It was time to leave Mexico and go and visit an island in Belize. A set of islands called the Cayes lies about 45 minutes boat ride from the mainland of Belize. I’d already been told to visit Caye Caulker before I left Australia and had heard more good things about it in my time in Mexico.
I took a bus to Chetumal, the south of Mexico. It was then to take a boat for a few hours to Caye Caulker going via immigration in San Pedro.
Of course the bus arrived late in Chetumal so it was a mad rush to get to the ferry port and through immigration to make the only boat of the day.. Of course there is no reason to rush in Central America as everything is always late.. Something I discovered that day. I bought my boat ticket for $60 even though its only $50. I’d heard about this; sneaky little extra costs that people pocket along the way throughout Central America. You could argue it I guess, but you wouldn’t be getting on that boat and could be stuck in a shithole like Chetumal overnight, or worse take a bus to a bigger shithole, Belize city. So I paid the $60, went to “immigration” which was just a tiny office in the marina where the guy said nothing, stamped my passport, took 300 pesos “exit fee” and I left.
There was still a line for immigration so I went to use the rest of my pesos at a little stall at the dock. Of course it was beer o’clock so I ended up downing 3 cans just before the boat left. I met a crazy Swiss girl and a weird Aussie guy so we drank together and when we got to the “boat” we discovered there was no toilet on board. Always a wise decision to neck 3 beers down before a boat ride! Turns out the boat was actually a “water taxi” which was a tiny cramped boat that seated about 25 people. We were told not to move about the boat as it would unbalance.. Very reassuring! Once we took off it was clear there was no possible hope of moving about, even if you wanted to! It was the bumpiest, roughest, back-breaking boat ride I’ve ever taken. We finally arrived in San Pedro for immigration where we went through one side of a building to have our passports stamped and then back through the other side to pay the $1.25 “docking fee”. Another bullshit fee that they’ve obviously made up, but who was I to argue? I wanted to get to Caye Caulker!
We took a smaller boat from San Pedro to Caye Caulker and by this point most of the passengers were friends and I’d arranged to meet some of them for dinner. I checked into my hostel which is the best rated on Tripadvisor but was run like a navy camp by a weird German woman. Other than that the vibe on the island was just unreal the minute you arrived! It’s like all of your cares disappear and you’re as free as a bird! Maybe it’s because almost everyone on the island is either high or drunk all day, but either way, who cares!
I went to dinner with my new friends from the boat and ate the BEST whole lobster of my life for $20!! I am officially going to be a lobster snob for the rest of my life as I think nothing will ever compare to that delicious bad boy I ate on my first night in Caye Caulker.
Everyone on our boat had planned to stay about 2-3 days but all ended up staying longer and we did almost everything together! We were; a couple from Texas, crazy Swiss girl, Dutch guy, German guy, Kiwi guy and occasionally a French Canadian couple. It was a strange mix of people with such different personalities, quirks and ways of life but somehow we were perfect altogether! We became like a little family and laughed together all day & night.
On the second day we all met up (randomly, actually.. The island is so small you bump into everyone on your way somewhere) and went to the “Split”. This is literally where the island has split because of a hurricane.. Due to that its made a beautiful place to swim & kayak. There is a bar that pumps out reggae tunes and cheap buckets of beer all day. Locals and tourists hang out, relax, dance, chat & have a good time!
Walking around the island is like walking around your own little neighborhood, only with a Jamaican vibe and much friendlier Ragga dudes than the guys you’d find in your street. Literally everyone says “good morning”, “good afternoon”, “how you doin’ gurrrrl?” or “go slow, man!” There is an unwritten law on the island about running or even rushing! If you are spotted looking like you’re in a hurry you will literally be told to “slow down, man!” It’s hilarious!
That day we started with beer buckets at 11am, drank all day, watched the World Cup, went swimming & just had a fucking amazing day! In the late afternoon we even got into some “lazy lizards” which is this potent, frozen rum slushie. Apparently if you drink 3 of these your 4th one is free.. Clearly because for most people it’s impossible to get through 3! We passed ours around between the group and thats when shit started to get blurry.
We all went back to our different hotels/hostels and showered and met soon after for dinner (of lobster of course!) This time it was just $10 for a whole lobster and although not as good as the first, amazing for that price! Dinner got a bit out of hand for a couple of us and we ended up wasted, in a 3 story nightclub on the other side of the island. The Americans are chiropractors so naturally we were all having free treatments in the rooftop bar among other shenanigans!
The nightclub was amazing with swings to sit on at the bar (actually there are tones of these throughout Central America) and an awesome rooftop terrace. We danced our arses off there and then for some reason we ended up at the beach at 3am hanging with some locals while some people were trying to buy coke, one of us was robbed and shit was just weird! We went into another club which was near empty and full of weirdos, but it had a dance floor so we danced some more and I rocked into my hostel, looking like a total trashbag at 6am! Lets just say the next day was one of the roughest of my life and nothing I did that day is even worth mentioning in this blog!
The day after the-day-of-death we all headed out on a day snorkeling & sailing trip with a tour company called Raggamuffin. The first reef we visited was relatively boring but had been known as a place to spot Manatees. Until a few days before that I’d never even heard of a bloody Manatee and I’m still confused as to why!? Anyway, they are very rare to spot and I saw 2!! We had finished snorkeling and were having lunch on the boat when one was spotted. Probably the only time in my life I’ve ever dropped my food that quick, I snuck into the water to spot this strange creature. One was just sorta hanging out and then another joined and boy did they put on a show! They were swimming around each other, making out, one was sucking on the other ones back! It was AMAZING.
We then went to Shark & Ray Ally and the name says it all! We arrived and the crew threw a dead fish in the water and all of a sudden there were like 30 nurse sharks fighting over the fish! We jumped in to get a closer look and there were stingrays in the mix, getting right in there with the sharks and huge fish casually swimming by. It was one of the coolest experiences of my life! It didn’t stop there as the next snorkel spot was where we swam around with amazing turtles and some people even saw a Spotted Eagle Ray. On the way back we sailed slowly, drinking unlimited Rum Punch (everything is about Rum here!) Here I was thinking they would never supply enough for us pissheads, but turns out Bilezeans are prepared and we couldn’t even finish it! It was such an amazing day, one of the best in my traveling days!
After a few days I moved into a hotel with the Swiss girl where we both had our own double beds for a few dollars more than a dorm! I know I am becoming a bit older when my excitement for a private room absolutely makes my day! We stayed a few more days in paradise, relaxing, drinking (but nothing like the 6am night :/) and just enjoying what must be one of the coolest islands in the world..
I really went slowwww man! You better Belize it!