Caye Caulker

The famously laid-back barrier island of Belize

Tiny Caye Caulker ( is the official Web site, though has some great info, too) is just five miles long and a mere mile or so wide at its fattest point. It sits serenely a mile west of Belize's barrier reef just 20 miles north of Belize City.

Actually Caye Caulker is technically two islands; 42 years ago Hurricane Hattie carved out a narrows called "the Split" through the north end of the main town, and much of the Caye's northerly half lying just across The Split is now protected as a nature reserve.

On the southern end of the island's town—and I use the term "town" lightly; a conglomeration of wooden houses on stilts threaded by streets made of sand--just north of the airstrip sits the Anchorage Hotel. This is the unattractively blocky 18-room inn included with this package, but it does boast one resoundingly positive feature. Most of the island is rimmed in mangroves, and while the surrounding waters are divine, there are precious few sandy beaches to take advantage of this watery paradise save the public, and crowded, beach at The Split. The Anchorage, however, has two acres of private beach shaded by palm trees and a jetty from which optional boat tours leave to snorkel out at the barrier reef, to visit other cayes, or back to the mainland to tour jungles or Altun Ha and other Mayan ruins.

Indeed, snorkeling and diving are the top activities around here, whether it's finning around that barrier reef, exploring the incredible variety of fishes swarming the Hol Chan Marine Reserve (the first reserve of its kind in Central America), or getting friendly with the nurse sharks and stingrays that glide through the shallows of Shark-Ray Alley.

You could also take a day or two and ferry 20-30 minutes north to San Pedro, the larger, more bustling main town of the rather more resorty islands of Caye Ambergris. Put it this way: Ambergris has over 800 hotel rooms; there are 316 beds in all of Caulker.

Tours Under $995 G Adventures

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This article was by Reid Bramblett and last updated in April 2012.
All information was accurate at the time.

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Copyright © 1998–2013 by Reid Bramblett. Author: Reid Bramblett.