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Hopkins was a salty playground. San Ignacio was a lush retreat. We certainly could have done Belize justice had our trip ended as we pulled away from the Ka’ana Resort. But we had one more region of this tiny Central American paradise to cover — the Cayes.

As teachers, my cousin and sister had over a week off for spring beak, and so we decided to tack one last destination onto our trip. We hemmed and hawed and eventually settled on Caye Caulker, a teeny tiny isle off the coast of Belize City known for being a backpacker’s paradise. We also briefly considered Ambergris Caye, Caulker’s larger, more developed, and more upscale older sister, but decided barefoot was more our speed.

With mama headed back stateside, this portion of the trip was just us kids. You know, assuming you consider three independent women in their twenties and thirties to be considered kids! Which we totally do. Hence our cackles of glee as we poked each other without fear of tattle-tailing. No more chaperones! Teachers gone untamed! Come on vacation, leave on probation! (Just kidding mom. We cried every day after you left.)

Caye Caulker Family Trip

Caye Caulker Family Trip

Under most circumstances, we probably would have just taken a boat over to Caye Caulker. But as we were dropping my mom off at the airport anyway, we decided to just hop a quick, fifteen minute Maya Island Air flight instead. The whole experience was hilarious, from the strict “no lobsters through the x-ray” sign at the gate to the security guard who chastised my sister for having liquid bug spray in her carry-on, but let her keep it anyway because, “[she’s] gonna need it.”

We’d barely started selfie-ing in the plane when we touched down at the hustling, bustling Caye Caulker Airport, which I think anyone would agree rivals LAX and JFK in terms of the traffic situation.

Flying to Caye Caulker

Flying to Caye Caulker

Caye Caulker Airport

Thankfully, we didn’t have to fight anyone in the madhouse of a taxi line — our chauffeur was awaiting us with the engine running!

Caye Caulker Taxi

Caye Caulker Air BnB

Here’s a tip if you’re planing a trip to Belize that happens to fall over Easter: Don’t. Just kidding, do, but maybe start looking for accommodation yesterday. We’d kind of vaguely planned to wing it for our last few days until a friend more clued into the Belizean national vacation habits laughed in my face and told me we’d be lucky to find a hammock to sleep in over that weekend on Caye Caulker. She was almost right — by the time I started looking, six weeks before our arrival, there were three places still available that were bookable online, and one sold out while I was in the checkout process. Other places with only phone numbers confirmed that they too had no vacancy. Thankfully, my Airbnb request went through and we found ourselves the proud temporary residents of a cute little two bedroom apartment for the weekend. This was my first time using Airbnb — previously I’ve always rented via Flipkey — and I saved $25 by using a friend’s referral link. You can do with your own bookings by using mine — click here!

The rental wouldn’t end up being without drama, but that’s a story for another time. This post is about the rainbow-sprinkle colored sweetness that is Caye Caulker. I love Central American Caribbean islands, from Bocas del Toro to the Bay Islands, and now to the Belizean Cayes. There is something sublime about their blend of beauty and culture and affordability.

Caye Caulker

Caye Caulker

We spent three nights on Caye Caulker; the first was Good Friday and the last was Easter Sunday. Five miles long and less than five miles wide, it doesn’t take much to make an island this size feel crowded. The laid-back, chilled-out Caye Caulker I’d heard other backpackers describe was turned up for the weekend. While no alcohol is sold anywhere in Belize on Good Friday, they certainly make up for it the rest of the weekend.

Reggaeteon and soca music blasted from speakers bigger than the bedrooms in our rental apartment. Energetic people buzzed down Front Street. The dock at The Split, beachless Caye Caulker’s answer to a stretch of sand, was covered inch for inch with towels and sarongs of sunbathers. Within an hour of arrival, three different people warned us to get money from the ATMs, as surely they’d be empty by the next morning. Caye Caulker was sold out.

I’m sure to some this would be a nightmare — our yoga teacher all but personally apologized for the “chaos” — but after a week at ultra-relaxing luxury resorts, we enjoyed the lively atmosphere and were bemused by all the antics. Plus, it was still possible to slip away to quiet side streets.

Caye Caulker

Caye Caulker

Caye Caulker

Caye Caulker

That said, we didn’t necessarily participate in those antics. We did have one fun night out but it started with a sunset booze cruise — more on that later — and so it was more of a sprint than a marathon, if you know what I’m saying. Going to Caye Caulker during Easter and trying to have a typical tourist experience may be like going to New Orleans during Mardi Gras and trying to do the same, but I think we still got a pretty good taste of what this little island is all about. Color. Community. Sunshine. Sunsets. Swinging over the sea. Jumping into the sea. Going slow.

“Go slow” is the official motto of Caye Caulker. Things were going pretty fast while we were there, but it’s still an island where bicycles replace mopeds. Golf carts supersede cars. Guesthouses reign over resorts. Roads aren’t paved, feet aren’t constrained to shoes, and “watching the sunset” is considered a respectable goal for the day’s accomplishments.

