Caye Caulker

 
 

On Caye Caulker, a thin line of white sandy beach falls to a sea of turquoise blue and green, while the reef can be seen a mile and a half from the shore. By day on this laid-back island, it's diving and snorkelling, sea and sand; at dusk everyone heads up to the 'split' to watch the sunset; by night it's eating, drinking and dancing. A quiet lobster-fishing island (closed season 15 February to 14 June) until fairly recently, its extremely relaxing atmosphere, gentle climate, postcard- perfect views and the myriad small restaurants and bars have drawn increasing numbers of tourists.

The caye is actually two islands separated by a small channel (the 'split'); swimming is possible here but beware of fishing and powerboats. All services are on the southern island and, in the north, is a marine reserveifree for school parties, tourists are asked for a donation to help expansion and to increase the work in ecology education. In the south, next to Shirley's is the Caye Caulker Mini Reserve.

Tour operators and hotels on the island have worked hard to improve services for visitors. The atmosphere is friendly and easy-going, but the usual common sense rules apply with regards to personal safety. Drugs are readily available, but they are illegal and you shouldn't expect any sympathy should you get into difficulties. Some think the atmosphere is more relaxed out of high season. Sandflies can be ferocious in season (December to February); take long trousers and a good repellent. Make sure you fix prices before going on trips or hiring equipment and, if you pay the night before, get a receipt.

A walk south along the shore takes you to the airstrip, the Caye Caulker Mini Reserve and to mangroves where the rare black catbird can be seen and its sweet song heard.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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