Caye Caulker lies off the north-east coast of Belize, just below the island voted #1 by Trip Advisor for the past two years – Ambergris Caye (San Pedro). If you aren't sure which to pick, then those on a budget should always head straight to C.C: clear waters, coconut rum and fish curries await you.
But do it quick. Being only 8.2 km (5 Miles) long, there is only so far C.C can be developed for tourists before it actually ruins its charm and beauty. The unnecessarily high number of 'private' piers and a cluttered seafront hint that C.C is letting tourists shape it, rather than its 'Go Slow' mantra.
Locals say that C.C used to be a fishing island with a drinking problem, but of late it's a drinking island with a fishing problem. Alongside a number of retirees on long-term stays, a young international university crowd is certainly attracted to C.C. Why? Because the food is great, accommodation is reasonable and there are some excellent day-trips on the blue stuff.
I & I Reggae, Barrier Sports and The Lazy Lizard are the bars that usually get packed and rowdy for those in search of action.
A lot of people wrongly assume that C.C will have an impressive beach area. In reality, there are very small patches of beach quality sand scattered around, which aren't worth getting excited over.
Don't be too despondent though, as the Split is a great alternative for sun-bathing and relaxing. Lazing all day on decking or concrete has the added benefit of sand not reaching every nook and cranny.
Perfect beaches can be found on other cayes – such a Goff's Caye - but will cost you both time and money to reach.
With the famous 'Blue Hole' and reef nearby, there are lots of snorkel and scuba companies. A trip is a really a must, with some of the best visibility and sea-life in Central America (from barracudas to manta-rays, dolphins and sharks). Half-day and full-day trips available, with fishing excursions also an option (street stalls will barbecue your catch for a few dollars).
A gorgeous sun-set will draw a orange-hued close to your afternoon, or be a gentle start to your barefoot night out on the town drinking rum, listening to reggae beats and living island life.
Getting there and away
If you know you are doing a round-trip, then discounted return tickets are available.
Budget-breaker or maker?
Breaker. Those looking for a good time will certainly find it, but it is very easy to splurge.
As a lot of the attraction to C.C. is the snorkelling trips (from $30 USD for a half-day to $70USD+ for a full), your budget can be quite stretched.
Food on the main street is $5-10 BZD more expensive than the charming sunset restaurants on the opposite side of the island. We recommend checking out Maggie's Sunset Kitchen.
The cost of getting there and away by boat is also very high in comparison to the rest of transport in Central America. However, you will probably never regret a visit and a little splurge here.