Caye Caulker is the kind of place that Google images would show you if you typed in the word paradise. Situated just off the coast of Belize, it is the tropical island we all dream about. The kind of place you hope to spend a few weeks basking on its glorious shores. Or even retire there when the time comes.
From the beautiful marine life that dwells in its surrounding waters to the sandy paths that carve around the colourful wooden buildings, it isn’t hard to see why Caye Caulker is Belize’s pride and joy. And one of Central America’s most popular island destinations. Not convinced yet? Here are our top 10 reasons why this little gem should be on everyone’s travel wishlist.
1. The Slow Pace of Life
We all want nothing more than to escape the grind of the 9-5, put our feet up and relax for a while. Caye Caulker is the ultimate embodiment of this wish. Nobody moves faster than a leisurely walk. Anyone seen trying to power-stride or, god forbid, run, will be met with a chorus of the island’s motto “go slow” being chanted by hordes of locals. That’s not to say that people on the island are lazy. Far from it in fact. Everything gets done. People just don’t work themselves to death in the process.
2. The People
They say it’s not where you are but the people you meet along the way. But in the case of Caye Caulker, it’s both. As well as being a tiny slice of heaven, the people that live here are some of the friendliest you will ever encounter. Rather than frown and tut at the hordes of travellers that frequent their island, the residents of Caye Caulker welcome them with open arms and unparalleled hospitality. The locals make everyone that steps off the boat feel like they are finally home.
3. The Blue Hole
This natural phenomenon is responsible for bringing scuba divers from around the world to these Belizean waters. With a radius of 305m and a depth of 145m, this mysterious hole is one of the most fascinating sights to behold on the planet. Sharks lurk in its deep waters and hundreds of different fish and other marine animals make the complex labyrinth of underwater caves their home. Tours visit the site on a daily basis and it is an absolute must for anyone with a PADI license.
4. The Snorkelling
If scuba diving into a dark sea hole seems a bit too intense for you, there are other options. Caye Caulker has dozens of tour operators that offer more tame snorkelling excursions so you can still enjoy some watery action. Sharks, rays, seahorses and manatees are just some of the creatures you might see whilst snorkelling in the vicinity of Caye Caulker. With the endless sunshine heating up the water and a boat stocked up with post-adventure beers, there isn’t a better way to spend a day here.
5. The Absence of Cars
In keeping with the island’s “go slow” attitude, Caye Caulker has a strict no cars policy. No taxis, no buses, no family cars. This leaves the island blissfully tranquil and unpolluted. People can stride down the road peacefully without having to constantly look around to make sure they’re not going to get run over. The only motorised 4-wheeled vehicles on the island are golf carts, which are available for rental for those who would prefer not to traverse the island by foot.
6. The Enjoy Restaurant
As if the name wasn’t enough to make you smile, this restaurant and bar will certainly make your evening that much better. Not only is the food here to die for, it is also very reasonably priced. And always served with a big smile and some great conversation. Need more? What about the fantastic happy hour that keeps everyone well-supplied with Caribbean rum? Still not enough? The seats at the bar are actually swings. Enjoy.
7. The Split
While there isn’t much by way of beaches on the island, The Split is the perfect area for lying in the sun or taking a dip in the sea. Originally named such because of the waterway that flows through here and divides the island in two, The Split is now the go-to place for anyone on the island looking to chill out. The Lazy Lizard, located on a wooden decking that hangs over The Split, sells food and drinks throughout the day and blasts out fresh tunes for sun-worshippers to enjoy.
8. The Shopping
While this island isn’t exactly a buzzing metropolis, it certainly has a few boutiques that will keep any shopaholic happy. Selling everything from trinkets to sarongs to cocktail-themed playing cards, the array of shops and open air stalls is great. Many vendors also hawk their own homemade jewellery, fabricated from shells and stones found on the island.
9. The Lobster
As one of the world’s finest foods, lobster is often either off limits or just an occasional treat for most of us back home. However, on a tropical island surrounded by lobster-infested waters, it is almost a staple. These magnificent creatures are literally plucked from the ocean and within hours are laid out on your plate. Naturally, given their abundance, their price tag is dramatically lower than you would find in most other places.
10. The Vibe
When you take all of the above into account, it’s no surprise that everyone who comes to this island falls in love with it. There are no parties pumping until the early hours of the morning or rowdy drunks parading the streets. Instead the island offers laid back cocktail bars playing Reggaeton beats and pub quizzes peppered with rum. Noise and disturbances are just not a thing here, making the vibe so idyllic that you will inevitably struggle to leave.
Ready to experience this slice of paradise yourself? Have a look at our offering of tours in Belize.