Ah, Caye Caulker, Belize. Everything is slower here, delightfully informal, and laid back. Yet there is still plenty of things to do in Caye Caulker Belize. The Belize barrier islands really carries more of a Caribbean island feel to it, rather than a Central American nation. The people are quite happy and friendly too and all speak English. In fact Belize retains the classification of being the only Central American county with English as the official language.
Seafood is plentiful and often inexpensive. For instance, delicious lobster sandwiches can be had for $3 USD a piece. (See where in our Cheap Eats Guide to Caye Caulker.)
There are no cars in Caye Caulker, as they are not needed on this small island. There are three dirt streets that extend along the Front, Middle, and Back which are used by walkers, bicyclists, and occasionally golf carts. The lack of cars helps make the slow pace of the island all the more pleasant. As much as we enjoyed Caye Caulker, I will say there was a quite a bit of construction going on during our stay, which makes me nervous that things may be changing for this island. So it may be one of those places you need to go to now and enjoy its charm before it perhaps becomes more built-up.
We had only planned to stay here for two nights, but loved it so much and found so many things to do in Caye Caulker that we extended our visit to an entire week. They told us to “go slow” and we did. So after a week of really exploring the island, here’s what we would recommend as our top 5 things to do in Caye Caulker:
5) Watch a Movie Under the Stars
We usually wouldn’t be one to recommend going to a movie while on vacation because you could do that at home. But in Caye Caulker you have a chance for a unique movie viewing experience by doing so under the stars. At the time of our visit, each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday night, a vacant lot is outfitted with a movie screen, lawn chairs, and very comfy cabanas. Mosquito coils burn in empty beer bottles to keep away any pesky bugs. There’s also a cash bar, popcorn, and they’ll even grill you a burger if you’re hungry.
There are two showings each of those nights. During our visit, the first movie started shortly after sunset at 6:30 and a different movie began just after the first one ended. Movies are current releases. So take a seat under the stars and enjoy the show!
4) Catch a Basketball Game in Caye Caulker
Basketball in Caye Caulker? You won’t find this in any travel guide or tourism brochure. Caye Caulker gets serious about their basketball. There’s a B-ball court just off of Front Street, close to the main ferry dock. In the evenings, the court heats up and the games get intense. Friends and family members take to the three rows of bleachers on either side to watch the action.
These are informal pick-up games, not some ticketed event or anything. But these guys get really into the game and they’re actually pretty good. It’s impressive to sit on the sidelines and watch them strive to be an NBA great. Before or after dinner, grab a beer at the market next to the court, try to blend-in in the stands, and watch a fierce competition heat up.
3) Devour Some Deliciously Fresh Seafood
This is great place to get your seafood fix. During the season (June 15 – Feb 14), lobster is abundant and right out of the sea. Conch, shrimp, and a variety of fresh fish are also all just begging to be consumed, whether served as a ceviche, grilled, or deep-fried. We particularly enjoyed the lobster at Wish Willy grilled to perfection with a soy-based sauce, the fresh and flavorful ceviche at Marin’s, and the simple yet deliciously meaty fried conch take-out at Chan’s had us coming back for a second visit.
2) Go Scuba Diving at the Belize Barrier Reef
Belize is a SCUBA diving mecca and Caye Caulker is the perfect place to use as a home base to explore the vast underwater ecology which surrounds. The Blue Hole tops diving bucket lists and likely for good reason. Caye Caulker also makes a great base for Turneffe Atoll dives in addition to the spots off of neighboring Ambregous Caye, such as Tackle Box, which was our favorite dive.
If you are not certified to dive, what better place to change that and enable yourself to explore the world below? It’s certainly not the most inexpensive place to do so, but the awesome Belizean reefs make it very worth it. If diving is not something you’re comfortable with, snorkeling may be a suitable substitute, as there are also a number of shallower reefs teaming with marine life. Ho Chan Marine Preserve is a great day trip to take which also entails a trip to Shark Ray Alley and other stops.
1) Do Nothing.
Really this is what Caye Caulker is all about. Their unofficial slogan is “Go Slow” and you’ll see those signs all throughout the island. Caye Caulker is all about slowing down and relaxing. So get in that grove and chill out.
Find a spot in a hammock and let the world go by. Or toss a line in the water from the dock and see if you get any bites.
Hammocks not your thing? Perhaps one of the many swings on the docks and bars facing the ocean are more your speed.
Go hang out with the locals, tourists, and backpackers who all seem to commingle and congregate on the split each afternoon. Grab a bucket of Belikin beers there and just relax.
Have a leisurely stroll down the beach or through the village and bring one of those leftover beers with you because open containers are okay. In the evening walk the entire width of the island from East to West to watch the sunset just melt away into the ocean. And don’t worry, walking the width of the island only takes about one minute, maybe two if you’re in the Caye Caulker spirit and are going slow.
Or just plop down in a sandy spot somewhere and do absolutely nothing. This is the place.
Other Notable Mentions for Things to Do in Caye Caulker:
Really its hard to keep it to just 5 top things to do in Caye Caulker and there were also a few activities we weren’t able to get to that we feel deserve some recognition in this post. So here’s a few more things to do in Caye Caulker that we had to add to the list.
– Catch a sailboat to Placencia
We’ve spoke to a number of people who have done the three day trip with Raggamuffin Tours and all had absolutely fantastic things to say about it. Spend your days stopping at gorgeous reefs to snorkel or fish off the back of the boat along the way. Stop at scenic remote islands in the middle of the Carribean Sea. Camp out on an island each of the two nights, feast on your catches of the day and wash it down with some rum punch. Had we been continuing on southward towards Placencia this would have definitely been on our itinerary and is an excursion I hope to come back and do one day.
– Hol Chan Marine Preserve
This is a great snorkeling day trip to do in which you’ll not only visit an amazing reef with all sorts of marine life, but you’ll be able to get up close and personal with sting rays, nurse sharks, and possibly a turtle. If snorkeling around Caye Caulker, avoid all the half-day trips and do this full day trip instead.
– Hanging with the locals
Most of the locals here our quite friendly and have a good sense of humor. Some can be delightfully chatty. Find them wandering around one of the roads, chowing down at the more budget-friendly restaurants, at a bar, or selling their wears and food.
Going to Caye Caulker, Belize on Dec 9, 2015. I have been there twice previously but not during Christmas season. Do they change items in the shops to Christmas wares or keep it generic (ie: beach, fishing souveniers, Caulker t-shirts)? Excited to be there during lobster season. Also can’t get prices for water taxi through San Pedro Belize Express. Need Belize to Caye Caulker price.
John Widmer says
We have not been to Belize in December, so can’t comment on that from first hand experience. However Belize is a predominantly Christian nation, so I would imagine that there will be some Christmas-oriented themes around the island. You can find water taxi prices as http://www.belizewatertaxi.com
John Widmer says
Love Belize and Belikan. Thank you for sharing this post and your entire journey. I am having a blast living vicariously through you both. Love you and safe travels!