Caye Caulker—the perfect Caribbean island getaway for those who enjoy the “go slow” lifestyle—is located 35 kilometres northeast of Belize City in the Central American nation of Belize. A small limestone island that is eight kilometres long from north to south and two kilometers wide, Caye Caulker offers ocean swims with enchanting sea creatures, dramatic tropical sunsets, and leisurely bicycle rides that include stopping to chat with the locals. Walking, bicycling, and golf carting are the main forms of transportation on land, while boats of all kind are used to navigate around the shores. This tiny island is considered one of the most laid-back in the Caribbean—even more serene than the neighbouring San Pedro, which Madonna famously sang about in her song “La Isla Bonita”. Caye Caulker has been home to a small population of indigenous people dating back an estimated 10,000 years, although it also attracted sailors and pirates over the millennia. The most notable increase of population came when mestizos of mixed Maya and Spanish blood fled the Caste War of Yucatan, Mexico in 1847 to find refuge. To this day there are still many mestizos descendants living and working on the island.
Historically, fishing and boat building were the main industries of the island, but since the 1960s, tourism has increased. At its heart, however, Caye Caulker remains a small village with no large-scale tourist developments. Lodgings and restaurants tend to be small and locally owned.
An ideal day on Caye Caulker may start with a breakfast of freshly baked cinnamon rolls at Glenda’s restaurant, followed by a cycle around town, a snooze in a hammock, a dip in blue waters, and then a cocktail at the Lazy Lizard. The end of the day could include a short walk around the tip of the island to see the sun go down before grilling locally caught fish for dinner—and what could be more perfect than that?
Photos by Tallulah.
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