It’s my turn to go through customs. The officer asks “first time in Belize?” casually, before flipping through my passport to see the pages and pages of lavender-colored entry and exit stamps. We make eye contact as I smirk and answer “nope.”
I answer all of his questions about my intent in the country and after I ease his suspicious as to why I have 20+ Belizean entry and exit stamps, I’m through the customs hall once again. Moments later and I find Norman, my designated airport-port driver and we’re off to the water-taxi.
The boat slows down and I’m smacked with a massive heat wave. 45 minutes on a speed boat, can sure make you forget how hot the still air is.
Caye Caulker, my beautiful little gem, we meet once again!
You can find my 5-day Caye Caulker travel itinerary, below. This little paradise truly has something for everyone and is the perfect balance of relaxation and excursion.
CAYE CAULKER, BELIZE: 5 DAY ITINERARY
Good to know:
Belize accepts two currencies, Belizean dollars and American dollars! So no need to worry about converting/exchanging at the airport. 1 USD = 2 BZD. Easy peasy!
Although you will hear locals conversing in creole, everyone speaks English!
DAY 1: Travel -- Miami, FL to Belize City, BZ
Flight from MIA-- BZE on American Airlines
American operates two flights a day out of Miami, direct to Belize City. It’s a quick 2-hour flight. Make sure to grab a window seat for beautiful views of the Caribbean Sea!
To book with American Airlines, click here.
Philip S.W. Goldson Intl Airport to Caye Caulker Island
There are two travel options to get to the island, by land/sea, or by air
From the airport, it’s about a 20-25 minute taxi drive to the water taxi. After you clear customs and walk outside, you’ll see all the taxi drivers waiting to take you to the water taxi.
I paid $25 USD for a taxi from the airport to San Pedro Belize Express water taxi.
There are two water taxis, San Pedro Belize Express and Ocean Ferry. Although San Pedro Belize Express is a tad bit more expensive, the overall quality and service of their boats and staff, make it worth the couple of extra bucks. For both companies, you can buy your ticket at the port, just before the boat leaves.
Depending on the day, the boat trip takes 45-55 minutes and is a breathtaking way to travel to the island.
I paid $28 USD for a round trip boat ticket from Belize City to Caye Caulker island. Don’t lose the second ticket they give you, otherwise you’ll have to buy a one way ticket for $18 USD to get back!
To view boat departure times for both San Pedro Belize Express and Ocean Ferry, visit their websites:
It is most common to get a taxi & boat to Caye Caulker, but recently they’ve opened up an airstrip on the island and there is now the option to fly with Tropic Air and Maya Air. It’s a relaxed service, and the airlines will frequently delay or combine flights to make sure they have enough people. If you’d rather fly to the island in under 10 minutes, you can book your tickets for just under $100 one-way.
Arrival on Caye Caulker
Once on the island, I was greeted by numerous golf cart drivers eager for my business. Make sure to research your hotel prior to arriving on the island because most accommodations are just a few minutes walk away from the dock. The island measures about 5 miles in length and less than one mile in width, but most accommodations are central and close to the water taxi
After flying into Belize City and taking the water taxi, arrival time on the island will most likely be around or after 1pm
1) Front Street / Hicaco Ave
After settling in to my hotel, I took a stroll down the main strip to get familiar with the tiny island. I wouldn’t call this main street ‘busy’, but it is where everything is at. There are local shops/convenience stores, ice-cold coconuts for sale, local paintings and hand-made souvenirs. I picked myself up a couple wooden straws to use and stuck one in an ice-cold coconut--I could get used to this!
2) Book Snorkel Trip with EZ-Boy Tours
My hotel recommended I book a snorkel trip with E-Z Boy Tours. I stopped inside the cute green and white painted hut and booked a full day trip for the following day.
It’s better to book ahead of time so that they can for sure accommodate you for the following day.
Depending on the season, the full day runs at about $65 USD and includes all snorkel gear, park fee, fruits, lunch (vegetarian options), purified water, alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, ceviche and a licenced guide for the day.
3) Sunset at Iguana Reef
After exploring the island, I was told by some locals that Iguana Reef Inn was one of the best spots for sunset. Naturally, I had to see for myself.
You can grab a drink from their fabulous little beach-side bar and snap photos with the pelicans that congregate here for sunset. Arrive early to grab a good spot and see if you can spot a seahorse in the seahorse reserve they have off the dock!
4) Dinner at Maggie’s
Not too far from Iguana Reef Inn, is Maggie’s Sunset Kitchen serving local Belizean grub. Lucky for me they do vegan/vegetarian and I had a yummy coconut curry with rice n’ beans and plantains, all for about $10 USD
5) Lazy Lizard for drinks
Walk over to ‘The Split’ where you’ll find one of the most popular beach bars on the island, Lazy Lizard. They serve their famous lizard juice--I’m not sure what’s inside, but it's frozen, blended and green. I opted for a local rum on the rocks with lime.
