Caye Caulker Things to Do Tips by Bwana_Brown Top 5 Page for this destination
Caye Caulker Things to Do: 143 reviews and 258 photos
The Preferred Sunbathing Spot
The remnants of the concrete seawall a short distance from the Lazy Lizard seems to be the preferred place for catching a tan on Caye Caulker. When you overheat, it is a simple matter to either go for a swim in the Split or wade around in the shallow lagoon on either side of the structure. There is not much room to move around on the seawall, as we could see people gingerly stepping over the various outstretched bodies.
A few other visitors were snorkeling in the shallow water on either side and another was fishing into the deeper water of the Split itself. The second photo shows the remains of more of the seawall, damaged in October, 2000 when Category 4 Hurricane Keith lingered over nearby Ambergris Cay with 155 mph (250 kph) wind gusts for several hours . The photo also shows the distant Lazy Lizard and a large boat entering the Split.
Directions: Always from the main street
Sue returns from checking the distant reef
The final stop in our snorkeling excursion was at the inside of the reef wall itself. This enabled us to swim right up to the various channels and inlets along the backside of the reef, paying attention not to actually touch anything, where we could examine it up close. We had some really great views of colourful fish here, but I guess I was overly excited from the sharks and rays, managing to forget to bring the underwater camera with me for this session! We lingered here for quite some time before climbing out and getting ourselves organized before the boat headed ashore. The tour price also included a small snack of fruit and bottles of water. Even though I had covered myself with #30 sunblock, and we were only out for 3 hours, this was the only time I got a little bit of a burn on our trip - don't mess with the midday sun and water!
Our Guide and his Buddy
Having mastered our equipment at the first dive site, the boat then took us to Caye Caulker's own 'Shark-Ray Alley' where we were encouraged to interact with the placid Nurse Sharks and Southern Sting-rays to be found there. The place was full of the creatures and they readily approached us, having been conditioned to this by numerous other tourist visits. This photo shows our guide in the water with one of the Sting-rays, showing us how it is done!
The second photo shows the numerous Rays milling about beside our boat and finally the third photo is an underwater shot I took as I approached one of the rays!
These half day trips are great, with tours at 10:30 am to 1:30 pm & 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm, weather permitting.
Sue checking out the bottom
The only other time we had been snorkeling in recent years was near Cancun in 2003, and we enjoyed it so much that we fully intended to do it again while on Caye Caulker. We had even bought an underwater camera to take with us, but left it home in a drawer, we realized while en route! Oh well, picked up another cheap one in Atlanta while waiting for our Belize City flight, and now we got to use it!
Our tour driver took us all for a practise run in an area with various corals, and I was able to shoot away to get a few shots, even saw some SCUBA divers below us. It was just as much fun as we had remembered and I thought that the colours of the various corals and small fish were great! The actual snorkeling was easy, it was just pure fun to float along and take in the sights along this second longest of the world's barrier reefs!
Directions: A mile off-shore in the Caye Caulker Marine Reserve
Our 2 Crew Members take us out!
The highlight of our stay on Caye Caulker was a 3-hour snorkeling trip we made just a short distance off-shore one morning. There are numerous dive shops set up along the streets of Caye Caulker, so we wandered into Hicaco Tours one night to make enquiries for the next day. The operator said the weather may by 'iffy' in the morning, but he put us down as first on the list for a 10:30 AM trip to the reef, providing at least 4 people had signed up by then. When we returned the next day, there was a long list that turned into 13 passengers and 2 crew when we finally did leave. There was a large group from the Netherlands and a couple from England readying to leave, and we were all soon outfitted with life-jackets, flippers, masks and snorkels (all for our price of US$45 for two). A 115-HP Yamaha engine was soon powering our open boat out to the reef!
Our View out to Sea
I say it is worth paying a bit more for accommodations (and US$40 is not bad) if you can get a good beach access like the Trends Beachfront Hotel provided. We spent some time here every day in the hotel lawnchairs, drawn up near the rustling palm trees. It was a perfect spot to catch the breezes, watch the activities on the beach, read our books and take a short stroll up to our refrigerator every now and then to replenish the drinks! However, some caution is advised as per my 'Warning & Dangers' tip!
We watched the antics of some of the local school boys in the back of the village's dump truck (one of the few 'official' vehicles on the island) as it was parked beside one of the palm trees not far from us. They each plucked one of the leaf strands off a branch of the tree and then, by pulling some other part of the leaf, were shooting the fronds at each other like arrows! It was just like in Africa, the kids know how to make a toy out of anything!
Directions: Trends Beachfront Hotel at the Water Taxi Wharf
'Heritage Cruze 2' at the Split
The Split, dividing the small south part of Caye Caulker from the north end, is a good spot to watch the action, as various boats make their way through the narrow passage. Occassionally swimmers or kayakers also can be seen as they explore the shallow waters here, but care has to be taken because the current can be strong out in the middle of the channel. The "Heritage Cruze 2", tied up at the front of the Lazy Lizard bar makes a colourful foreground here as you sit under the shade of the thatched open bar area.
Directions: The Split between the two parts of Caye Caulker
A White Mangrove Tree
The southern end of the inhabited part of Caye Caulker consists of crocodile and bird-nesting areas that are still relatively undeveloped in comparison to the main part of town. As you leave the built up area and walk toward the Airport, you will gradually come to this part of the island, which will give you a bit of a chance to see some of the more natural appearance of the Caye.
The Caye Caulker branch of the Belize Tourism Industry Association has established a Mini-Reserve along the eastern side, near the airport. It features small signs identifying some of the different species of trees that are found on the island, such as this White Mangrove tree we came upon growing just off the beach. Mangroves are a very interesting species of tree, living in both salt and fresh water in locations where the temperatures do not drop below 19 C or fluctuate by more than 10 C within a short time period. The aerial roots that you see in the photo allow the mangroves to take root in poor soils because the trees actually absorb the required oxygen through these above water roots.
If you are really brave, the Association even says that you can try swimming at the south end of the Caye. They report that "Snorkeling among the mangrove roots there is a rewarding experience. There are many colourful anemones, sponges, gorgonians, and large numbers of fish among the mangrove roots." Humm, what about those crocodiles!?
Directions: Near the Airport, on the eastern side of the island
Typical 'Reef-side' Beach Scene
You've come all the way to little Caye Caulker, so you should make the time to walk it's amazing beach - along the the eastern 'reef-side' of the island. With the numerous small boats bobbing on the water, the waves breaking off-shore on the reef and the many interesting buildings, there is no shortage of things to observe. It also really helps to settle you into the slow pace of life on Caulker, as both locals and tourists go about their business with no great hurry - it will only take a few days before you too can no longer remember what day of the week it is!
Directions: On the east side, north of the airport to the Split
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