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“There’s not much to do on Caye Caulker.” I heard it over and over again while planning my family trip there, and have read it and heard it more since departing. People don’t say it as a complaint, just a characteristic of this tiny, charming little island. If you’re looking for action, convention Belize tourism wisdom seems to say, head to Ambergris Caye.

But I disagree. Yes, Caye Caulker is an appealing place in which to do nothing, or to do not much. Stroll the dirt-road Front Street. Dangle your feet in the water at The Split, Caye Caulker’s answer to its non-existent beaches. Rent a bike and meander around the side roads. It’s all a dream. But assuming you’re craving a little more adventure, that too can be found on Belize’s favorite backpacker island! And it won’t put you in the poorhouse either. While boat tours are pricey compared to other Central American activities, there’s plenty of free and reasonably priced things to do as well. Read on for seven of them.

Caye Caulker

Note: Caye Caulker is so small and street names so obsolete I’m not bothering to put directions in this post — just walk the main drag and ask anyone to point you where you’re going.

1. Stand Up Paddle Around The Island

The flat, shallow waters surrounding Caye Caulker were made for Stand Up Paddleboarding — though the current will give you a proper workout in some directions! We found just one place renting SUP boards, along with windsurfing gear and standard surf boards (you’d need to boat out to an area with waves for the latter).

The afternoon we went for a paddle, we literally carried our boards over to the west side of the island and then paddled up around the northern tip, through The Split, and right back up to the shop’s dock on the east side. The last bit was extremely tough, and the guys at the shop looked somewhat surprised we’d pulled it off. But it was a great workout, and a beautiful way to get out on the ocean.

Cost: We paid $15 each for a one hour rental. Tours and lessons also available!

Stand Up Paddling in Caye Caulker

Stand Up Paddling in Caye Caulker

Stand Up Paddling in Caye Caulker

2. Hang Out With Man’s Best Friend

The Caye Caulker Animal Shelter encourages tourists to explore the island with a leash in hand. Show up, grab a shelter pup, sign your name in a composition notebook, and you’re off with a new loyal companion.

The morning that Olivia and I showed up to walk dogs, we marveled at what a great job the shelter was doing with obviously limited resources. No steel cages here — these dogs are living large in an big outdoor “pet park” with loving long term volunteers on hand. And we couldn’t stop laughing at the sign welcoming dog walkers, the general gist of which was, “you literally cannot eff this up.” Don’t like the dog they gave you? That’s fine, try another. Want to come back after ten minutes? Thanks for coming! Need to bring the dog into a restaurant or shop? That’s probably cool. The dog runs away? No worries, they always come back.

We loved our little stroll and struck up plenty of conversations with locals and fellow tourists alike because of it. An awesome activity for animal lovers!

Cost: Totally free!

Caye Caulker Humane Society

Caye Caulker Humane Society

Caye Caulker Humane Society

Caye Caulker Humane Society

3. Take a Sunset Cruise

Is there anything like watching a sunset from the hull of a boat? A sunset cruise was high on our priority list, and we weren’t disappointed by the all-you-can-drink rum punch that came along with ours. Also on the menu was fresh ceviche and guacamole, served up by a smiling and friendly crew. It was the perfect kick-off to a big night out on the island. They’ll even give you a rum punch for the road.

We were lucky enough to catch the surreal blood moon lunar eclipse the night of our sail.

Cost: $35, including unlimited drinks

Caye Caulker Sunset Cruise

Caye Caulker Sunset Cruise

Caye Caulker Sunset Cruise

Caye Caulker Sunset Cruise

Caye Caulker Sunset Cruise

Caye Caulker Humane Society

Caye Caulker Sunset Cruise

4. Do Rooftop Yoga

RandOM Yoga offers the only formal yoga practice on Caye Caulker. Taught by a friendly expat, the classes take place several times a week on the roof of a nearby hotel. But first, the group meets on the porch of the instructor’s cute purple house, where she also sells her hand designed t-shirts and illustrated children’s books. The laid-back sunset class was one of the highlights of our time in Caye Caulker.

Cost: By donation.

Caye Caulker Yoga

Caye Caulker Yoga

Caye Caulker Yoga

5. Snorkel or Dive

Caye Caulker is a hotspot for divers from around the world, though considering the length of our stay and my sister’s non-scuba diving stance, I was more than happy to snorkel instead. Trips to the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, are the most popular on the island, and are known as one of the best snorkeling day trips in Central America for good reason! Other boat trips go to manatee reserve, to shipwrecks, and to more secluded reefs. Read my full post about our day of snorkeling with manatees, turtles, stingrays and sharks here.

