If Caye Caulker were any more laid back time would pass in reverse. Streets are made with sand, there are no cars, and locals sit outside their shops and stalls passing the day by chatting with each other and the tourists as they stroll by, grooving to their Garifuna reggae beat. The men seem to enjoy direct and often suggestive comments/questions, undeterred each day by the fact that you’ve ignored them the previous ten times you’ve passed. “Whatcha doin’ girl? D’ya wanna come home wit me woman? Yeah, I’m talkin’ to choo girl!”
One can walk from the south to the northern tip of the island in a half hour, passing white coconut-palmed fringe beaches dotted everywhere with inviting hammocks swaying in the breeze. Of all the tropical islands I’ve visited- this is the closest I’ve been to a place that really looks like a postcard at every turn.
My favorite little touch here is the swings that they have in place of bar stools/benches. When will that idea catch on back home? I love it!
One very easily falls into having the loveliest daily rituals here. Activities during the day like kayaking, snorkeling or diving, followed by happy hour at Bambuze at 4pm. Then a slow meander north towards the Lazy Lizard, stopping along the way to buy cream cheese frosted fresh banana bread from “Cake Guy” Lloyd, who hangs out on the main street with his basket every after
The cake here is good and allows me the opportunity to use my rarely uttered word moist in its description. A vestige from the British Empire, I am sure, as nowhere else in Central America have I tasted cake this good.
Then one settles on the beach at the Lazy Lizard, enjoying a two-for$7 “Panty Ripper” while groovin’ to the music as you watch the sun setting for another day.
What’s for dinner? Fresh Snapper from the grill at Franz? Fish kebobs from Rubies? Maybe stew with rice and beans from Sid’s. The food has really been delicious here with a good Caribbean kick to it.
It’s really good for the soul to be somewhere with so few distractions. A place that is just so small. I found it oddly mellowing.
Within just a few days, you start to recognize the locals’ faces and your fellow backpackers. Any walk results in several stops to chat and get the details on someone’s coconut shrimp lunch, or their dive at The Blue Hole. After singing about twenty songs at Karaoke night, the locals stop to high-five me as they pass sayin’ “Damn, Girl!”
My hostel is one of a kind. Where else can you get a shared dorm for $12 US a night that is directly on the beach, with a private dock containing hammocks swaying over the sea? Yuma’s is run like a tight ship by Suzanne, the German owner who is much invested in her guests’ having an enjoyable stay. I’ve met three other travelers here who have fast become my little island family to drink, eat, and share stories with.
Next door to Yuma’s there’s a cinema screen in a garden overlooking the beach that shows movies three times a week. Entrance is free as long as you order a Belikin.
Life is good on Caye Caulker. I will definitely be back.
Where: Yuma’s (previously Tina’s) Backpackers, Caye Caulker, Belize
When: 27 March – 2 April
How: Caye Caulker Water Taxi from Belize City to Caye Caulker. Shuttle from Flores dropped us right at the ferry terminal.