Caye Caulker Tourism
Caye Caulker: ‘No Shirt, No Shoes…No Problem.’ You’ll see this sign everywhere in Belize, but no place is it more apt than Caye Caulker. On this tiny island, where cars, too, are blissfully absent, dogs nap in the middle of the dirt road and suntanned cyclists pedal around them. The only traffic sign on the island instructs golf carts and bicycles to ‘go slow,’ and that directive is taken seriously.
This website is a comprehensive site providing all you need or want to know of Caye Caulker, Belize. Inside lies a library of information, from the rich history of the island to the activities and conservation efforts that entice many tourists visiting Belize to experience the island’s wonders and fun.
Caye Caulker Belize
The recent history of Caye Caulker began when Mestizo refugees from the Mexican Caste Wars arrived. The area that became the village on Caye Caulker was formally purchased by Luciano Reyes around 1870. Lots were sold to other families, most of which still have descendants on the island today. The influence of these families is still very apparent.
With a few inhabitants, food could be grown with sustainable methods of agriculture. The coconut and the fishing industry became important economic staples of the island. Even today a few of the older women continue to process coconut oil for their own use and to sell, although generally the coconuts themselves are harvested and shipped to the mainland.
Location: One mile west of Belize Barrier Reef
Length: From North to South, 8.2 km (5 Miles)
Width: .25 – 2.0 km (0.15 – 1.2 miles)
Population: Approximately 1,300
Culture: Mestizo, Garifuna, Creole
Hotels: 57…with 887 rooms.
On early British maps, the island’s name is spelled “Cay Corker.” Known historically for its plentiful supply of exposed freshwater at La Aguada, one theory holds that this island was a favorite stop for sailors to replenish and cork water bottles. The Spanish name of the island is Cayo Hicaco, which means “the island of the cocoplum.” “Caye Caulker” could be an anglicized pronunciation of Cayo Hicaco. Another theory is that boats were caulked in the protected bay, La Ensenada, on the western side of the island leading to the “Caulker” name.
Is Caye Caulker expensive?
Most other 2-3 star hotels are around 150 BZD ($75 USD) per night, and they can reach up to 300 BZD ($150 USD) during peak season.
Is Caye Caulker safe?
Yes, crime rates are high in Caye Caulker. This isn’t the safest place to vacation, so keeping someone with you at all times is a good suggestion to follow.
Which is better Caye Caulker or Ambergris Caye?
Caye Caulker Water Taxi
Belize is home to more than 200 islands, from Ambergris Caye, the most commercial, to Half Moon Caye, which doubles as a bird sanctuary. You’ll have no trouble finding an affordable tour guide or company to take you off the island just by walking the main drag.
I visited Belize to get scuba certified and was lucky enough to see the Blue Hole, one of the world’s best dive sites. While the area’s most prolific dives are reserved for advanced divers, you’ll definitely see your fair share of marine life in even the most shallow waters, including reef sharks, stingrays.
Worth noting: The boat rides can be exhilarating but also draining for those prone to motion sickness. Prep yourself and bring your own medicine, as many local stores sell Dramamine and Bonine at a stiff premium. During the most beautiful days, the water turns choppy the farther you travel. Several people became badly seasick during my trip to the Blue Hole.
With a population of about 1,300 and, what feels like more docks than people, it’s hard not to relax in Caye Caulker. Grab your favorite book and a large beverage, but don’t forget the sunscreen. The average temperature in Belize is 79 F.
Caye Caulker Snorkeling
Large scale lobster fisheries arose in the 1920s when the lobster trap was introduced to the caye by Canadian Captain Cook and modified for use with the spiny lobster by Marcial Alamina. In 1960 the Northern Fishermen’s Co-operative Society Ltd. was formed with thirty-plus members including some women, which allowed fishermen to export both fish and lobster, eliminating the middleman. Due to its great success, the cooperative became a model for other cooperatives in Belize.
Caye Caulker is also noteworthy for its tradition of shipbuilding. The Young and Alamina families historically are known as skilled shipwrights constructing wooden sailboats with frame construction. Caye Caulker remains a shipbuilding and boat racing center of Belize with the Alamina and Young families still prominently active in these endeavors. The Belize Marine Terminal and Museum has an excellent exhibit of the Caye Caulker shipwrights, their tools, and the boats they have built.
Fishing continues to be an important industry, but tourism has gradually become an important force on the caye as well. Since the ’60s and ’70s, when small numbers of hippies found their way to the caye, tourism has grown each year and many islanders now also operate restaurants, hotels, or other businesses in the tourism industry.
Despite the growth of tourism, Caye Caulker remains a small village with a distinct cultural flavor not necessarily found in large-scale tourist development. Almost all the businesses are locally owned, vehicles larger than golf carts almost never roam the streets, and lodging is small scale and relatively inexpensive compared to many other tourist destinations. We prefer to keep it this way. We frown upon large-scale development and focus upon the preservation of our unique heritage.