So you want to go to one of the most incredible islands in one of the most stunning countries in the Caribbean? I can’t blame you, you’ve got good taste! After I got back from Belize, I immediately told my friends they all must visit Caye Caulker. Lucky for them – and you – I’m the crazy person who meticulously documents plans for my trip. So let me share some of that wealth and provide you with my recommendations for what to do in Caye Caulker so that you get you ruins, incredible snorkeling, and more.
Also I do want to point out that Caye Caulker is quite possibly the chillest place I have ever been. Everyone is so down-to-earth, relaxed, and the island has its own very distinct vibe. If you’re looking for a party island or high-energy place, Caye Caulker isn’t the place for you. It’s also not really a beach or fancy resort island. You can get in the water all over the island, but it’s not really for lounging in the sand. However if you’re looking for a relaxing island not far off the mainland where everything just goes a little slower, this list of what to do in Caye Caulker is going to be ideal.
What to Do in Caye Caulker: the Short Version
- Day 1 – Chill and boozey day at The Split
- Day 2 – Day trip to Lamanai Archeological Reserve
- Day 3 – Snorkel In Hol Chan Marine Reserve
- Day 4 – Rent a bike and explore
The Long Version
Day 1 – Chill and Boozey Day at The Split
If you’re like me, you love a good cocktail in the water. Lucky for you, Caye Caulker has a lot of ways to enjoy this specifically. The Split is the most famous part of Caye Caulker, where bars and restaurants sit along the break in the island caused by a hurricane. You can grab a drink or food from anywhere nearby and hop into the water to enjoy. No blog listing what to do in Caye Caulker is complete without some time spent on The Split.
And if you’re really looking for a nice buzz in the sun, I highly recommend getting yourself a Lizard Juice from The Lazy Lizard. But seriously, you really only need one.
And don’t forget to get a sign next to the iconic The Split sign like I did! You saw I snagged one with the Caye Caulker sign, but apparently got lazy and forgot about The Split one. Oh well, just an excuse to go back, right?
Day 2 – Day Trip to Lamanai Archeological Reserve
Any trip to Central America or the Caribbean for me requires that I spent at least a day at an archeological site. So this had to be included in my “what to do in Caye Caulker” plan, no doubt. And it did not disappoint.
I’ve been to a handful of ruins from Mexico to Morocco; hell, even in Ireland. So I have seen a lot, but these were really, really magical. The civilization felt completely untouched still. The archeological reserve is preserved so well, that you feel like walking into history.
We got an early ferry from Caye Caulker into Belize so that we could take a tour through Tsunami Adventures. I highly recommend them. Our tour guides were amazing and provided a pickup service from the ferry dock in Belize City out to the launch point for our Lamanai adventure.
To get to the archeological site, you must take a jungle river cruise which is fantastic. You get to hear a lot of history of the land, its people, and learn about the wildlife that surrounds the area. It reminded me a little bit of when I did an airboat tour through the Everglades, so you know that means I had a great time.
From there, you land at the entry point and wander around the grounds for a few hours; there are LOTS of ruins to explore. You can hear and see howler monkeys at every turn. You get to climb up many of the ruins to see these amazing views of the surrounding areas. It’s truly spectacular and though I was sweating my you-know-what off – because hiking up steep stairs in the jungle is not exactly chilly – I had the absolute best time. So if you love ruins, nature, and a day of adventure, a day at Lamanai is a must do.
Day 3 – Snorkel in Hol Chan Marine Reserve
When planning what to do in Caye Caulker for my own trip, I knew snorkeling was going to happen. But what I didn’t know was how amazing the snorkeling is in Hol Chan Marine Reserve. When I say this is some of the best snorkeling I’ve ever done, I am NOT exaggerating in the slightest.
We found our tour guides by just walking outside of our hotel and onto the pier. There were some guys docking for the night and they asked if we wanted to join their tour tomorrow, and we agreed! Don’t worry, we went through the official channels and found their actual company Star Tours to book with. But there are so many different companies you can snorkel with, don’t feel like you need to book before you arrive to the island.
You’ll leave in the morning and boat out to Hol Chan Marine Reserve. Throughout the day you’re taken to different areas – including the famous Shark Ray Alley – where you’ll see different marine life. It was incredible, and these are all of the animals we saw in just a few hours:
- Three manatees
- Sting ray
- Moray eel
- Dozens of nurse sharks
- All of the fish
- Probably a dozen or so eagle rays
It was amazing. Snorkeling in the marine reserve is absolutely something that is a must-do on any “what to do in Caye Caulker” list.
Day 4 – Rent a Bike and Explore
Your final day in Caye Caulker should include renting one of the classic bicycles on the island and just riding around. You can find these almost anywhere and it’s not at all expensive to rent for the day. So pick the closest bike rental spot to your hotel and get to pedaling.
On our day of exploration, we explored The Spit again as well as riding to the opposite end of the island. We biked to Iguana Reef Inn and enjoyed their beach area while sipping on a cocktail and playing with a local beach dog. We also befriended some pelicans. I am obsessed with pelicans so this was an emotional experience for me. Nothing is harder for me than to leave wildlife alone, but it was fun just to sit near them while they relaxed.
After biking around all day, we decided to grab one last cocktail and enjoy sunset from The Split again. This is a great place to catch the sun go down. The colors were vibrant and there are plenty of spots to sit and relax.
So there you go, the answer to your “what to do in Caye Caulker” question is complete! As always, check out my Instagram story highlights to see more live-action evidence of my recommendations. I’m excited for you, and feel free to shoot me any questions you might have!