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Central America Group Travel

Caye Caulker: How To Spend Time In A Caribbean Paradise

When you start thinking about where to go in Belize, there’s bound to be one place at the top of your list, Caye Caulker! And with good reason! Surrounded by blue ocean, covered in bright white sand and home to the ubiquitous palm tree, Caye Caulker is a paradise for swimmers and non-swimmers alike.

I travelled through Belize on an 8 day group tour and Caye Caulker was the final stop. Although very different to the rest of the country, island life certainly grabbed me and I felt very much at home, despite enjoying only a short, 2 day Caye Caulker experience.

In this post I’ll share 9 things you can include in your Caye Caulker itinerary, offer up some travel tips and provide a general Caye Caulker travel guide so you too can plan your time in this Caribbean paradise. All you’ll need to do after reading is start packing!

Where is Caye Caulker?

Caye Caulker (pronounced ‘key corker’) is a small Caribbean island off the coast of Belize in Central America. It measures about 8 kilometres (5 miles) north to south and less than 1.6 kilometres (1 miles) east to west. When you look closely at a Caye Caulker map, you will see that the island is divided by a narrow channel called the Split. In the north of the island you will find mangrove forest and in the south, the island’s main settlement, Caye Caulker Village.

Image shows a brightly coloured building on Caye Caulker

How To Get To Caye Caulker

I have set out below the options available for getting to Caye Caulker whether you are coming from Belize or Mexico.

For more information on how to get to Belize itself, do check out my Belize Travel Itinerary post.

Getting to Caye Caulker from Belize City

Most air passengers arriving in Belize will fly into Belize International Airport (called Phillip Goldson International Airport (BZE)) in Belize City. The Belize City Caye Caulker route is therefore a well trodden one!

To travel on to Caye Caulker from Belize City you have two options:

1. Fly

Tropic Air and Maya Island Air both fly from BZE to Caye Caulker. Whilst this is the quickest way of getting to Caye Caulker with a flight time of around 10-15 minutes, it is also the most expensive.

I flew with Tropic Air from Cancun to Belize City and I have to say, it was a great experience! The plane was a 12 seater and there were wonderful views of the Caribbean Sea out the windows. I understand that similar size aircraft (or smaller!) fly to Caye Caulker.

2. Water Taxi

The cheaper but slower option is to take the San Pedro Belize Express Water Taxi to Caye Caulker. Operated by San Pedro Belize Water Taxi Limited, you will first need to get a transfer from the airport to the water taxi terminal. You can review available options here:

I travelled to and from Caye Caulker using the water taxi and it was a very good service. One way tickets are currently priced at $21 (Belize dollars) and a round trip at $37.

Be sure to check online for the up to date Belize City to Caye Caulker ferry schedule and pricing. Travel time is 45 minutes.

Image shows a copy of the water taxi schedule running between various points including Belize City to Caye Caulker and back.

You could of course choose the best of both worlds and fly to Caye Caulker then opt for the Caye Caulker Belize City ferry option if you are departing Belize from BZE.

Getting to Caye Caulker from San Pedro Ambergris Caye

If you are wanting to get to Caye Caulker from nearby San Pedro town, you can also take the San Pedro Belize Express water taxi. Travel time is 30 minutes. One way tickets are currently priced at $21 (Belize dollars) and a return ticket at $37. Check online for up to date schedules and pricing.

Getting to Caye Caulker from Mexico

It is also possible to catch the San Pedro Belize Express ferry from Chetumal to Caye Caulker.

Chetumal is located in the Mexican State of Quintana Roo and therefore this is a viable option for those in Bacalar and surrounding areas. Travel time is a little over 3 hours. One way tickets are currently priced at $77 (Belize dollars) and a return ticket at $154.

Be sure to check online for up to date schedules and prices.

Where to Stay on Caye Caulker

As with the rest of Belize, there’s a variety of accommodation available on Caye Caulker. I stayed at the Caye Caulker Plaza Hotel, however you can research all available options and book here:

Is Caye Caulker Worth Visiting?

Absolutely! Whether you are into water sports or not, the island has enough to keep you busy or relaxed. The laid back lifestyle, white sand and Caribbean Sea make it a perfect place for a vacation. In addition, you won’t go hungry or thirsty with plenty of options on offer.

