Caye Caulker is a small island off the coast of Belize known for its incredible diving and snorkeling sites. It is the epitome of a “sleepy beach town,” full of friendly locals with a quintessential beach vibe. Even though the island was hit by a few hurricanes, the most recent being Hurricane Earl in 2010, the community of Caye Caulker always manages to bounce back.
Caye Caulker is the perfect location for a relaxing diving and snorkeling adventure. It is one of the few places from which to access the famous Great Blue Hole and home to the second largest barrier reef in the world. The aquatic life is plentiful and the island offers many ways to take advantage of it!
This post is written by Cassie from Your Infinite Passport.
Getting to Caye Caulker
Getting to Caye Caulker is straightforward. Once you’ve arrived in Belize City, which has an international airport, head to the ferry station. There, you can take one of the 12 daily ferry trips to the island. It’s a 45-minute boat ride and being on the open ocean is a great way to get your adventure started! Tickets are $25 USD round trip if you book in advance online.
Caye Caulker Accommodation
There are plenty of accommodation options on the beachfront of Caye Caukler– both affordable and more upscale. Caye Caulker is a small, laidback island so don’t expect to find big bustling resorts here. This is the place to immerse yourself in the culture, meet some locals and hang out in a hammock. Airbnb‘s are also a great option here if you want somewhere to cook meals and save even more money. Check on the form below for the best prices on accommodation in Caye Caulker.
Transportation on Caye Caulker
Because the island is so small, it’s easy to get everywhere on foot. Another great option is to rent a bike or stay somewhere that allows you to use their bikes – nothing like bike riding along the beach in flip-flops! There are also golf cart shops and water taxis available if you’d like to zip over to Ambergris Caye for a day.
Things to do in Caye Caulker
Scuba Diving in Caye Caulker
With access to the second largest reef in the world, Caye Caulker has a number of amazing diving opportunities. There are several scuba diving companies on Caye Caulker to go with including Belize Diving Services, Scuba Sensation, Blue Wave Divers, Black Durgon Dives, and Frenchie’s Diving. There is also Blue Sea Diving Services but their reputation is less than stellar, so it’s not listed here.
I dived with Frenchie’s in 2016 and they were fantastic, I definitely recommend them. They were fun to be around, attentive to your gear needs and made safety a priority. With half day, full day and overnight diving options, there is something for everyone. They also feed you a full Belizean lunch, which was delicious.
I chose the Turneffe North full day dive. There were three dives total: the Black Coral Wall, St. Vincent’s Wall and Sandy Lane. Each dive site was full of wildlife – eels, lobsters, turtles, crabs, stingrays, sharks – there were so many! And the coral was healthy. It was refreshing to see a popular diving area treated well, ensuring that it will still be there for future dive enthusiasts.
If you are an advanced diver, be sure to check out the Great Blue Hole. It is a giant marine sinkhole off the coast and known as one of the Top Ten Destination Dives in the world. Sadly, I was not an advanced diver when I visited but I heard some great local stories from other tourists I met while on the island. Most of the dive shops listed above do diving trips to the Great Blue Hole from Caye Caulker, so be sure to check them out.
Night snorkeling is a great alternative (or addition) to diving in Caye Caulker. The reefs around Caye Caulker are full of nighttime organisms such as bioluminescence, glowing jellyfish, octopus, and lobsters. They give you a high-powered LED flashlight to light your way and find sea creatures. I found this experience to be both exciting and terrifying since you’re in pitch-black and just have to have blind faith in the water around you!
I snorkeled with French Angel Expedition, a family-run company in town. There is no need to book the activity with them before you’re in town. I just walked up to their shop and signed up. They were friendly and provided encouragement when we realized just how dark the water was. At one point, we turned off our flashlights and just floated there watching the bioluminescence surrounding us. It’s an experience I won’t forget!
There are also a number of other snorkeling day tours to explore the vibrant and colorful marine world of Caye Caulker.
For those that just want to be in the water and not do any of these crazy activities, head to The Split. Located on the north end of town, this is an area with two beaches for swimming, kayaking, and fishing. The Name ‘The Split’ came about because it’s the site where Hurricane Hattie ripped through the area, splitting the island into two. It’s now a great place to hang out and lounge – the closest you’ll get to a “ beach party” on this island!
Head to pretty much any restaurant and you will find local fresh fish ready to be devoured. Check out Bamboozle Beach and Bar Grill to sit on swings with your feet in the sand while eating. Or go to Wish Willy’s for good food at a decent price and hit up Maggie’s Sunset Kitchen to eat while watching the sun go down. There are even some Italian places if you want to mix it up.
While Caye Caulker is not necessarily the best destination for a happening nightlife, there are some bars that stay open later and will crank up the music for some dancing on the beach. I&I Reggae Bar, Oceanside and Barrier Reef Sports Bar & Grill are probably your best bet if you want to continue the party. The Lazy Lizard at The Split is popular during the daytime.
Caye Caulker is a great destination for a tropical paradise adventure. Its leisurely pace will have you slowing down to smell the flowers and its water adventures will keep you entertained for days.
Where to go after Caye Caulker
For more ideas on where to go in Belize, check out this post on Cassie’s adventures through Belize.
Planning a trip through Central America? Belize is located between Mexico and Guatemala, and travelers often continue their journey to Guatemala afterward. From Belize City, catch a four-hour bus to Flores, Guatemala where you can explore the ancient ruins of Tikal, one of the best experiences to have in Guatemala.
Based in Colorado, I have been an avid traveler ever since I backpacked through Europe at age 18. My website has grown as a resource for all things travel-related including my personal travel stories, tips & tricks when traveling and even a fun Surprise Me survey page to get your travel wheels spinning!
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