Belizean beauty

I had the pleasure of spending a few days on this blissful tropical getaway along the Belizean coast this February.

The Caye (K) or island is located 21 miles off the coast of Belize City and can be reached by a 45 minute water taxi. It is actually a limestone reef covered by a maritime sand dune and only measures four miles in length. A hurricane back in the 60s initially divided the island into two and is divided by what the locals call The Split. The developed southern end is where you find the village of Caye Caulker while the northern tip has recently become under the scrutiny of international developers. There are currently efforts to dredge the mangrove swamps to try and build some large resorts and homes.

Now those of you looking for 5* resorts and amenities would be better served to continue onwards to Caye Caulker’s big brother – Ambergris Caye.

Caye Caulker has long been a favorite for the backpacker crowd however there have been recent additions of some lovely upscale accommodations. Everything from luxury condos and bed and breakfasts, mid-range accommodations, hostels and even beachfront camping is available all depending on your personal budget. The true draw to this place is its uniquely laid back ambiance. Brightly painted houses line the beach and sand streets. Coconut palms sway in the warm tropical breezes. Children laugh and play on their walk to and from the small elementary school. Bicycle bells, not car horns ring out as the locals call out greetings. This destination is all about breathing deep, slowing down and living in the present.

Notwithstanding its small size and population of 1500 year round inhabitants, Caye Caulker still hails as one of the best nightlife spots in Belize!! There are so many restaurants to choose from as well as innumerable bars and clubs each with its own throbbing music of choice beckoning to the random travellers. Belizean specialties revolve amongst the incredible assortment of seafood and fish all freshly caught in the local waters.

Daytime activities are pretty much water based. Avid kite-surfing enthusiasts claim this as one of the best locations. There are a number of dive boats offering tours ranging from two hours to full day excursions. The dive experience ranges from beginner through to fully advanced locations. I did a tour to the Ho Chan Marine Reserve and had a fabulous day snorkelling with nurse sharks and exploring the giant clams and assorted tropical fish of the Belizean Barrier Reef. Truly the most colorful experience to date! Kayak tours through the mangrove swamp and manatee reserve. Bird watchers are also thrilled by the 120 different species which call this island home.

A favorite daily pastime was the evening trek to The Split to sit on the wharf and watch the incredible sunsets! Enjoying a local Bilikin beer and chatting with a wonderful group of international tourists ranging in age from 18 to 80 was a lovely way to end yet another blissful day in paradise.

The Belizean dollar is worth half of one USD. Although inexpensive as far as Caribbean destinations go, Belize is still quite a bit more expensive than her neighbouring countries. Expect to pay what you’d pay at home for meals and drinks. English is the national language.

Caye Caulker ……. A wonderful respite in a world of terminal “busy-ness”!

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About the Author

Joy has long been a believer in the art of travel: the belief that a vacation is something to be anticipated savored and then long remembered as one of life’s great adventures. 
Website: thejoyoftravel.ca

You can contact Joy at [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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