If you’re looking for an affordable trip to a beautiful Caribbean destination, you should absolutely consider Belize. It’s easily accessible, easily affordable, and absolutely gorgeous.
And if you’re considering Belize, allow me to make a case for Caye Caulker. It is a small island that will leave a big impression. So here are 5 reasons you should consider adding it to your travels.
1. Feel at home in laid back Caye Caulker
Caye Caulker is a small limestone island about 20 miles from Belize City. The island measures about 5 miles long, and just short of a mile wide. Stepping off the boat, you’ll immediately feel the small town vibe of Caye Caulker. You can easily walk the whole island without spending much of your day; you won’t see many cars on the island, most people walk or bike to get where they need to go.
There are approximately 1,300 people who call Caye Caulker home. The locals are friendly and laid back. Caye Caulker’s motto is “go slow,” and you’ll see signs advising the same as you explore the island. The restaurants here are mostly small affairs, sometimes in back yards and on porches, and the island definitely has its own style.
There’s very little in the way of big hotels or resorts, and every place feels unique. As a great bonus, English is the official language of Belize, so you won’t have to worry about translation concerns.
2. Eat like royalty, for considerably less
Maybe it’s just me, but I think a big part of the fun of travel is trying local foods. Caye Caulker won’t disappoint there. As I mentioned earlier, most of the restaurants on the island are small affairs. You won’t find chains here, so every meal you’ll eat will be unique.
Not only that, but the prices are very reasonable. Most meals will set you back 10-15 Belize dollars (BZD), which are currently valued at 0.50 USD. Most places will take either Belizean dollars of American dollars, just make sure you clarify which before you pay.
As to the food itself, you’ll find a good variety. Not surprisingly, there’s a wealth of fresh seafood available. Snapper is popular here, and you can find it prepared in a ton of delicious ways. Conch is also popular here, and absolutely worth trying. Ceviche is also very popular in Belize, and you’ll absolutely want to order a bowl or two. The best Ceviche I had was actually during a snorkeling day sail with Blackhawk Sailing.
Most Belizean meals tend to be simple recipes, and often come with beans and rice. Sometimes you’ll find locals with grills and picnic tables service lunch or dinner; I absolutely recommend stopping by. There are several fruit stands around the island as well, for fresh fruit and fresh fruit juice that shouldn’t be missed. Also, be sure to try the breakfast fry jack. It’s a local specialty of deep fried dough filled with eggs, meats, and beans. Errolyn’s House of Fry Jacks is famous for them.
3. Swim, snorkel, and dive
As you’d expect from an island in the Caribbean, Caye Caulker has beautiful, clear water that is great for snorkeling and diving. Most of the water around the island is fairly shallow, which makes for easy swimming.
There are not, however, many sandy beaches to be had. Often you may need to hop in from a dock since some of the shore can be very rocky. If you’re looking for snorkeling or diving, Caye Caulker’s proximity to Belize’s Barrier reef will be a definite plus.
Caye Caulker is just about a mile west of the large reef, and you can see the whitecaps of the waves breaking there from the shore. There are quite a few companies on the island that can set up snorkeling and diving excursions nearby.
You’ll also be close to the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, which can offer close looks at nurse sharks and stingrays. You absolutely shouldn’t miss the opportunity to visit the reef. You can even pick up a boat here to dive Belize’s Great Blue Hole.
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4. Keep things cheap
Caye Caulker has been a backpacker destination for a number of years. This isn’t surprising at all when you consider how inexpensive it can be. As I mentioned earlier, eating cheaply is quite easy, but that’s only the start.
With the small nature of the island, transportation isn’t an issue, and many accommodations offer bike rentals with their normal rates. Speaking of which, accommodations can be had quite cheaply on the island.
Private rooms can be found for around 30-40 USD per night, with prices going up and down depending on how much space you’ll need. This way, you can save money for excursions and activities. There’s only one ATM on the island that takes foreign cards, but with everything this affordable, you may never need it.
5. Relax and enjoy a slower pace of life
Sometimes it can be tough to just sit and relax on vacation. There’s so much to see and do, that it sometimes feels like a rush to jam in as many experiences as possible. Caye Caulker is best enjoyed with a slow mindset and a drink in hand.
The people here don’t feel rushed, and it really helps to create a relaxed atmosphere. You could certainly fill your whole time on Caye Caulker windsurfing, sailing, diving, and kayaking, but you’d be missing some of the point.
Even in the Caribbean it can be tough to find places this relaxing and inviting. Take some time to really enjoy and relax.
Stop on by
So there you have it, 5 good reasons to check out Caye Caulker. If you’re looking for a relaxed, welcoming spot in the Caribbean, it’s absolutely worth a visit. If you land in Belize City, you’ll have to take a regular taxi and a water taxi to get there. It can feel like a long trip, but you’ll enjoy watching the busyness of Belize City melt away as you close in on the island. So hop on a boat and enjoy the hospitality and beauty of Belize. You can see most of what there is to see in a few days, but there’s enough here to to enjoy for a while if you’re prepared to relax.
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