Caye Caulker, Belize offers a chance to stay at a beachside hotel, hostel or homestay while working on your tan, relaxing with a cold beer in hand, throwing your worries out the window and enjoying the tropical paradise of palm trees and aqua blue waters — all at a fraction of the cost of a typical Caribbean getaway.
To truly take in the serenity of the tiny 5-mile long island that sits 20 miles off the coast of Belize City, you’ll need to take these 10 Caye Caulker tips with you. That way you can be one of the lucky ones navigating the streets, which are swarming with budget backpackers, solo and group travelers, families that sought a tropical vacation, bachelor and bachelorette parties and even honeymooners trying to do all the cool things the island has to offer.
So get your swim trunks on, put on the biggest straw hat you can find, pack the sunscreen and take a trip to one of the cheapest, most amazing Caribbean islands south of the Bahamas!
10 Tips for Visiting Caye Caulker
1. Go Slow
“Go Slow” is the island’s motto. Seemingly everyone abides by it, local or traveler. When you’re in Caye Caulker, Belize, life is on island time, so I highly suggest you take it in and go slow while you’re there!
The island goes so slow that no cars are allowed on the island (with the exception of a few government service vehicles), so you must traverse the island by foot, bike or golf cart.
2. Not Much Haggling on the Island
I consider myself somewhat of an expert haggler (maybe I’m more on the cheap side than an expert haggler). But you won’t find too much haggling to be had on the island. It seems as though everyone came together to decide the price for just about everything and they don’t budge. You can try your hand at it, but don’t expect to have much luck.
3. Don’t Just Sit, Swing
One of the really unique things you’ll see in Caye Caulker is the abundant number of swings. I’m not talking about those same swings from your childhood. I’m talking about swinging chairs, swinging tables and swinging bar stools!
They successfully replace some of the seating in restaurants, bars and along the beaches — and they make for an extremely relaxing and comfortable experience! This is one of those Caye Caulker tips that rings so true once you’re on the island.
4. Travel During Off-Peak Season
While this can be said about most locations around the world, a few things you can count on when visiting Caye Caulker during its off-peak season is great weather, cheap accommodations and fewer people. Sure, you’ll still pay the same prices for food and excursions, but you’ll always find a spot at both!
5. Make the Most of Happy Hour
Although every hour of each day spent in Caye Caulker could be considered a happy hour, most bars and restaurants advertise happy hour specials from 3 p.m. or 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. or 7 p.m. You can find 2-for-1 drink specials at many spots, so I highly suggest you take advantage of these discounted prices!
6. Go to the Grocery Stores Off the Main Strip
If you want to grab a case of beer, bottle of liquor or maybe just some food to cook during a longer stay on the island, you’ll get better prices at the grocery stores off the main strip toward the south end of the island. The few grocery stores that litter the main street are just a bit more expensive.
7. Bring a Refillable Water Bottle
All the locals will warn you not to drink the water directly out of the faucet. They say it’s not potable, and I really didn’t want to find out for myself. Bring a water bottle with you and fill it up at your hostel, hotel or homeshare to get the good stuff for free. Many accommodations buy a big water jug strictly for travelers to use
8. Save Money by Eating at Local Spots or Street Foods
Fry Jacks are an amazing (and fattening) Belizean concoction, which are served for breakfast and contain a combination of cheese, eggs, beans, chicken, bacon or pork stuffed inside a deep-fried piece of golden dough.
They’ll run you about $2.50 BZD ($1.25 USD) each and this piece of fried goodness will fill you up for sure! I highly recommend going to Errolyn’s House of Fry Jacks before 11 a.m. to get some. It’s one of the many off-the-beaten-path restaurants where you’ll find cheap food. Maggie’s is also a great spot for delicious food at a decent price.
There are many local street vendors selling tacos, jerk chicken, barbecued lobster and much more for way cheaper than you’ll find in restaurants, too.
9. Snorkel The Split & Iguana Reef
One of the best tips for visiting Caye Caulker and to also save a boatload of money is to do the snorkeling on your own. If you don’t wanna fork over money to take a guided snorkel tour to one of the local reefs, you’re in luck. The Split and Iguana Reef have many of the same fish you can see for free and on your own time.
The water is pretty clear (about 20 feet of visibility when I was there). Iguana Reef is the better spot of the two. I managed to see stingrays, about 20 varieties of fish, seahorses and a ton of conch shells and starfish.
10. Go to Atlantic Bank If You Forgot/Run out of Cash
If you run out of cash on the island, I wouldn’t worry too much. Pretty much every place on the island takes a credit card. But if you wanna buy something with cash and your debit card has one of those fancy chips on it, you’ll have to head to Atlantic Bank in Caye Caulker. Many ATMs on the island don’t accept cards with chips, but Atlantic Bank does.
- 12 Best Things to Do in Caye Caulker, Belize
- How to Get to Caye Caulker From Belize City (& Get Around the Island)
- The Ultimate Travel Guide to Caye Caulker, Belize on a Budget