I chose Belize because it was an English speaking country. Avoiding the complication of a second language for the first full month turned out to be a good choice. Initially my plan was to settle in one town or island and take day trips to areas outside of Caye Caulker. Due to unforeseen circumstances at the chosen apartment I was unwilling to stay for an entire month. Dealing with problems in another language would have been difficult.
I flew into Belize City and took a short flight to Caye Caulker island. There are only two ways to get there, by boat or plane. I am not a fan of small planes. But I chose to fly on Maya Air for $84.50 one way. Although the boats are much cheaper they are also slower and I tend to get seasick. The plane normally takes about 10 minutes.
Caye Caulker – My Favorite Island
After landing in Caye Caulker and getting your luggage it is easy to have someone call for a taxi. There are no cars on the island, only golf carts. Adrian was the taxi driver who transported me to the hotel. He turned out to be a great tour guide and whenever I needed to go anywhere too far (because of the heat not the distance) he was the person I called. You can actually walk the entire island.
Caye Caulker seems to be an island for the young surfer/backpacker. I loved the youthful vibe of the island. There appeared to be more youth hostels on Caye Caulker than in Ambergis Caye (San Pedro). I fell in love with this colorful island and I definitely leaned into the theme of the island which is “Go Slow”. The theme isn’t about the speed of the golf carts. The entire island seems to embrace the philosophy that there is no reason to rush for anything. Take your time and relax they say. There are signs around the island to remind everyone to “go slow”. I did.
Around Caye Caulker Island
Food on Caye Caulker
You can find good cheap eats everywhere on the island, therefore I was in heaven. My favorite breakfast place was Glenda’s. The cinnamon rolls are excellent and are homemade by the owner’s mother every morning. Although there is a Starbucks and another specialty coffee shop on the island, Glenda’s coffee was the best. I enjoyed getting up early and walking to the restaurant while tourists slept. The streets were quiet except for a few locals heading to work. I was always the first customer of the day. I cherished the quiet and the cool morning breezes. Although they have more than ten or more breakfast combinations, I discovered my favorite and ordered it every morning without fail. I ate scrambled eggs with ham and red beans and a cinnamon roll with a big cup of coffee every morning.
Meldy’s is another locally owned restaurant. They have great momma-made food, the best kind. Meldy’s is unpretentious and as local as you can get. The best dish was the stewed chicken with beans, fried chicken and beans and of course the fish. If you are on a budget or simply want good food this is the place to eat.
Ice and Beans Coffee Shop was overpriced at $4.00 and the coffee mediocre at best. But the view from the porch was priceless. It was my morning spot until I discovered Glenda’s. At Glenda’s I had coffee, breakfast, a delicious cinnamon roll and town gossip for the same price as a cup of coffee at Ice and Beans. Hello Glenda.
My favorite coffee spot and the view
Placencia appeared to be a sleepy little town (probably because it low season). It was hot!!!! My daily routine consisted of a morning walk to explore the island and a stop at a wonderful place on the beach for breakfast. After breakfast I walked to the other end of town for coffee at Above Grounds Coffee House. I wanted to do a snorkeling tour or go on the Monkey River tour but I never got around to it. Procrastination still persists even in retirement! HA! HA! HA!
In Placencia I didn’t have a sense that I was in Belize. The true culture seemed to be muted by the large number of expat buildings under construction. It felt like an expat Disneyland.
The Secret Garden restaurant had kick-butt Caribbean gumbo and the best black bean soup ever. I don’t usually take pictures of food but I had to take a picture of the gumbo. Omar’s Creole Grub & Guest House is a locally owned restaurant. They serve excellent fish, rice n’beans, plantain, the usual Caribbean fare. The food was very good.
Accommodation – I used VRBO, Vacation Rentals by Owner for this part of the trip. I was excited to see that I had another great ocean view from the apartment. The problem with traveling in low season is that sometimes surrounding properties may be empty. I was the only person in the entire apartment building and at night it was pitch black outside. Now I am afraid of the dark and all the unfamiliar noises outside was too much for me to handle. The next day I was going to call the property manager to tell him I would be moving, but a family of four moved in and suddenly all was good.
San Ignacia was a stopover for a trip to the jungle and a day trip across the border to Guatemala to visit Tikal. I stayed at Rumors Resort, a nice family run business. It was neat, clean, affordable and the staff super accommodating. They arranged the tour. Rumors is located away from the noise of the town. I went into town twice; once to the market and another time because I was dying for a cappuccino.
San Pedro is Caye Caulker on steroids. It is a large island. You have to dodge a mixture of golf carts, cars, and bicycles. The hotels, houses and stores are bigger. It’s crowded. For some reason I liked it.
Mayan Princess Hotel was so convenient. It was on the beach and about a two minute walk to the ferries that takes you to different parts of San Pedro island and also to other islands.
The food on the island was good but more expensive than Caye Caulker. A favorite of mine was Boogie’s Belly. They had the best meat pies I have ever tasted. I was there every day waiting to get hot meat pies straight from the oven. You gotta try ‘em.
The island life suited me well but I have to admit I am not much of a beach person. I love looking at water but do not necessarily need to get in the water. I was in Belize for one month, however, I never felt the water on my feet and only ended up walking on sand because the streets are covered in sand in Caye Caulker. I know my diving and beach friends are probably thinking ‘what a waste’. But it wasn’t. The views from my apartment in San Pedro, Placencia and Caye Caulker were phenomenal. I spent many hours in the Adirondak chair on the balcony pictured above.