Caye Caulker

Caye Caulker

Go slow? I wish time could have gone glacial. Then I wouldn’t have had to leave.

Caye Caulker Sunset

Stay tuned for more coverage from Caye Caulker! What’s your favorite place to go slow?

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Many thanks to Maya Island Air for providing me with complimentary flights within Belize.  Get $25 off your first Airbnb booking by clicking here.

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50 Comments...
  • I love the running titles in your Belize series Alex, bravo!

    In depends on atmosphere. Some tropics I barely want to move off the beach while others, at midnight, I’m just getting in to gear. Some cities have a chilled out vibe while others practically carry you forward.
    Shaun’s Cracked Compass recently posted..Favs from around the world

    • Alex
      July 26 2015

      I agree, and I think I like “go slow” places because they kind of force me to chill, which is not a gear I’m normally in.

  • Girl, that photo of you in the blue dress is stunning! And Caye Caulker doesn’t look too shabby either 🙂
    Miriam of Adventurous Miriam recently posted..Glamping in fairytale Lake Bled

    • Alex
      July 26 2015

      Aw, thanks Miriam! I borrowed it (permanently) from my sister 😉

  • Justine
    July 24 2015

    I feel like I went incredibly slow on Gili Trawangan. Oh those were such sweet days. Caye Caulker looks glorious. And that picture of you guys (not sure if that’s actually you) jumping in the water is making me kinda jealous right now 😉
    Justine recently posted..On Liking and Leaving Jakarta

    • Alex
      July 26 2015

      It is indeed actually us 🙂 One of my favorites!

  • Katie
    July 24 2015

    That sunset! And the aerial shot you got from your flight – so gorgeous. Looks like the kind of place to slow down and relax. Does Caye Caulker have any good snorkeling or diving?
    Katie recently posted..Five of the Best Markets in Melbourne

    • Alex
      July 26 2015

      It does indeed! Stay tuned for the next post for more on that very topic… 😉

  • Marni
    July 24 2015

    The stunning view from out the plane window would be worth the 15 minute flight alone! Also, I’m pretty sure I would be content to live on that swing. I truly feel like sunsets are one of the greatest gifts we’ve ever been given, and that last photo is beyond gorgeous. I’m excited to read more!

    • Alex
      July 26 2015

      I agree Marni. The presence of prime sunset viewing spots is a big factor in enjoying a new travel destination for me!

  • Janice Stringer
    July 24 2015

    Hi Alex,
    Love the black and white plane photo. Transported me to a different place! 🙂
    Janice Stringer recently posted..A TwtS Travel Chat with…Blue Peter Presenter Barney Harwood

    • Alex
      July 26 2015

      Thanks Janice! That is one of my favorites… I think my cousin looks so beautiful.

  • Kacy
    July 24 2015

    Sounds like a fun change from the rest of your trip. I’m not a huge fan of crowded events, but I can take them in small doses. Always good for people watching.
    Kacy recently posted..Hiking Morro da Urca in Rio

    • Alex
      July 26 2015

      Yeah, I think we might have felt differently had we just come from a big city or something, but since at that point it was kind of changing things up for us we were all about it!

  • Maddy
    July 24 2015

    Gorgeous! I don’t have much to say other than that I love following your adventures! 🙂
    Maddy recently posted..It’s not a celebration without oysters

    • Alex
      July 26 2015

      Aw, thanks Maddy! I love you commenting and following along 🙂

  • Krystle
    July 24 2015

    My favorite place to take it slow is Kauai… I’ve always wanted to go to Belize. It looks incredible.
    Krystle recently posted..Wildflowers

    • Alex
      July 26 2015

      I really need to get back to Kauai and spend more time there. It’s the Hawaiian island I’ve spent the least amount of days on, but I loved it!

  • Carla Beans
    July 24 2015

    I admit it: I had never heard of Caye Caulker until now. It’s definitely going on my To Visit list! It looks lovely! Loving your posts, as always 🙂

    • Alex
      July 26 2015

      Honored to add another island to your radar! Thanks Carla.

  • Avichai
    July 24 2015

    Brought back so many great memories – thanks Alex! Was there not long after a hurricane split the island in two. It’s so laid back and different.
    Avichai recently posted..The Longest Day of The Year At The Festival of Music in Paris

    • Alex
      July 26 2015

      That must have been an interesting time to visit, Avichai. I’m sure people were still really adjusting to the change!

  • Chelsea
    July 24 2015

    Alex this looks amazing! I’ve always been focused on returning to SE Asia but you’ve opened my eyes to Central America as a possibility – thank you!

