Caye Caulker is one of Belize’s most popular island getaways. With an insistent breeze, a laid back atmosphere and an amazing location nestled between a reef and the mainland, it is a must-stop for backpackers and mid-range tourists alike. Caye Caulker may have the tagline, “Go Slow”, but if you want a great time at a slightly quicker pace, here are 15 fun things to do in Caye Caulker.
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15 Fun Things To Do in Caye Caulker
- 1 Visit an Icon with a Great Blue Hole Sightseeing Flight
- 2 Meet Some Sealife at Iguana Reef Inn
- 3 Explore a Beautiful Barrier Reef, Snorkelling Hol Chan
- 4 Take a Moment for Snacks on the Sand
- 5 Test Your Nerve Swimming at Shark Alley
- 6 Relax with a Rum Punch on a Sunset Cruise
- 7 Tequila, Tanning and Tunes at the Lazy Lizard on The Split
- 8 Eat Lots and Lots of Lobster Lunches
- 9 Find Calm and Cold Brew at Namaste Cafe
- 10 Fill Up on Fry Jacks
- 11 Go Slow – Walking or Bike
- 12 Snap a Selfie with a Sizeable Sign
- 13 Harness the Wind with a Kitesurfing Lesson
- 14 Discover the Depths on a Scuba Dive
- 15 Keep an Eye on Your Fingers Whilst Feeding the Tarpons
- 16 Final Thoughts for these 15 Fun Things to Do in Caye Caulker
Visit an Icon with a Great Blue Hole Sightseeing Flight
Read any magazine or check any blog about Belize and there is no doubt you will see a picture of the Great Blue Hole. This near-perfect cenote, located in the centre of Lighthouse Reef is Belize’s most famous natural highlight. It is possible to snorkel or dive The Great Blue Hole but the reef is not the most exciting for snorekllers and you need an advanced open water certification to dive to the depth of the interesting areas within. Therefore, the very best way to see this icon is from the sky!
There are two operators that offer tours across the Great Blue Hole, but we thoroughly enjoyed our trip with Tropic Air. They offer flights twice a week from Caye Caulker on either a 3 or 11 seater plane (depending on how many people are booked). The tour lasts around an hour and everyone gets an amazing view of the beautiful reef below. Each passenger gets a window seat and plenty of time to take …let’s be honest…way too many photos! Of all the things to do in Caye Caulker, this is our number one!
(The rest of this list is in no particular order.)
Meet Some Sealife at Iguana Reef Inn
Iguana Reef Inn is a hotel on the west side of the island. Across from the main building is their very popular bar. Crowds flock there at sunset for a view across the water. (There is a happy hour that matches up nicely too)! The bar’s seating is right on the water’s edge and as you sip your rum, you will get a chance to meet some of the local residents.
On the decking, the shoreline and everything else that is “perch-able”, sit the brown pelicans. These birds only live in marine environments so they thrive in the mangroves of Caye Caulker…and they don’t mind picking up the odd scrap from a tourist too.
On one side of the jetty is a small beach and at 4 pm every day, it is swarmed by stingrays. These beautiful, powerful rays are welcomed in to enjoy a snack. There are those that wade into the water to touch them but we recommend just enjoying the view.
On the other side is a small underwater sanctuary. Well…sanctuary may be too grandiose a word, but it is a nice combination of still, clearwater and mini reef. You might see a lobster, or a little fish or three but the highlight is the chance to spot a seahorse. During our visit, we saw one little fella, swaying gently in the current, tail wrapped around a small rope. It is a rare chance to see seahorses in the wild.
Explore a Beautiful Barrier Reef, Snorkelling Hol Chan
Did You Know: Belize has the largest barrier reef in the Northern hemisphere!
It is thought that it is actually the largest living reef in the world and most tourists to Caye Caulker experience their time here by visiting Hol Chan Marine Reserve. This 18km area spans a gap in the barrier reef (Hol Chan means little channel). The reef is sheltered, allowing soft coral and fish life to thrive, and the little channel allows bigger sea life to visit. You could spot turtles, rays and large schools of fish.
It can seem really busy here as most of the snorkelling activities on the reef are based here. Everything was concentrated here as part of a local initiative, limiting damage to the rest of the reef. To skip the worst of the crowds, we recommend booking with Salt life Eco Tours. They leave a little earlier than the other tours from Caye Caulker and the guides are brilliant!