Image shows several empty beach chairs on Caye Caulker looking out to the Caribbean Sea

How Many Days Should I Spend on Caye Caulker?

As I mentioned above, my visit to the island came at the end of an 8 day tour through Belize and I made one big mistake….not staying longer! There was no reason to leave immediately the trip finished but that’s in fact what I did. I had only been on the island for what felt like minutes before realising that I’d made a rookie mistake and should have stayed at least another day or 2. I would therefore recommend staying a minimum of 3 or 4 days on Caye Caulker.

Image shows a scene of a beach front cafe on Caye Caulker

Things to Do on Caye Caulker

I think the idea of visiting a Caribbean island sounds good regardless of what you want to do. Fortunately, Caye Caulker caters well to the active and to those who want to be inactive!

Here are 9 things to include in your Caye Caulker itinerary:

1. Go Slow!

Caye Caulker’s motto is “Go Slow” and so…you should! Embracing island life is all about slowing down, appreciating where you are, watching the ocean and chatting to strangers. In many ways, it’s one of the best things to do in Caye Caulker.

Image shows a sign reading Go Slow, the motto of Caye Caulker Belize

2. Ride around the Island

Golf carts, bicycles and walking are the modes of transport with both golf carts and bikes available to rent. I rented a bike for a little over an hour for $10 and definitely recommend it! Check with your accommodation provider too, they may supply bikes without charge.

You can also rent golf carts and scooters – ask your accommodation provider for a recommendation.

3. Go Snorkeling or Scuba Diving

I have to admit that although I wanted to join a snorkeling tour, I did not – I couldn’t find the right prescription lens mask unfortunately. Nor did I go diving! For those who are wanting or are able to go diving or snorkeling however, then Caye Caulker is your paradise.

Lying just off the coast from Caye Caulker is the famous Belize Barrier Reef. The reef is the second largest barrier reef in the world, behind Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the reef runs parallel to the coastline of Belize. It’s made up of 7 protected areas:

  • Bacalar Chico National Park and Marine Reserve
  • Blue Hole Natural Monument
  • Half Moon Caye Natural Monument
  • South Water Caye Marine Reserve
  • Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve
  • Laughing Bird Caye National Park
  • Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve

Snorkeling and diving day trips from Caye Caulker to the Hol Chan Marine Reserve (which includes Shark Ray Alley, named for the nurse sharks and stingrays in the area) and the Blue Hole are available. You can research available tours and book here:

4. Fly over the Blue Hole

If diving the Blue Hole isn’t your thing, then you can opt for a scenic flight over the Blue Hole on certain days with Maya Island Air and Tropic Air.

5. Hang Out at The Split

The Split is the stretch of water that divides Caye Caulker into two. According to some, it was created in 1961 during Hurricane Hettie when very high winds hit the island. Others will tell you that it was hand dredged following the hurricane. Whatever the truth, today, it’s a popular place for visitors and locals alike to hang out, swim, snorkel, drink, eat and listen to music. It’s also home to one of Caye Caulker’s best beach bars, The Lazy Lizard.

6. Take a Sunset Cruise

The sunset in Caye Caulker is beautiful. If you’re keen to witness it from the water you check out these options:

For those who prefer to watch the sunset from land, head to The Split as I did, just gorgeous.

Image shows the sunset on Caye Caulker

7. Rent a Kayak or a Paddleboard

Kayaks and paddleboards are available to rent throughout Caye Caulker Village, including from The Lazy Lizard. Check with your accommodation provider too, they may supply kayaks and paddleboards without charge.

Image shows a kayak alongside a golf cart by the ocean on Caye Caulker Belize. Water sports including kayaking are one of the best things to to do on Caye Caulker

8. Spot the Stingrays and Seahorses

If you head down to The Iguana Reef Inn you can enjoy two of the best free things to do in Caye Caulker with kids (or without!).

Spotting seahorses off the dock is a challenge but patience is often rewarded! The seahorses are little and beautifully camouflaged amidst the netting/rope laid out for them, but they are there. In fact, I relied on a small child to point them out to me!

Further along the dock, you have the chance to see stingrays. They are being fed which will of course keep them coming back, but it’s a chance to see them without having to venture out underwater.

