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Caye Caulker


Description | Getting Here & Around
Money Matters & Services Provided | Things to Do | Attractions
Accommodations | Caye Caulker Local Flavor | Find a Tour Guide

Description

Rolled out into the middle of the azure-blue Caribbean is this white, sandy island packed full of history, local culture and things to do. Just five miles long and only a mile wide at the widest part, the actual village stretches just one mile along the east side of the island that faces the barrier reef. With a population of only 1,300 Mestizo, Garifuna and Creoles, you are invited to a ‘go slow’ way if life where you can kick your shoes off, relax and savor the island life.


Getting Here & Around

Visitors can get to Caye Caulker either by boat (water taxi) or by plane.

By Water Taxi
The most economical way to get to the Caye is by boat. The trip to Caye Caulker from Belize City takes about 45 minutes over clear turquoise waters and through mazes of scenic mangrove islands. Boats are large and hold up to 40 passengers. Luggage is stowed in a dry and secure location on the boat. It is a good idea to bring a light long sleeve shirt (especially in the mornings and late afternoons) to protect from sun and wind.

Caye Caulker Water Taxi Association provides regular service to both Caye Caulker and San Pedro. Taxis leave from downtown Belize City on the north side of the Swing Bridge at the Water Taxi Terminal. Tickets must be purchased prior to departure with round trip tickets slightly cheaper than one-way tickets. This service has 7 boat departures daily between the hours of 8 am and 4:30. A round trip ticket is $US 17.50 (as of March 2005).

Two alternate, independent water taxis also provide service to the Caye less frequently, but at a lower cost. Thunderbolt, providing two trips daily, is located just south of the main water taxi terminal, across from the large Catholic Church. Triple J is located directly across from the Marine Terminal near the Court House. They provide three trips daily at a cost of $US 11.00 (round trip as of March 2005).

Note: If you arrive in Corozal and you wish to go straight to the Cayes on a boat, you might want to check out taking a water taxi directly to the Cayes from Corozal Town. Thunderbolt offers daily service to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye and from there you can take a second water taxi to Caye Caulker. The timing and the cost is just about the same as taking the bus to Belize City and departing from there. The reverse also works well if you are leaving Caye Caulker and traveling to Corozal. Check with Thunderbolt Watertaxi service for their schedule and cost.

By Plane
Reliable and fast transportation is also available on Maya Island Airways or Tropic Air. Regular departures are from either the Philip Goldson International Airport or the Municipal airstrip in Belize City. The flight is less than 15 minutes and offers breathtaking views of the islands and barrier reef. The round trip ticket averages US$ 50 from municipal airstrip and $75-100 from the international airport.

Getting Around
Once you arrive on Caye Caulker, it is easy to get around by foot, but there are a few options for transportation.

Perhaps the best way to get around the island like most locals do is by bike. Rentals are readily available by the hour, day or week at an average price cost of: US$ 2.50/hour or $10/day. Golf carts are available for rent by the hour, day or week with the average cost of US$ 10/hour. Golf carts and large tricycles provide taxi service with the cost about US$4 per trip.


Money Matters & Services Provided

Banks
There is only one bank on Caye Caulker (Atlantic Bank) and there is no ATM, although they do give cash advances with a service charge. Make sure you have ample cash or travelers checks as many budget accommodations and smaller service providers do not accept credit cards.

Internet
There are several Internet cafes on the island with an average price of US $3 per hour.

Laundry
A large laundromat is located on Middle Street near the football field in the central part of the island. You can also ask at your hotel if there is someone who does laundry either at the hotel or in the neighborhood. The average cost is US $3 per load.

Stores & Shops
There are several grocery shops on the island and a few local fruit stands. Be aware, however, that items are more expensive (10-20% higher) on the Caye because of the transportation cost to get the goods to the island. The local bakery is located on Middle Street and several local people circulate the island in the afternoons with baskets of freshly baked goods such as cakes, breads and powder buns for sale.