    • Alex
      July 26 2015

      I’m forever torn between these two favorite regions 🙂

  • Camille
    July 24 2015

    Koh Phangan *sigh*. No lobster through the X-ray? That’s the best sign ever! Also Alex, you’re whipping out so many posts at the moment, you’re like Blogzilla or something! You’re making me feel so guilty for not posting more 🙂
    Camille recently posted..Wanderlust Instagrammy Awards: Bolivia in 30 Amazing Pictures

    • Alex
      July 26 2015

      I think I’m just getting so stressed about how far away from real time I am and am trying to catch up! Which is ridiculous because probably no one REALLY cares but me, but I mean it’s kind of a mess that I’m writing about Easter in July, right? I’m not kidding when I say this literally keeps me tossing and turning at night! It’s one of the things I’m very much looking forward to about slowing down my travel schedule in October… I can write twice a week and be only a month off real time instead of three!

  • Meg
    July 24 2015

    I’m glad your housing worked out! (And that swing out over the water looks amazing!)
    Meg recently posted..Lady Laowei

    • Alex
      July 26 2015

      Isn’t that charming? They were kind of tricky to balance on though, ha… I fell backwards and my sister fell forwards!

  • Katie
    July 24 2015

    I loved Caye Caulker! We ended up spending five nights there and had such a chilled out time (well, except for the one massive night out drinking)
    Katie recently posted..Finally falling for Seattle

    • Alex
      July 26 2015

      Yup, we had one of those too. Can you say sunset booze cruise?!

  • Oh man, I kind of can’t Belize that I haven’t made it back to Caye Caulker yet! It was the very first place I went outside of the U.S. in 2001 and I have been dreaming about it ever since. Lovely!
    Jenny @ Till the Money Runs Out recently posted..Spectacular Sustenance, Ku’uk Merida Review

    • Alex
      July 26 2015

      Oh wow, what a lovely memory! Belize is the best… a great place to get your international training wheels! I did too!

  • Susan
    July 25 2015

    Okay, that shopping mart is too cute! They’re like, “Look! You can get Ritz crackers! And Off bug spray!” I’m bummed I didn’t get to stop by Caye Caulker while I was in Belize – we just ran out of time. Next time! But we had actually a go slow kind of time on Ambergris Caye.

    • Alex
      July 26 2015

      Haha yeah we loved how the sign looked like it said “stop shopping!”

  • Jessica @ MJ Sailing
    July 25 2015

    Oh how I miss those ‘Go Slow’ signs all around the island. What a wonderful and friendly place. I know you’re posting more, but did you visit any of the bakeries? BEST raisin cinnamon bread around!
    Jessica @ MJ Sailing recently posted..Throwback Thursday: I Got 99 Problems but a Bilge Ain’t One

    • Alex
      July 26 2015

      We didn’t! A lot of places were closed for the holidays, so I think we missed some of the fun little food places.

  • This place looks like absolute perfection! The blogs from you and Kate are seriously making me reconsider our honeymoon location…
    Francesca @ Cheskie’s Gap Life recently posted..Backpacker Advice: Here’s how to guarantee getting a job in Australia in 12 easy steps.

    • Alex
      July 26 2015

      Yes, Kate also loved Belize! Shame we didn’t overlap there.

  • Hmood
    July 27 2015

    This place is amazing..and you know sometimes we need to go slow in the sea, in the woods, we need open spaces to think, to wonder and for relaxing and that’s exactly what you Do.

    thank you Alex

    • Alex
      July 27 2015

      Getting back to nature is important! Caye Caulker was a great place to reunite with the sea 🙂

  • Rebecca
    July 27 2015

    LOVE THE PHOTOS and I love Caye Caulker. I live and write about the whole country but most particularly my home, the neighboring island of Ambergris Caye. Keep the Belize stuff coming!
    Rebecca recently posted..Chaa Creek’s Eco-Kids Summer Camp for 24 Very Special Kids and a VERY LUCKY Me

    • Alex
      July 30 2015

      Thanks for sharing this post Rebecca 🙂 Glad you are loving my Belize coverage!

  • Elisa K
    July 27 2015

    Your pictures are great! You really captured the trip well with those shots..

    • Alex
      July 30 2015

      Thanks Elisa! Not hard when I have models like my sis and cousin 🙂

  • Amy M
    August 5 2015

    Loved these Belize posts, not just because they’re beautiful but you really seemed to have learnt to appreciate “chill time” Hope you managed to relax as much as it looks like you have xo
    Amy M recently posted..Cliffside Climbing

    • Alex
      August 6 2015

      I definitely soaked up quite a bit of the “go slow” atmosphere in Caye Caulker. Maybe too much! It was hard to get back in the swing of things afterwards, ha.

  • Kayla
    March 3 2016

    What an amazing post! We are planning our honeymoon there for April! 🙂 Where would you recommend staying in Caye Caulker or avoiding?

    • Alex
      March 7 2016

      Hey Kayla! I stayed in an AirBnB and to be honest didn’t notice any of the hotels or guesthouses either way. Sorry I don’t have a recommendation but I’m sure you’ll have an awesome time no matter what!

  • Brooke
    December 28 2016

    Do you know the listing info for the rental you used, looks cute . . . But you mentioned some hiccups? Is it a place you’d recommend? Link?

    • Alex
      December 29 2016

      Hey Brooke, based on our experience it’s really not a place I’d recommend. You can read the whole story in this post!

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