Updated: 04/01/2018 | April 1st, 2018
Set off the coast of Belize, Caye Caulker is paradise. It’s small, it’s beautiful, it’s youthful. Everyone here is friendly, and no one moves quickly. There are no cars, only little golf carts, and the island’s motto is “Go Slow.” The tempo will have you running on island time before you know it.
Years ago, the island was a lot bigger, but after Hurricane Hattie ripped through here in 1961 villagers dredged a waterway by hand after the hurricane opened a passage a few inches deep so dugout canoes could go past. Over time, the increased flow of tidal water enlarged the opening through erosion to its present 20 feet deep. This creates a rapid channel through the north and south part of the island that makes for great swimming and snorkeling as fish move through the water.
There’s not much to do on the island itself. This is a place where you 100% want to come here just to relax. There’s plenty of beaches, guesthouses, and even a club that opens at night for locals and tourists but, beyond that, everything involves the water!
7 Best Things to See and Do in Caye Caulker
1. Hang Out with some Manatees
Manatees are huge, docile (but highly endangered) animals. There are many tours on the island that take you to nearby Swallow Caye where you can see them in a responsible way. It’s really stunning. Entrance into Swallow Caye is 10 BZD, but it’s usually included in the price of a tour. A half-day tour range from 75-100 BZD.
2. Chill on the Split
The Split is where all the action is. Though the island has a great eastward facing beach, everyone walks down to the Split. There’s a small beach there, and the old dock provides an excellent place to sprawl your towel out. The young and the pale come out here to sun and snorkel all day, with a nearby bar serving ice cold drinks and music.
3. Visit Caye Caulker Forest Reserve
This reserve takes up 100 acres of the island and is comprised of mostly red, black, and white mangrove. It is home to a plethora of sea, plant, and bird life. I highly recommend kayaking around. You can usually rent kayaks at your accommodation but, if not, Chocolate’s Gift Shop has good prices.
4. Visit Shark Ray Alley
Snorkelers flock to Shark Ray Alley for the chance to get up close and personal with nurse sharks and rays at feeding time. You can pose for pictures, pet them, and even get in a swim as they are used to human contact. A ton of tours and boaters will take you. You can see Shark Ray Alley on a snorkeling or diving excursion. Snorkeling trips start from about 65 BZD.
5. Attend Lobsterfest
July marks Lobsterfest, the festival honoring all things crustacean. Tourists and locals alike enjoy contests, food, cocktails, and music by top DJs and local bands. There’s also the chance to try every conceivable lobster dish from lobster ice cream to lobster ceviche.
6. Dive the Blue Hole
Located about an hour from Caye Caulker, the Blue Hole is probably the most famous dive site in Belize. The hole is 300m across and 125m deep. It’s home to all sorts of fish, coral, and sharks. If diving is your thing, don’t miss it — this is one of the most interesting places to dive in the world! Expect to pay around 460 BZD for a 3-tank dive (plus 80 BZD to enter the park).
7. Explore the island!
Sea kayaking, kiteboarding, snorkeling, sailing tours — there are tons of ways to explore the island if you’re looking to get out and get moving. Kayak rentals start around 20 BZD per hour while half-day snorkeling tours will cost around 70 BZD per person. Multi-day sailing tours will cost around 800 BZD per person.
Tips for Visiting Caye Caulker
- Enjoy happy hour – Drinks can be pricey here, so take advantage of the happy hours to save yourself some money.
- Rent a bike – Golf carts are commonly driven on the island, but they are expensive to rent and are regular targets for the local authorities. Stick to a bicycle to save money.
- Bring a water bottle – Bring a refillable water bottle when you visit. Do your part to limit plastic pollution.
- Stick to street food – The street food will be much cheaper than any of the restaurants (and probably more delicious too).
- Combine trips – Many tour companies will offer excursions that combine the most popular activities. if you’re planning on doing a few activities, ask about combo deals. You’ll save yourself some money!
- Travel off-peak – The most expensive time to visit Caye Caulker is October-April. Traveling in the off-season will give you access to significantly reduced prices for both your accommodation and flights.
How to Get to Caye Caulker
Regular flights to Caye Caulker are available from Belize City (both the international and municipal airports). Flights last around 15 minutes and cost around 150 BZD for a one-way trip.
Water taxis from Belize City are also available. Expect to pay around 20-30 BZD per person for a one-way trip. The ride is usually around 45 minutes.
This is a young, spirited island, and a good portion of the tourists are young, party-minded travelers. You’ll see them partying all night long at the local bars and the incredibly sketchy but amazingly fun after-hours club.
With great beaches, atmosphere, a kicking nightlife, great seafood, and “The Split”, no trip to Belize is complete without a visit to Caye Caulker. A lot of people head to the more upscale Ambergris Caye, but Caye Caulker is the better pick of the two.
That’s where you’ll find me – and that’s where I hope to find you!
Book Your Trip to Caye Caulker: Logistical Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight for Caye Caulker
Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner or Momondo. They are my two favorite search engines because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned.
Book Your Accommodation in Caye Caulker
To find the best budget accommodation, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels. I use them all the time. You can book your hostel – if you want that instead – with Hostelworld as they have the most comprehensive inventory. My favorite places to stay are:
- Sophie’s Guest Rooms – Great location, awesome staff, and a perfect swimming spot nearby!
- Travellers Palm Backpackers Hostel – Great hostel with a social atomosphre and reasonable prices.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance – And Protect Your Trip!
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. I’ve been using World Nomads for ten years. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:
Looking for the best companies to save money with?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel! I list all the ones I use to save money when I travel – and I think will help you too!
Want More Information on Caye Caulker?
Be sure to visit our robust destination guide on Caye Caulker for even more tips on how to plan your visit!
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