Seafood, sunsets and swimming in Caye Caulker, Belize
We arrived in Belize City around midday after a 4 hour journey from the jungles of Tikal, cross the border to the flat grassy landscapes of Western Belize. The first thing that we noticed about Belize was being able to read street signs, restaurant names and advertisements on the way in through the vans window… after 5 months of seeing Spanish everywhere we were finally in an English speaking nation – which is hard to imagine since it is surrounded by Mexico and Guatemala which are Spanish speaking!
From Belize City we caught a 45min ferry across the immensely blue waters to Caye Caulker – a tiny Afro Caribbean feel island where the only motorized form of transportation is golf carts and mopeds on its graveled roads. As we made walked across the narrow island to our accommodation, we saw dogs snoozing on the middle of the road, Rastafarians with boom boxes on their shoulders pumping out reggae beats and we smelt the undeniable trails of “Mary Jane” float through the air.
Our accommodation – Pause – also doubles as an animal sanctuary as the owner rescues stray cats with around 50 cats and 4 dogs living on the property, I was happy to be able to play with the cats but Ben was less than impressed. Our room was one of the biggest rooms of our trip – with 2 huge beds, a fridge and fan, although we had to choose to have one or the other plugged in as there was only 1 electrical socket – fan won due to the immense humidity.
That afternoon we went for a kayak off the wharf at our hostel, with the free kayaks provided. We watched the beautiful sunset over the water and paddled back in to find some dinner.
The main source of income for most islanders is fishing, so every second restaurant would have a BBQ outside on the road where they would be grilling lobster, snapper, conch and prawns in Caribbean spices so that the tasty smoke would fill the air and lure you into their restaurant. We had many nice meals like this over the course of our 4 nights, each meal deal would consist of a seafood item, 3 sides, a rum punch and slice of cake for around $10. We also found an amazing gelato place that we would have each night after dinner, as we swung in their pink swing chairs.
On our second day we went on a snorkeling tour just 15mins from the Island to shark ray alley where our boat stopped at a shallow sandy area and what seemed like hundreds of nurse sharks and sting rays swarmed around the boat. We jumped in and were surrounded by them as they gracefully would swim below, above and beside us. It was exhilarating to be able to swim with so many “dangerous” creatures as if we were one of them – definitely one of our favorite things of our trip.
In our free time on the island we would walk the streets and find delicious snacks, lay on the small sandy areas near the water that were not quite beaches but did the job, and snorkeled at the local small reefs.