Caye Caulker and San Pedro

A wonderfully compact and laid back place, Caye Caulker is a Caribbean gem. An hour from Belize City by regular ferry it feels a world away from the mainland (and the nearby San Pedro), the perfect place to relax, even for someone who is more of an active relaxer…

The trip started well with a typically spectacular sunset on the ferry ride over.

The island itself is pretty small, being only about 3km long and a few hundred metres wide. It’s the perfect place for walking, though people do use bikes and golf buggies to get around. There are no cars and no paved roads, only sandy streets.

It was a surprisingly good place for running, with a scenic coastal route 5km from the town to the southern end of the island and back. The best time to run was at sunrise, it was a little spooky after sunset, and a late afternoon run before rain came was hard work in >80% humidity…

The main reason people come to Caye Caulker is the water. There are no real beaches on the island but it is close to the Belize Barrier Reef, part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second largest in the world (after Australia’s Great Barrier Reef).

There are shallow spots perfect for snorkelling which make for a great half day trip. First stop was Hol Chan Marine Reserve which was teaming was fish and coral.

Shark Ray Alley is named quite literally, being home to both sharks and rays. It was pretty special having rays feeding and swimming below.

A sunken barge was the closest I’ve come to wreck diving, covered with fascinating growth and life.

Coral Garden was a little underwhelming by comparison, but back by Caye Caulker we spotted seahorses by Iguana Reef wharf and tarpons, giant jumping game fish.

The next day I had hoped to take a scenic flight over the Blue Hole but the couple needed to get sufficient numbers to fly cancelled at late notice. Instead I took the half hour ferry across to San Pedro, a much larger and developed version of Caye Caulker with none of the charm or pleasure.

It was mostly hideous buildings and bad traffic with little to recommend it other than some nice spots along the waterfront which I’ve captured below. Note these photos represent about 5% of San Pedro. The rest wasn’t anywhere near as pleasant, and I was glad to return to Caye Caulker after a few hours exploring.

To end with how I left Caye Caulker, by glorious sunrise on the first ferry of the day.

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