Guide to Caye Caulker
After spending 10 days in Caye Caulker, I must say that it should be on every backpacker’s itinerary if they’re heading to Belize. However, I could have been better about traveling on a budget. Here’s how you can save better than me:
- Buy one bottled water at a restaurant, then buy a gallon of water at the grocery store. When your bottle runs low, refill it.
- Have a fruit breakfast. Bananas cost 12.5 cents USD, and they are fresh. You’ll probably be able to fill up on two or three before splurging later on lunch or dinner.
- Learn to haggle with your hostel. I had friends who were able to get private rooms for $10 USD all because they threatened to check out and go somewhere else. If you stay a long period of time, you should already be getting a better deal.
- Don’t drink at restaurants/bars that don’t have happy hour specials (always a rum mixture). Most of the time, those that don’t have specials are overpriced anyway.
- Never rent a bicycle. I’m glad I didn’t, but everywhere on the island is within walking distance. If you need to get somewhere fast, businesses may lend you your bike if you ask nicely (and return it).
- Make sure your hostel has a kitchen. It gets expensive to eat out for every meal, and honestly, the food isn’t that great on the island when compared to the States.
But with that last point in mind, here are my recommendations on restaurants in Caye Caulker:
- Meldy’s – Great breakfast spot. $4-$6 USD meals. $1 USD coffee. Sample fare: Spanish eggs, toast, fruit, coffee
- The Enjoy Bar – Excellent dinner spot. This has the best food on the island. I recommend the sweet and sour chicken. Also, these guys hook you up on drink specials.
- Pizza Caulker – Great pizza, and if I were to describe the owner Glen in one word: eccentric. He also has drink specials, which includes the Panty Remover (not Panty Ripper, which is a horrible combination of rum and pineapple juice). Special: $3.50 USD slice of pizza and beer
- Pirate’s (Chan’s Takeout) – Fast Chinese food that’s quite good, but pricey. I had the shrimp and fried rice for $7.50 USD.
- Caribbean Colors Café – I only discovered this place on my last day. If you’re up between 6:30 a.m. – 7:30 a.m., this is the place to go for coffee. Special: $2.50 USD for coffee and bagel.
- Rainbow Grill – Great vegetarian pizza, but it and the rest of the menu is a bit pricey.
- La Cubana – This was my favorite lunch spot. The food is excellent, but a tad expensive. Sample fare: Pork sandwich for $7.50 USD.
Restaurants to Skip
- Sports Bar & Grill – Completely overpriced with poor food quality. I paid $9 USD for some of the worst fish and chips I’ve had in my life. The only thing that made this place bearable was trivia. By the way, if you place first, second or third, you can get between $5-$12.50 USD knocked off your tab.
- Amor y Café – Open early, and the food is good, but too overpriced for my taste.
- Tropical Paradise – I did get a hefty piece of chicken, but the fries were horrible. There are better deals on the island.
- Marin’s Restaurant & Bar – I ordered a fish and wasn’t that impressed.
Caye Caulker Nightlife
- Lazy Lizard’s – The place to drink during the day and happy hour. Ladies, watch out if the bartender wants to show you his covered statue. Guys, when this happens, make sure your cameras are ready. Drink specials: $2.50 USD for two rum mix drinks
- I&I Reggae Bar – This is the first stop for dancing of the night, but it’s only busy from 10 p.m. to midnight. I liked the rooftop bar, but they close it down at 11 p.m. and force everyone on to the dance floor.
- Oceanside – No drink specials. This is the “after-hours” club. It’s only busy between midnight to 3 a.m. The DJ plays bad music, but hey, you’re dancing on sand. Wednesday is Karaoke Night between 9 p.m. – midnight.
One final tip: Bring bug spray with lots of DEET. The sand flies here are notorious; even the locals are bit by them. But a few bug bites shouldn’t deter you from seeing what is my new favorite location.