Caye Caulker is a little island in Belize next to the second biggest coral reef in the world that spans over 300km. The snorkelling and diving in this region is great because of the marine reserves that have been created near by.
But it’s appeal is more than the recovering underwater coral. Caye Caulker has an indescribable vibe that made our whole family love this place. Kenzo still looks at photos of our time in Caye Calker and asks to go back there.
The kids enjoyed that everyone spoke English. We were able to have conversations with people after months of being in Mexico and having to use broken spanglish to convey concepts.
The island is so small that golf carts are the main vehicle of choice. You could drive around the island in fifteen minutes but most people simply walk around the island. Most of the tourist stuff is centred on one waterfront street on the south island of Caye Caulker. Lui was able to walk everywhere on the island. Whenever we heard a golf cart coming we would tell him and he would move to the side of the street and wait for them to pass. He thrived in this environment because in Mexico I often have to carry him due to the types of streets we usually navigate.
The island seemed to be made of sand and mangroves, even the streets are made of packed sand. That makes lots of puddles when it rains but a proper road isn’t needed here. It simply added to the charm of the quiet island life.
Caye Caulker is filled with tourists. From my perception is seemed like the population ratio was 1:1. But still we found the town charming.
The island of Caye Caulker is filled with colour and charm. Most of the islanders speak three languages: English, Spanish and Creole – imagine a Rastafarian style of English. The houses are colourful. The streets are quaint. People mostly cycle or walk. If you need a taxi, a golf cart will get you to wear you need to go.
The island was once in one piece but a tornado came through in the 1960’s and split the island in two. Since then, the water running between the north and south parts of the island has been known as The Split. The north side is still filled with a lot of mangrove because they only got selectivity to the island under a year ago. The south side of The Split has bars and restaurants where you can relax or jump in the water to escape the heat.
I’m not sure if it was this awesome playground that keeps Kenzo wanting to go back to Caye Caulker but I do know that he and Lui loved this space. It’s closer to The Split and on the main road of the south part of the island.
Whenever we passed these hammocks we would lie in them and look at the stars or use them as a swing or simply enjoy the island breeze. These hammocks are on the beach front moving away from both The Split and The Playground.
Swings are so much fun – many of the restaurants on Caye Caulker had swings. We chilled on some one morning while waiting for our snorkelling trip. The waitress, who was a mum, had split the mango smoothie into two glasses for Kenzo and Lui. It’s those little thoughtful touches that we appreciate as parents. She was super friendly and told us about life as a new mum on the island.
This ice-cream shop is close to the basketball court. Keep walking away from the centre of the island, past the souvenir shop and you’ll see a sign saying Ice Cream Shop. It’s right on the beach and serves home made ice cream as well as home made baking.
One family on the island have been feeding the tarpons for decades. The tarpons swim around and jump out of the water if someone holds out a fish for them. They are fresh water fish that live in a fresh water cave off the coast off the island. They are able to breath in Tarpon Bay because the water there is brackish, meaning it is a mix of salt water and fresh water.
There is an area on the island where you can see a couple of seahorses. Kenzo and Lui couldn’t spot them but for the rest of us it was interesting to see. They are not caged but for some reason they choose to stay in this area.
Going under the dock where this seahorse lives was a stingray. And sitting on the dock was a pelican and white egret.
After being in Mexico for nearly three months I had been missing homemade baking. The panaderias weren’t quite hitting the spot. But on Caye Caulker, the baking was all home made. It wasn’t the dense baking you often find in cafes because of the longer shelf life. It was soft moist fresh baking that tasted like what Giselle would bake for us at home.
A guy on the island walks around in the mornings, near the ice-cream shop, with his cart and sells super yummy baking including coconut tart, coconut roll, banana and chocolate chip bread, and banana bread. At the time of writing they were BZD3 each. We found him on the first day and I went looking for him on the second day but couldn’t find him. I was gutted.
There is also a lady near the playground who appears in the evening and leaves at 9pm. She sells slices of cake in five different flavours.
At dinner time as you walk down the main street of the island you’ll get the smell of BBQ or coconut curry. The seafood is super cheap, so if you’re a fan, be sure to try some. Ajay had bbq lobster the first night and grilled lion fish stuffed with lobster the second night. I had veggie coconut curry and coconut kumara mash with bbq’d veggies. We both enjoyed our meals.
Across the road from our hotel was a yoga studio and cafe. They served some great smoothies and kombucha.
Our favourite place was a donut place called Ice and bean where they served fresh mini-donuts, bubble waffles, smoothies, granola and hot drinks.