Take a Moment for Snacks on the Sand
If you have just returned from a tour, or are just sending the day chilling out, there is a nice way to claim a little bit of beachfront real estate for an hour or two. Local coffee joint Ice and Beans has a huge variety of coffees (both hot and cold) smoothies, milkshakes and sweet treats. We were even given a couple of fresh, hot, mini donuts to munch on as we waited for our drinks. On the sand, there is a mixture f giant wooden seats, sociable benches and delightfully separate hammocks. (I am not sure how you drink hot coffee in a hammock).
Just up the road, the Creamery Ice Cream Shop also has a patch of beach front. Flavours are whipped up fresh every day and when they’re gone, they’re gone. We can’t guarantee what flavours you’ll find but a few favourites are chocolate, soursop, oreo cookie, pistachio, Belizian fudge and coconut. Opening hours vary but if you really want some ice cream (before it sells out for the day) drop by 14:00 – 16:00.
Test Your Nerve Swimming at Shark Alley
Another watery activity that is often included in the full day tours is a dip in Shark Alley. There is a large population of nurse sharks living here. Every day, boats visit and threw food to the sharks attracting them over to the tourists. These sharks are not maneaters, they could suck your fingers too hard but they won’t chomp off an arm! You are welcome to stay on the boat and observe them from above but to hop into the water and watch the sharks glide past you so effortlessly is a special experience.
Now, I was in two mins about this. I hate that the sharks are fed, disrupting their natural lives and that was a reason we visited with Salt Life Eco Tours. They have taken the decision not to chum the water at all. We were told to hop in and see the sharks quickly before they noticed there was no dinner and ran off to another ship. However, even our boat ran its engines to bring the sharks back in the hope they were getting some free food. I don’t know, it was very cool but I am still conflicted.
Relax with a Rum Punch on a Sunset Cruise
After seeing the sunset from Iguana Reef once, you might want to shake things up. For those that want a special experience, it is a wonderful idea to climb onboard a sailing ship and see the sunset from the water.
Raggamuffin Tours runs a brilliant tour that takes guests out on the water, passing through the Split into the calm waters beyond. During the trip, you are provided with lashings of rum punch and some delicious salsa and chips. Fun music accompanies the sound of the waves and the vibes are just right!
Tequila, Tanning and Tunes at the Lazy Lizard on The Split
Between the northern and southern islands that make up Caye Caulker is a channel of water called “The Split”. Occupying prime position on the very edge of The Split is a bar, restaurant and events venue called Lazy Lizard. It is like a little slice of Cancun in Belize.
The most popular drinks to enjoy in the sun are the frozen cocktails. These are considerably more expensive than the rum and m8ixers elsewhere on the island. However, where else can you have a genuinely delicious frozen drink at a swim up bar in the ocean?
For those that want to chill out, there are plenty of seats in the sun and the shade, with some real tunes blaring out on the speakers. For the more adventurous (drunk) patrons, there is a tall platform from which you can jump into the turquoise water below. We met someone that lost their apple watch doing this so just make sure you take off anything that could come off before you take the leap (apart fromm your swimmers…keep those on for the love of decency!)
Eat Lots and Lots of Lobster Lunches
Belizean lobsters are cheap. Not only are they cheap, but they so, so good. Sweet meat in a small shell that peels away with the easiest of yanks. As long as you are prepared to get garlic butter up to the elbows, you are in paradise! We ate so much lobster in two days. Half my meals were made up of these luscious lobsters!
Our top spot is Chef Kareem’s Unbelievable Lunch. You will find Kareem grilling lobster, prawns and chicken opposite the giant Caye Caulker sign on Playa Ascunsion (the Eastern side of the island). For $10 you will get two lobster tails dripping in melted garlic butter, rice and beans, coleslaw and salad. You then find a plastic table on the steep sand or find anywhere to perch. You can also pick up a fresh coconut from his buddy who will top it up with a good glug of rum for a little extra or grab drinks from the nearby shop to go with your meal. As the name suggests, this is only open for lunch.
If you need a seafood fix at night, check out Di 1 and Only. Di is another BBQ master and she can be found in her sit down restaurant at the Southern end of Avenida Hicaco, where the road bends and becomes Luciano Reyes Street. She will grill whole lobsters to perfection and serve them up with mash, salad and a highly addictive dipping sauce..
If you get serious crustacean cravings, time your visit for the three days at the end of June and you will be in Caye Caulker for the Lobster Fest. Remember, lobster season runs from June to February.
Find Calm and Cold Brew at Namaste Cafe
Part cafe, part wellness hub, Namaste Cafe & Yoga Studio offers local and visiting bendy people the chance to de-stress. They have yoga every day expect Sundays at 09:00. Use of equipment is free and the price of the lesson is left to discretion of the participant. After the lesson (or as the lesson is going on over your head) you can make the choice of detoxing with a decaf or staying on a caffeine high with brilliantly brewed Belizean coffee. They also have a wide selection of smoothies, juices, a dirty chai that stole my heart and their own kombucha.
