Caye Caulker is a small island on the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Belize. Measuring five miles long and less than one mile wide, you won’t need to budget much time to see the majority of it.
However, the motto of the island is “go slow”, and there’s a good chance that once your ferry docks, you won’t want to leave anytime soon.
Many of the activities that Caye Caulker has to offer aren’t even on land – they’re on the water. The island is the perfect jump-off point for snorkeling and scuba diving trips to the Belize Barrier Reef, the second-largest reef system in the world after Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
We had two days on Caye Caulker, so we weren’t able to take it quite as slowly as the locals might normally advise. Luckily, we were still able to enjoy the unique vibe of this special place.
If you’re thinking of heading to Caye Caulker, keep scrolling for a few tips, some island history, and a whole lot of photo inspo.
Paradise Split In Two
One of Caye Caulker’s most distinctive features is The Split: a narrow waterway dividing the island in two. The southern part is home to Caye Caulker village and most of the photos I’ve shared here. The northern section is largely uninhabited, populated instead by an array of dense mangrove swamps.
After Hurricane Hattie created a small waterway in 1961, island leadership decided to widen it to allow boats to pass between. Today, The Split is one of the most popular places on the island to relax, offering several bars and a small beach.
Side note: we actually visited The Split at night, so I unfortunately have no photos! Here’s a dreamy palm tree vista instead.
Out to Sea
We dedicated the majority of our time on the island to a snorkeling day tour with Raggamuffin Tours. We had an amazing day on the water with Shaq, Carlos, Jerry and Chris, our crew and guides. We snorkeled with nurse sharks, manatees, and sting rays, visited a shipwreck, and experienced the reef system. Whenever we weren’t in the water, we relaxed on the boat with music, snacks and some rum punch to close out the day. I can’t say enough positive things about this tour and would highly recommend it to anyone.
The only downside was that at the conclusion of the tour, we were dropped off at the Koko King bar and beach club on the other side of The Split. This meant we had to wait for a different boat to take us back to the residential side of the island. (I’m guessing this is some sort of business arrangement to promote Koko King.)
While not super ideal after a long day in the sun, it wasn’t enough of an annoyance to ruin the day for us. And if you happen to be in the mood for another swim or a drink, you might appreciate the stop!
Coffee, Of Course
We started our mornings on Caye Caulker at Ice and Beans, where the friendly baristas gave out shots of iced coffee to each person who entered the cafe, adjusting each person’s drink to the exact sweetness they wanted.
The cafe’s waterfront seating area is the perfect place to enjoy your breakfast and coffee.
Our favorite dinner on Caye Caulker was at The Little Kitchen. This unassuming spot serves amazing seafood and is an island favorite for watching the sunset, though we arrived long after that.
On the breakfast side of things, you cannot leave Caye Caulker without having a fry jack. (To be clear, they will let you, it would just be a bummer.) I hadn’t heard of them before our trip, but Errolyns House of Fry Jacks appeared on every Caye Caulker blog or travel guide that we read. I didn’t entirely know what to expect, but as soon as I heard them likened to savory fried dough, I was sold.
A traditional Belizean breakfast item, fry jacks are usually stuffed with a combination of beans, meat, eggs and cheese. They’re delicious and cheap – the dream combo!
Right next door to Errolyns is the Sea Choice Juice Bar, where you can get fresh-squeezed juices or fruit to go.
After our snorkeling tour, we indulged in some amazing fried chicken takeout from Pastorina’s, previously called Syd’s. If you can’t enjoy some guilt-free fried chicken on vacation, when can you?
Overall, for such a tiny island, we were pleasantly surprised by the diverse dining options, and things were not as expensive as we had expected for Belize.
You Might Also Like: Getting From Tulum, Mexico to Caye Caulker, Belize: A Step-by-Step Guide
Where to Stay
We heard so many rave reviews of the Colinda Cabanas and almost stayed there, but ended up booking an Airbnb that was much cheaper. While our Airbnb was totally fine, it was nothing to write home about. If we go back, I think we’ll definitely “splurge” for the cabanas!
Getting There and Away
Usually visitors are coming from or going to Chetumal in Mexico, San Pedro island to the north of Caye Caulker, or Belize City to the south. Browse ferry tickets and schedules for Ocean Ferry Belize here and Belize Water Taxi (the service we used) here.
If you happen to be coming from Mexico, you can find my step-by-step guide here.
There is a small airport on the island, however it’s currently closed for renovations until further notice.
Have you been to Caye Caulker or elsewhere in Belize? Leave your thoughts and tips below!
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