On the bus back to Belize City, we had the pleasure of listening to songs such as;
“Oh lord, don’t let me cheat on my girlfriend. Cause as far as I can see, she loves only me. And if I do, Lord don’t let me get caught, I hope I don’t get caught”
Luckily it was only a three hour journey.
As soon as we stepped off the bus, we saw a guy with ferry flyers and an official looking shirt. He offered us half price tickets and popped us into a taxi. Easybelizey.
Ferry was as full as it could possibly get. We sat next to a box of chickens and were jammed so close that I practically had someone sitting on me.
Luckily the one hour journey only felt like three, and we arrived on Caye Caulker. Still raining we headed straight for Bella’s, the hostel we had been recommended by our American mates.
Caye caulker was originally one Island, but Hurricane Hattie split the island just north of the village. This is called, rather unsurprisingly “The Split”. Caulker was originally a fishing settlement and still remains a fishing village at heart.
Caye Caulker’s only speed sign, for the 10 or so golf carts that call the island home, is “Go Slow” – this statement is taken very literally throughout the whole island as locals meander up and down the only road barefoot.
Go slow sign @ Caye Caulker
The dorm rooms were a bit tight, and we had been given one bed in front of the toilet door and one just behind the main door. We took a look around at the other room options. We decided that for an extra couple of dollars we would go in with an Australian couple and go in a double private room.
We spent one night in the dorm and were happy to get some space the next day. We ended up in a private double room that was a bit like a tree house. We loved it, it’s not only the privacy, but the security of locking our belongings behind a door rather than some in a locker and some under a dorm bed.
Bella’s was a great vibe, great people and a nice hostel.
We spent the night chatting and meeting other travellers at Bella’s, and the owner’s sons. Robert was the eldest son, who built and managed some of Bella’s. His younger sister Bella is the namesake for the hostel, and I think a lot of the headaches. Bella had recently got a new puppy, and according to Robert, whatever Bella wants, she gets. So we spent a great deal of time playing with Panda, the deaf 10 week old puppy.
Robert was hilarious. We spoke to him about the Island and his history. He had plenty of stories to share that had us in fits of laughter, if only for his completely Caribbean, very chilled out mentality. At one point he told us a story of how he lost a spear when spear fishing once because he was being greedy and had gone for a really big fish. I asked him, due to how upset it seemed to make him talking about it, if it was expensive to replace. Well. Robert nearly swung out of his hammock- “GIIIIIIRRRRRRRRLLLLLL!!!! STAINLESS STEEL!!” We lost it!
A Brazilian traveller, Guil, joined our group and we soon found out that he and Robert had had a few too many drinks and smoked too much weed the night before and had sunken one of the three hostel Canoes in The Split. The two boys had been out all day diving down to try to retrieve it, with no luck due to the weather and water clarity. Robert’s Mum was not the lenient type.
Beach front @ Caye CaulkerSwallow Caye Tour Boat @ Caye Caulker
Swings on the beach @ Caye Caulker
The next day was raining, so we sent off our post cards, did some laundry and hung out on the balcony of the hostel. We checked the weather for the next day and booked in a full day snorkel trip to take advantage of the only clear day on the horizon.
We met up with our Aussie tree house mates and had some cocktails on some swings at Margarita Mikes at happy hour. We stayed for another drink just the two of us, within minutes we had met Aunty Susan and Kelsey. Aunty Sue and her niece Kelsey are Canadians that were on Caye Caulker for a little break, before Kelsey headed down to Chile to do the W circuit. We made quick friends with these two and managed to get quite a bit more drunk than intended.
Already being a bit pissy early on in the evening, we grabbed some food and called it a night.
The next morning we jumped on our snorkel boat with Caveman Tours and headed out on the beautiful Caribbean waters.
First stop – seas horses. Unfortunately no one saw any seas horses this time, but the pelicans provided enough entertainment. We were on the boat with five Australian Vet Students who were holidaying after they had just completed uni exchanges in Costa Rica. Also on our boat was two Americans, two Canadians and our guide Vito and captain Immer.
After the Australians finished hugging the pelicans, and Alice finished having a fit over it, we headed to our next stop.
The Tarpons. We were given little sardines and told to hold out our hands just above the water. Within seconds the boat erupted into screams and fits of laughter as HUGE 1.5 metre long tarpons leapt out of the water and took the sardine from our hands. The pelicans would swoop past to grab anything they could as well.
Third stop – the barrier reef “ Hol Chan Reserve”. Here we all jumped off the boat and snorkelled around some of the most vibrant and coulourful fish and coral.
Fourth stop – Shark Ray alley. Here we jumped out and got to snorkel along side the beautiful nurse sharks and manta rays. This was the most wonderful experience. The sharks and rays have come to this spot for as long as anyone can remember because it was the spot where the fisherman used to go to clean the fish. Here we also saw a huge green turtle who was just mesmerising to watch as he fed and surfaced for air.
Fifth stop – the shipwreck. Here there was not so much a ship but a sunken barge. In this shipwreck, that was a bit more exciting on land, everyone survived other than the barge and cargo. It made for a wonderful site as the coral and fish who had made it home.
Sixth stop – Coral Gardens. Again, here was some of the most beatuful coral I had ever seen. It’s a big wake up call for me as the Great Barrier Reef is being lost so quickly but a place like this exists in the world, with no danger and no damage to the coral or fish, in a country that is not as developed as Australia. Our barrier reef is dying so rapidly, and we only have ourselves to blame. It’s really sad and disappointing to hear how dive instructors have seen first hand the coral dying on our reef in Australia, just days and weeks apart.
Riding at the back on the Caveman boat @ Caye Caulker
We headed back to land. It was an absolutely incredible day and the weather held out for us. We had a little rest and a bit of food before getting ready and heading to the full moon party to meet Aunty Sue and Kelsey.
As we sat to eat our dinner, one of the hostel brothers and a worker walked past dragging the once sunken mystery canoe! They had spent another day free diving looking for it!
The night was as we expected out of a full moon party on Caye Caulker. Reasonably slow paced, 5 DJ’s and a guy who we still do not believe was paid entertainment juggling fire sticks. Alice really hates the fire juggling, hula hooping, ribbon throwing hippy travellers, not quite as much as she hates travellers that bring their own instrument and can’t play but their in her top five most terrible travellers to meet.
We stayed an extra day for relaxing in the rain, spent most of it with Aunty Sue while Kelsey was out diving and then all four of us had a big lobster dinner to say farewell.
As we packed up and headed out the door, a local came past dressed in not much more than an apron and chef hat. “TASTE BELIZE!! CINNAMON BUNS!!! THEY’RE HAAT AND SO AM I!! GET EM WHILE DE HAAT!!”. He had a whole sales pitch for the cinnamon buns and coconut bread he was selling out of the basket attached to his bike. As we pondered about boat snacks, he offered us a real taste of Belize in the form of “Magic Brownies”. Absolutely hilarious, but we did decide to buy our boat and bus snacks from somewhere else.
Taste Belize @ Caye Caulker
Adios Caye Caulker, you slow, wet wonderful Caye. We will be back again to walk barefooted at a snails pace, when your only road, made from sand, is not four inches deep in puddles!!