Island Paradise on Caye Caulker
After leaving Chile I thought I had seen the back of my last nightbus for a while but apparently not as it was an 8hr one from Playa del Carmen to Belize City. It was ok but getting out the bus at 4am to go across the border isn’t nice…when we did get there we found out via the locals that they has been a charge to enter the country put in place from the 1stJan but if you say you don’t have any money then you don’t have to pay, I got to the front said I had no money and my passport was stamped and I was in….obviously not a strict rule!
It was 8am when we arrived in Belize City and from the moment we got into Belize it was weird how different it is from Mexico…they could be opposite sides of the world….the places I went in Mexico were touristy so that may be a reason but the roads in the Belize aren’t upto much and the suspension on the bus took a bit of a hammering. All the roads on route to Belize City were lined with trees and there was greenery as far as
the eye could see. Arrival to Belize City was completely different though, immediately after getting off the bus we had a guy offering to walk us to the boat…at first we were unsure and thought it was best to get a taxi but we soon found out that getting a taxi seemed to be more dangerous or not such a good idea as they tend to send you round the houses to make some extra cash. With not having much sleep and everyone just wanting to get to the boat we accepted the guys invitation to walk us to the boat as he seemed a helpful and nice enough. The people here are like no other I have come across so far…they are soo laid back, nothing is a hassle, they all want to help you….but a lot of the time it leads to an offer from them to buy some substances off them but if you kindly decline they are fine with that (im sure they get their fair share of takers though!) normally they will just say in their Caribbean accent ‘no worries maaan, have a good day yeeah’. We started walking with Richard (the guy from the
station) and he began giving us the low down on the city…he was dressed in baggy Rasta gear and was completely chilled out, not many teeth in his mouth along with quite a few of the locals. When we set off he started by saying ‘all the taxi drivers are gonna hate me man’ just as we walked past a few. We continued walking over a bridge then onto the main high street, the 5 of us were the only white people around so it was a strange feel, the town has a lot of old wooden buildings, narrow dusty streets and a fair few shifty characters. Richard seemed to know them all though with him saying ‘im like the president around here man…everybody knows me’ which we all found quite funny, we passed a Police officer and Richard says ‘see this man guys I used to go ta school with him we are all brothers around here’ the Cop then said ‘make sure you take them the quickest way ay Richard’ and Richard was like ‘yeah no worries man we on route now’. A woman shouted to him further down the road and his response was ‘yeah come see
me in ma office later darlin’ we had all seen his ‘office’ and im not sure if thats the right word for it. After walking for around 15mins he took us to a cash point that we needed and then took us to the boat so he turned out to be a good help and the little tip he wanted at the end was well earnt and we ended up where we needed to be with no problems. We then had an hour and a half’s wait before the boat leaves to Caye Caulker which is an island 1hr away, after reading and listening to other people we decided not to stay in the Belize City and I think that was a good decision.
We arrived in Caye Caulker via the boat which was fairly small and they had crammed as many people as possible into it so was a friendly journey for everyone ha. The moment we stepped off the boat the island looked like paradise, sun beaming, bright turquoise waters as far as you can see and a palm tree covered coastline. Our first task was to find somewhere to stay…we had looked on the internet before
but you can’t book on there for some reason, also we read a few websites and it says you just turn up and they are so many places to stay you just find one for your budget. As soon as we stepped foot on land we had a local on a push bike saying he can help us sort out where we needed to go, we said we would walk but he still decided to follow us…we tried 2 places that were full up then asked the guy if he knew any other cheap places. He managed to find us a place that has ended up being perfect, all 5 of us are in 1 room but have our own beds and we are right on the beach by the sea with a few hammocks right by the sea…perfect! Costing us only around £4-5 each we knew it was definitely a place to stay for a while.
The first few days were spent relaxing and swimming in the sea. We walked around the 3 main roads the island has as it is only 5miles long and not very wide at all. The main area is probably only 1 mile
long where there are restaurants, shops, bars and tour desks along with a fair few Rasta’s offering you all sorts. On the first night we ventured to the Lazy Lizard bar which is close to our beach hut place, its right on the water and a popular place, the night after it was our first visit to the Ocean Side night club…the place is more like a beach cafe inside with a pole and a dance floor. When we got in there were only around 20 people in there, it’s quite a small place with some benches as you walk in, a bar on your left then the dance floor on the right. All 5 of us were impressed with some of the locals and their pole dancing skills even with them not being the lightest of girls…I think it was best admired from a distance! One of the best things yet was the morning after when me and Alfie decided to go for some breakfast and saw a sign for a place called Wish Willy’s the breakfast list on the board looked good so we went down the lane to the place, walked into the little garden they
have there and sat down then a big Rasta came over…I asked him if he had a menu and his response was ‘na f*ck that sh*it, what you want? eggs? toast? sh*it like that?’ me and Alfie where a bit shocked and found it funny so we just said ‘yeah sound whatever you want’. While that was cooking another bloke came up and asked us if we wanted a drink, we asked for orange juice but think we got mango, he came over and said ‘you better try that…let me know if its ok cos I don’t do drinks’. When the food came it was really good we had toast, eggs, tomato, onions, potatoes so was better than what we thought we might get…he did say he would have chucked some beans in but they ran out. When we finished we went up to him and asked him how much and he just said call it 13 dollars so we paid and left….definitely a breakfast I won’t forget in a while ha!
