Last Updated on September 9, 2022 by Nellie Huang
Belize was one of the highlights of our five-month trip in South and Central America. Here are our personal recommendations on the top things to do on Caye Caulker!
Hopping over from Guatemala to the Caribbean coast of Belize, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t welcome the transition. From grinding on the chaotic and bumpy streets of Northern Guatemala, we arrived to the breezy reggae beats and killer beaches on Caye Caulker. I threw my hands in the sky and let the wind take me.
Caye Caulker is the Caribbean without all-inclusive resorts and holidaymakers. Instead you’ll find clear waters, lots of hippies and reggae-loving locals, laid-back hostels and Caribbean atmosphere. There are no roads, no pollution, no loud noises. Just soft winds, light music and the endless sea. For those who want to get to know the island inside out, here are some of the essential things to do on Caye Caulker.
Table of Contents
- Top Things to Do on Caye Caulker
- 1. Snorkel with Sharks
- 2. Eat Barbecued Seafood at Wish Willy
- 3. Dive the Blue Hole
- 4. Chill at the Split
- 5. Stay at Popeye’s Beach Resort
- 6. Groove to Reggae Music
- 7. Go Sunset Sailing
- 8. Try Street Tacos
- 9. Kayak to the Northern Mangrove Reserve
- 10. Mingle with the Locals
- What did I miss? What’s your favorite thing to do on Caye Caulker?
Top Things to Do on Caye Caulker
1. Snorkel with Sharks
You heard me. You get to literally swim around schools of nurse sharks and large stingrays at the famed Shark-Ray Alley. Don’t worry, they don’t bite. Visibility in the water is as clear as it can get and snorkeling conditions are close to perfect. This was by far our favorite thing to do on Caye Caulker.
If you only have time for one day trip, make it this trip. Snorkeling trips that take you out here also bring you to nearby Hol-Chan marine reserve. Marine life is abundant here – we even got to swim beside a manatee! It was a surreal experience as the giant slowly glided past us, so gently and relaxingly.
2. Eat Barbecued Seafood at Wish Willy
You can’t go to Belize and not try barbecued seafood (vegetarians, maybe make an exception?). Fresh lobsters, fish and shrimps literally go from the sea to barbecue pits, and they don’t get any fresher than that. Wish Willy’s on Caye Caulker definitely stands out as the cheapest, tastiest and most atmospheric.
It’s a simple wooden shack right on the beach, but it’s got all the personality you can ask for. The friendly owner welcomes everyone like an old friend. I recommend the seafood buffet, with unlimited lobster, fish, meat included for 40 Belizean Dollar (US$20). They’ve got really good cocktails like margaritas and mojitos as well.
3. Dive the Blue Hole
This submarine cave is legendary and many scuba divers from around the world come to Belize just for the Great Blue Hole. The circular Blue Hole is over 330m in diameter and 120m deep. From the air, the round patch of dark blue waters surrounded by shallow turquoise waters and coral reefs looks unbelievable. It was formed when the roof of a limestone cave system collapsed during the ice age.
Sadly this is not for beginners: we didn’t get to try it as we only had the PADI basic open water license. For those with advanced licenses, check out Scuba School and Family Dive Center, which has the best reviews on TripAdvisor.
4. Chill at the Split
The Belizeans’ positive and laid back attitude shows at the Split. They’ve transformed the result of a disaster into something beautiful. The Split was formed in 1961 when Hurricane Hattie hit, splitting Caye Caulker in two. Located at the northern end of Front Street on Caye Caulker, it’s a popular place to chill, snorkel and hang out. The shallow waters are clear, refreshing and full of marine life. Plus there are beach bars right on the side of the Spit, so you can literally pull your beach benches out and sit in the water while drinking an ice cold beer.
5. Stay at Popeye’s Beach Resort
If you’re looking for somewhere casual, simple and local to stay at, then you’ll have to check out Popeye’s Beach Resort. We stayed here for a week and really enjoyed hanging out and mingling with locals right at our hostel. It’s perched on the waterfront, right next to the water taxi dock and steps from other bars, so you can’t get more central than that. It’s cheap and clean, and you can choose from dorm beds to private rooms. Alberto and I chose a private room, but we still found it easy to make friends and socialize with people because of the atmosphere at the resort. Check prices here.
6. Groove to Reggae Music
Knock back a Belikin (local beer) or two at I&I Reggae Bar on the southern end of the caye. This is a true Caribbean reggae haven – swings hang from the ceiling, hammocks on the rooftop, oh and a perfect spot to catch the sunset. Ask around, and all the locals will point you in this direction. This was our favorite bar to hang out at during the week we spent at Caye Caulker. You’ll also find it easy to meet Belize locals here. It’s got good vibes baby!
7. Go Sunset Sailing
Sail off into the wind, with rum punch and shrimp cerviche in hand and a Rastafarian captain – sunset sailing trips are a great way to get under Belize’s skin. Instead of taking a long and boring bus ride, four-day sailboat trips are also an excellent alternative to get from Caye Caulker to other parts of Belize. Ragga Muffin Tours arrange overnight sailboat trips from Caye Caulker to Placencia. What’s on the itinerary? Fishing, chilling, island-hopping and fresh seafood everyday. Alternatively, daytrips on the sailboats can also be organized, with snorkeling at Shark Ray Alley included. We absolutely loved our sailing trip and couldn’t have asked for a better way to enjoy the sea in Belize.
8. Try Street Tacos
Street food is always top on my list of food to try in a new country. It’s such a great way to get to know a place and its food. on Caye Caulker, you can easily find tacos stands across the marine terminal where the main pier is at. These are usually really cheap — around three tacos for 2 Belizean dollars (US$1). There are even more street tacos stands in San Pedro, a bigger town on Ambergris Caye. The town’s plaza (main square) is lined with tons of tacos stands, in true Mexican style.
9. Kayak to the Northern Mangrove Reserve
The northern end of Caye Caulker is uninhabited, occupied by dense mangrove swamps. Kayaking to the mangrove reserve makes for a fun excursion, especially in the mornings when birdlife is rich. Tsunami Adventures arrange kayaking trips for B$15 (US$7.50) in the first hour and B$10 (US$5) for subsequent hours. It’s really easy to kayak in the calm waters around the northern part of Caye Caulker, so don’t worry if you don’t have any experience. Book their trips here!
10. Mingle with the Locals
Belizeans are a friendly bunch of people – this is after all the Caribbean. Locals love making jokes, chatting anyone up on the streets and just having a good time. We had dinner with our boat man, who told us stories about Caye Caulker and how it was like growing up on Caye Caulker. Like they say, the best way to know a country is through its people, so don’t be shy and get to know the locals! It will make your trip all the more meaningful.