Belize is one of those countries that are not usually on the backpacker’s itinerary despite its many attractions: Mayan ruins, national parks and one of the most impressive coral reefs on the planet. The reason is simple: it’s a pretty expensive destination, especially compared to neighbouring Guatemala and Mexico.
After a few weeks in Guatemala I had to make my way to Mexico by land, so I decided to have a quick stop over in Belize. In this post I will show how I spend 2 days on the small island of Caye Caulker on a budget.
What 260 USD gets you in Belize
Round trip ferry from Belize City to Caye Caulker with Ocean Ferry Belize: 25 USD.
2 nights accommodation at Bella’s Backpackers: 30 USD
Full day Snorkel Tour with Caveman Snorkeling Tours: 90 USD
Food/Drinks: 60 USD aprox
Bus to Bacalar with ADO: 20 USD
Departure tax from Belize: 35 USD
What to do in Caye Caulker?
Caye Caulker is a Caribbean island packed with colourful wooden house, palm trees and white sand streets. Its motto “Go slow” defines the essence of a place where only bicycles or golf carts are allowed. It is a party destination for Spring breakers and a good spot to explore the wonders of Belize’s coral reef on a budget.
It is the highlight of the island, one of the few places in the world where you can swim surrounded by manta rays, turtles, exotic fish and the impressive manatees, which can reach 4 meters long and weigh up to 600kg. The local agencies offer half-day or full-day snorkeling tour, although the second option is the one that takes you further out, meaning a higher chance to see different marine species. A full day tour with Caveman Snorkeling Tours was a great choice, would highly recommend it! Such a pity I didn’t have a GoPro to record underwater.
Enjoy the island’s nightlife
Caye Caulker was an island that got divided in two by Hurricane Hattie back in 1961. The Split is the sandy esplanade located at the north end of the southern island, a perfect location for sunbathing and admire the sunrise or sunset. Just in here you can find the hottest spot on Caye Caulker: The Lazy Lizard, a restaurant and bar located on the north end of the island, the perfect spot to watch the sunset and dance the night away.
Impressions of Belize
I was very struck by the cultural mixture of Belize, which includes Creoles, Afro-Caribbeans, Garifunas, Hindus and Mennonites. The food was super tasty, loved the Jerk style chicken and the spicy Indian dishes like samosas or curry. Definitely a very much needed break on my diet based on rice, beans, tortillas and fried plantain typical of Latin countries.
As for my impressions of Caye Caulker, I found it to be a beautiful and safe place created for tourists that does not reflect the reality of the rest of the country.
Do I recommend visiting Belize? If you are a diving or snorkeling enthusiast, yes. The country offers spectacular sites such as the Blue Hole and the marine diversity is impressive.