A few days relaxing and we were ready to book our snorkelling trip which we had all been looking forward to, after chatting to some American staying
at the same place as us we had a company called RaggaMuffin recommended to us. We went and checked it out and signed up for the following day. It was only me, Karl and Alfie doing the snorkelling as the girls preferred to catch some more rays and save their money. The following day we showed up and got our equipment before everyone who had signed up got split into 3 groups as there are 3 boats, we were all in the red boat called the Reggae King which also seemed the biggest. We set off around 11am and it took an hour to sail to our first snorkel spot, our 2 captains where pretty cool both sporting the dreads and were typical Belizeans…we listened to some reggae music and sat on the edge of the boat. We got to our first snorkel spot jumped in and had a look around, the area we where snorkelling was around the barrier reef which is the 2ndlargest in the world. Alfie hadn’t snorkelled before so it took him a while to get used to the snorkel with him inhailing sea water everytime funny when it’s not you but we have all
been there! We saw all sorts of different fish and the visibility was incredible at this point we had been in the water only a few minutes when I saw Karl, and his camera had stopped working so he wasn’t best pleased so the pressure was now on me to get good pics as Alfie didn’t have an underwater camera. We got back on board after an hour snorkelling for some lunch which was rice and fish before the main event on the trip…Shark and Stingray Alley. When we got there we had to wait for one of the tour blokes Jaylee (who has dreads down to his calf’s) to go in first as we have to all stick together, he jumped in with some food to get the attention of the Sharks and Stingrays….I would be lying at this point if I said I wasn’t a little nervous knowing I was going in the water with these things. Karl went in straight after Jaylee and I followed, as soon as you look under the water there are these massive fishes which look quite angry but they don’t do anything and it was fine, we swam around the other side
of the boat where the fish, stingrays and a shark were gathered around Jaylee…everyone from the boat was now in the water and looking under at the amazing creatures. We each took turns to dive down and try and get a picture next to them but also trying to get not too close as the massive stingray which is apparently a Caribbean Ray kept swimming around and I didn’t want to get caught by it. At one point Jaylee went down and picked the shark up turned it over and let people touch it which was good to witness and he was also feeding the stingrays. It has to be one of the best things I have done so far and not something you can do every day! We then got back on the boat to go to our final stop which was only a 5 min sail, both tour guides came in with us and we split into 2 groups so we can snorkel right by the reef. The water was around head height by the boat but when we swam towards the reef a bit it got a lot deeper but you could still see quite a lot.
Jaylee then started telling us the names of nearly all the fish we were seeing which were impossible to remember, after around 20mins we got to a shallower bit again and spotted another shark along with a spotted ray before seeing a sea turtle which we weren’t allowed within 10 meters of just to give it some space, it was amazing to see as it swam to the surface and back down just meters away from us. It was then time to get back on the boat and head back to Caye Caulker or ‘Key Corker’ as it sounds like when the locals talk. We were given some rum punch for the trip back so we kicked back and relaxed on the boat with some more reggae tunes.
With this place being quite cheap and there being no reason to leave we booked a few more nights to enjoy the island life. After the snorkelling we all had a siesta or should a say nap seeing as I am in an English speaking country? Then we went to the Reggae Bar which is supposed to be the place to go on the island. All 5 of us went with
Corinna and Sonia keen for a night out after just sunbathing for the past few days. The bar had everything you would expect with Bob Marley plastered all over the walls and bright green, yellow and red colours everywhere. It got pretty busy after 11pm and we stayed till around 12ish before going to Ocean Side for another visit. The next day we hired some push bikes to see the rest of the island which doesn’t have much apart from a strip of grass which is the air strip along with the firestation which was a shed with 1 truck, along the way we saw Rasta Bob who we had seen a lot during our time here with him shouting out his famous ‘jolly good f*ckin show mate’ in his attempted English accent to us as we passed by…he always seems to be around our place trying to sell weed to any takers around the area, after riding around the island once we only used the bikes to be lazy and go to the supermarket and back.
A week has now passed so we feel it’s time to move although we could easily stay a lot longer, Corinna’s friend
Mima has now joined us for a bit so I think we are all going to go to our next stop together which is San Ignacio in Belize.
Can safely say that Caye Caulker is right up there with my favourite places so far had some great times with everyone and more than a few funny moments…