“COOL CAYE CAULKER”
Why We Love It:
Caye Caulker is nothing but cool, cool Caribbean through and through. It’s easy to get there in under an hour. The eclectic mix of islanders are easy going and friendly and the vibe is “make yourself at home”! No one wears shoes and everything is readily available from tours to food and everything in between…just ask. You’ll see golf carts and bicycles whizzing around, vendors of fruit, arts, and crafts, shrimp on a stick, coconuts, you name it. On the sea, there are parasailers, snorkelers, fisherfolk, locals, tourists, bustling, and content.
Iconic Beach Bars:
You can “live” at the bars, chat, eat, hang out. Since it is so near, it’s ideal for a day trip, but you may want to stay longer to soak everything up and truly unwind. Caye Caulker is almost synonymous with the famous Split where the Lazy Lizard Bar is the main attraction.
If you arrive at the Phillip Goldson International Airport (PGIA), you can choose between taking a 25$bz taxi to the water taxi terminal, where you can catch a boat for $25bz, and have a boat trip that takes around 1 hour. The second option and most direct way is to take a flight on Maya Island Air from PGIA, for $75us which takes around 20 minutes, and you can enjoy the fantastic view of the Barrier Reef from above.
A Little Background Info:
Caye Caulker, or in Spanish, Cayo Hicaco bears the name of the pale pink “coco plums” that grow on a special mangrove-type, leafy bush. As children, my siblings and I used to pick and eat them. The name of the Split also has its history: in 1961, a devastating Hurricane Hattie physically split Caye Caulker in two, the northern tip and the southern tip and formed a channel in between. At first, it was possible to wade across, but it later became more feasible to dredge so boats could carry goods back and forth. Thereafter, beach lovers gravitated to the spot, just as natural as it was left by the hurricane.
Over the years it has become “the” spot for bathing, sunning, chilling, and drinking. Locally, and throughout Belize everyone knows the Split. Later the Lazy Lizard became the established watering hole, but in 2016, Hurricane Earl also washed some of it away.
New and Improved:
Now the Split has been totally refurbished. A new sea wall has been built. Permanent benches with umbrellas have been sunk into the sea and a diving platform has been added at the deeper end. Here you will be safe and can leave your belongings on the sea wall to take a swim. The bar provides food and drink and additionally, you can now rent a beach cabana for a half or full-day. They offer loungers inside and out, but you will also find hammocks and swings available almost everywhere. Families also come here to picnic and play games. At Happy Hour a mixed drink is $8 BZ. or $4 U.S. Coconut Rum and Pineapple Juice is the most popular ‘cocktail.’ There are also Full-Moon party nights, sometimes with bonfires. And…the sunrises and sunsets are always amazing.
As you alight on the Caye and walk along the main beachfront, you’ll be sure to see the Sip n’ Dip. It is a wooden structure on a pier, big and green with the look of the 1950s. It is over water and there are swings in the water, very quirky! This iconic spot is unique because of its beer garden on-premises. They will even give you a small bucket of beer to float beside you in the water, (you’d better drink fast.) There are also inner tubes for floating, and even the hammocks are in the water. Of course, this is just for grown-ups but children can play nearby on the beach, where toys and equipment are also provided.
Are you convinced? Come to Caye Caulker where you will be welcomed and come away feeling like you visited the Caribbean of days gone by.
Written by Nelita Castillo