This story was originally published on When in Roams Travel Community.
The speed of life is much slower in paradise than it is in the “real” world. But who is to say that this little piece of heaven on earth is not more “real” than the real world itself? The tiny island of Caye Caulker off the mainland of Belize in the Caribbean Sea is easily one of the most beautiful places in Central America, and that is saying a lot.
A group of 10 wanderers and best friends, we went to Caye Caulker, Belize for one magical night and 2 sun-drenched days looking for a good time. We were staying in a house together on the larger and more residential Ambergris Caye and had heard nothing but good things about Caye Caulker so we decided to make the short trip and get a little rowdy.
As we pulled up to the impossibly small and beautiful island of Caye Caulker, gliding on the crystal clear turquoise water that makes up the stunning Caribbean Sea, we knew we were in for a good time. Almost immediately we fell into the intoxicating and relaxing atmosphere that Caye Caulker is infamous for. There are no roads and no cars on the island, which makes bikini clad, barefoot strolling completely acceptable. The phrase, “no shirt, no shoes, no problem” is made for this little piece of paradise floating in a turquoise sea.
With a mere 24 hours to spend on Caye Caulker, we got right to work on finding a home for the night as we didn’t book anything in advance. What we didn’t realize, however, is that there is an unofficial speed limit on the island: slow. If you are caught rushing around by the locals, you will be politely and hilariously reprimanded in a charming Creole accent, “Why you goin’ so fast? Slow down mon…you’re gonna get a speeedin’ fine!”
After asking locals and fellow wanderers for recommendations, we found our home away from home at a brand new hostel called Dirty McNasty’s, yes that is the real name and it surprisingly wasn’t so nasty. But this was in 2012 and I am almost positive we were among the first guests to inhabit the hostel. I am sure that in the past 3 years it has had plenty of time to build up a bit of grime to defend the cheeky name.
With our one and only night booked and our overnight bags safely stored away, we went straight to the “split” for some of the infamous drinks we had heard about at a bar called the Lazy Lizard, which turn your tongue green. An adult playground, the Lazy Lizard effortlessly promotes fun in the sun. The day was spent jumping into the crystal clear water off a questionable “dock” with jagged metal pieces sticking out (remnants from the hurricane which, a few years prior, literally split the island in half), swimming to the other side of the split and searching for starfish, ordering bright green drinks from the bar and relaxing in the half submerged tables and chairs that look out to the infinite abyss of the stunning Caribbean Sea.
After an unforgettable sunset and dancing to reggae music, we happened upon dinner in the backyard “restaurant’ of a local family, eating freshly caught fish charred on the BBQ and sipping on rum punch. The nightlife in Caye Caulker is quite lively and it felt like we hit just about every bar on the island, which didn’t take long considering the size. The night turned into an all-night dance party with new and old friends as we bounced from bar to bar, collecting people on the way, drinking far too much rum.
The following day we booked a sailing and snorkeling trip through Ragamuffin tours, which included a full day of sailing and snorkeling at multiple locations, bottomless rum punch, lunch, good vibes and great music. We swam with sea turtles, stingrays, multiple types of massive fish and countless smaller schools of fish. We even saw an electric eel and were taught how to free dive without the snorkel by our highly skilled tour guides. After a successful day in the water, the rum punch was served, the reggae music was turned up and the sunset sail back to the island began. It was nothing short of bliss. Being on the open water with great friends, drinks, music and views was the perfect end to an incredible and chilled afternoon.
We sadly and hazily departed the little island to head back to our beautiful mansion on the larger island, but not before stocking up on case of beer and snapping a family photo in front of the Christmas tree. It was a mere week before Christmas, but I am pretty sure we all felt like Christmas had already come.