Beaches and sharks in Belize
My blog post about Belize could easily be summed up in a few words! We arrived, we caught a boat, we swam, we snorkelled, we enjoyed and then we left! Ha ha… literally our 6 days in Belize consisted of 1 place and 1 island! You’d better Belize it!!
We’d loved to have done more, but alas, Belize is listed as even more expensive than Costa Rica!! So we skipped by must of it. But then when we got there I didn’t get that feel of overly expensive – maybe I was just prepared for it! Or maybe being in one place for 6 days kept the costs down, but either way it wasn’t too expensive!!
We opted to only stay in Caye Caulker. A simple island life with Caribbean vibes, chilled out folk and the most gorgeous blue waters! We really did pick a good spot.
You’ll have to read on to find out our real reason for visiting this area.
Getting to/from Belize
It is possible to fly to Belize city (or even to caye Caulker for that matter), but instead we took the cheaper option of a shuttle bus (including ferry) to Caye Caulker. It cost $180 which for a family of 4, which wasn’t too bad. You even get a free breakfast!
Our busy shuttle left Flores in Guatemala and crossed the border into Belize. A very easy process; as has been the case throughout our overland border crossings.
The only issue we encountered was that Keith’s passport wasn’t stamped!! Literally as we were leaving immigration Keith was checking the passports and noticed his didn’t have a stamp. We quickly turned around and resolved the situation. Thank goodness because supposedly if we hadn’t we wouldn’t have allowed us to depart!! Very lucky.
Arriving in Belize city
The shuttle bus drops you off at the main bus station and from there you need to get a taxi for US$2pp to the ferry terminal.
As even though we already had our ferry ticket we still need to get it verified at the ticket desk before boarding. You also need to check any large baggage in too.
The ferry boats all looked modern and on this condition. We travelled to caye Caulker on a catamaran with a large upstairs seating area. It was a lovely sailing through the clear blue waters.
Arriving in Caye Caulker
When you disembark you collect your baggage then either walk (the island isn’t very big!) Or get a golf buggy taxi (which are waiting for you).
We were only a short walk away and so dragged our bags along the sandy roadways to our destination.
Places to stay in caye Caulker
We stayed at the club at caye Caulker. A number of small studio apartments which were basic, but ok. My only disappointment was how dark the room was. I suppose the benefit is that it stays cool on hot days, but even the lights in the room were dimly lit!
I’ve grown less fussy on our travels and a room is just a place to put your head. Plus we had a TV and a fridge (luxury indeed!). Keith is still unconvinced of my ‘princessness’!
Elsewhere on the island we did notice that the island, although small, caters for a mixed group. There were a number of backpacker hostels, mini boutique hotels and then some quieter upmarket places! Something for everyone.
Where to eat on Caye Caulker
You won’t struggle to find eateries here, they are dotted everywhere. The boys favourite stop was the BBQ shacks with jerk chicken and fresh lobster on offer! Here are some of the places we stopped:
The lazy lizard – expensive!! We did order French fries one day, which were nice, but most other items were out of our budget. When stopping here, you don’t have to buy a meal. I say for a few hours with just a coke.
Errolyns house of fryjacks – if you’ve got a hangover, then here is your cure! It’s a cheap and quick greasy spoon eatery shack. We visited one much time after reading a few reviews. It was ok, a bit greasy as I mentioned but quite filling and easy on the wallet!
Caye Caulker bakery – this was our morning breakfast bakery stop. It opens at 7am and by 10am most of it is gone! A very popular stop with locals and tourists, and cheap too!!
Southside pizza – when our hotel gave us free drink tickets we had to pop in! It was a small but lively place, bit like the rum punch we had! We ordered a couple of pizzas here. It was ok, but the base wasn’t fresh dough, so it was edible, but not the best we’ve had!
La Cubana – it had a varied menu and the food we ordered was good, with large portions. Overall it was ok, but the cheap rum drinks were even better!
Amigos kitchen – we had planned to visit the BBQ shacks for dinner but hadn’t realised they are only open at lunchtimes! So instead we fell into, what looked like, a fast food place. In fact it was a Chinese/pizzeria. Strange combination, but we’re getting used to it as the Belize way! So we order small noodles and rice dishes – they were huge! Much bigger than we expected and got a very reasonable price. Even though Keith kept blessing that we paid about a £1 for the same thing in Asia 🙈
Yummy yummy – another Chinese restaurant serving large portions at a slightly higher price than amigos. But the setting is much nicer for a dining experience, and they also do take away!
