There comes a point in life when the switch off button is temporarily needed to tune out all the noise and demands of life. What better way to do this, than immersing yourself and taking it slow on the island of Caye Caulker?
Accessed by a frequently running water taxi from the mainland, Caye Caulker lies 21 miles northeast of Belize and is a welcome haven for those seeking an affordable and yet equally relaxing holiday filled with a variety of water sports and a party life to rival its nearby sister island. Four miles long and with white sandy streets that will have you losing your flip flops in a flash to walk barefoot, this fishing village is part of a chain of islands forming the Belize Barrier Reef and it is of no wonder that it has become a popular destination for scuba diving and snorkelling enthusiasts.
Moving at a snail’s pace, Caye Caulker is a friendly island with a slow rhythm to life and it is where you are most likely to find backpackers, a thriving Rastafarian community, thrill seekers and iguanas lazily camped out in the sun oblivious to the flitting life around them. With the main form of transportation being golf carts or bikes, traffic does not exist here and with signs dotted around the island, reminding all to ‘go slow’, this laid back lifestyle is one that should be experienced at some point in time and truly appreciated.
Divided in two, the northern side of the island is less developed than the southern part of Caye Caulker and is covered mostly by mangroves which are home to the variety of birdlife found in Belize. A popular destination for kayakers, this part of the island also forms part of the Caye Caulker Forest Reserve which amongst mangroves also contains poisonwood and madre de cacao trees. Separated from the south by the Spilt; a channel widened by Hurricane Hattie in 1961, this waterway is the central gathering point for all locals and tourists and is the social melting point of the island of Caye Caulker with inviting azure waters.
Whilst still seen as a destination for budget travellers, accommodation on the island ranges from cheap campsites to very low budget rooms to air-conditioned studios complete with all needed amenities and moderately priced hotels. In addition to this Caye Caulker has good restaurants offering local dishes to a wide variety of cuisines (Chinese and Creole) and fresh seafood all found at reasonable prices.
With the northern part of the island serving as the public beach, a variety of activities are available from hiking, diving, sailing, windsurfing and manatee watching to catered tours to the Belizean mainland. Accessible by air or boat, there has never been a better excuse to go slow and for just one moment, let time just stand still for one moment in life.