Cost: $70 for a full day trip including a full lunch and drinks

Caye Caulker Snorkeling

Caye Caulker Snorkeling

6. Hop to Ambergris Caye

Caye Caulker vs. Ambergris Caye is the eternal debate of the Belize-bound traveler. These neighboring isles share dive and snorkel sites but differ greatly on land. I actually spent four days in Ambergris Caye after my sister left Caye Caulker — I anticipated I’d be feeling lonely after my family returned to the US and thought a change of scenery would help stave off the doldrums. Unfortunately I didn’t really love Ambergris Caye. While I enjoyed renting a bike and exploring more remote parts of the island, I found the capital of San Pedro charmless and concluded Caye Caulker was much more my scene.

That said, the islands are incredibly close and if you’re curious about comparing the two, each is an easy day trip from the other.

Cost: The ferry between the two islands is $9.50 each way

Ambergris Caye

Ambergris Caye

Ambergris Caye

Ambergris Caye

Ambergris Caye

7. Fly In or Out!

While technically this falls more under the transportation category than the activity one, we found the whole experience so fun I’d consider it somewhat of an entertainment expense.  Consider flying to or from Caye Caulker, and boating in the other direction. The views from the plane are fantastic, and the novelty of flying into Belize’s teeny municipal airports is well worth the price of admission. Later, in Honduras, I’d fly a terrifyingly old plane on a disorganized airline, an experience that made me appreciate how safe and well-run Maya Island Air seemed in comparison.

You might even get to ride shotgun. And, bonus! It will make saying goodbye to this beautiful island paradise a little bit easier. Bye bye, Belize.

Cost: Flights start at $40 one-way between Caye Caulker and Belize City’s municipal airport

Flying Maya Island Air

Flying Maya Island AirYup… that’s an airport

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Many thanks to Maya Island Air for providing me with complimentary flights within Belize.

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89 Comments...
  • Evelina
    July 31 2015

    I’ve been thinking about going there, but now I know I will. WOW and the dog shelter.. I want wait to go!!
    Evelina recently posted..How I travel the world without quitting my job

    • Alex
      August 5 2015

      Isn’t that fun?! I loved it! Wish more dog shelters in destinations like this would follow suit…

  • Katie
    July 31 2015

    Caye Caulker Animal Shelter — noted! Sometimes I just don’t know how much longer I’ll make it before heading back to the States for some home exploring with my own pup to join. I’ve looked into some similar programs traveling before, but this might be the most accessible I’ve come across yet!
    Katie recently posted..Five of the Best Markets in Melbourne

    • Alex
      August 5 2015

      Me too! I’ve never seen anything else quite like it. I wouldn’t mind if it became more popular though!

  • Katelyn
    July 31 2015

    My friend actually ended up adopting a pup from the animal shelter! I’m pretty sure she would have taken them all home if she could. We planned on doing yoga too while we were there, but we were too sunburnt to even move. I learned a hard lesson in Belize: when you go snorkeling you wear a t-shirt and re-apply sunscreen every 5 seconds!

    And I totally agree about San Pedro. Wasn’t my jam either. Although I liked the chocolate shop and Licks on the beach.
    Katelyn recently posted..How to Get to Meteora from Athens

    • Alex
      August 5 2015

      I ate at Licks too! It was a gem 🙂

  • Jenia
    July 31 2015

    Ohhh that airport looks so cute. Almost cute enough to get me off the beach. Doing nothing is such a luxury, and yet so few people really understand how important it is to indulge 😉
    Jenia recently posted..Wanderlust Friday at the Beach

    • Alex
      August 5 2015

      I think it is actually the greatest luxury of all! Love it!

  • Anna R
    July 31 2015

    I’m going to Caye Caulker in December and can’t wait for the laid back vibe (even though I’ll only be there for 48 hours so not sure how laid back you can get in a weekend?). I was definitely planning to snorkel but after reading this I also want to squeeze in a trip to see the doggies! So fun.
    Anna R recently posted..Colombian for the Weekend: 72 Hours in Bogota, Round II

    • Alex
      August 5 2015

      We were only there a couple nights and we managed to get pretty chilled out 🙂 It’s a small place, you can cover a lot in a few days!

  • Seems like a very chill place, I wouldn’t pass it up. Gotta fly in, at least that’s what I’d want to do and I’m all over those dog walks, I’d go just to do that.
    Shaun’s Cracked Compass recently posted..Favs from around the world

    • Alex
      August 5 2015

      For the price you just can’t beat those views on the flight!