Steve’s grill – randomly positioned on a street corner at the edge of a supermarket. This is an upmarket and very busy BBQ shack. Its speciality is lobster, but the boys loved the jerk chicken options. A bit more expensive than the beachfront shacks but delivering the same food options.
Ana’s genie Restaurant – Jasper wanted a vegetarian option, so we stopped for a falafel pita. It’s situated close to the split. It’s a family run place and the wrap was good, but not quite as mouth watering as I expected. The falafels were a little dry, but they had other food options.
Things to do on Caye Caulker
The split was created following a hurricane in 1961, which divided the island of Caye Caulker into 2. The area of the split, known as the lazy lizard, is a large restaurant/bar and sandy area set up as the islands only real beach area.
There’s a sheltered cove area that you can stand up in with a beach bar and on the other side of the pier is a jumping platform and swimming area. The boys had a great time jumping in and swimming with the rays in the area.
Our favourite sunset spot. There was a hub of activity with swings & hammocks in the water, pelican feeding, seahorse spotting and stingray feeding.
It kept the boys entertained while we enjoyed a relaxing sunset, in-between ducking out of the way of pelicans.
Shark & ray alley
firstly I should note there are 2 spots known as shark and Ray alley. You can reach both from caye Caulker. One is in Hol Chan marine reserve, the other is in the reef just off caye Caulker.
We opted for a half day tour to caye Caulker with Anwar tours, a mere 5 minutes by boat to the snorkelling areas.
There are lots of snorkelling companies on the island so you have lots of choice. There are half days or full days available. The difference, I believe, is that the shark alley at Hol Chan has bigger sharks. To be fair the ones at caye Caulker were pretty big!!
I’ll write a full blog post about our trip, but we stopped at 3 sites. Firstly we were taken on a snorkel tour of the coral garden by our boat captain. He pointed out lots of cool stuff. Then we went further along the reef in search of sharks. We didn’t have to stop long when dark Shadows were heading to our boat. The boats feed chum on one side of the boat and you jump on the other side. It’s very exhilarating and a little bit scary.
They are nursing sharks so very docile, but still… they’re sharks and we’re swimming with them!! To add to this we were also joined by stingrays. Clearly these have quite a bite in their trail so we were cautious not to move too much around them. It was a bit awesome if I’m honest!
Next stop was to a coral garden area, it was less active than the other 2 sites, but we did see a beautiful eagle ray!!
Highly recommend the tours! If we had the money, we’d have done more👏
Tarpon fish feeding
You can visit an area near ‘meldys’ to visit and feed the tarpon fish. They are incredibly and absolutely huge.
We didn’t actually visit from the island, but did make a stop as part of our snorkeling trip. We held a fish over the side of the boat and these huge fish leap out of the water and take it from your hand!! Wowser. They were like real sea monsters!
Surprisingly, we never actually saw any when we were out swimming!
Koko king beach
We were toying with the idea of visiting koko king which is actually a man made beach with trampolines and water tubes and activities. But it’s based across the split in the North Island.
There is a free shuttle which takes you to and from the town. It sounded like a perfect day out. However, the reviews we read suggested you needed to spend B$25 per person in order to get the boat back. It was enough to put his off going!
Another activity is kayaking. We saw boats to rent from B$25 (£1) per person per hour.
When the idea of swimming with sharks came into Ethans head I waited for him to talk himself out of it! He didn’t!!! In fact the more people he spoke to the more excited me was!
So this was how we ended up in Caye Caulker in Belize and how we ended up swimming with sharks.. you’d better Belize it!!
But because of the expensive of Belize, we only decided to stay at Caye Caulker and didn’t visit any other destinations along the way! These last few weeks were getting more and more squeezed!
I’m actually quite glad as we did stop here as we totally loved it! ❤️ The chilled out vibe, the small compactness of the place and the happy smiley people. I could have stayed for much longer! But then I would have spent a lot more money.
If the weather had been any different I think the experience wouldn’t have been as good as there’s nothing to do apart from swimming, so choose you time wisely. But I’d definitely include a visit to the islands off Belize if you’re in the area!