If you’re looking for that idyllic island vacation where shoes are optional, locals are friendly and relaxation is the ultimate way of life, look no further than Caye Caulker. This tiny slice of paradise off the coast of mainland Belize is only 4 miles long and has been gaining popularity over the years for its laidback vibes, vibrant turquoise water and awesome nightlife — and after just a few days soaking in the island culture I honestly never wanted to leave. For such a small island, there are plenty of things to do in Caye Caulker that will keep you busy during your stay, so read on for all the best places to eat, drink, shop and play.
Caye Caulker is truly one of those places that is big enough to keep you entertained, yet small enough that you’re sure to run into the same locals and visitors throughout your stay, making for an intimate feel that few destinations offer these days. I can see why people choose to return here over and over again.
One such person is my friend Megan who is one of the founders of the tour company, Legit Trips, which run group trips to the island. They hosted us for three days on Caye Caulker and we had an absolute blast along their itinerary. Megan knows all the best spots on the island as she has been personally visiting Caye Caulker for years and has visited six times! While I got to experience as much as possible during my short three day stay, I asked Megan to share her ultimate favorite spots to make sure you don’t miss any must-dos during your trip to Belize.
Plus, if you’re interested in having all the planning done for you and meeting awesome new friends during your trip, make sure to book with Legit Trips. Their schedules are super loose and flexible so you can honestly enjoy your trip in whatever way works best for you!
How to Get to Caye Caulker, Belize
To get to the island of Caye Caulker, you’ll need to take a ferry ride with Ocean Ferry Belize from Belize City which takes about 45 minutes. From the Belize City airport, it takes about 20 minutes by taxi to get to the ferry terminal. I was able to get off my flight and onto the ferry boat within one hour but it was tight, so maybe leave yourself a little extra room.
There are five departure times to Caye Caulker per day: 8 AM, 10:30, 1:30, 3 PM and 5:30 PM. Be prepared to pack in because the ferry boat is small and you’re likely to be rubbing shoulders with the locals!
Where to Stay
There are tons of options for accommodation all over Caye Caulker — and the best news is that because the island is so tiny, nothing is ever really truly an inconvenient location.
We spent a few nights at Caye Reef which is located just a two minute walk from The Split (more on that below). This was the perfect location for us as we could pop in and out of The Split easily during the day to grab anything in the room and then swing back to freshen up on our way into town for the night.
What to Do During the Day
For day drinking, lounging in the sun and mingling with other travelers, The Split is the go-to spot for visitors to Caye Caulker. The Split is a narrow channel that literally divides Caye Caulker into two – the northern and southern sides of the island.
At The Split and the bar there, The Lazy Lizard, you’ll find travelers huddled up at the bar ordering pina coladas, lounging on the deck chairs or taking a dip off the dock. There’s even a diving tower for daytime competitions and a DJ who keeps the beats going all day.
Catamaran Cruise with Carlos Tours
For the ultimate day out on the water, a catamaran cruise with captain Carlos is a must. We departed with Carlos on his boat Gypsy Queen for a full day of swimming and sun which involved three stops at different coral reefs (including one chance to swim with nurse sharks).
We enjoyed a delicious local lunch and the boat’s signature rum punch cocktails and found the crew to be super friendly. This is the perfect way to spend a day off the island.
Take a Scenic Flight Over the Great Blue Hole
Most people hear about scuba diving or snorkeling in the Great Blue Hole, but for experienced divers the word on the street is that the diving honestly isn’t that great — especially compared to other awesome dive sites in the area.
I feel that the magic of the Blue Hole is seeing this one-of-a-kind wonder from above as you get the full perspective. There are several operators that run scenic flights over the Blue Hole including Maya Island Air, Tropic Air and Astrum Helicopters.
Watch the Windsurfers
On a windy day you’ll see plenty of windsurfers out on the water taking advantage of the weather. The most Northern tip of the island near the Split is the best spot to catch them during the day and at sundown!
Visit Koko King for the Day
Caye Caulker is surprisingly devoid of any sandy beach area, so Koko King across from the Split is really the place to go for the ideal beach day.
Koko King is a restaurant and bar situated on a sandy beach via a quick 2 minute water taxi from the main part of Caye Caulker. Guests ride the ferry free with any purchase of $25 BZD per person at the restaurant/bar and there are are hammocks and lounge chairs for guests to camp up at all day. Just make sure to stay for sunset as this is the best spot to watch the sun go down over the turquoise water.
