34 In Central America

Crushing on Caye Caulker, Belize

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.

We arrived on Caye Caulker after a huge rainfall and the unpaved streets were full of rain-filled potholes. It made riding our bikes a little tricky – and I might just have the tiny elbow scar to prove it!

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.

No cars on this island – just golf carts and bikes!

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!

Our boat, the Raga Empress, docking at Koko King after our day on the reef
Loving our time on the water!

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.

A street view of Ice and Beans
The best way to start the day!
I think these swing seats were technically part of a different property, but they were always empty so we went for it!
The waterfront seating area at Ice and Beans

Good Eats

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.

Breakfast at Errolyns House of Fry Jacks. So. Good!

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?

With more time, we would have tried Amor y Cafe, another popular breakfast spot, and Pasta Per Caso, a cozy favorite run by a couple from Milan.

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.

The Sea Choice Juice Bar

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!

Loved the colorful signs outside of this hostel

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.

First glimpses of Caye Caulker from the ferry dock
A shady area at the ferry dock
Quiet side streets – not that any streets on Caye Caulker were especially noisy!

Have you been to Caye Caulker or elsewhere in Belize? Leave your thoughts and tips below!

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  • Reply
    February 15, 2018 at 2:29 pm

    I’ve been curious about Belize for a while now. This looks like my kind of place! #farawayfiles

    • Reply
      Caity Pfohl
      February 16, 2018 at 4:42 pm

      I hope you make it there soon, Bea! 🙂

  • Reply
    California Globetrotter
    February 15, 2018 at 2:53 pm

    I love how the city officials turned something negative after a hurricane into something positive which has had such a great outcome! Dying to visit Belize one day!! #FarawayFiles

    • Reply
      Caity Pfohl
      February 16, 2018 at 4:42 pm

      Agreed! It’s definitely a great place to visit. I would love to go back and see more! 🙂

  • Reply
    February 16, 2018 at 6:06 am

    This looks like the perfect relaxing place for a vacation! I love the pastels of the buildings and the water looks so inviting, I really need to find a way to get to Belize! #FarawayFiles

    • Reply
      Caity Pfohl
      February 16, 2018 at 4:35 pm

      From what I’ve seen, this is one of many similarly beautiful spots to experience in Belize, and I’d love to get back there and see more of them! The colors were one of my favorite parts, too. 🙂

  • Reply
    February 16, 2018 at 3:29 pm

    What a gorgeous place for a proper vacation! I am now craving your breakfast from Errolyns House of Fry Jacks. Maybe I’m turning into an American (shock, horror). #FlyAwayFriday

    • Reply
      Caity Pfohl
      February 16, 2018 at 4:34 pm

      It definitely felt like a quintessential Caribbean destination and I loved that about it! Very laidback and very beautiful. I still miss the fry jacks. 🙂

  • Reply
    February 16, 2018 at 3:30 pm

    Oh my, this looks amazing. I love it. It’s turned around so positively. I feel like packing my bags and leaving my shoes at home.

    • Reply
      Caity Pfohl
      February 16, 2018 at 4:33 pm

      That would definitely be an option, Esther! 🙂 It’s such a laidback and lovely island, I don’t think anyone would fault you for a second.

  • Reply
    February 16, 2018 at 3:36 pm

    It looks so beautiful there! The food looks amazing! I’m adding another place to my bucket list! #flyawayfriday

    • Reply
      Caity Pfohl
      February 16, 2018 at 4:32 pm

      Thanks so much for reading, Melina. The fry jacks were seriously the best! 🙂

  • Reply
    Josy A
    February 16, 2018 at 5:26 pm

    Oooh this looks like a beautiful place to explore…and all that food sounds gorgeous!

    • Reply
      Caity Pfohl
      February 25, 2018 at 11:22 am

      It was such a fun place to spend a couple of days and definitely left me wanting more time there!

  • Reply
    February 16, 2018 at 5:35 pm

    This place looks so beautiful! When I went to Belize, I visited Ambergris Caye but a lot of people who have visited both islands say they prefer Caye Caulker. I guess I will have to go back to find out. I have heard you can not reach the island by boat from the Yucatan Peninsula (Playa del Carmen or Tulum). #FlyAwayFriday

    • Reply
      Caity Pfohl
      February 25, 2018 at 11:24 am

      I’d love to see some of the other islands! We chose Caye Caulker because it sounded like it was slightly less developed and perhaps a little quieter…but I’ve seen many photos from Ambergris Caye that looked amazing as well! It’s true that you can’t reach the island directly from Playa del Carmen or Tulum. We were in Tulum before Caye Caulker and had to first take a bus to Chetumal, Mexico where we could then catch the ferry to Belize. A bit of a process but worth it in the end – I have a blog post on that process too if you’re in need in the future! 🙂

  • Reply
    February 17, 2018 at 6:46 am

    A place I have wanted to visit for many years and it looks just like I expected it to absolutely gorgeous. #flyawayfriday

    • Reply
      Caity Pfohl
      February 25, 2018 at 11:24 am

      I think you would love it, Faith! The blue skies and clear water were unbelievable.

