day.
The only bad part of the cabanas is it was kind of a hike from the rest of the island festivities, but they make up for it by providing free bikes and locks for each person! They are nice bikes with a basket in the front which was extraordinarily helpful.
There are two main snorkeling companies at Caye Caulker – Caveman Tours and Raggamuffin Tours. I would recommend going with one of these companies. There are some people on the island that offer the tours, but are super sketchy… There are countless reviews for both of these companies, and they are both great!
We did the full day snorkeling tour with Caveman Tours and unquestionably loved it. We chose Caveman Tours over Raggamuffin Tours simply because they had a well functioning website. It was easy to book off of and they were quick to respond to emails. Raggamuffin Tours website is designed like an early 2000’s website, hard to navigate, and were not great at responding to emails.
Koko King is fairly interesting. It is expensive, but a great chance of pace from the main Caye Caulker island. Koko King provides free boat ride there, but you need to spend at least $10 USD while you’re there. Once you do, an employee will give you a wrist band for your free boat ride back.
On the main Island the boat will pick you up at the only gas station at the island.
Once you are there, first impression is it’s a beach party – and it kind of is! There is a nice restaurant with relatively expensive prices at about $7-$14 for a meal depending on what you get.
They do have a happy hour from 3-7 pm which means the run drinks are $4 instead of their regular price at $8.
The best time to go would be between 3-6 pm if you plan on getting drinks and food because you can choose off the lunch menu and get happy hour drinks!
There is an infinity pool and little cabana beds to lounge around it, but they cost money! Which I personally find stupid. To use the pool, it was $17.50 USD and the lounge beds were $10 USD. We didn’t use those because it was hard to justify spending that much to swim in a pool or lay in a bed when there are hammocks spread throughout the entire island.
However, the free stuff at Koko King includes inner tubes, lounge chairs, and some fun swings that are great for pictures! They also have free Wi-Fi
All in all, it is worth going if you plan on drinking during happy hour or want to treat yourself to some expensive food.
Paddle boarding is so much harder than it looks. There is a definite chance that a boat went by, bringing waves with them, and causing me to fall. There is also a chance they all laughed while I scrambled to get back on the board. It’s fine.
Pro Tip: See a boat, get on your knees or you’ll probably fall
We wandered around the island until we saw a sign that said pointed us to the west side of the island. It led us to a house with a bunch of paddle boards in the front. But no one was outside. So my sister and I nominated our mom to go knock on the sketchy looking door. And this super pleasant guy came out, helped us set up the paddle board at the shore, and gave us some tips on how to paddle board since it was our first times.
Caye Caulker is a great place to try out paddle boarding because the west side of the island is pretty flat (assuming boats don’t come by). I
Unfortunately we didn’t make it to Caye Caulker Animal Shelter… I really wish we made it more of a priority. But, Alex in Wanderland provides a great information on how to hang out with puppers all day! Caye Caulker Animal Shelter also has a Facebook Page and website that you can follow along with.
I fully believe that Sip N Dip is the coolest bar in Caye Caulker. There is the main bar, a rooftop bar that has a slide going into the water. Then there is a long dock with lounge chairs to just hang out at, AND THEN there is even a spot in the water you can hang out at!
The part that I loved the most was hanging out in the water. There are inner tubes lining around the section, swings, hammocks, and tables to set your drinks at.
The Split was originally a manmade shortcut to get to the other side of Caye Caulker. Then a hurricane devastated the island, but also made their manmade canal bigger and cutting Caye Caulker in half, creating the North and South Island. The South Island is where the fun is at.
In my personal opinion, The Split is overrated where the drinks are expensive and weak. But so many bloggers recommend going! Honestly, I’m clueless on why. It is a cool atmosphere, but everything is so expensive….
Belize has the best food that I have ever had, and I’ve been to Italy! Try to avoid the tourist restaurants and eat where the locals do.
PLEASE GO TO FRANS – JUST DO IT!!
Frans is a little pop up restaurant that opens at night on the main street. There isn’t an address to give you and it isn’t on Google Maps. But Fran will be yelling out what she has on the menu for the day with a sign that says “Fran-tastic.”
It is a bit expensive for a backpacker, but what helps you justify going is the unlimited punch. However, they are small, weak drinks and she doesn’t refill your glass often. But the delicious food more than makes up for it! All entrees are $15 BZE (so $7.50 USD) and the menu changes every night depending on what was caught.
I am not a seafood fan… So I got the barbecue chicken. But let me tell you what, the barbecue was TO DIE FOR. There are nights I wake up from actually dreaming about this barbecue sauce.
We went to Errolyn’s Fry Jacks every morning, expect Sunday because they were closed.
A fry jack is kind of like an elephant ear, but without the sugar and cinnamon on top. Instead, it is stuffed with eggs, cheese, or whatever you please!
I liked getting the egg, cheese, and ham and then putting an onion salsa mix on top. I am obsessed with spicy food and I would like to think my tolerance is high. But this onion salsa was HOT, so you might want to try a bit first before you put it on your entire fry jack.
Errolyn has the best breakfast in all of Caye Caulker because: it was filling, delicious, but the best part? Only $2!
I’m going to be real with ya folks. I didn’t go to Ambergris Caye, BUT I have heard from countless people who have gone to both cayes and just didn’t enjoy Ambergris Caye. It is more tourist oriented, there are golf cart traffic jams, and it isn’t an authentic feel of the Belizean way of life. I fell head over heels in love with Caye Caulker and I do not regret not visiting Ambergris Caye.
Please let me know if you any questions at all! I am more than happy to answer them all.
Original source: Snorkeling in Caye Caulker by Lost Comfort Zone
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