Stroll Through Town
Walking through town is easy no matter what area of the island you’re staying on and takes about 20 minutes to walk the main drag from end to end. There are tons of shops, bars and restaurants, so make sure to take a long walk one day to check out all the local businesses that Caye Caulker has to offer.
Scuba Dive with Frenchies
Home to the second longest barrier reef in the world, Belize is considered to be one of the best places to go diving in the Caribbean Sea. Spend a day undah the sea with Frenchies and you’re likely to see turtles, stingrays, sharks and potentially whale sharks if you’re visiting during the spring and early summer months (Belize is one of the best places for whale shark spotting)! Frenchies has been operating for over 30 years in Belize and is a solid bet for any diving excursions.
Stand Up Paddle Board
The water is so shallow surrounding Caye Caulker that it’s the perfect place for a few hours of paddle boarding. There are many different vendors offering this around the island. Just be aware of the wind and current when you go as it can be strong at some points around the island.
Do Rooftop Yoga
Head straight to Namaste Cafe for rooftop yoga to sweat out all the alcohol you drank the night before. The owner of this yoga studio/cafe makes all of the classes donation based to bring affordable yoga to as many people as possible — and she’s succeeding because the classes get packed! Arrive early to secure your spot and a mat.
Where to Eat
Errolyns House of Fry Jacks
For take-out style breakfast with can’t-beat-em prices, head to Errolyns House of Fry Jacks, located towards the Northern end of the island.
Connected to a great rooftop yoga studio on the top floor, Namaste Cafe is ideal for fresh and healthy eats like smoothies, salads and chia pudding.
Roy’s Blue Water Grill
Known for its fresh seafood, Roy’s is a great open-air spot off the main drag in Caye Caulker.
Il Pelicano Cucina
For a more upscale Italian vibe with live music on rotate, head straight to Il Pelicano which is tucked away a bit off Caye Caulker’s main street.
Ice n Beans
Perfect for quick to-go yogurt bowls and iced coffees, Ice n Beans is a staple of the island and often has a line out the door. Bonus for lactose-free ladies — they serve almond milk here!
Crepes and Dreams
The name basically explains it all. For a savory and sweet hearty meal from breakfast through lunch, head to Crepes and Dreams.
This hole-in-the-wall spot is much more than meets the eye. Juans is the ideal spot for affordable and delicious local eats — you can even order up lobster here for a steal.
Cinnamon roll connoisseurs, take note. People on the island swear by Glenda’s fresh baked cinnamon rolls which are a hot commodity and typically sell out fast each day. Grab your spot in line by 7 AM if you want to get your hands on one of her gooey treats.
Where to Drink
The Lazy Lizard
Situated right at The Split, the Lazy Lizard is where you’ll find the crowds on Caye Caulker during the daytime.
A newer addition to Caye Caulker is El Portal, which is the Lazy Lizard’s upstairs night club. Don’t let the word club scare you though — this is about as chill as clubs come. Their Friday night karaoke competitions are an ideal way to kick off a weekend on the island to try and win a free bar tab.
Where all roads meet at the end of the night on Caye Caulker. Sports Bar has a little bit of everything — dancing, karaoke on Thursday, trivia on Tuesdays, drinks, food, sports games and both indoor and outdoor seating on offer.
I&I Reggae Bar
When Sports Bar closes at midnight, I&I is where everyone heads for late night rooftop vibes and dance parties.
A tiny little beach hut off the main strip in town, day goers to the Split usually find their way to Margarita Mikes later in the afternoon for a sundowner.
Where to Shop
The best gift shop on the island.
Belize Chocolate Company
Selling an assortment of mouth watering chocolates and baked goods for those with a sweet tooth.
Red Flower Gallery & Boutique
A sweet little gallery showcasing beautiful artwork, this is also a great place to pick up owner Paulette’s all-natural bug repellant concoction which is ideal for keeping the sand flies away.
Planning a trip right now? These are all the websites and services I love for booking everything from flights, tours, accommodation and more:
- Booking.com for the best hotel deals
- World Nomads for travel insurance
- Airbnb for awesome home rentals
- Skyscanner for finding the best flight deals
- Hostelworld for budget accommodation
- Rentalcars.com for easy car rentals