Plus, although it may be a little against the idea of switching off, but they have excellent wifi.
Fill Up on Fry Jacks
Belize has some fun breakfast options that are not found anywhere else. Johnny cakes are nice and stew chicken has plenty of protein for the day BUT, the undisputed king of breakfast is a Fry Jack…or two. These can be cooked by themselves (when they are similar to a beignet) or stuffed, and that is what we are here to talk about. The best place to try one of these hot, filling fried wraps is Errolyn’s House of Fry Jacks. For less than £5, you can choose a combination of fillings including beans, chicken, eggs, cheese and ham. Five minutes later and you’ll have a hot, pillowy fry jack full of salty, satisfying goodness.
Full disclosure, I was so hungover when I finally got my hands on a delicious fry jack that I totally forgot to take a photo before demolishing the lot. Oops.
Go Slow – Walking or Bike
The slogan of Caye Caulker is, “Go Slow”. Life goes at a relaxed pace here and the trransport options go hand in hand with this. The main tourist area, Caye Caulker Village is exceptionally walkable. No distance is greater than 20 minutes and, it is all flat and the grid system makes it pretty hard to get lost. If you want to explore further, or travel faster, hiring pushbikes is extremely common. Some people go right around the island, and considering it is only six square miles, it is very manageable in a day without exhausting yourself.
(Although it is true that there are no cars on the island of Caye Caulker, it worth noting that there are golf carts that are all petrol engines so there is still some mildly unpleasant vehicle traffic.)
Snap a Selfie with a Sizeable Sign
Caye Caulker does a great line in giant signs and they make an easy and fun photo spot. If there is a big group of you, set up a tripod or grab a passing person and pick a letter each! I don’t think there is much more to say about that…?
Harness the Wind with a Kitesurfing Lesson
If going slowly isn’t your natural speed, then harness the power of the insistent wind by taking a kitesurfing or windsurfing lesson. The steady winds that lick the shores make an excellent breeze to work with and the nice, warm sea is not a terrible place to fall in! There are several providers but Reef Break Surf Shop comes very highly recommended. They offer private and group lessons both around the island and further afield if you feel you might like a little more room to learn. Alongside kitesurfing and windsurfing, they offer paddle boarding and surfing.
Discover the Depths on a Scuba Dive
With its proximity to the barrier reef, there is plenty to see on a scuba dive. you can get up cloe and personal to thew soft coral, deeper caves and fish that dwell towards the bottom of the reef. As it is such a short boat ride, divers can see a different part of the reef over subsequent days. Frenchie’s Diving is great option, having been in the area since 1981. I you haven’t reied diving before, Caye Caulker is a fabulous place to try it or even get qualified with reefs that are close to surface to see, and excellent visibility to learn in.
The alternative is the chance to dive the Great Blue Hole. Open Water divers can explore the reef around the edge but it not the most exciting dive around. To experience it to the full, it is best to have an equivalent of PADI Advanced Open Water Diver. This allows the group to descend into the Blue Hole and reach the cave systems that surround it, and maybe even meet a shark or two. Bear in mind that it can take 2-2.5 hours to get here so be prepared for a long day.
Keep an Eye on Your Fingers Whilst Feeding the Tarpons
What is a tarpon you ask? These fish, also known as Silver Kings can grow up to 300lbs but in the waters around Caye Caulker they are only young so they aren’t monsters yet. These sleek silver fish have an impressive jump and they really take a leap when tourists offer them a tasty morsel. You can either visit their main haunt by boat (as part of a day trip) or walk along the pontoon labelled “Tarpon Feeding De3ck”. For a small amount of money, you can buy some food and then it is feeding time!
Now, the trick to keeping your fingers is to tuck the food between two fingers and holding you hand out completely flat over the water. The fish will make a leap for it and the trick s to let them snatch the food without you snatching your hand away. This is easier said than done! Those who dangle the food from their finger tips will very quickly learn that the fish wouldn’t object to taking a tiny fingertip too.
Final Thoughts for these 15 Fun Things to Do in Caye Caulker
Caye Caulker is the most wonderful blend of completely chilled out and full of activities! You could happily spend a few days yhere alternating between day trips, cocktail sessions and completely relaxed days. We hope you love your trip to Belize and get a chance to see the islands, maybe even trying a few of these fun things to do in Caye Caulker.