- Caye Caulker
- Get on a charter and fly over the Blue Hole. Minimum 3 people needed. It may be a bit steep in price but you won't regret it.
- Certified in scuba diving? Then dive the Blue Hole!
- Take a boat trip to Shark/Ray Alley.
- Hang at the split! Have a drink or 5 at the bar. Jump off the dock.
- Rent a paddle board or kayak and paddle the mangroves and caves of the north side of Caye Caulker.
- Eat the local cuisine: Conch, lobster, fish.
- Grab a swing at I&I Reggae bar and enjoy a drink. (Caye Caulker)
- Find the infamous Cake Lady/her husband and buy a loaf of banana bread. (Caye Caulker)
- Party at the beach bars in Ambergris Caye (San Pedro)
- Go to Wild Mangos Restaurant. Good eats. (San Pedro)
- Try a piece of chocolate from the Belize Chocolate Company (San Pedro)
- Walk the shore in San Pedro. It's lined with hotels, restaurants and cool bars on docks. Get involved! (My personal favourite: The Tackle Box)
- Take a day trip to the mainlands to visit the ruins if Belize is your only stop.
- Relax, you're on island time now.
- Go expecting to have white sand beaches. Nonetheless, the water is beautiful.
- Spend time in Belize City. Not the best area, however it is a necessary place to go to catch a ferry to the islands.
- Pronounce Caye as it looks. It's "Kee"
- Go out alone at night.
Here's the website for the ferry schedule to get from the mainland (Belize City) to the main islands: http://www.cayecaulkerwatertaxi.com/schedule.html
Prior to arriving in Belize, I had heard the motto in Caye Caulker was "Go Slow." I didn't realize this motto was an actual way of life until a Belizean man stopped me in my tracks from my fast paced walk on the main dirt road of Caye Caulker and told me to "Go Slow gal, ain't nobody chasin ya." I'm naturally a fast walker, but spend a few days in Belize and your habits will soon be broken. I spent a little less than two weeks on the islands of Belize, a true Caribbean oasis in the midst of it's Latin American neighbors.
Arriving on an overnight bus from Playa del Carmen, Mexico, I was already looking forward to getting back to the sun and sand. 4 of us arrived early morning in Belize City, and let me tell you this is not the crucial hangout place. I'm not the type to have unnecessary freak outs, but the thought "the 4 of us are sticking out like sore thumbs, I literally have everything I own on me, plus $400 USD in cash, I'm screwed" crossed my mind several times as we walked a fair distance from the bus terminal to the ferry station. I was also so tired from the overnight bus ride that if someone did jump me I would have probably just watched and waved as they escaped with my things. Then I remembered my first rule (remain calm) and of course nothing happened. We bought our tickets and caught the first 8am ferry out to Caye Caulker.
In Caye Caulker, we were instantly greeted by a white man on a bike who weighed about 80 pounds and was tatted up. You may be bombarded with people trying to get you to stay at their hostel or guest house. Don't fall into the pressure. If you're with a group, make a right and wander a bit to try and find a room at one of the guest houses. There's pretty much one main dirt road on Caye Caulker with brightly coloured guesthouses all along the strip, so don't worry about having to cover a lot of ground with your bags. Of course we did not have this knowledge prior to arrival, so we followed the guy to the Dirty McNasty hostel. The name pretty much sums up what it is. If there isn't a good group of people here then it is not ideal. We quickly realized we were paying way too much for not so great accommodation, so we decided to stay for a night and take advantage of the free kayak rentals at the hostel. We paddled to the split (the only place to be in the daytime), my friends perfected their back flips, we grabbed some drinks at the Lazy Lizard, and on our way out we were bombarded by kids trying to hitch a ride with us.
