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Caye Caulker Holidays

  • Snorkelling in Caye Caulker
 

This laid-back little island of swaying palms and sandy streets lined with painted weatherboard houses has been a pit stop on the Central America overland trail since the 1970s. Independent travellers still flock here, to snorkel or dive and dance to reggae and punta rock, to sip Belikin beer next to the water at the Lazy Lizard bar, or to while away the afternoon doing nothing much at all as the sun sinks golden over the horizon.

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With the wealth of boat tours and waterfront watering holes and the good hotel and restaurant rates, few travellers seem to mind that the caye has no beach, and many seem to end up staying here far longer than they’d anticipated.

The 8 km long Caye Caulker was one island until a narrow man-made channel across the island became widened by successive tropical, storms starting with Hurricane Hattie in 1961. The northern portion is all mangrove and wild forest. The inhabited southern half of the island begins at the point of divide, known locally as The Split. The Split is a convex dirt- and sand-floored promontory, fronted by small harbour wall and shaded by a few palms. This is the nearest thing Caye Caulker has to a beach.

Caye Caulker itself is fringed by the magnificent Belize Barrier Reef and while the island does not have the same number of spectacular dive sites as Ambergris the outer wall offers spur and groove diving with a few deep canyons, swim-throughs and fissures in the reef . Most dives are beginner or intermediate.

However, Caye Caulker is one of the best cayes for snorkelling. The water is shallow, warm and has abundant life and the many companies offer some of the best-value boat trips in Belize. The inner reef is excellent for novice snorkelers. The water is seldom more than a few feet deep and there’s plenty of variety. Many snorkel trips also visit Hol Chan and Shark-Ray alley, and as these are designated snorkel trips, snorkellers have their own guides and will not feel like a tag-on to a dive trip, as they would from Ambergris Caye.

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