If you’re looking to unwind in gorgeous turquoise waters, swim inches away from marine wildlife and relax at an island oasis, go to Caye Caulker! After backpacking through Central America for two and a half weeks, Caye Caulker snorkeling was the perfect spot to rejuvenate and soak up a little island living.
Caye Caulker is a simple water taxi ride from Belize City. There are multiple companies that go to the Northern Cayes several times a day. You can buy round-trip tickets and easily hop around to the other islands including Ambergris Caye, home to Madonna’s “dream of San Pedro.” I used the San Pedro Belize Express and was happy with it. Another popular company is the Caye Caulker Water Taxi.
Before arriving in Belize City I actually departed from the Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Caves outside a small town called San Ignacio. From the ATM Caves I took a $5 colectivo to Belize City and absolutely loved it! I sat on the public bus packed in between locals. With the windows down, the wind blew through my hair as I listened to music and stared at the beautiful countryside, reflecting on my travels.
The absolute highlight – Caye Caulker snorkeling was THE BEST of my entire life. Check out the video:
There are a lot of options for Caye Caulker snorkeling. Some of my friends were staying at Bella’s Backpackers and we booked our trip with Jacob who owns The Spearfishing Shack. Jacob was a great guide – informative, low-maintenance, fun and he did an awesome job making sure we saw a ton of wildlife. What I personally loved – the “Survivor” fan in me – were his spearfishing lessons.
When our Caye Caulker snorkeling trip was over, we were drinking Green Lizards at The Split (the island version of The Max from “Saved By the Bell”), soaking up the sun by day and drinking by night. Caye Caulker is truly a backpacker’s island paradise.
When I got off the water taxi, I had nothing booked. Right away a bunch of locals offered to drive me around in golf carts to find a place to stay. I was skeptical and opted to just walk around by myself. I felt like the golf cart drivers were probably pushing specific places in exchange for a commission. It turned out that a lot of the recommended hostels in Lonely Planet were completely booked. As I kept walking around with my huge backpack, one of the golf cart guys who originally tried getting my business found me again and I decided to let him help.
I told him I wanted my own room. For the last few nights of this trip, I really needed my own space and was tired of staying in dorms. He ended up finding me the perfect place – a cabana on stilts above the ground on an elderly man’s property. It was a extremely private with my own balcony, hammock and view of the ocean. The elderly man rents it out and it made the perfect home for me.
I arrived at Caye Caulker exhausted from having traveled all over Panama and Guatemala, but I left feeling rejuvenated. Whenever I travel, there’s something about tropical destinations and warm sandy beaches that revitalize me. I think that is why when I plan my trips I often choose to end them at beach locations. I heard a lot of buzz about Caye Caulker snorkeling in turquoise waters with sharks, manatees, turtles and stingrays so I had high expectations.
Caye Caulker exceeded them.
I’ve snorkeled in places around the world like the Great Barrier Reef and Thailand, but Caye Caulker snorkeling was the most stunning.
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Greetings! Very useful advice in this particular post! Thanks for sharing!
Love this post – thank you! Great pictures too, by the way. I’ll be there in a couple of months and looking forward to it!
Hi Ashley! I’m so excited for you!! I had such an incredible time snorkeling in Caye Caulker and loved Belize. Hit me up if you need any travel tips and get ready for an awesome trip.
Ahhh the memories! This was one of my first stops on my backpacking trip through Central America in 2014. The split was my favorite part! The lazy lizards are dangerous… dont let the bar tender talk you into doing the challange… I was 18 only and got trashed. Oops! I stayed at Yumas. I actually got my dive certification while there at Frenchies Dive Shop! I wish to go back every year. Beautiful pictures…
So awesome hearing about your time at Caye Caulker. I had one two many lizards myself and I think I only had two!
Hi Justin, just stumbled across your blog doing my pre-trip homework… my husband & I will be honeymooning in Caye Caulker for a week next month, and I’m super excited! Can you recommend any other restaurants or bars on the island? We are pretty laid back and not picky at all.
Oh, and looking forward to snorkeling even more after reading your post!
Hi Mandy! Congrats on your upcoming wedding and honeymoon! Caye Caulker is pretty small so you’ll definitely be able to walk around and check out the restaurants in person to see what looks good. And of course ask around while you’re there. I’d also check out TripAdvisor. Make sure to get Green Lizards at the Split. Let me know how your honeymoon goes and enjoy!
Hey Justin! Glad I stumbled on your post. We’re areiving into Caye Caulker on Sunday, and we’re also just finding a place to stay when we get there. What was the guest house called you stayed at? And how much was it per night? Thanks in advance, and happy traveling!!
Nice! Hope you have a great trip. The guest house didn’t have a name. At the time it was owned by an elderly man who occasionally rented it out to guests. I have some instructions in the blog for trying to find it and hope that helps. You could also show photos of it when you arrive and get off the boat and the locals will likely recognize it and can help see if he’s renting the room. It was around $40 per night, somewhere in that rage. Best of luck and let me know how it goes.
Hi Justin!! We will be going back to Caye Caulker over Christmas and I was wondering if it’s possible to snorkel right off the beach at Caye Caulker or do you have to take a boat out to deep water to see anything?
I think most of the good snorkeling is off the island via boat. I don’t remember many people doing it right off the beach.