When we got back to Dirty McNasty's, we knew we wanted to take a boat/snorkeling/fishing trip of some kind and I knew I wanted to see the Blue Hole. A local guy came up to us as we were eating lunch and started talking about his boat trips he does with the hostel. What perfect timing! In my head and then out loud I instantly said "yeah that's sounds awesome!" Then I realized my friends face across the table from me as she was giving me the eyes "fuck no Jen." It took me a minute to finally realize what she was talking about. This seemingly generous guy had the words "Rape Accused" tattooed across his chest along with the date he was accused. Ahhhh Lesson #2: Be aware. Now to save a little sliver of my credibility, the guy was standing to my right, so his tattoo wasn't exactly in my line of vision. However, I was in the 'Carpe diem' mindset and soon realized I do not need to jump on every opportunity that comes my way. We obviously decided to try our luck else where.
Tsunami Adventures. No where else compares and they do everything you'd ever want to do in Caye Caulker. Find Heather, she's my girl! Of course I inquired about the Blue Hole trip. Unfortunately, they said they needed a minimum of 3 people, unless I wanted to rent the plane for myself and drop $540. No thanks. So I left my info in case someone else wanted to go within the next week. That day, we took a boat trip to snorkel the reef and Shark/Ray alley. I'm TERRIFIED of sting rays and they were massive! Even though I remained floating on the surface to keep my distance, I did pick up a shark by it's dorsal fin (from the boat of course).
For the next few days we stayed at Mayra's guesthouse right next to the split. Most of the guest houses have docks with hammocks on them that you can lay in, read a book and think to yourself 'my life is great.' Take advantage of these hammocks! At night, check out the I&I Reggae Bar. After a few days of wandering the tiny island, finding piles of conch shells scattered around, and seeing some beautiful Caribbean sunsets, my travel family was pretty restless and wanted to move onward to Guatemala. I could not continue with them because I had to stick behind and wait for a package I had ordered. This is where my solo journey began. Kind of.
The two Icelandic girls were staying a few more days, so I spent two days with them, before heading to Ambergris with an adventurous Aussie couple the girls introduced me to. Ambergris Caye is definitely more lively with lots of people on holiday. It was also the perfect place for some alone time. We stayed at Pedro's Inn, a bit out of the way from the main town, but the walk provides some good time for some self reflection. My one tip without going into further details about this hostel is always check your bed for bed bugs. This will only benefit your hygiene AND the hygiene of others. Back to the story. Definitely eat at Wild Mango's and treat yo self to a chocolate at the Belizean Chocolate Company! If you enjoy walking as much as I do, take a stroll down the beach and explore the town. After 3 days of true island living, I planned on staying one more day in Belize to take a ferry back to Caye Caulker for a few hours solely to retrieve my package. That is until I received an email from Heather @ Tsunami Adventures: "We found two others! Come back to Caye Caulker tomorrow at 1pm to fly over the Blue Hole." Remember what I said about stars aligning? The next day was about to be glorious.
I took the early ferry to get back to Caye Caulker so I could hang out at the split once more and hopefully get my package. My day began with a Belizean chick buying me a drink to welcome me to the country. I really believe that when you're in a good mood, you attract others who are in a good one as well. We chatted for a while, I finished my drink, and proceeded to head over to the post office for my package. A local guy accompanied me on the walk, attempting to teach me some Belizean Kriol. I only managed to remember Aarite aka alright (I failed miserably). Oh well, my package arrived! I skipped back to the tour company where I was picked up by this animated Belizean man who introduced me to the beautiful English couple who saved my day. Flying over the Blue Hole was one of the most picturesque flights I've ever taken. My eyes were glued to the 50 shades of glistening turquoise outside my window.
When we returned to land, the Belizean man dropped off the English couple first, and then told me he needed to pick up his friend from work before dropping me off. Whatever you need man, I was on cloud 9! This golf cart ride made my day even better. We got his friend and another friend, and they took me around on a private golf cart tour, telling me all about the history of the island. I was dropped off at the ferry terminal where I felt overwhelmingly accomplished and fulfilled.
Once I got back to the mainland, I decided to skip over the ruins since I did quite a bit of ruin visits in Mexico, and take a bus from Belize City to my next destination: Flores, Guatemala.