Caye Caulker (pronounced “key cocker”) is a 5-mile-long island off the coast of Belize City. Think white sand, palm trees and colourful wooden houses, all nestled in the middle of the bright turquoise Caribbean Sea.
There are no real roads on the island, just sandy tracks named Front Street, Middle Street and Back Street. It goes without saying that it’s pretty easy to navigate! The only way to get around is on two feet, or if you’re going really far, there’s these guys…
The motto here is “Go Slow” and it didn’t take us long at all to settle into the speed of island life!
Our daily routine was pretty simple. We’d wake up early, take a cold shower and head out for breakfast. Errolyn’s House of Fry Jacks became a favourite for something quick, cheap and filling.
Fry jack’s are a common Belizean dish for breakfast or lunch – essentially a piece of dough that puffs up when deep-fried, then the big air bubble is filled with your choice of eggs, beans, cheese, ham or chicken. Top with some homemade salsa and you’re good to go. A delicious (although not exactly healthy) breakfast.
We’d then take a little stroll around the town to work off our dough bellies, or maybe even stop in for a cup of coffee at one of the many beachfront cafes. When the view is this good it’s understandable to stay for a while!
If we were feeling slightly more active, we’d take out the hostel’s free canoe for a paddle around the island. Most of the adrenaline rush comes from just getting into it – you have to avoid the resident salt-water crocodile who lives under the dock!
Keen to get back to a relaxed pace and avoid the scorching midday sun we’d then hide out at the hostel for an hour or two over lunch, maybe read a book or chill in a hammock on the front deck.
3pm every day means the start of happy-hour. No need to get showered and dressed up to head out to the bars though – this is island life! We’d pull on our swimwear and head down to Sip n Dip where two rum cocktails cost $7 Belize ($3.50 USD) and you can drink them on your choice of hammock, swing or rubber-ring all in the Caribbean sea!
Thanks to a little luck, many of the friends we made in Guatemala (including a couple of fellow Acatenango survivors!) all arrived on Caye Caulker at the same time as we did, so we had a big group of awesome people to hang out with every evening. The Lazy Lizard at 5pm became our standard happy-hour meeting spot. More swimming and more rum cocktails, this time with the added bonus of sunset views and a game of Cornhole!
If you don’t know what Cornhole is, it’s basically an American lawn game where you throw beanbags into a hole on a wooden board. Simple as that! It’s weirdly addictive. And competitive.
Sometimes a few locals want to join in and interrupt the game, but it’s forgivable when they’re this cute!
Many of the restaurants on the island are very similar so it can be hard to choose a dinner spot. Staff are friendly, drinks are usually on special offer and the menu’s are almost the same. Everywhere specialises in seafood and has a big barbecue out the front where you can watch the chefs grilling lobsters along with the rest of the day’s catch.
Enjoy Restaurant became one of our group’s favourites so we stayed pretty loyal. They do aa amazing Belizean coconut curry for the veggie’s like me, and whole lobster costs only $10 USD. Which everyone was usually pretty enthusiastic about!
After dinner we’d stroll back to our hostel and usually end up in bed by 10pm so we’re ready to wake up fresh and do it all again the next day. That’s island life – you have to enjoy going slow!