Written by Aimee Engebretson and Mona for MonaCorona.com.
Hi, I’m Aimee.
I’m a blogger from One Chance Travel. I chronicle my travels on my website and YouTube channel, showcasing my best travel tips and locations. I usually travel with my boyfriend Dallas, and we love to visit tropical locales with warm, sunny weather.
One of my favorite destinations is Caye Caulker, a tiny island (caye means island, and is pronounced like “key”) off the coast of Belize that’s only 5 miles long and a mile wide. Where leisure takes precedence over the things to do in Caye Caulker, the motto here is to “Go Slow” and this tropical caye does a great job of providing a relaxed atmosphere with beautiful ocean views as far as the eye can see. This small slice of paradise serves up Caribbean island vibes year-long and the locals are as welcoming as the beers are cold! The distinct bohemian vibe of Caye Caulker draws a young, vibrant, backpacker and digital nomad crowd, yet the undeniable beauty of the scenery makes for an ideal luxury vacation spot.
Top Things To Do in Caye Caulker: Diving, Snorkeling, Relaxing and more
While this island is small, there’s enough to do to stay busy on the island as well as offshore. Whether you are looking to kick back or get active, the following are the top activities to do on the island of Caye Caulker.
Rent A Bike
There are only a few cars on the island, (though many golf carts!) so one of the best activities you can do on Caye Caulker is to rent a bike for a day or two. It’s easy to bike around the entire island in less than an hour, and it’s a great way to see it all quickly. Start on the south end of the island at Front Street and you’ll be cruising around paradise in no time.
Go Sailing or Fishing
There are many tour groups who will take you out to sail, spearfish, or a combination of both! Visitors and locals alike are encouraged to hunt lionfish, who are harmful to the corals and apparently quite tasty. If you just want to relax, a sailing trip might be perfect for you. You can also paddleboard, kayak, and windsurf from Caye Caulker.
The Belize Barrier Reef is a series of coral reefs straddling the coast of Belize. This is the second biggest reef in the world after Australia, and much of it is still alive and thriving thanks to the area being protected. We recommend booking the full-day snorkeling tour with Caveman Tours and you will get the opportunity to see dozens of different kinds of fish, sea turtles, nurse sharks, rays, and more. You will visit Shark Ray Alley and chances are you’ll get the chance to swim with the nurse sharks if you dare.
Dive the Blue Hole
No list of Caye Caulker activities would be complete without mentioning the Great Blue Hole, which is a submarine cave famous with scuba divers around the world. From above you can see the round patch of dark blue ocean surrounded by the shallow turquoise waters and coral reefs. This hole was formed after the roof of a limestone cave system collapsed during the Ice Age. Snorkelers take note, only advanced Scuba divers can dive here. If you’re newer to diving don’t worry — there are plenty of other great diving spots along the Belize Barrier Reef that can be easily accessed from Caye Caulker
Chill at the Split
The Split is the north end of the island, where the island split after 1961’s Hurricane Hattie. You’ll find several bars and restaurants there such as the Lazy Lizard, a favorite for backpackers. After drinking a few Lizard Juices, you might just get brave enough to jump off the high dive into the crystal clear waters of Caye Caulker below. The Split also has benches and tables submerged in a protected area where you can actually sit in the water and sip an ice-cold drink.
Find A Local Event
There’s a handful of Reggae Bars in Caye Caulker, and Beach Bar is one of the coolest. They offer live music nearly every night, and trivia nights where you can team up with your newfound friends to try to win a bucket of beers. Check out the Full Moon Party, a monthly event where even the locals come out to sip on fruity drinks and spread the good vibes around.
Best Caye Caulker Restaurants
Caribbean food is the best cuisine on the island, and it’s quite easy to find! If you come during lobster season (mid to late June) you’ll be treated to lobster and conch at nearly every restaurant.
Opened in 2019, this restaurant is one of the newest and most high-end spots on the island – and the highest in elevation too! Offering a delicious menu of the freshest seafood in the Carribean, you’ll adore the friendly service and sweeping ocean views from the rooftop. The View is in the middle of Caye Caulker so it’s easily accessible from any spot.
Ice & Beans
This small coffee joint is right next to the beach and has rows of swings and benches from which you can enjoy your cafe and freshly fried donut! Be sure to try a bubble waffle topped with your favorite fruit, and watch it magically disappear as your friends take “just one bite” from this fried concoction.
Chef Kareem’s Unbelizeable Lunch
Barbequed seafood is everywhere on Caye Caulker, and Chef Kareem’s is one of the best! Only open for lunch on certain days, the chef offers chicken, conch, lobster, fish, and more! Not only was their food delicious but this is also one of the most reasonably priced spots on the island.
Craving a break from Caribbean cuisine and seafood? This tiny falafel shack serves incredible, freshly fried-to-order falafel and Mediterranean food such as shakshuka and fried eggplant. Perfect for vegans/vegetarians or those in search of something different. The falafel bar is certified kosher, too!
Located on the far south end of Caye Caulker, Belizean Flavas offered the best jerk chicken we’ve ever had! The fish is soft as butter and the chicken so tender it literally melts in your mouth. While this restaurant is pretty small, it packs a punch of flavor and spice that could only mean you’re in the Carribean.
