26/12/2014 Christmas in Guatemala turns out to be quiet the opposite of Europe and is celebrated like New Years Eve here with a late dinner, fireworks and lots of parties all night long. After 5 weeks in this great country, it is time to move on now and a long distance bus will take me to the Copan Ruins in Honduras tomorrow. Hope you will enjoy this first update from Belize now, visiting Caye Caulker in the Caribbean Sea.
Caye Caulker in Belize was another location that I added to my itinerary last second, hearing about it from other travelers. The only thing I wanted to do was the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, based from San Pedro. Turns out that this place is packed with hotels though, whereas Caye Caulker has more of a backpacking vibe for it, making my decision to go there instead very easy. I stayed in the Bella’s Hostal just next to the Dirty McNasty’s, which seems to be the place-to-go for all those party hungry backpackers. I was glad I did not stay there.
The motto of the Island is “Go Slow” and it even changed my walking habits from a fast paced London style to the very relaxed and slow one of the island. The streets on Caye Caulker are also just made out of sand and the only vehicles here are gold caddys, making the place quiet special and cool! And did I mention they have great looking waters around there too?
We booked a sail tour for a complete day, visiting the local coral reef, the shark alley and the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. A pack of ten dolphins followed us on the way to the shark alley. Feeding the sharks there was great since you could swim right in the middle of them. They are all harmless obviously and very used to humans in that area. The Hol Chan features some more marine life such as turtles but overall I expected a bit more from that, guess it is better for diving than just snorkeling here so I missed out on a bit.
I can just highly recommend doing the tour and especially liked the fresh food provided or the all-you-can-drink rum punch happy hour on the way back. I think I had seven big cups in the end, a perfect way to start the evening! If you have more time, you can even do the three day tour including night stays on deserted islands going down to the south of Belize. Sadly we could not opt in tour due to a bad weather forecast, otherwise I would have ended up extended my stay in Caye Caulker.
On the last full day, we relaxed at the so called “Split”, the part of the island that was cut off by hurricanes. At least that is what the internet tells you, our captain on the boat however said that it was originally started by the americans, digging out just a tiny passage for small ships which was eventually broadened by the hurricans to create the split that you can see today. It is a great place to hang out though and good fun to swim to the other side of the split since there is a small current that will drag you out a bit.
We also hired some Kayaks (ree at the Bella’s Hostel) and used them to check out the other Island for a while. If you have a lot of time, you could even make a complete circuit but bring a lot of water for that. We just had an hour and were forced to turn back just shortly after we reached the other island. Still a lot of fun! In the end I can just say that I was very happy to come to Caye Caulker and I would only have one more major destination in Belize, the Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) caves, coming up in the next Live Report 🙂