Things to do in Caye Caulker: Belize’s Chilled Out Island
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Sitting to the east of the mainland of Central America, Caye Caulker is a Belizean island located in the Caribbean Sea. It has the well-deserved reputation of an island paradise: there’s an island motto of ‘go slow’, it’s a place to kick back, sunbathe on an Ocean Voyager, chill out, and enjoy a cocktail at the end of the day.
A lot of the best things to do in Caye Caulker involve kicking the heck back and enjoying some time out after backpacking around the hectic continent. Travel in Guatemala, Mexico and Belize are great, but can be quite exhausting at times! So I would recommend factoring in some downtime while in Caye Caulker.
But there are still plenty of things to do in Caye Caulker that don’t involve just chilling out. It’s been a while since I was personally on the island, so I’ve teamed up with some other travel bloggers to bring a travel guide to show you exactly what to do on Caye Caulker.
Things to do in Caye Caulker
Do A Sunset Cruise
Visit Koko Beach
Visiting Caye Caulker, you’ll soon realize that something very important is missing – there are no real beaches! The solution? Plan a day trip to Koko Beach. Located on the north island after the split, Koko Beach is only accessible by boat. The ferry, found at the end of Calle del Sol, leaves about every 15 minutes. The ferry is free as long as everyone in the group spends 50 Bz.
The white sand beach is clean and mosquito free. The staff are helpful and willing to make your stay comfortable. Pay a little extra to rent a covered shelter with two wooden lounge chairs and a hammock. Or save some money by putting your towel on the sand. There is plenty to do in the water if you’re not interested in just lounging.
The kitchen offers a nice selection of options, though it is pricier than in town. The full-service bar ensures that you easily meet your 50 Bz obligation. You can even pay for pool access if you’d like. But if you’re looking for a real beach during your Caye Caulker stay, you can’t beat a visit to Koko Beach.
By Annick from The Common Traveler
Hang Out At The Split
For a country known for its islands, Belize generally doesn’t have too much in the way of beaches. Its two major touristic islands, Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye, both are coral keys meaning that they are surrounded by shallow water and there isn’t much in the way of a sandy beach. To make up for that, a lot of tourists hang out at “The Split” on Caye Caulker.
The Split divides the touristic part of Caye Caulker from the north, which all used to be one island before a hurricane quite literally tore the island in two! Now, it’s one of the deepest places you can swim in Caye Caulker and it’s a popular place for people to hang out. There are a lot of great bars here, such as Lazy Lizard and Sip N’ Dip, as well as some food stands nearby, so you don’t have to stray far to get some good food. Grab a bucket of Belikins and make a day of it at The Split!
By Allison from Eternal Arrival
Go On A Snorkelling Trip
Surrounded by water coloured in many different shades of turquoise, azure and blue, and home of the second largest reef in the world, Caye Caulker has a privileged position in the Caribbean Sea. Life on the island is relaxed and no wonder that this is why their motto is “Go slow”.
One of the best things to do in Caye Caulker is go snorkelling. There are many companies that you can choose, with prices starting at 70 Belizean dollars for a half a day tour. Many of these companies however are unethical and do feed the fish, so do a little bit of research before you go and choose an eco-friendly snorkelling company that won’t use plastic or throw food in the water so that the sharks approach.
Depending on what type of tour you choose, you will stop at different points to see different types of fish. The most popular one is the Shark Alley, where in the shallow water many nurse sharks and sting rays gather when they see boats approaching. The South Channel is another beautiful point, where usually the guide will allow you to swim by yourself and explore the area for a good hour.
For those who choose a one day tour, the boats go further, where manatees and turtles can be spotted.
By Joanna from The World in My Pocket
Take A Scenic Flight over the Blue Hole
One of the top can’t miss experiences while you’re visiting Caye Caulker is a scenic flight over the Blue Hole in the Belize Barrier Reef! This reef is the second largest in the world (after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia) and is a beautiful place to explore just off the coast of Caye Caulker.
You can catch either a private or group flight from the tiny airport at the end of Caye Caulker that will take you over the reef, across the many islands floating around the ocean, including Turneffe Atoll and Lighthouse Reef, and finally over to the Blue Hole. The water in the middle of the blue hole is just SO dark blue, in contrast to the reef around it. The hole itself is 125 meters deep and it a top spot for some insane scuba diving in the area.
It’s an incredible experience for anyone visiting Caye Caulker and one of our highlights from our visit to Belize! Check out Maya Island Air or Tropic Air to find out more and book your flight.