The island has a number of gift shops and a few art galleries.

Restaurants
Caye Caulker is home to many excellent restaurants and cafes. Visitors can choose from Belizean, Italian, Mexican, Chinese and American style dishes served up in a variety of settings. Fresh seafood abounds making this an excellent choice at nearly every establishment. There are several local food stands offering take-out meals at very economical prices.


Things to Do

Besides relaxing, swimming and sunbathing, Caye Caulker offers visitors a plethora of things to do. As you walk up Front Street, over 40 tour guides offer trips and activities. Many guides are interested in conservation and provide educational as well as fun excursions.

Snorkeling: By far the most popular activity for visitors on the Caye is snorkeling. Half-day and full-day tours are offered at costs between $US 40-80. Most shops have snorkel gear and equipment for rental or it is included in the cost of the tour.

Scuba Diving: Located just one mile from the Barrier Reef, Caye Caulker has 7 dive shops that offer regular trips to the major marine attractions including Blue Hole, Hol Chan, Lighthouse Reef, Turneffe Atoll and other areas. If you are not yet certified, courses are offered so that you can get certified and can dive the world’s second largest barrier reef in just four days!

Manatee Tours: Located about 30 minutes from Caye Caulker is Swallow Caye, a recently-declared protected area for the large, docile mammals. Most manatee tours are combined with snorkel tours.

Fishing: Caye Caulker has bred generations of fishermen who have made their living from the sea. Many of the older or retired fishermen continue to fish for sport or offer guiding services. As well-seasoned fishermen, they know the best fishing holes to catch snapper, grouper, mackerel, barracuda, tarpon and other sport fish. Expeditions are half-day or full-day and equipment is usually provided.

Sea Kayaking: The clear, shallow waters are perfect for paddling around the island or out to the reef. Rentals are available by the hour.

Sailing Trips: It is only during the last 20 years that outboard motors have replaced the traditional sailing boats. A few folks still offer sailing trips for snorkeling, sunsets or overnight cruises. Prices vary.

Windsurfing: The ever-present trade winds on the east side of Caye Caulker make windsurfing an excellent choice for amateurs or experienced surfers. Equipment and lessons are available.

Birding and Nature Walks: The densely-populated area of the Caye is concentrated in a small area of the island leaving much of the island with mangroves and natural vegetation. Over 100 species of birds have been identified on the island. Several local conservationists and tour guides are available to provide educational tours and talks to individuals and groups. The Caye Caulker Mini-Reserve offers a self-guided tour which is well-worth a visit to learn about the vegetation and wildlife of the Caye.


Attractions

The Caye Caulker Mini-Reserve located on the southern part of the Caye is a littoral forest containing many native trees and plants of Belize along with birds, land crabs and insects.

The Caye Caulker Forest Reserve is 100 acres located on the northern part of the caye. It contains 3 species of mangroves, iguanas, boa constrictors, birds and a few mammals. A visitor's center and research station is present at the reserve.

The Caye Caulker Marine Reserve includes the turtle grass lagoon adjacent to the Caye Caulker Forest Reserve and the Belize Barrier Reef that runs parallel to the entire Caye, extending approximately a mile beyond the reef.


Accommodations

Almost half of the hotels on Caye Caulker are members of the Belize Explorer making this a budget-accommodation paradise. Within these properties, there is a nice variety of hotels, from ultra-cheap with few amenities to higher priced ones with all of the comforts of home. They range from small rooms with shared baths to cabanas and houses for rent.

Click here to find Belize Explorer accommodations on Caye Caulker. It will open in a new window.

Caye Caulker Local Flavor (Music, Arts & Interesting People)

As a small community, Caye Caulker has a large number of historians, musicians and artists. Click here for a sampling of the local flavor.


Destination Guide:  Corozal District | Orange Walk District | Belize District | Offshore Cayes | Ambergris Caye | Caye Caulker | Cayo District | Stann Creek District | Placencia | Toledo District





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