Maggie’s Sunset Kitchen
Tucked away from Front Street on the “sleepier” side of Caye Caulker, Maggie’s Sunset Kitchen is an overwater eatery who make strong drinks and tasty ceviche. You’ll watch people fishing nearby shaded by the mangroves as large fish called tarpons swim around below your feet. Just be careful, the local crocodile is known to hang out near Maggie’s!
Related: 7 day Belize Itinerary
Recommended Hotels and Caye Caulker Lodging
Caye Caulker makes a great day trip, but you’ll get the full island experience if you stay a few days. Check out this list of our favorite hotels.
Our favorite in Caye Caulker, this beachfront resort is 0.6 miles from the airport and comes with a free shuttle ride. Island Magic offers guests a kitchen in their room, beach bar, and a fantastic location on the island. Don’t forget to book an ocean view room on the fourth floor. This is consistently one of the best luxury resorts on Caye Caulker for a reason!
Located on the beachfront in Caye Caulker, this resort offers a private beach and every room has a balcony. Check out their apartments for groups of 3+ people, you’ll love hanging out on the terrace while you enjoy the island breeze.
If you’re craving ice-cold A/C as well as some time in the pool, the Club is a wonderful option. Enjoy a kitchenette to cook your fishing catch and a flat-screen TV with satellite channels if you need a little break from the sun. Alyana also has a private beach and sun terrace so you can enjoy Caye Caulker in seclusion and style.
One of the newer hotels on the caye, Sea Dreams is on the north side near the Split. Enjoy a beverage at their beach bar or grab one of the community bikes and cruise around the island. We spotted guests doing yoga on the terrace and then heading out for a day of canoeing nearby.
If you’re looking for more of a homey feel but want to stay on the beach, Caye Reef is perfect for you! These rental condos offer a kitchen, hot tub, private pool, and balcony/terrace in select units. Some of these soundproof rooms even have an ocean view!
More about Caye Caulker from Mona:
How to get to Caye Caulker
There are two options to get to the island of Caye Caulker and they are by plane and by boat. To get to Caye Caulker by boat from Belize City airport on the mainland, you will need to take a cab (about $25 USD) to the water taxi stand, and from there you can take the water taxi for about $18 one way ($28 round trip) to the island of Caye Caulker. The ride takes about 45 minutes and is very scenic and beautiful. The water taxis run throughout the day via two operators; You can find Belize Express’ schedule here and Ocean Water’s taxi schedule here.
Caye Caulker also has an airstrip if you choose to fly. From Belize City airport, you can fly with Tropic Air or Maya Island Air. Flight costs will vary depending on time of year and booking, but are generally under $100 USD.
Getting from Ambergris Caye to Caye Caulker
From Ambergris Caye/San Pedro, Caye Caulker is only a 30-minute water taxi away. Both of the above water taxi companies can get you to Caye Caulker, as can the above two air operators.
Caye Caulker or San Pedro (Caye Caulker vs. Ambergris Caye)
Both Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye (also known as its city name San Pedro) are two of the most popular islands in Belize. Ideally, you don’t have to choose between visiting the two because they are a short ferry (or plane) ride away. If you are considering which island you should sleep on/spend more time in, here are a couple things to consider:
–The vibe of Caye Caulker is much younger and more relaxed. On this island you will find younger travelers, more hostels, but less night life. If you are looking to lounge by the sea all day in Paradise, Caye Caulker is for you.
–Ambergris Caye is a much bigger island than Caye Caulker, therefore there is a lot more to do and see. There are many more options on Ambergris Caye for dining, lodging, and activities. While you can see all of Caye Caulker in a day, Ambergris Caye requires multiple days to explore the entire island.
–With less accommodations in general, there are also less luxury hotel options on Caye Caulker than Ambergris Caye. Ambergris Caye has a number of 5-star hotel and resorts on the island, while accommodations on Caye Caulker are mainly 4-star and below. This however is quickly changing as both islands become more developed.
How long should you stay on Caye Caulker?
How long you visit Caye Caulker is really up to personal preference and how much you enjoy being in and around the sea. You can easily take a day trip to Caye Caulker and see the whole island in a couple of hours, or you could spend weeks on Caye Caulker as your home base and take day trips to other islands and the main land.
How expensive is Belize and Caye Caulker?
Coming from North America, Belize can be a very affordable destination, especially for budget travelers. Because luxury options are limited however, luxury hotels and resort prices are in the (USD) $200 – $300+ a night range. That said, budget accommodations can be found for around $50 a night. When eating locally (and not at tourist traps), you can easily spend an average of $30 on meals. Golf cart rentals are also around $30 a day if you are not traveling around by foot or bike on Caye Caulker. On the bigger island of Ambergris Caye, a golf cart or taxis are recommended (renting a golf cart will save you money because taxis into town cost at least $20 one way.) The most expensive part of your budget will be spent on tours and activities. Snorkeling, diving, ruins, and cave tours all cost around $100 – $200+, while taking a helicopter or plane over the Great Blue Hole will easily cost you $200+. Time of year and location may greatly affect tourism prices in Belize, so it’s best to check in advance or travel during shoulder season (November and April) if you’re looking to save.
As the most relaxed island on Belize, Caye Caulker is the perfect destination for a leisurely vacation in paradise. Thank you to Aimee who shared her insights about Caye Caulker. Don’t forget to check out her post on the 26 things nobody tells you about Belize before you go, and the article she wrote for MonaCorona.com on Newport Beach, California!