21 miles northeast of Belize City and only 15 minutes from
neighboring San Pedro, Caye Caulker is known for its cool,
laid-back island life. With a population of approximately
1,200 people, the island appeals to visitors looking for
a comfortable place to sleep, a white sandy beach, clear
aquamarine waters, delicious seafood and friendly people.
In contrast to bustling San Pedro just minutes away, Caye
Caulker has maintained its cozy island appeal.
five miles long and 1.2 miles wide, Caye Caulker has small
but diverse habitats. Its northern end is completely covered
in mangrove vegetation. In 1998, 40 hectares of this lush
littoral forest on the northernmost tip of the island was
acknowledged as the Caye Caulker Forest Reserve. Over 100
species of birds inhabit this lush ecosystem, including
the black catbird and rufus-necked wood-rail. The
effects of major hurricanes over the years have changed
the island's topography in certain areas. The popular
swimming spot north of the village, referred to as “The
Split”, was created from the devastation of Hurricane Hattie
in 1961. The hurricane swept over the island, destroying
many houses in the village while creating a distinct split
in the island. Since then, the split has become wider
due to erosion and deforestation of the mangroves.
Tour to the Barrier Reef
island is easily accessible by boat from Belize City.
Caye Caulker is also accessible by plane, but currently
the airstrip is under renovation, and is expected to reopen
soon. The island is about 45 minutes from Belize City
by boat, and about 15 minutes by plane. Caye Caulker
is known for its tradition of lobster fishing and shipbuilding.
Even with the fast development of the tourism industry,
the village's distinct cultural flavor has not been lost.
One of the most popular festivities on the island is the
annual Lobster Fest. Tourists and locals populate
the small Caye to commemorate the opening of the lobster
season and taste the mouthwatering local lobster dishes.
Ray at Shark/Ray Alley
With the magnificent
Barrier Reef a little more than one mile away from the island,
visitors can enjoy the many dive sites that exist along
the reef. Apart from diving, visitors can snorkel
nearby or at the popular Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark
Ray Alley (just nine miles northeast of Caye Caulker).
Other activities include sea kayaking, windsurfing, sailing
or sport fishing.