Belize: Why to Stay on Caye Caulker

When I was researching where to stay in the Belizean cayes, all signs pointed to Ambergris Caye or Caye Caulker for first-time visitors.

My friend’s sister recently stayed on both, and she recommended Caye Caulker for visitors interested in a slower pace and more boutique hotels, versus the big resort and party vibe of Ambergris Caye. After visiting San Pedro, we were VERY happy we made the choice to stay on Caye Caulker, which was much more our speed.

While Caye Caulker embraces its motto, Go Slow, and emits a recognizable island vibe, it’s still filled with things to do. Here are a few of the reasons we enjoyed staying on Caye Caulker.

Things to Do on Caye Caulker

Tarpon feeding

While very fun, feeding the resident tarpon is perhaps the most stressful of all the experiences offered on Caye Caulker!

I did this once before in the Florida keys with a couple of girlfriends (I detailed the experience here) and was happy to simply watch and video everyone else having the experience this trip. Here’s a video of Brian taking his turn – it’s a heart-pounding experience for everyone involved!

Stingray feeding

A much calmer but still entertaining experience is watching the daily stingray feeding at the Iguana Reef Inn. A couple of employees with buckets of small creatures wade out into the shallow waters around the inn’s sandy beach and tons of stingray seemingly swim out of no where for their treats!

We sat along the dock and enjoyed watching these incredible creatures flow through the water and “headbutt,” for lack of a better term, the employees’ legs demanding their turn! It was crazy watching them launch up on top of one another, get their snack, and then calmly swim around until they wanted another helping.

The inn has a lovely outdoor bar and beach area for watching the sunset so I’d recommend popping over early, watching them feed the stingrays, and then staying for some food, drinks, and the setting sun.

The Split

I read a lot about the Split and how it came to be before our trip:

The Split is the most popular destination in Caye Caulker. It’s a stretch of water that divides the island in two. The split was created by Hurricane Hattie, a 1961 cyclone that hit Belize with tremendous ferocity. This storm brought 165-mph winds that ripped through Belize’s coastline. After it passed, the caye had a wide channel of water running through it. Since Belizeans are experts at making lemonade out of lemons, they christened the new channel the Split and turned it into the perfect place to take a swim.

While it’s true that this is probably the largest sandy area you’ll find on the island, it’s also where you’ll find the most people. There is a small area where you can swim away from the crazy current racing through the Split but it was pretty full of seaweed-type debris and kids splashing around.

The Lazy Lizard has lots of outdoor seating and walk-up bars, and the nearby Sip N’ Dip has swim-up bars if you’re interested in day drinking, but that’s not our scene so we took a dip in the water, walked around the area, and checked the Split off our list.

Snorkel trip

There are tons of snorkel and diving excursion options from Caye Caulker that give you access to the nearby Great Barrier Reef or take you farther out to the Blue Hole. Our day-long snorkel trip ended up being a highlight of our time in the cayes. I shared our experience in this post.

Sunset spots

While much of the island’s action is on its eastern shore, there are a few spots on the west side of the island that are ideal for watching sunset. In addition to the area around the Split, which is where we took the photos below, we also enjoyed watching the sunset at the Iguana Reef Inn, the Pelican Bar, and Maggie’s Sunset Kitchen, all of which will outfit you with drinks and food as you watch the sinking sun.

Places to Stay on Caye Caulker

Caye Caulker Condos

I spent a lot of time trying to figure out where we should stay. Although there are a few golf cart taxis, you pretty much traverse Caye Caulker on foot so I was trying to understand how far things were from the airport and water taxi landings. It didn’t matter – this is a small caye and nothing is that far apart. We easily walked from the airport to our accommodations at Caye Caulker Condos up by the Split with no problems, and we were even closer to the water taxi landing where we caught our boat over to San Pedro for the day and then ultimately caught out boat back to Belize City for our flight home.

My advice? Choose a place that has amenities you like and don’t overthink it. We didn’t care about having a fancy place, we simply wanted somewhere with a shady view of the ocean so we could relax in the comfort of our own space if we got tired of the beach, sun, and crowds. These condos had a kitchenette, private pool, and ocean views, which worked perfectly for us.

Places to Eat and Drink on Caye Caulker

After you’ve enjoyed a day relaxing at your hotel or the Split or adventuring on a snorkel or diving excursion, you’ll find plenty of places to grab drinks and food around the caye. I detailed some of our favorite breakfast, lunch, dinner, and drink spots in this post.

We enjoyed our time on Caye Caulker and definitely didn’t experience everything it has to offer. In fact, a couple key experiences remain on my list for next time:

  • Walking the trails around South Point, keeping an eye out for crocodiles
  • Taking a guided kayak tour of the Caye Caulker Forest Reserve on the north side of the Split

Whether you want to relax or be active, Caye Caulker has a little something for everyone. Enjoy!

One thought on “Belize: Why to Stay on Caye Caulker

  1. Pingback: One Week in Belize Itinerary – Heather's Compass

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