9. Explore the Local Shops

There are plenty of craft markets and shops in Caye Caulker Village selling all manner of goods from jewellery, art, souvenirs and chocolate to name but a few.

Where to Eat on Caye Caulker

All that activity or inactivity can make you hungry and thirsty but don’t despair, Caye Caulker has plenty of options when it comes to food and drink. Here’s a selection of some of the best places to eat in Caye Caulker:

1. Namaste Café

The Namaste Café and Yoga Studio was on my list of places to visit well before I arrived on Caye Caulker. I really wanted to take a moment and sit in the brightly coloured cafe and just watch the world go by…and so I did! I stopped by during my ride around the island for a coffee – loved the way you can select your own mug. The café is open from 7.30am and closes at 2.30pm Monday to Saturday, closed Sundays.

In addition to hot and cold drinks and food, there is also a yoga studio upstairs. Check the website for up to date prices and schedules.

2. Ice N Beans

Another popular coffee shop is Ice N Beans. Stop by for a selection of food and drinks, including iced coffee and ice cream!

3. The Creamery

‘I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream’! You have to go here if, like me, you’re an ice cream lover. The scoops of Belizean fudge and Sour Sop I had were delicious!

4. Swings Restaurant & Bar

My first stop on the island was Swings Restaurant & Bar! The local beer was a perfect accompaniment to the fish skewers. Obviously, I couldn’t resist the swings!

5. Errolyn’s House of Fry Jacks

Although Errolyn’s House of Fry Jacks came highly recommended I did not, however, have time to dine here myself. It’s a real shame as fry jacks, fried dough with a range of fillings served for breakfast, are a Belizean specialty!

Image shows a bright green and pink building which houses the restaurant called Errolyn's House of Fry Jacks on Caye Caulker, a place to eat breakfast.

6. Amor y Café

I went to Amore Y Café for breakfast on my first full day on the island. There was a good selection of hot and cold food and good coffee. I must have known I was in for a day of ice cream as I had cereal and fruit!

Image shows a white bowl with orange rim filled with cereal and fruit, breast at the Amor Y Cafe in Caye Caulker Belize

7. Reina’s Restaurant

My group tour has hoped to eat dinner here on our final night together, however after queuing for some time, we decided that our hunger could not wait and we went elsewhere. It’s a real shame though as Reina’s Restaurant, although small, has a very good reputation for serving local seafood (hence the queue!). I would definitely plan to eat here if (when?) I get back to the island!

8. Sip N Dip

If you fancy a drink whilst sitting in the Caribbean Sea, then head here! If you’d rather keep dry, there’s seating on the surrounding jetty and under cover in the bar.

Wherever you go though in Belize, do try the panty riper cocktail. Kind of like a rum punch concoction, it’s very popular (and nice!).

9. BBQ Street Food

You are bound to be tempted by the delicious smells of jerk chicken being cooked on a BBQ on the main street…so give in, it’s worth it!

Image shows BBQ chicken being cooked on the street in Caye Caulker. It's delicious and a must have when on the island!

Final Thoughts

Caye Caulker is a must see for anyone visiting Belize and wanting a slice of Caribbean paradise. With “Go Slow” the island motto, you are free to relax by the water with a drink, enjoy the locally cooked jerk chicken or watch the daily gathering of stingrays late afternoon…the choice is yours!

If you can get yourself off your sun lounger, out of the bar, away from the beach or off your bike, there’s also a wide range of water based activities you can enjoy, including sunset sailing, swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding and of course diving and snorkeling.

My advice to anyone visiting, especially on a group trip – stay for at least another couple of days after your trip ends. For those not on a tour, stay for as long as you like! You’ll have an UNBELIZEABLE time!

If you are looking for more things to do in Belize, then be sure you read my posts on creating your own awesome Belize Travel Itinerary, the unmissable Lamanai Mayan Ruins and the astonishing ATM Cave.

If you need any general assistance with planning a trip to Belize then check out my Resources page.

Disclaimer – Information correct at the time of writing but do check before visiting

Disclosure – This post may contain affiliate links. That means that if you book something using them, I will earn a small commission but you will not pay anything extra. Thank you for supporting my blog.

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