By Emma from Explore Shaw
Dive the Blue Hole
Belize names claim to the biggest underwater sinkhole in the World. The UNESCO status ‘GREAT’ Blue Hole is around 125m deep. Being a nearly perfect circle it has a diameter of 318m. The Great Blue Hole lies 72km South East of Caye Caulker and can be reached by either boat or plane/ helicopter.
Of course a flight over the Blue Hole is pretty epic, BUT to dive down into the deep blue abyss is a truly mind blowing experience and a definite must-do while in Caye Caulker.
Both divers and non-divers can experience The Great Blue Hole. The non-divers get to snorkel the perimeter of the underwater cavern and see the plethora of colourful fish and corals. While the divers go down to a depth of 40metres and swim amongst the stalactites, stalagmites and columns.
On the Blue Hole day trip, you also visit more dive sites, swim with sharks, visit a nature reserve to see red footed boobies and chill out on gorgeous white sandy beaches.
Visiting the Blue Hole in Belize will certainly be one of the highlights of your trip to Caye Caulker.
By Becki from BackpackBecki
Walk the Airport Loop
If you came to Caye Caulker and you are looking for nature and exploration it might be hard to find. Most of the island is covered by houses, hostels and hotels; a lot of them for sale. But I have some good news for you! You can take a lovely hike around the airport which is a 4 kilometre loop. Check out maps.me to find the path and enjoy the walk along the beach and mangroves.
The Southern part of the island is more remote and it doesn’t have as many guesthouses and tourists. You can enjoy airplanes flying into and out of the island; it is almost possible to touch their tails! You will see some houses, but most of them are for sale and the path is not busy at all. Some people decide to do the loop with bicycles, but in my opinion, it is much more interesting to walk.
By Juozapas from Nomad Joseph
How to Get to Caye Caulker
When I went to Caye Caulker, I travelled from Mexico, taking an ADO bus from Tulum to Chetumal. From Chetumal, jump in a taxi to the port (just saying voy a Caye Caulker or necesito el barco a Caye Caulker should get you to the right place!) and then take the boat to Caye Caulker.
It will stop in San Pedro, where you’ll have to clear Belizean customs (which FYI, were the most chilled out customs I’ve ever been to – my passport was stamped by the most cheerful border officer ever who welcomed me to Belize and pointed me in the direction of the nearest place to get a beer) and then after a break, the boat will continue to Caye Caulker.
If you’re already in Belize, you’ll want to take the boat from the Belize City pier. Belize City hasn’t got the best reputation – I didn’t spend enough time in it to get a complete feel for the city, but my first impressions were that it does have a bit of a sketchy atmosphere. So maybe try to make your way straight to the pier when you arrive there.
If you’re travelling from Mexico, the way I did it is quicker and easier than crossing the overland border.
Where to Stay in Caye Caulker
Hostel: Travellers Palm Backpackers
This new hostel is great for travellers looking to meet others. Rooms include a fridge/ freezer and guests can enjoy complimentary WiFi, free tea and coffee, and the use of kayaks. The roof terrace is perfect for meeting other travellers and enjoying the sunset over the island.
Mid-Range Hotel: Anchorage Beach Resort
Anchorage Beach Resort Caye Caulker is great for people who are wanting to stay in a private accommodation on a budget. Rooms are air-conditioned, with their own terrace and private bathrooms have a shower. It’s secluded from the noise and has a lovely relaxing atmosphere.
Luxury Hotel: Island Magic Beach Resort
Featuring a sun terrace, pool and beach bar, Island Magic Beach Resort is close to the airport and has suites kitted out with kitchenettes and attached bathrooms. The staff are friendly and accommodating and there’s a strong WiFi connection.
Tips for Visiting Caye Caulker
- Belize is the only Central American country that has English as their native language.
- The currency is the Belizean Pound, and expect prices to increase dramatically from Guatemala or Mexico.
- Don’t expect anything to be done in a hurry here. The island’s motto is ‘Go Slow’ and they take that very seriously. It’s a place to chill out and recharge!
- Like in any developing country, be mindful of what you eat in Caye Caulker. I got really bad food poisioning there, but I’m not sure what it was from.
Things to Pack for Your Caye Caulker Trip
- Belize Lonely Planet to guide you around.
- Travel towel
- High Factor Reef-Safe Suncream – this is really important if you’re diving or snorkelling!
- Water-to-Go Bottle – using this means you can drink the tap water anywhere!
- Metal Straws – you’re on an island, so do save on plastic.
Where to Go After Caye Caulker
Most people head elsewhere in Belize or to its neighbouring countries. Check out the Mayan ruins and authentic cities of Guatemala (here’s a full Guatemala itinerary), or head north to Mexico, where you can see the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico City and the South Western area, which includes places like Oaxaca City and the awesome beaches of Oaxaca.