Watch clouds and listen to waves while lying in a hammock, go snorkeling in crystal-clear water and dance all night to feel-good reggae beats on this tropical island.
Take a deep breath, kick off your shoes and embrace the “Go slow” motto of beautiful Caye Caulker. Just off mainland Belize, Caye Caulker is a dream destination for backpackers and ecotourism enthusiasts. Spend your days swaying in a beachfront hammock, diving at pristine Caribbean Sea barrier reefs and sharing travel adventures at the welcoming bars.
Caye Caulker is a long, narrow sandbar island bisected by a channel. To the south, visit the tourist center, where lodgings, shops and tour operators line the car-free streets and waterfront. The northern island is largely underdeveloped and swathed in a mangrove forest teeming with birdlife. The Split, a thin canal, separates the two portions and has popular spots for swimming and sunsets.
Sign up for snorkeling and diving excursions with outfitters such as Ragamuffin Tours and Frenchie’s Diving. A short boat ride away is Belize Barrier Reef, part of the Caye Caulker Marine Reserve. Spot pristine coral reefs, orange-hued starfish and fish of every color of the rainbow. Explore underwater caves and swim in blue-green lagoons.
Get close to sharks, sea turtles and rays at Hol Chan Marine Reserve. Observe surfacing manatees at Swallow Caye Wildlife Sanctuary. Windsurf, kayak or fish for barracuda, bonefish and tarpon. Back on dry land, see saltwater crocodiles and some of over 100 native bird species as you traverse nature trails.
Relax at the island’s bars and restaurants. Many have ocean-facing terraces that feature the rhythmic sounds of reggae. Feast on plates of fresh seafood, lobster and coconut-infused desserts. Sip a cold beer or cocktail, mingle with likeminded vacationers and exchange stories as you watch the sun drift down.
Reach Caye Caulker by catching a low-cost ferry from Belize City or fly from Belize City Municipal Airport. The island is small enough to get around on foot, although bikes and golf carts are available to rent. Fall into a blissful sleep at guesthouses or luxury resorts.