DAY 2: Snorkeling
1) Breakfast @ Amor y Cafe:
Amor y Cafe is known for their breakfast (it’s the only thing they serve) so I woke up early to check it out. They had reasonable prices and vegan/vegetarian options too. Their almond-coconut shake was to-die-for, so I ordered two!
2) Mask & Fin Fitting
I arrived at EZ-Boy around 9:30 am for my mask & fin fitting. We had a short briefing with Captain Harry and were on the sailboat by 10 am.
3) Snorkel Trip!
First Stop: Coral Garden
We jumped in the gorgeous blue water almost immediately after anchoring. Here we got to see different types of corals and all kinds of fish. I saw a huge reef shark too!
After we were done snorkelling, we got back on the sailboat and snacked on some delicious tropical fruits that the deckhands had prepared while we were swimming.
Shark Ray Alley
This was my favorite stop! After anchoring the sailboat, Captain Harry ran the motor on low to attract the nurse sharks. At first I was terrified, but the deckhands explained how harmless they are and that they don’t even have teeth!
A few minutes after the motor had been running, all the sharks started to flock to the boat. Captain Harry fed them the fish he brought with him on the boat and they hung around us for about 10-15 minutes. I was able to get in the water and swim with them too!
We also saw lots of stingrays, and a beautiful Green Sea Turtle!
Hol Chan Marine Reserve
Captain Harry took us on a guided tour where he pointed out different fish (there are so many!), showed us underwater caves, swam us through schools of fish and woke up a giant green eel. The whole experience was magical.
Sunset sailing back to the island
After we finished with all 3 stops, the rum punch started flowing and Captain Harry made us his famous conch ceviche (he did vegetarian ceviche for me, which is essentially just salsa, but still super yummy!)
On our way back to Caye Caulker a pod of dolphins entertained us for a few minutes by swimming alongside the sailboat. I also saw an eagle ray dive above the water. The amount of marine life in and around the barrier reef is amazing.
We got to watch the sunset on the boat just before returning back to the EZ-Boy dock. I highly recommend the full-day sailboat experience with EZ-Boy. Ask for Captain Harry, too!
4) Try street-food for dinner
On my walk back to my hotel I noticed some local street-food vendors and a pretty long line so I decided to give it a try.
I ordered two pupusas (corn patty cooked with beans, topped with cabbage and red sauce). These were so good! They had other options like burritos and quesadillas, all for a dollar or two.
This stand is located by the basketball court on the main road (Hicaco/ Front Street) and opens up around 5pm Monday--Saturday
DAY 3: Morning Yoga & Beach Day at Koko King
1) Yoga at Namaste Cafe -- FREE
I woke up early and went to Namaste Cafe for rooftop yoga at 8am with Jessie (her hours tend to change so definitely check her schedule online or at the cafe the day before to see what her classes are like for the week)
Typically she teaches yoga Monday-Saturday at 8am, 10am and an additional 5pm sunset class on Tuesdays & Thursdays. Classes are beginner and donation-based so anyone and everyone can join in!
2) Breakfast at Namaste Cafe
I ordered a yummy chia pudding with tropical fruits, coffee, and freshly-squeezed OJ for $15 BZ ($7.50 USD)
They have lots of healthy breakfast/ brunch choices like smoothies and kombucha, and salads/ sandwiches
Bonus! All of their to-go containers are made with cornstarch or other biodegradable materials.
3) Koko King Boat -- FREE
After yoga and breakfast, I took the FREE boat from the back of the island to Koko King (just ask around for the boat to Koko King or follow the signs off the main road)
The boat service begins around 11am. It leaves every 30 minutes or whenever it meets capacity and the ride is about 2 minutes!
Transportation is free to and from Koko King, but it is encouraged that you support the local business by spending a minimum of 10 BZ, or $5 USD at the beach-side restaurant or bar.
4) Relax/ Play Beach Sports
I made sure to enjoy the sea and sun by lounging on Koko King’s free beach beds and inner tubes
After lots of relaxing, I decided to join a casual beach volleyball game. They have a full-sized net set up in the water.
You can also spend time swimming/climbing on top of the giant inflatables that are anchored in the water.
If you’re feeling boujee, there are VIP cabanas and a gorgeous pool that you can pay to have access to
5) Lunch @ Koko King
I ordered the Buddha bowl from the beach-side restaurant and a side of plantains for lunch. It cost me $9 USD
Definitely take advantage of the beach-side restaurant and bar. They have a wide-array of meal options from steamed edamame and loaded nachos to Buddha bowls and fresh lobster and plantains. Lots of vegetarian options!
