In the past, I’ve blogged about my favorite Asian tourist destinations and given you my reasons why you should give them a shot. I thought this time, I’d give you my crown jewel of travel destinations: Caye Caulker, Belize (“key Caulker“). While not based in Asia, this island offers a natural beauty and calm atmosphere that many Asian destination travelers crave.
Just a short boat ride away from Belize City in Belize, Central America, this island is devoid of cars, and can be easily traversed by foot in an hour or two.
The following are the reasons why Caye Caulker still holds my heart:
The term “island time” is a popular mantra for many beach destinations, but in few places do they seriously mean it. Here, you can count on everything going slowly, and that’s a good thing!
There are no time lines, no expectations, and no need to bother with a fancy hotel or 5-star meal. The best eats come straight from the sea in the form of fresh lobster, barracuda, and red snapper, all for around USD$12 along with a libation or five. There’s no need for fancy hotels when you can get a room with a private dock for USD$40 per night, complete with hammocks and fresh sea air.
The Blue Hole
Belize is well regarded as a SCUBA diver’s paradise, considering it has the second largest barrier reef in the world. I spent a hefty amount of time below the water surface, marveling at the colorful sea life and coral walls. The crown jewel of Belizean dives is the famed Blue Hole, which is a sinkhole formed during an ice age that has since filled in with sea water.
At 480 feet (145 m) deep, the Blue Hole is one of the deepest dives a recreational diver has access to. One must slowly descend past the reef sharks and fish down to the stalactites which are viewable at right around 130 feet (which is about as deep as one should go). Even at that depth, the water is still comfortably temperate.
For those who aren’t divers, there is excellent snorkeling in Belize, too. Some notable spots include the Lighthouse Reef (Amazing, amazing, amazing!), and the Glovers and Turneffe Atolls.
You Bettah Belize It
Perhaps its liberation after years of turmoil has finally given the residents of Caye Caulker a reason to relax. It wasn’t until the 21st of September 1981 that Belize attained independence from England, its colonizer. As a result, English is the official language of Belize, with a little Spanish or Kriol thrown in by most locals.
All along Caye Caulker, you can haggle with locals peddling their wares, stop at a stand for some freshly pureed fruit juice, or make friends with a local.
The main objective is to be happy, free yourself from worry, and simply enjoy.
Since Caye Caulker is surrounded by reef, there is no shore-break. The calm water provides a perfect environment for children at play, and vacationers who want to float along in the 85-degree water.
This allows for diving free of wet suits, as well as a very comfortable swimming experience.
The Lazy Lizard
This is the first and last time I will ever suggest a bar as a tourist destination, but I just had to this time, because the Lazy Lizard is so much more than a bar. This fun little watering hole is frequented by everyone on this island, including tourists, expats, and locals.
This is one of few bars where I have been able to eat my $2 burrito while sitting on a submerged bench and then, on a whim, take my mask and snorkel- after a few swigs of Belikin, the local beer, of course.
Here you can also enjoy the famous rum punch of Belize, which consists of Caribbean rum, watermelon, and a hangover.
There you have my top reasons to visit Caye Caulker, and all of Belize, for that matter.
As I’ve said in past posts, part of what keeps this place beautiful is the collective effort of all to preserve it. So if you go, leave it a little better than when you met it.
Then Tweet me about it.
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