Go Slow: Caye Caulker, Belize

Caye Caulker is a sleepy backwater island nestled between the Belize coast and Belize Barrier Reef. With warm waters, cool breezes and friendly locals, it’s a little slice of Caribbean paradise – too small to accommodate a heavy tourist trade, but large enough to offer memories of a lifetime.

The well-deserved motto of Caye Caulker is “Go Slow.” Once you step foot on the island, the stress seems to melt away.

Getting there’s half the fun. The Caye Caulker water taxi runs out of Belize City. With eight scheduled runs a day, you’re sure to make the connection from the airport. Corozal, Belize also runs a water taxi to Caye Caulker via San Pedro Island at 7:30 each morning, and Tropic Air flies small single-engine planes to Caye Caulker daily from Belize City, San Pedro and Corozal. Want to rent a car while in Caye Caulker? You’re out of luck – only bicycles and golf carts allowed. (Yes, they’re both available for rent.)

Caye Caulker’s not for everyone. If you’re looking for a resort experience, you should look to the island’s larger neighbor, San Pedro.

You’ll find plenty of clean, modest accommodations on the island, along with simple, well-prepared food. Don’t be surprised if a local comes up and just wants to chat. There are no paved roads, and the two main roads do not need traffic lights. At night the stars come out with the sound of a child's laughter or occasional dog barking in the background.

While Caye Caulker is laid back, there are plenty of things to do. If you enjoy snorkeling or scuba diving, you’re in luck – some of the best dive and snorkeling sites are located minutes away at the Belize Barrier Reef, the second largest reef in the world. Be sure not to miss the great blue hole, a natural limestone sinkhole that’s a quarter-mile wide and over 400 feet deep. The great blue hole was once featured in a Jacque Cousteau special and is considered one of the best dives in the world. If you‘ve never tried scuba diving, there are plenty of places with highly qualified instructors.

If getting under the water is not your thing, no worries. Caye Caulker also offers wind surfing, kayaking, sailing, nature tours and plenty of relaxation. Dining options are numerous and outstanding. Fresh seafood abounds in all that the sea has to offer. Try Rose’s – not much to look at, but some of the best seafood on the island. Rose’s does not have a menu; it just serves the tastiest seafood caught that day. For breakfast anytime try Tropical Paradise, serving well-cooked pancakes, French toast, omelets and eggs any style. Don’t forget the fresh-squeezed juice and tropical fruit.

For more information on Caye Caulker, go to: gocayecaulker.com.

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