Caye Caulker is one of the most laid back places I have ever been. There are no cars, great snorkling and diving, plus a wonderful island vibe.
Here are all the details about and the fun things to do on Caye Caulker.
Table of Contents
General Information About Caye Caulker
Caye Caulker is a tiny coral island that is part of Belize. It is one of the northern Cayes and is only about 5 miles long by 1 mile wide.
There are no cars on the island and the motto is “go slow.” This was a directive that we definitely followed during our time here!
It is a lovely place covered with swaying palm trees and tropical foliage, surrounded by a gleaming aqua ocean, and traversed by streets made of sand that are raked regularly.
A waterway known as The Split divides the island on the northern end. Most of the businesses and hotels are on the southern side of The Split.
The brightly painted businesses and homes all add to the charm of Caye Caulker.
And charming it is.
How do you pronounce Caye Caulker?
The Belizeans pronounce Caye as Key.
How to get to Caye Caulker
Most visitors, including us, arrive by airplane into Belize City. After your arrival you have two options for continuing on to the island of Caye Caulker.
Take a taxi from the airport to the boat dock in Belize City where a passenger ferry will take you to the island. Currently it is $30 to ride from the airport to the ferry and about a 25 minute drive.
At the dock your bags will immediately be checked in for the ferry ride. Don’t lose the tags you are given because this Is what you will show to pick them up in Caye Caulker.
After you have your luggage tags walk to the end of the terminal to purchase your tickets and check in for the ride. You do not have to purchase ferry tickets in advance.
You are purchasing a round trip ticket so hold on to your return ticket for the ride back!
The ferries depart about every hour or so.
Fly directly from the Belize City airport to Caye Caulker. (The airport on Caye Caulker was closed for a while but it did reopen in fall of 2023.)
If you don’t mind spending the extra money this would be a great way to go as it whisks you straight from the airport in Belize City to Caye Caulker in about 10 minutes.
Money in Belize and Caye Caulker
If you are coming to Belize with US dollars you will not need to exchange money. US dollars are accepted everywhere and the exchange rate is 2 Belizean dollars to every 1 US dollar.
Be aware that once you start to pay in USD your change will be given to you in Belizean dollars or BZ. Soon you will acquire both currencies and you can pay for purchases using any combination of the two. You just have to do a little math!
Prices are always given in BZ in stores and on menus, but I would ask to be sure as you negotiate dive tours, etc.
Also be aware that there are many places that are cash only so do be prepared for that.
Transportation on Caye Caulker
There are no cars on Caye Caulker so the main form of transportation will be walking or biking. I suggest renting a bicycle if your hotel or hostel doesn’t provide them.
Be sure and ask because many accommodations do have bikes available for guests.
There are also golf carts which act as taxis.
The island is made for leisurely strolling. You rarely need to go anywhere in a hurry! We found that we loved the lack of cars and the slow pace of the island.
Food and Drinks
We were pleasantly surprised with the food on Caye Caulker. It is simple but good. It reminded me of a cross between Cuban and Mexican food, but with a flair all Belizean.
They do a lot of grilled fish and chicken and pork. All the grilled foods were delicious and I definitely recommend giving them a try.
Sadly, it was NOT lobster season while we were there. Even without lobster we enjoyed the food on Caye Caulker and we have a post about the restaurants on Caye Caulker that we tried and would recommend.
You won’t need to bring dressy clothes to dine here. You choices will mostly be very casual restaurants with sand floors or street food vendors.
No shoes, no shirt is no problem on Caye Caulker!
Best Things To Do on Caye Caulker
SCUBA or Snorkel
The reefs and waters are the main reason that tourists come to Caye Caulker.
You will have a wealth of choices for water activities. Tour guides offering snorkel and SCUBA trips are ubiquitous on the island and you will probably even be approached by locals with a boat.
The reef is easily visible from the eastern side of the island and has fantastic snorkeling less than a mile away. Boat tours are necessary and you will find plenty of choices for first time or experienced snorkelers as well as a selection of full or half day tours.
If you want a bit more adventure there are some amazing places to SCUBA dive which are a longer boat ride away.
This includes some of the most famous dive spots in the world, such as the amazing Great Blue Hole, as well as Lighthouse Reef, and Turneffe Island Atoll. The diving here will often be a mix of steep walls and coral caverns.
Belize Diving Services is considered to be the best dive shop on the island. They offer a wide range of tours and services including PADI training.
You Might be Interested in These Tours:
If you are looking for a little more adventure you should give Kite Surfing a try. There are a couple of companies on the island that offer this activity.
You will also find outfits that offer sailing tours. These range from sunset cruises to three day sails with camping on various islands. There are a wide variety of options!
Check out this sunset tiki bar cruise!
We saw lots of people fishing from the piers and sea walls. The places we stayed provided fishing gear and several of the guests fished regularly from the dock while we there.
You can rent fishing rods on the island, but we observed locals fishing with a just a hook, line, and weight early one morning and they had a bucket-full so perhaps you could do the same!
