Caye Caulker 2005

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Caye Caulker beach


2005 found us going back to Belize.  This time we went to Caye Caulker and San Ignacio.  We wanted to split some time between the beach and the jungle.  We considered Tobacco Caye as well but were advised we'd enjoy Caye Caulker more.  Some travelers we met in Placencia the year before had spent time on both islands. Caye Caulker has more people, more to do and is close to the reef.  They liked the snorkeling more as well.  Not everyone shares this opinion, though.

Caye Caulker from the pierWe flew into Belize City and caught the water taxi to Caye Caulker.  The water taxi is good but the terminal can be a mess.  On the weekend, there are many people trying to help you and earn a tip.  Whether you need help or not.  The Caye Caulker airport was still closed when we arrived but opened before we left.  The view as you arrive is very colorful and pretty.  Auxillou Suites and Tina's really stand out.

Beachside Cottage

We rented the Beachside Cottage from Amanda Badger and she was waiting for us at the dock.  Several travelers checks later we were all checked in and ready to go.  The cottage itself was just right.  It would have been a little better with a hammock but we dealt with it.  The view was across our beach, through the palms and out the pier into the water.  Very pretty any time of day.

Boat on the beachWhen we unloaded our over-packed luggage, we were ready to explore.  The cottage is a a bit below the airport so it was a walk to town.  It was something like a half mile to the water taxi and another half mile to the split.  The sea breezes and scenery made it a pleasant walk.  It was worth it for the seclusion.

We found the restaurants to be good, if not real cheap.  CoCo Plum has a very good omelet and wonderful coffee.  We ate breakfast at Happy Lobster on 3 different mornings.  It had good food and a good location.  We ate outside and saw all of our new friends walking past.  It made for a very pleasant way to spend the time waiting for snorkeling tours to start.

Dinners were good too.  My favorite was Habanero's.  Good food and good service.  Rainbow was OK but notHabanero's restaurant great.  The Sand Box was disappointing in my opinion.  Maybe their breakfasts are better.  The Bamboo Club was OK too.  We missed Don Corelone's and Rasta Pasta.  We had lunch at Syd's one day and that was good for the price.  If you go there, be sure to sit in the garden out back.  The other days we ate lunch in San Pedro at Cannibals as part of the snorkeling tour.  We discovered Marie Sharp's Habanero Sauces this trip.  We admittedly used the mild. They're hard to find in the states but you can order them.

Our first day there we went snorkeling in Hol Chan with Carlos Tours.  We tried to make reservations in advance but he didn't Snorkeling picturehave them.  As it turned out, he had space anyway.  We had a great time with Carlos.  He either knew where the fish were or was lucky.  Didn't matter to us anyway.  We tried to go with him a second time but he was booked.  We went on one of Anwar's boats instead.  There were 11 people on our boat that first day plus Carlos and his aide Carlos.  We saw everyone again by dinner the next day.  That's one of the things we loved about Caye Caulker.  Snorkeling in Hol Chan is great.  I don't think it really matters who you go snorkeling with, especially if there are fun people in the boat.  If you are worried about the sharks, they are only nurse sharks and not a problem.  At least, that's all I saw.  This was the first time we used a new digital camera underwater to take pictures.  If you want to see what kind of underwater equipment was used, click here.

Our third day, we just goofed around on the island.  There isn't a lot of exploring to be done but we tried.  You can walk a ways down the beach before the trail completely ends.  Also several shops to check out.  It was just a leisurely day.

I almost forgot to talk about the split.  Its the northern tip of the populated part of Caye Caulker.  It was initiallyThe Split a small stream across the island.  In 1961, Hurricane Hattie widened the stream.  In the early 80's, the locals were able to get the job finished.  The government dredged the channel creating the Split as it is today.  Its estimated that the width has doubled The splitin the past 10 to 15 years due to erosion.  The northern part is mangroves and the southern end is where the people are.  At the tip is a cool bar called the Lazy Lizard.  When the sun is out, it is absolutely beautiful there.  The Belikin was cold.  The service was OK.  We didn't snorkel from there but it is apparently the only place on the island where you can snorkel from the beach as long as you're careful of the currents.  We walked up here every evening after dinner to get exercise.  Or at least to get another Belikin. 

Some final thoughts on Caye Caulker.  Remember summer camp.  That's where you meet really nice people that you may never see again or at least not until next summer.  Caye Caulker was like summer camp with rum.  Pretty cool when you think about it.  Even the tourists were friendly.  We met a lot of kids from all over the world that were backpacking Central America.  They were all fun to talk to.  We met one German girl that said the suitcases go to San Pedro and the backpacks come to Caye Caulker.  While not literally true, that was kind of the spirit.

I can't wait to go back.  We're going with backpacks next time.

If you fly in and bring much luggage, you will need assistance getting to your lodging.  It can't be too far away but there aren't many cabs.  The ones they have are golf carts.  If you come in by water taxi, you may be fairly close when you get there.  You should make plans with whoever you are staying with if you are in doubt.

We sadly left Caye Caulker to go inland to Crystal Paradise near San Ignacio.  To continue the travelogue click on the San Ignacio link to the left.