  • Wandering Whit
    July 31 2015

    Your Belizean titles crack me up! Thanks for the smiles 🙂
    Wandering Whit recently posted..Pamukkale: A Cotton Castle in the Sky

    • Alex
      August 5 2015

      It’s been fun for me too 🙂

  • Leah
    July 31 2015

    That dog shelter is the cutest! I would love to go walk dogs on a beautiful tropical island, especially with so little risk involved. I LOLed at “You literally cannot eff this up” 🙂
    Leah recently posted..Friday Snapshots: Bewitching Belgrade

    • Alex
      August 5 2015

      If only more activities in life were so fail free!

  • Justine
    July 31 2015

    It’s official. I’m in love with Caye Caulker. I agree with all the other commenters. The dog walking thing sounds awesome. I wish more destinations and shelters would do this!
    Justine recently posted..A Glutton’s Guide to Eating Your Way Through Boracay

    • Alex
      August 5 2015

      I know, right?! I guess the size of the island helps, but I would love for more shelters to get tourists involved like this!

  • Maddy
    July 31 2015

    Love these pics! The idea of going to a dog shelter and just borrowing a pooch for a day is SO fun. Wish SF had a doggy daycare like that. And I’m really impressed at the stand up paddleboarding from one side of the island around to the other! Maybe I’m overestimating the size of this island? 🙂 Or maybe you are all just badasses. Either way.
    Maddy recently posted..Farfalle? Fancy!

    • Alex
      August 5 2015

      I’d say a little bit of both 😉

  • Daryle Dickens
    July 31 2015

    Caye Caulker is one of my favorite destinations. My wife and I make a point of spending at least a week there whenever we are in Belize so I am glad to see an article that does the “Go Slow” island justice. I would add “Start your day with a fryjack” to the list.
    Daryle Dickens recently posted..Vintage Car In Stockholm Sweden

    • Alex
      August 5 2015

      I’m honored you think I’ve done it justice 🙂 Thanks Daryle!

  • Camille
    July 31 2015

    I actually like places that don’t have too much going on so I can find a good balance between relaxation and activities without being plagued by FOMO. Caye Caulker sounds (and er, definitely LOOKS) like my kind of place!
    Camille recently posted..Tasting the Good Life in Parnu, the Summer Capital of Estonia

    • Alex
      August 5 2015

      I TOTALLY agree. When I travel to big cities I get totally overwhelmed by whether or not I am making the right choices and whether or not I am getting a “feel” for the place. Not a problem in a place like Caye Caulker!

  • Kacy
    July 31 2015

    I’ve been wanting to try SUP again and that seems like the ideal place! And what a fun yoga class! I love laid back places like that. There’s always something to do if you look hard enough 🙂
    Kacy recently posted..A Bad Traveler’s Guide to Buenos Aires

    • Alex
      August 5 2015

      Indeed there is. And if anyone’s going to find it! It will probably be me!

      • Rob Winder
        February 9 2017

        Do you know how much would it be to spend a week their ?

        • Alex
          February 10 2017

          Hey Rob! Unfortunately I didn’t do a budget breakdown post for Belize. However I’d be surprised if there’s not another blogger who has! I’d turn to Google to see if perhaps another blogger has written a post on it 🙂 Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful!

  • Kacy
    July 31 2015

    I forgot to mention, so awesome that they have a dog shelter on such a small island. That is missing from so many beach areas where wild dogs are running around starving.
    Kacy recently posted..A Bad Traveler’s Guide to Buenos Aires

    • Alex
      August 5 2015

      I have mixed feelings on shelters in places like this… I actually think unless they have the creativity and the resources to create a place like this (open air, full of volunteers and love) than maybe it is better for those dogs to be on the beach as opposed to tiny steel cages with no interaction. But I do agree, this is the best case scenario!

  • Amanda
    July 31 2015

    Makes me want to go back ASAP!
    Amanda recently posted..All You Need to Know About Alesund

    • Alex
      August 5 2015

      Site of a future blogging retreat? 😀

  • Victoria
    July 31 2015

    I’m a huge animal lover and I LOVE that you can walk dogs from the shelter! Never heard of that so thanks for sharing! The shelter “rules” are hilarious too, haha! And that is the cutest little airport ever 🙂

    • Alex
      August 5 2015

      I know, we loved it all! I’m a massive animal lover too so that was a highlight for me.

  • Julie
    August 1 2015

    Love that the dogs always come back. Now if that shelter isn’t doing a good job, point me to one that is! Dog lovers unite!
    Julie recently posted..My 24 Hours Eating and Drinking in Paris

    • Alex
      August 5 2015

      Agreed. It’s really a gold standard! Wish I could point others in their direction to learn from them!

