Right now I’m craving The Island Life: lounging on the beach with chill people, some cold beer, and a turquoise ocean that looks like it goes on forever. The first place that comes to mind to fill my void is Belize.
Last year, I spent some time on the island of Caye Caulker — a small, backpacker-style spot off the coast of Belize. That time in my life was one of major transitions: quitting my job, finishing a marathon (i.e. being crazy). But, Belize provided me with some much needed R&R — barefoot and all.
While spending time on an “Island off the coast of Belize” sounds super fancy — and in some places it is (e.g. Ambergris Caye) — Caye Caulker is the Hippy, younger sister island. So, pack a bathing suit (which is literally all you need) and hop on a plane to Belize for some chill vibes.
OVERALL TRIP COSTS: AROUND $500
HOW TO GET AROUND
- Total costs: $350
- Flights – Flying from NY is hard (there are no direct flights). I had a slightly long layover in Dallas, but sacrificed it for >$300RT tickets! You can’t even get from NY-CA for that much.
- Ferries – Getting from Belize City to Caye Caulker is super easy. Make some friends on your flight (look for backpackers), and split a cab to the ferry terminal. It’s about a 10 minute ride and should cost ~$20. The ferries run directly to Caye Caulker, and are pretty frequent. Your RT ticket cost should be $25, and it takes about 45 minutes to get there.
- Other –
- Bare feet: Literally! The island is so small, you can (and should) just walk around, without shoes of course. If you’re that lazy/relaxed you can rent a bike from a store on the main road, or borrow one from your hostel.
WHERE TO STAY
- Total costs: Hostel ($12/night)
- Yuma’s House – This is the best spot on the island. It cost me less than a typical NY happy hour to stay here (craziness). It’s located right next to the ferry stop, and a beautiful view of the ocean in front. And, as far as hostels go – it was super clean. There are a bunch of hammocks on the front lawn for prime relaxation. And most importantly, the staff takes safety really seriously, which was never an issue for me while staying there.
- Other – There is another hostel where a bunch of people I met during my trip stayed called Dirty McNasty’s. Yep, sounds exactly like how it looked. I would try for Yuma’s House if you can. There are also a couple of Bed and Breakfasts on the island, which likely wouldn’t be much of a splurge!
WHAT TO DO
- Total Cost: Food ($3-10) + Snorkeling trip ($60) + Other activities ($0 – except beer)
- Lazy Lizard – this is the spot for locals + travelers to relax, swim, and get (kind of) drunk. Belize isn’t a place with rolling white-sand beaches – but it has beautiful turquoise water that looks like it can go on forever. And, the Lazy Lizard is literally a wood deck on top of the water, so you can just jump right in – beer and all. Walk all the way to the end of the island – or ask anyone – you can’t miss it.
- Beach-side massage – Right before the Lazy Lizard, you’ll find a little shack with a wooden sign – your beachside massages. This placec is no joke. It was my biggest (and best) splurge of my trip – an hour long, deep massage for 20 bucks. Do not miss this.
- Snorkeling Trip – The Belize Barrier Reef is one of the world’s most beautiful underwater secrets. And, it’s definitely true – I’ve seen a lot of cool ocean shit, including the Great Barrier Reef, and this was one of my favorites. We even swam next to a sea turtle! If you walk down the main road in Caye Caulker, you’ll notice many companies offering snorkeling (or scuba diving!) trips. Select one, and negotiate. Most include a full day with lunch and drinks.
- Ice & Beans – There aren’t many great eateries on Caye Caulker, but this one is definitely up there. I spent my mornings here every day – it’s a coffee and smoothie shop located right on the beach. And, if you get there early enough, you may get a mini donuts included in your purchase 🙂
- Errolyns House – You can’t visit Belize and not have Fry Jacks (fried breakfast sandwich anyone?!). I saved it for my last day, but wish that I got one everyday. There’s a cute little store right next to the Farmers Market one road off the beach. Ask anyone for Errolyn’s and they’ll direct you!