The Ultimate Travel Guide to Caye Caulker, Belize on a Budget

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Caye Caulker, Belize is a sun-drenched island surrounded by crystal-clear, aqua-blue waters and covered in laid-back vibes. “Go Slow” is the island’s mantra, which can be experienced with every step you take or every rotation of a bicycle pedal on the unpaved streets lining the 5-mile long island.

You won’t hear any car horns honking because cars and trucks aren’t allowed on the island. Instead, locals and travelers alike must traverse the island on foot, by bicycle or in a golf cart, living the island’s mantra of “Go Slow”. For these reasons and so many more, Caye Caulker, Belize is truly unlike any other place I’ve been. Plus it makes Caye Caulker on a budget an extremely viable option.

I wouldn’t recommend staying in Caye Caulker for more than a week (unless you’re a hardcore diver or don’t mind lounging on the beach for longer), because there isn’t a whole lot to do on the island. Plus, Belize is full of many other great places to visit, like the Altun Ha Mayan Ruins, Crooked Tree and Placencia.

Average Costs in Caye Caulker

It’s worth noting that the U.S. Dollar exchanges with the Belize Dollar at a 2-to-1 ratio ($1 USD = $2 BZD), so that makes converting in Belizean dollars pretty easy. I’m a budget traveler, so I’m always looking out for the best deals and counting every penny I spend. That tight-wallet nature allows me to bring you realistic prices for your trip so you can also experience Caye Caulker on a budget!

I had four days and three nights in Caye Caulker, spending $470.19 USD ($117.54 USD per day) during my time there, as well as getting to and from Belize City. That’s a little more than I wanted to spend, but it was well worth going a little over my allotted budget to do many of the amazing things the island offers.

That price included a round-trip flight, transportation to and from the island and three nights of accommodations — all while splurging on a night out drinking and a few fancy meals. It’s also worth noting I went on the trip with a friend, so we split the accommodation, $50 USD round-trip taxi ride and many meals.

Cost breakdown (in USD) for my four-day, three-night trip to Caye Caulker, Belize:

That not-so-lazy night at the Lazy Lizard set me back about $60 USD, but it was worth it. We also could’ve opted for cheaper accommodations, but the place we found was pretty awesome (balcony overlooking the beach and walking distance to everything) and fairly cheap split between two people.

1. Hostel Prices

There are a ton of Caye Caulker hostels to choose from that you don’t have to worry about not being able to find a bed to rest your head at night. If you’re looking for the bare minimum (which includes a fan instead of air conditioning), you can find a spot for as little as $26 BZD ($13 USD) per night. There are many cheap places to stay in Caye Caulker, Belize.

However, if you’re looking for a hostel that’s a little nicer, includes air conditioning and maybe even has a beach view, you could easily spend up to $60 BZD ($30 USD) per night. But you can find a decent hostel with air conditioning, which I think is extremely important to have since the island is hot year-round, for around $40 BZD ($20 USD) per night.

  • Average Hostel Cost: $26 BZD ($13 USD) to $60 BZD ($30 USD) per night
  • Check out all the hostels in Caye Caulker on Booking.com

2. Homeshare & Hotel Prices

If you’re not about the hostel life or just want to treat yourself to a nice room and bathroom you don’t have to share with anyone, Caye Caulker is the perfect place to do it! You can find a studio or one-bedroom apartments for as little as $72 BZD ($36 USD) per night, which is a great way to do Caye Caulker on a budget!

Even if you want to splurge a little, but still get the best bang for your buck, you can find beachside accommodations for $80 BZD ($40 USD) to $160 BZD ($80 USD) per night. We paid $160 BZD ($80 USD) per night to stay in this gem on the beach, which was a few hundred feet to the east beach, about 0.3 miles to the west beach and The Split.

If you have more than two people traveling with you, there are many spots you can find that accommodate up to four people at $230 BZD ($115 USD) per night, which isn’t bad when it’s split amongst everyone.

  • Average Homeshare & Hotel Cost: $72 BZD ($36 USD) to $230 BZD ($115 USD) per night
  • Check out homeshares on AirBnB and VRBO and Caye Caulker hotels on Booking.com and Hotels.com

Book a Room Now!

3. Food Costs

A great way to gauge the prices of excursions and general expenses while on the island is the cost of food. When you’re traveling short-term, chances are good that you’ll be eating out for every single meal. Thankfully, Caye Caulker has some pretty cheap food joints that don’t skimp on the flavors.

Dining out at a restaurant on the beach will set you back anywhere from $10 BZD ($5 USD) to $40 BZD ($20 USD) per meal, depending on where you go and what you eat. If you want fresh fish, expect to pay on the higher end of the spectrum.

But if you can settle for deliciously cooked chicken or locally caught fish with a side of rice and beans, veggies or french fries, you can get a meal with a view for pretty dang cheap. The good thing is that the portions are huge, so each meal can easily be shared between two people.