  • Jana
    August 1 2015

    I know, I’ve asked about your pictures before! Can you tell me which program you are using to work on your pictures? I am thinking about trying Lightroom but am not sure if is the best choice. Also, can you recommend any books, blogs or online courses to learn how to rework on your photos? Thanks in advance! 🙂
    Jana recently posted..Warum ich mich in der Natur so wohl fühle und kein Stadtmensch (mehr) bin

    • Alex
      August 5 2015

      I use Bridge and Photoshop! I learned everything I know in photo editing classes at Pratt (where I got my degree) so I’m not too familiar with online resources. I used to look at Pioneer Woman’s photography posts and thought they were great, but I haven’t read them in years. Maybe someone else can chime in with a recommendation?

  • Jessica @ MJ Sailing
    August 1 2015

    Oh my gosh, I wish I would have known about the dog walking while we were there, those pups are adorable!!

    And no, nothing beats a good sunset from the hull of a boat. 🙂
    Jessica @ MJ Sailing recently posted..This is So Far From Glamping

    • Alex
      August 5 2015

      I was definitely glad a friend had recommended it! If you don’t wander down that side street you might not know it’s there…

  • Mike Brakefield
    August 1 2015

    But try to find a long-term rental, say 1 year or more and your pretty much out of luck !

    • Alex
      August 5 2015

      That’s too bad! I think for me Caye Caulker would be a tad small for a full year anyway 😉

  • Elliott
    August 1 2015

    Sometimes the places where “there isn’t much to do” are the best. It’s so nice to find somewhere relaxing, where you don’t necessarily have to be super busy every day seeing all the attractions and doing all the activities. It’s nice to just “be” and do whatever the hell you want once in a while.
    Elliott recently posted..Why Everyone Should Do a Working Holiday Abroad

    • Alex
      August 5 2015

      I agree! I like a place with a few activity options and few sights to see every once in a while — no traveler guilt to abate!

  • Mary
    August 2 2015

    Wow! Looks like you had a lot of fun here! I really want to go and take a dog around the island with me. It must have been beautiful to go on that cruise and to be able to paddleboard through that pretty blue water!

    • Alex
      August 5 2015

      It was! We absolutely adored Caye Caulker… one of the highlights of Central America!

  • Britt
    August 2 2015

    Caye Caulker has always been in my plans for Belize! I don’t even care that much if there was nothing to do- as it is one of those places I had planned to stop for a bit and just chill out. I feel that is important to factor into every trip.

    That said I have bookmarked this page for future reference! Thanks for all the great tips on Caye Caulker- it looks like my kind of place.
    Britt recently posted..My Food Adventures in South Korea: What to Eat and Where to Eat It!

    • Alex
      August 5 2015

      You’re so welcome Britt! Perfect place to do nothing, but also there are options for those that want them 🙂

  • Naomi
    August 3 2015

    I had actually never thought about going here up until I read this ha. This looks like the perfect 2/3 stop to relax and just hang out and do all of the above. Awesome post!
    Naomi recently posted..TOC Hostel & Suites, Madrid (review)

    • Alex
      August 5 2015

      Always a win if I can add somewhere new to someone’s bucket list!

  • Joella
    August 3 2015

    I think it sounds like my ideal place! Scuba diving, yoga and sup? My favourite things!
    Joella recently posted..10 Photos That Will Make You Want To Visit China

    • Alex
      August 5 2015

      Me too! Plus puppies 🙂

  • Marni
    August 4 2015

    I would never want to the leave the animal shelter! Those dogs are so cute and it’s such an awesome way to spend some time. I’m jealous of your sunset cruise!

    • Alex
      August 5 2015

      Both were highlights! It was a great long weekend.

  • Amy M
    August 5 2015

    That airport is beyond adorable.
    I love it when there’s more to do in a place than you’d expect.
    I guess with some places you just have to put some effort into finding them! xo
    Amy M recently posted..Cliffside Climbing

    • Alex
      August 6 2015

      Indeed! And in Caye Caulker it’s well worth the search…

  • Camels & Chocolate
    August 6 2015

    I’ve always wanted to go to Caye Caulker! Looks like I need to start vacationing with the Baackes ladies.
    Camels & Chocolate recently posted..16 Reasons Bonaire Rocks

    • Alex
      August 6 2015

      Now that we’ve already established Jeannie and Kathryn would be BFFs…

  • eric
    August 10 2015

    nice article! I was just on caye caulker a couple months ago and miss it dearly. the food was amazing and the scuba diving was great. I had no idea there was a dog shelter there, that would have been fun to spend some time with a furry pal 🙂 will check it out when I return!

    • Alex
      August 11 2015

      Add it to the list! As if you’d need a reason to return 😉

  • Abi
    August 10 2015

    Wow, those colours in Belize match your blog (and my list of favourite colours!) And I LOVE the thought of a future blog retreat there!
    Abi recently posted..Five of the Best Cities to Visit in Europe – and Some Unusual Things To Do When You Get There