I left Belize after four days on Caye Caulker, a small island roughly 3km long. The streets aren’t paved, only sand covered and soft. Cars aren’t anywhere to be seen, only golf carts and bicycles. And though it’s surrounded by teal water, there is no traditional stretch of beach. Locals and tourists lie on towels along weathered wooden docks that run all around the island. It’s tiny enough, rustic enough, pastel-painted enough, sailboat-strewn enough to feel like a quiet paradise.
The island has dozens of casual, beachy hotels and hostels, most of which are reasonably priced. I highly recommend Barefoot Caribe for a very comfortable stay. For $40 per night, I rented a room with two double beds, full bathroom, wifi, and air conditioning. The nightly rate was only five or so US dollars more than the hostel up the road. The location of Barefoot Caribe is central enough to set you about 10 minutes (walking) from ‘The Split’- the main spot where folks lie out on docks to sun themselves, swim, kayak, and paddleboard. At the heart of The Split (the name refers to the place where the island separates from its other quarter) is the Lazy Lizard, a hotspot restaurant and bar on the water that almost always has a crowd. It’s the place to get beachy drinks all day and two for one rum mixes during happy hour from 4 to 8pm.
For a great meal on the island, try Habaneros. The seafood plates, especially the Coco Amore and the Barrier Reef Sampler, are fresh with bright, bold Caribbean flavor.
The highlight of my stay on Caye Caulker was the full day snorkeling/sailing trip through Raggamuffin Tours. In between exploring the coral reef and drinking rum punch, I swam with sharks, manatees, sea turtles, and all manner of exotic looking fish. $50 incredibly well spent.