Caye Caulker Things to Do Tips by grandmaR
Caye Caulker Things to Do: 143 reviews and 258 photos
French angel fish
Bob's life goals were to visit Bermuda on his own sailboat and then sail down to the Virgin Islands. When I taught middle school science, I learned about rain forests so one of my life goals was to see a rain forest. So first we visited Bermuda (by plane), next we went to the rainforests of Costa Rica, and then we chartered a boat in the Virgin Islands. And there I re-qualified to scuba dive and that became one of my greatest pleasures.
Belize has one of the most extensive reef systems in the world - second only to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Since I didn't think I would ever get to Australia, the next best thing would be to go to Belize and dive on that reef.
Belize Diving Services is the name of one of Caye Caulker's best and longest operating dive shops (It was established in 1978) and that was the one that the Belize Transfer Services sent me to. The shop is owned and staffed by Master Instructor Kathy Dalton and Master Scuba Diver Trainer Dawn Williams. I did two dives with Kathy and Dawn. I had a brand new underwater camera which took me a couple of dives to get used to.
Two other dive operations, Sea-ing is Belizing (which was also a bookstore and gift shop), and the Belize Dive Shop also offer certification courses and trips to Turneffe Islands. Paradise Down is Caye Caulker's newest scuba diving service. Another dive operation is Frenchie's.
PS - Bob did get to buy his dream boat, but we haven't sailed on it to Bermuda. We have visited both Bermuda and the Virgin Islands by cruise ship.
Directions: North east end of island below the split
Other Contact: http://www.paradisedown.com/
To a little caye, or to Hol Chan
One of the main activities for visitors to the cays is scuba, but there's a lot of snorkeling too. Because Belize has such an extensive reef system, that also means that the beaches are narrow. The reefs keep the surf from grinding up rocks into sand and building wide beaches. So snorkeling is most often done from small boats. But the water is so clear that you can see everything just as well snorkeling as you could diving up to about 20 feet deep.
You can rent all your equipment, but you might want to get your own mask so that you can be sure it fits. You should also take sun protection and water. You can wear a t-shirt over your bathing suit, but I like a full 'skin' which covers me all over. Plan on spending about $35-50.00 U.S. (includes mask, snorkels and fins) for a half to full day of snorkeling
Many of the tours go to Hol Chan to the Coral Garden or the shark and ray section. The guides play with the sharks and feed the rays (the rays are quite gentle, and the sharks usually are). In addition to the nurse sharkes and the eagle rays, you can see staghorn and elkhorn coral, many kinds of fish (about 400 species live around the reef) and occasionally dolphins or sea turtles.
We also took a manatee trip which included a snorkeling stop at a little island with 18 palm trees and very little else.
Directions: Northwest end of island
Other Contact: http://www.hicacotour.com/
Phone: 501-226 -0174
Poling the boat toward a manatee
The first full day in Belize we took a trip with Driftwood Dive shop to see the manatees. The open outboard picked up guests from various hotels, and then sped to the mantee area. Here they turn off the engines and pole the boats into the area. Not only do the boats not use motors, but they are limited to a certain number at one time. We were not allowed to get out of the boat or touch the manatees. I understand that these restrictions were initiated by the Belizians running the tours themselves.
Manatees are hard to photograph because the water reflects into the camera and conceals their outline. Also they only stick their nostrils up out of the water to breathe and not their whole head. Also they don't breathe very often, so you are waiting and waiting, and just as your camera shuts down, they stick their nostrils out and they are back under again before you can turn it on again.
Nostrils of a manatee are sticking out in the first picture.
Three or four years later, I got to see manatees in the marinas in Florida where they were easier to observe and photograph. One of these pictures are some manatees in Titusville and Marathon.
Address: Front Street
Snorkeling near the reef
Really, the only thing you MUST do in Caye Caulker is -- relax.
I find snorkeling, swimming and scuba very relaxing. Being suspended in water, watching the little sergeant major's darting in and out between the branches of the elkhorn coral to be very relaxing.
Some people like to fish - but I'd rather just watch the fish.
We went snorkeling twice - once to Goff Caye, and on another trip we were at Hol Chan. More pictures in the travelogue
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