Tucked away on small limestone coral island east of mainland Belize is Caye Caulker, an island paradise that’s still practically unspoiled. With an island motto of “Go Slow…” this is the perfect place to chill out and relax while enjoying the sunshine and perfect, picture-perfect views of the Caribbean Ocean.
I was able to spend a little over a week on Caye Caulker and loved every minute of it. I first stopped at San Pedro on Ambergris Caye just north of the island for a few days and almost didn’t take the 30-minute ferry ride down to Caulker. While San Pedro felt a little too busy for me, Caye Caulker lived up to its reputation of laid-back vibes and relaxation.
While I was on the island, a local expat there who runs the Ice & Beans coffee shop said to me, “You’ve got to follow the hippies man. Go where the hippies go, that’s where you want to be.” San Pedro has more of a touristy and family vacation vibe. Caye Caulker is for the backpackers and hippies (and I love it!).
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How Do You Get to Caye Caulker
Caye Caulker is only accessible by high-speed water ferry or small plane, which adds to its appeal. There are few cars on the island, just mostly golf carts and bicycles for transportation. The ferry runs from Belize City (around one hour) or from San Pedro on Ambergris Caye (about 30 minutes). (FYI: I get deathly sick on boats, but this ferry was big enough that I barely felt the ocean during a relatively calm, non-windy day.)
The only airlines that fly to the island are Maya Air and Tropic Air which both cost around $70 to $120 one-way from the main airport in Belize City. (Side note: Tropic Air seems to be a bit more expensive than Maya Air).
If you can splurge on the cost, I recommend the plane ride just for the experience. The views are incredible, and you’re basically getting a “free” aerial tour of the islands along the way. The plane is quite small with limited seating around 10 to 12 passengers, so mentally prepare for that if you don’t like small spaces. If you’re lucky enough, you’ll get the prime co-pilot spot!
1 Best Things to Do in Caye Caulker Belize #1: Take a Swim at The Split
One of the most famous things to do in Caye Caulker is to walk toward the northern tip of the island to “The Split” for a drink and a swim. The Split is a narrow channel that cuts Caye Caulker into two parts of the island. It leaves a nice, clean area for swimming and wading around in the crystal-clear waters.
There are also several restaurants, areas for hanging out on benches and tables, and a paddleboard rental shop. One of the best places to visit at The Split is the Lazy Lizard with lively music, green lizard juice cocktails, and water volleyball. Check out the Lazy Lizard during special nights for DJs and full moon parties.
5 Take in a Sunset at Iguana Reef
After perusing a few travel blogs, I discovered that taking in a sunset at Iguana Reef is a “must-do” in Caye Caulker. Once I found out about Iguana Reef, it became my favorite late afternoon ritual, and I visited 3 to 4 times during my visit.
Iguana Reef is a pristine little hotel on the west side of the island. They have a nice beach area with chairs, loungers, and a tropical-vibe open bar. The bar hosts “happy hour” right around sunset with $5 rum & cokes, making it a perfect spot to take in the view with a drink in hand. It’s a popular destination, so get there early if you would like to score a seat.
Right around sunset, one of the workers at the hotel comes around with fish food to throw around the dock, attracting an array of ocean life and sting rays. It makes for an entertaining “show” with the Caribbean sunset as a backdrop.