Just 21 miles (34km) northeast of Belize City, a short 15 minute flight on Tropic Air, Caye Caulker is the epitome of a laid back lifestyle. It still maintains its sandy streets and the motto “No shirt, no shoes, no problem”. Caye Caulker, (Cay Corker or Cayo Hicaco as it is sometimes known) originated as a fishing community, and was a popular watering hole for 17th century British pirates. While tourism is a mainstay of the island today, fishing has also always been an important part of the islander’s livelihoods. Lobstering is the largest part of this industry, and this precious crustacean is celebrated annually with the “Lobsterfest” festival held every June.
Caye Caulker has been on the backpacker travel circuit since the 60’s, but today there is also a growing number of hotels catering to a wider variety of visitors, with activities centering around the sea. The Caye Caulker Marine Reserve is a diver and snorkeler’s paradise, and the nearby Hol Chan reserve together with Shark Ray Alley are not to be missed excursions. Other activities on the island include kayaking, sailing, swimming, windsurfing and kitesurfing, and of course just hanging out in one of the local bars and restaurants of which there is no shortage. The iconic “Split” is a thin canal dividing the northern and southern portions of the island, and has become a favorite place to “hang out”, swim, and meet fellow travellers.