  • Reply
    Corey | fifi + hop
    February 17, 2018 at 7:43 pm

    I have always wanted to go to Belize and this island sounds – looks – adorable! Love the idea of the Split! As I read this, it is snowing outside my window and you thoroughly transported me to the tropics. Love all your photos! #farawayfiles

    • Reply
      Caity Pfohl
      February 25, 2018 at 11:26 am

      I have been feeling the same way, Corey! As I look back on these trip photos, I’m in upstate New York freezing my butt off! It’s a little painful but also good escapism. 🙂

  • Reply
    Keri | Ladies What Travel
    February 18, 2018 at 6:50 am

    Ah man this looks like my kind of place – so bright and colourful. I might have to learn more about Belize now! 😉 #FarawayFiles

    • Reply
      Caity Pfohl
      February 25, 2018 at 11:26 am

      Definitely! I’m excited to have visited Belize but certainly haven’t “checked it off my list” – I’d love to go back and see more!

  • Reply
    Sarah Christie
    February 19, 2018 at 5:16 pm

    Wow this Island looks just beautiful, I bet its the best place to wander with your camera, I would agree with surging on accommodation next time, although it all looks so friendly and chilled. I just adore all the pretty colours x

    • Reply
      Caity Pfohl
      February 25, 2018 at 11:27 am

      It was so fun to wander around, especially with the lack of cars. While much of it is certainly geared toward tourism, I loved all of the local personality and everyone was so friendly. Thanks for reading, Sarah! 🙂

  • Reply
    Clare (Suitcases and Sandcastles)
    February 20, 2018 at 9:10 am

    We loved Caye Caulker! I think we must have done a very similar snorkelling trip to you. I was so excited to see manatees and to swim with nurse sharks and rays. #FarawayFiles

    • Reply
      Caity Pfohl
      February 25, 2018 at 11:28 am

      I loved seeing manatees, too! I felt a little unsettled around the nurse sharks but still enjoyed that part. 🙂 Thanks for reading, Clare!

  • Reply
    February 23, 2018 at 1:41 pm

    You would find me on the beach in one of those Adirondak chairs, sipping on a coffee. The water is so clear and deep blue. This is an inspiring post!

    • Reply
      Caity Pfohl
      February 25, 2018 at 11:30 am

      Thanks so much, Sharon! Relaxing by the water with coffee while enjoying the view and warmth was one of my favorite parts of our time there! As the locals say, it’s definitely a place to visit slowly while savoring every bit!

  • Reply
    February 28, 2018 at 4:27 am

    I’ve always wanted to visit Belize! I love the “wish list”, so charming! The pictures are gorgeous and I REALLY want to go now, more than ever! Thanks for joining Fly Away Friday – see you again this week! xo

    • Reply
      Caity Pfohl
      March 20, 2018 at 11:39 am

      I loved the wish list, too! The island was a place I hadn’t heard of before researching Belize, and I’m so glad we worked it into our itinerary!

  • Reply
    Janine Good
    February 28, 2018 at 4:00 pm

    Great post! I want to see Belize at some point! Central America is definitely a place that attracts many people though isn’t still on many a radar leaving it still enjoyable for travellers 🙂 Caye Caulker looks like the tropical hot spot I am looking for 🙂
    Thank you for coming to Fly Away Friday! See you this week!

    • Reply
      Caity Pfohl
      March 20, 2018 at 11:38 am

      While there were many aspects catering specifically to travelers, it was still such a laidback, peaceful place to be. The incredible water and blue skies didn’t hurt, either! Thanks for reading! 🙂

  • Reply
    March 2, 2018 at 8:52 am

    I visited Belize a few years back and sadly only visited Caye Caulker for the day. Think I would have had more fun than I did staying in San Pedro, loved the laidback vibe there. Looks like you had a great time!

    • Reply
      Caity Pfohl
      March 20, 2018 at 11:32 am

      We had a limited amount of time on the island as well – I’d love to go back for more! Thanks for reading!

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