Island Daydreaming: A Trip to Caye Caulker

by Nelita Castillo
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Caye Caulker is a prime example of what is quintessentially Belizean. As a small island, barely 5 miles long, the island motto ‘go slow’ comes easy. For decades, Caye Caulker has been a popular day-trip at 20 miles northeast of Belize City. The island’s vibe is rustic and laidback. Additionally, Caye Caulker is easily accessible by water taxi (one hour) or a 15- minute light aircraft plane.

Origin of the name, Caye Caulker

There are two versions of the origin of the name Caye Caulker. In Spanish, Cayo Hicaco means ‘island of the cocoplum’, the small pink plums that grow near the mangroves. Perhaps, it could be an anglicized version of the word. The second version highlights boats being taken to the protected inlet (the Ensenada) on the western side of the island to be ‘caulked’ with sealant. Depending on who you ask, each person has their favorite theory of origin. Nevertheless, it’s famous ‘go slow’ pace becomes obvious upon arrival. Caye Caulker has the homely feel of your typical small island village. Small beachfront restaurants, bars, and cafes litter the island, while the beach is dotted with colorful hammocks, palm trees, and over-the-water swings. 

History of ‘The Split

When in Caye Caulker, stroll along its sandy streets, enjoy street food, and sunbathe at The Split. As a result of disastrous hurricane, Hattie to hit Belize in 1961, the island of Caye Caulker was split into two sections: north and south. Today, the southern half is the most developed of the two. And between, a channel was formed and nicknamed The Split – an iconic lounge and swim spot for the entire island.

A Caye Caulker photo-op

Things to Do 

Just offshore Caye Caulker, tour the Hol Chan Marine Reserve and marvel at friendly manatees, nurse sharks, and sea turtles. Or, feed a protected game fish in Belize – the Tarpon – with a $5 BZD bag of sardines. Below, an extremely elite cave dive lies beneath Caye Caulker, Belize with a largely unexplored underwater cave system. Looking for more laid-back activities? Rent a bike and go slow while exploring the island, then grab mini donuts at Ice and Beans Café. Or, chat with local artisans on one of the front street’s many arts and crafts stalls. However, photo-ops are all around! And to end the day, head to the backside of the island at The Iguana Reef Resort for a front row to the best sunset view on the island. Additionally, the resort houses a sea horse ranch: a very unique and natural attraction with lots of tiny seahorses at 6 inches or less. 

Feature Image Courtesy: ROEming Belize Travel Agency

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