One of the first Caribbean islands I stayed on during my travels in Central America was Caye Caulker in Belize, which probably is the most famous (and smallest) of Belize’s islands. While the people on this island is more “Caribbean” than anywhere else I have been, the look of the island is not the typical “Caribbean island” that you would think of. There is actually only one minimal beach on the island, and it’s almost not worth the definition “beach”. The rest of the coast line is mangrove, which is good in its own way as this protects the coast and sea life.
The island of Caye Caulker is only 8 km long but most of its life is focused on an even smaller part than that. One main beach walk is the focus of the tourists and behind it exist two parallel streets with only locals. Again it’s sad to see such an obvious segregation, but at the same time it’s perfect if you want to spend time with locals without any other tourists around.
To get to Caye Caulker there are two options, either take a water taxi from Belize City or fly. It’s unbelievable how many of these small Caribbean islands that actually has an airstrip, but the water taxis is convenient and fun, with most of them having a roof that covers you and your luggage against the occasional heavy rains.
Main language on the island is Bay Islands Creole (“Caribbean English”) that sounds like how you would imagine a pirate talking Jamaican. On top of this the island is full of Rastafari- and hippy people who make the atmosphere very social and relaxed. It’s virtually impossible to walk the streets or even sit in a cafe without somebody greeting you in some random strange way every now and then.
There are no normal cars on Caye Caulker but instead a ton of golf cars and mopeds that both the tourists and the locals use. The only street signs here says “Go slow” which also is the island motto and even includes walking.
Once a year on the island there is a Lobster festival with huge amount of lobsters served together with music and a beauty competition. I managed to synchronize my stay perfectly with the festival without even knowing about the festival before arriving to the island.
It’s impossible for me to choose a favorite Caribbean island as they are all different and unique in their own way, but Caye Caulker is definitely worth a visit if you like a relaxed environment where you can just spend some days doing nothing. Whenever you occasionally want to actually do something you can rent a kayak, go scuba diving with Nurse sharks, go out to one of the touristic clubs in the night or visit the neighbor island San Pedro where you will find more people and movement.
Enjoy the rest of my Caye Caulker pictures:
Lazy Lizard pub
“The Split” – End of inhabited part of island and start of the other island. The local kids usually compete swimming between the islands, although there is a strong current in this area.
Stingray found when snorkeling
“A Smile improves your Face Value!”
Thrown up shoes next to a football field for kids
Empty sea shelves cleaned for food
Hurricane information board for 2012
Crab hiding in it’s hole
Sergeant major fish trying to bite me
Hermit crab in it’s shelf
Kids playing in sunset, balancing on a “pirate plank”