We were told by our host that we did not need a fishing license for dock fishing, but I would definitely double check this informations before you bait your hook!
If you want to go out on the ocean to fish there are fishing tour companies that you can book.
Do a Little Yoga
Feeling the need to stretch? Check out the yoga schedule at Namaste Cafe! This is rooftop yoga with a view.
Explore the Town
The best Caye Caulker activity if you aren’t out on the water is simply to walk around the island!
Stroll or bike up and down the sandy streets. Pop into stores. Visit with the locals who are peddling their wares at a multitude of gift shops and souvenir stands lining the streets.
Get your hair braided or enjoy a beach side massage. Check out the art gallery and have a coffee at Caribbean Colors Art Cafe. Enjoy the breeze.
Avoid stepping on one of the lazy, slumbering dogs who stake out their specific resting spots in the middle of the road. Sip a delicious icy cold pina-colada or fresh fruit juice. Rejuvenate with a Fry Jack…
It’s simply a lovely place to wander.
Enjoy nature in the less developed parts of the island
On the northernmost part of the island is the Caye Caulker Forest Reserve. This area is basically a mangrove estuary where you will find all kinds of wildlife including wading birds, crocodiles, and iguanas.
Tip: You will also see lots of mosquitos so slather on the bug spray before you go.
Local guide Richard Castillo is allowed to bring guests to the crocodile reserve within the forest reserve so be sure and check him out if you want to explore in this area.
Relax and relax some more
Bring a book. Bring your guitar. Bring your journal.
Remember the motto? Go slow. We went slow.
We did a lot of nothing on Caye Caulker because this is a legitimate activity here!. We read, we chatted, we napped, we watched the boats go by…sigh…it was perfection.
Swim or hang out near the water
Although Caye Caye Caulker is known for beautiful water it is NOT known for its beaches.
The barrier reef keeps the waves from breaking on the shore and the island is mostly surrounded by sea grass. Often the sea grass is piled up on the beaches and sometimes it gives off a bad smell.
However there are places to swim…
Off of a dock
Because of the sea grass many of the water front accommodations provide a dock that is long enough to get you past the grass and enable you to swim in clear water at the end. You will see many of these docks!
Or at The Split
Other than a dock the best place on the island to enjoy a swim and a bit of beach is at The Split. This is the busiest area of the island where many people hang out in the afternoon and evenings.
You can relax on the sea wall, play games, people watch, flirt, have drinks and food at the Lazy Lizard, sit at a picnic table halfway in the water, swim, snorkel… or do all of the above.
If you are looking for more of a classic beach you can take the ferry and…
Go to the Northside Beach Club (Formerly KoKo King)
The Northside Beach Club is a resort on the north side of the island across The Split. It is a resort with a public beach. You can only arrive by water.
The ferry to Koko King departs on the west side of the Caye Caulker almost directly across from the main ferry dock on the east side.
The ferry runs about every 15 minutes and is only about a 5 minute ride. The ride is “free” but they encourage you to buy a drink or something while at the resort at which point you will be given a wristband that guarantees your “free” ride back.
Totally worth it.
You will step off the ferry into a highly manicured, well curated island paradise. There is a small but pristine beach with white sand and aqua water. The beach chairs in the sun are free and available on a first come, first served basis.
There is also paid area where you can rent beds which hang from ropes in the shade.
A gorgeous open air bar and restaurant perched out over the ocean complete the idyllic scene.
It’s clean and pretty and relaxing albeit resort-y.
Try some street food
I spoke above about the food on Caye Caulker. There are decent restaurants but you also need to try some street food while you are there. It is cheap and delicious.
You will especially want to try a Fry Jack which is a local fried bread stuffed with a variety of either savory or sweet items. These are served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and are an inexpensive and filling meal.
Watch the sunset or sunrise
Many people watch the sun set from The Split. Or you can head to one of the bars or restaurants on the west side of the island.
Whatever you do don’t miss an opportunity to get a glimpse of the sun sinking into the ocean. The memory of the sight will stay with you for years to come.
Our cabin was on the east side of the island and we were up early enough on a couple of occasion to see the sun rise.
This was also beautiful! It’s your choice…sunrise, sunset, or perhaps both!
Party the night away
Caye Caulker is known as a party island!
Some options are hanging out at the Split and the bars around that area. The Barrier Reef Sports Bar has a funky dive and beach bar vibe with live music most nights. They have karaoke and dancing on occasion which we really enjoyed! Stop by the bar to check out their schedule.
As the night gets later you can head to the I&I Reggae Bar which has three floors, one for dancing, one with swings hanging from the ceiling and a rooftop for just chatting and relaxing.
While we were on the island Koko King threw a full moon party. So you might want to check to see if Koko King is having any events during your visit.
You will find plenty of things to do on Caye Caulker for people of all ages. I hope that you enjoy this little island as much as we did!
Thanks so much for stopping by and thanks for pinning!