After 3 nights on Ambergris Caye we boarded the Belize Express water taxi bound for Caye Caulker. A very efficient 30 minute boat ride delivered us safely onto the dock at Caye Caulker – our home for the next 5 nights. Caulker is a very small slice of paradise. With only 2,000 inhabitants, the island is roughly 8km long and about 500m wide. From most points on the island you can see the shore on the other side! The island was split in two when Hurricane Hattie tore through the region in 1961.
The roads are not paved and are covered with sea sand. There are no private vehicles allowed, and the most popular modes of transport are bikes, golf carts and foot. It’s much more laid back than Ambergris Caye and feels less touristy than San Pedro. It’s also cheaper and has a lovely community feel to it. We settled in and got some sand between our toes!
We had the foresight to book accommodation ahead of time at Yuma’s House Hostel – the island’s most popular digs for travellers looking for budget accommodation in a tranquil setting, right on the beach and close to the centre of the village. The owner, Susanne, runs a tight ship and ensures that the premises is well kept and the partying kept to a minimum. Perfect! We had booked a private room with shared bathroom for 3 nights, and upon arrival, extended our stay for another 2 nights (one night in a 4-person dorm with bunk beds and the other in a private room). Sharing facilities was very comfortable and easy – especially in such a well-run hostel.
We were delighted to discover a well stocked and clean kitchen, from which we would whip up some delicious home-cooked meals over the next few days. We also made new friends, including a fun British couple (Nick and Hannah) who recently lived in Vancouver, and who coincidentally are also runners, having both recently participated in the Squamish 50 – just like us! We also met folks from Sweden, Holland, Australia, USA and Greece. So fun to cross paths with so many different people, each with their own stories and itineraries. Be interesting to see if we overlap with anyone in the months ahead.
Unfortunately the tail-end of the rainy season delivered a few stormy and wet days during our stay on Caulker. This gave us plenty of time to relax, share stories and tips with other travellers and plan our route for the week ahead. While wet, it was very warm and humid on the island. We were able to get in three runs during our stay on Caulker (including a 10km trail/beach/swamp run with our British friends!) – one of which started under glorious sunny skies and ended with us absolutely drenched as a tropical thunderstorm swept in. At least our running gear got a wash in the process!
Our time on Caulker was filled with walks up and down the island looking for delicious fresh ingredients for meals, trying different cafes for morning coffee, and of course, looking for the next cold cerveza. We also spent some time swimming, lazing about on various hammocks and docks drinking freshly cut young coconuts, watching sunsets and generally living up to the island motto to “go slow” (although Richard almost received a speeding ticket from a local for walking too fast one morning on his way back from the market!).
We were very sorry to pack up our backpacks and move on from Caulker! However, the rest of Central and South America were yet to be explored, and it was time to move inland. We purchased a combo water ferry/bus ticket that would take us to Belize City and then onwards to Flores in Gautemala. More on this in the next post!
Bev’s thumbs up: Yuma’s House, fruit stand across from the basketball court
Bev’s thumbs down: not enough hammock time!
Richard’s thumbs up: laid back vibe, swimming at The Split
Richard’s thumbs down: too much rain