If you get off the beaten path, you can find even better prices, such as a breakfast Fry Jack at Errolyn’s House of Fry Jacks for $2.50 BZD ($1.25 USD). Trust me, these Fry Jacks (deep-fried golden dough filled with a combination of cheese, chicken, beans, bacon, eggs or pork) are delicious! Street food vendors are also a good option.

  • Average Food Cost: $2.50 BZD ($1.25 USD) to $40 BZD ($20 USD) per meal

4. Beer Costs

When I travel to different countries, or different cities within the United States, I always opt for the local beer. The local beers in Belize are Belikin, Belikin Light, Lighthouse and Landshark (although this Landshark tastes more like a Belikin than a traditional Landy from the U.S.).

You can walk around the island with an open container of beer in hand, so the grocery and convenience stores sell beers by the bottle and by the case. A single beer in the grocery store will run you $5 BZD ($2.50 USD), while a six-pack will set you back $20 BZD ($10 USD), so you’ll save $10 BZD ($5 USD) if you opt for sixer instead of a single.

A beer at a restaurant isn’t much different. Many restaurants on the island sell beers for the same price, and you typically won’t pay more than $7 BZD ($3.50 USD) for a single beer at a restaurant. This is waaaaay cheaper than many other places in the Caribbean and the U.S., so you can always enjoy a beer — or a few — with your dinner.

  • Average Beer Cost: $5 BZD ($2.50 USD) to $7 BZD ($3.50 USD) for one beer

5. Snorkeling & Diving Prices

I hate to be the one to break it to you, but there isn’t much haggling to be had on the island. It seems as though all the tour operators came together to set prices of excursions and they look down on those operators who offer discounted prices in return for more business.

With that being said, you can expect to pay pretty much the same price from each of the 20-plus tour operators on the island. A half-day Caye Caulker snorkeling tour will set you back $70 BZD ($35 USD), while a full-day snorkeling or diving tour will set you back $130 BZD ($65 USD).

Since the Belize Barrier Reef is the second-largest and second-most diverse in the entire world (behind Australia’s Great Barrier Reef) and is only a 30-minute boat ride from Caye Caulker, coughing up that much money is well worth the experience

  • Average Snorkel Caye Caulker Diving Prices: $70 BZD ($35 USD) for a half day or $130 BZD ($65 USD) for a full day

6 Cheap Places to Stay in Caye Caulker, Belize

Caye Caulker Hostels

Caye Caulker Hotels

Caye Caulker Homestays

Caye Caulker Snorkeling & Diving

Ok, ok, I have to include a disclaimer that I wasn’t able to go on a snorkeling tour while I was in Caye Caulker. It’s not that I didn’t want to. It’s just that when I visited, it had only been two months since getting out of a hard cast and one month since being able to walk without a medical boot after ankle surgery. I didn’t really want to press my luck and risk reinjuring my ankle in a foreign country.

1. Hol Chan Marine Reserve

From what everyone has told me, Hol Chan Marine Reserve is the best spot to snorkel near Caye Caulker. It’s the quickest out and back and features a diverse array of marine life.

2. Shark Ray Alley

Want to swim and snorkel with nurse sharks and rays, feeding them while you’re at it? This one’s for you. Many of the tours go to Shark Ray Alley, so it’s pretty tough to miss out on it.

3. Caye Caulker Marine Reserve

This is the local reef that caters to half-day tours, which will save you a decent chunk of change.

4. Great Blue Hole

The Great Blue Hole is arguably the main attraction for many divers who flock to Caye Caulker. I’m not a certified diver (yet) and didn’t have the money to shell out on a certification or the Great Blue Hole dive.

Is Caye Caulker, Belize Safe?

Yes, Caye Caulker is very safe and the locals are pretty friendly. There is pretty much no violent crime on the island, at least none that involves travelers. Like any other place outside your home country, it’s still safe to take safety precautions to heart. Check out my International Travel Checklist to keep yourself prepared at all times!

When’s the Best Time to Visit Caye Caulker, Belize?

Since the weather is nice year-round, the best time to visit Caye Caulker, Belize is any time (with the exception of hurricane season in early September — although they don’t get too many hurricanes). I went over the July 4th weekend and the island had a comfortable amount of visitors. It was crowded by any means, but there were also a decent number of people at the bars, on excursions and lounging at the beach.

Important Things to Know About Belize

Beware of the Exit Fee

You may see an exit fee advertised on many travel blogs and websites out there. But, if you exit the country via airplane or boat, the exit fee is already included in your price. You’ll only have to pay the exit fee (about $20 USD) if you exit the country via bus or taxi.

It Should Be in a Different Time Zone

During summer, the sun rises at 5 a.m. and sets at 6:30 p.m. I mean, what on earth is that?!?!? I’m all for late sunsets, letting the earth glisten for longer into the night every day. But Belize is in a weird spot. It’s close to the equator and nobody must’ve told them about daylight saving time.

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