6) Happy Hour--Sunset
Shortly after lunch I heard the happy hour bell, and decided to order a couple local rum drinks before watching another stunning sunset. Koko King is definitely worth spending the entire day at, and with the free boat ride, you really have no excuse but to check it out!
7) Dinner at Il Pellicano Cucina Italiana
A slight upgrade from my street-food dinner the night before, I decided to check out Il Pellicano Restaurant, known for their live music, ambience, and delicious Caribbean-Italian cuisine
They have a lush-tropical setting that makes you want to order the entire menu just so you can prolong your time there.
It was a bit pricey and they didn’t have many vegetarian options, but I enjoyed my salad and the atmosphere was well worth it.
Day 4: Sunrise paddle-boarding & island-hopping to San Pedro
1) Early Paddle-boarding
I woke up early to paddle-board just after sunrise. The water was calm and there were hardly any people out.
You can find paddle board rentals near The Split for $20 Belize/ hour (10$ USD an hour) if you rent multiple you can probably haggle your way down a bit
I rented my board the night before at Mojo Sport Fishing & Tours--a big orange hut on the main road (Hicaco/ Front Street) just before The Split. If you want to rent for sunrise, I would recommend booking the day before. They close at 6pm.
2) Breakfast at Crepes n’ Dreams
Also on the main road (Hicaco/ Front Street) you can find Crepes n’ Dreams, a popular crepe bar. They serve both savory and sweet crepes and even have vegan/ gluten-free options! I ordered a peanut butter banana crepe fo $10 USD and it was delightful.
They only accept cash for payments
3) Island Hop to San Pedro
After breakfast, I walked back to the Belize Express dock to hop a 30 min water taxi to San Pedro, one of the bigger nearby islands. The ticket price was $28 USD roundtrip
Once on San Pedro, I rented a golf cart for 8 hours at a nearby local shop called Unbelizeable Golf Cart Rentals (there are tons of golf cart rentals near the dock)
The golf cart cost $45 for 8 hours. It works out nicely if you can split it amongst 4 people.
4) Travel to Secret Beach
I decided to explore the island and make my way to Secret Beach, one of the many famous beaches in San Pedro, it’s a bit of drive but it was worth it! Also, don’t be fooled by the name, it’s not much of a ‘secret’ these days!
Ask the employees at Unbelizeable Golf Carts for general directions on how to start your drive. Once you drive out of the town there are a handful of signs that say ‘Secret Beach’ so just follow the signs.
The last 15 minutes of your drive to Secret Beach will include a bit of a bumpy ride on an unpaved road. You might wonder “am I going the right way?”. The answer is yes!
If you don’t want to rely on the signs or are just terrible with directions like me, I would recommend downloading the offline map of San Pedro on Google Maps and letting your phone do the work.
5) Secret Beach
A simply stunning beach, with crystal clear, Caribbean waters. I spent the day here, swimming, sunbathing and taking advantage of the FREE coconuts!
The water is fairly shallow and you have to walk pretty far out for it to hit your waist area. Facing the water, you can see Leonardo DiCaprio’s private island in the distance.
Secret Beach has a handful of beach-side restaurants with various options for food/drinks. I had some rice n beans for $10 USD at Pirates Beach Bar before making the drive back to San Pedro town.
6) Boat back to Caye Caulker
I returned my golf cart around 4pm, just in time to catch the last boat back to Caye Caulker at 4:30pm
I got sort of lost on my way back and had to use the offline map of San Pedro that I had downloaded on Google Maps to get back on track. I would definitely recommend downloading the map just to have as a backup plan!
7) Dinner at Fantasy
Just to the left of the dock you can find Fantasy Restaurant. I decided to try their veggie kabob, with rice and beans and plantains and it hit the spot.
They have an extensive menu including tacos, fajitas, seafood curries, salads, ceviche and ‘catch of the day’ options.
Day 5: Travel back to Miami
1) Boat/taxi to Belize City
Most of the flights depart early from Belize City so chances are you’ll have to catch one of the early morning boats back to the mainland.
I grabbed an iced almond-latte from Axios Coffee Roasters (near the water taxi) before checking in my luggage and walking down the dock.
I took the 9am boat for my 12:30 pm flight. Allow about an hour for the boat ride and then 30 minutes for the taxi ride to the airport.
Once you get off the boat, there are lots of taxi drivers waiting to take you to the airport so don’t worry about securing one in advance. I paid $25 USD for the ride from the water taxi to the airport. This is a standard fare.
To view boat departure times for both San Pedro Belize Express and Ocean Ferry, visit their websites:
I took American Airlines back to Miami. A short 2-hour flight, but we landed later than I thought we would due to the 2-hour time change.
Keep in mind, some airlines (like United Airlines) will charge a $20 USD departure tax at the airport