Our two weeks in Mexico had come to an end and it was time for Elliott and I to move on to Belize, so we boarded a bus from Bacalar to Chetumal, where we then took a water taxi to the island of Caye Caulker.
Since it was a daylong journey, we were eager to dump our packs at our hostel, Pause, which doubles as an animal sanctuary that houses 86 cats, and then grab a bite to eat at Enjoy. But we quickly learned what it means to run on island time when it took an hour for our food to come out. We watched the waitress bring plate after plate of lobster to tables that had ordered after us while our impatience for our chicken dishes grew. The food was great when it finally arrived at our table, but our hangry feelings lingered after such a long day, so we called it an early night.
On our second day on Caye Caulker, we borrowed kayaks from our hostel and paddled out to a secluded beach, which unfortunately was covered in a swath of garbage, including countless plastic cups, food wrappers and aerosol spraycans. We figured the trash might’ve recently washed up on shore when Hurricane Earl hit the area a couple of weeks beforehand. So we decided to clean up some of the garbage on the beach after we swam around in the ocean a while.
Later on, we went to a restaurant called Belizean Flava, where two rum punch drinks, two sides and dessert were included with the purchase of an entree. It was by far our favorite restaurant on the island because of the food, value and service.
The following day, we woke up early to go on a half-day snorkeling excursion with Anwar Tours, which brought us to the Coral Gardens, Shark-Ray Alley and the South Channel. During the three-hour tour, we were able to swim with many of the sea creatures living in the second biggest coral reef in the world, including nurse sharks and stingrays that passed by us mere meters in every direction.
We then went to grab dinner at Southside Pizza, a short walk away from our hostel, because it had really good reviews on Travel Advisor. I thought the food was just OK, especially since it was about the same price as pizza in the U.S., but Elliott was really impressed by the dough.
We were supposed to leave the next day, but after fully embracing the island’s “go slow” motto, we decided that we had enough time in our loose schedule to stay for a fourth day, and then later we decided to stay for a fifth day.
We woke up early on the fourth day and went to grab some coffee and mini doughnuts, which we enjoyed outside with a beautiful view of the ocean, and then we were joined by a couple from San Diego who gave us some great travel tips for Costa Rica and Panama, which we took to heart because one of the best parts of this trip has been meeting people from all over the world who are experienced travelers and can share their expertise with us.
When we got back to the hostel, we cooked a lobster feast with our European friends, Marina and Chris, as it downpoured outside.
Later in the evening, we drank way too much cheap Caribbean rum with our friends at the hostel and played cards, including Presidents and Assholes, a popular game in the U.S., for those of you who aren’t familiar. It was a hit with the Europeans, who lamented that it was more fun than any of their drinking games.
On what was actually our last day in Caye Caulker, we slept in a little bit and then went out to breakfast with Chris, Marina and Christophe, another friend from our hostel who’s from France. Then we went to the popular beach area and swam in the ocean for a while. Elliott and I eventually put up one of our hammocks in a shady spot in between two palm trees on the sand, which attracted the crazy coconut man, who went on and on about how much he enjoyed making love to a lady in his hammock.
After spending a couple hours at the beach, Elliott, Chris, Marina and I moved on to The Split, a popular swimming spot next to the Lazy Lizard bar where the island was separated into two during a hurricane. We swam for a while and then grabbed a bucket of Belikin beer, the brew of Belize, and played bags.
Later, the four of us met up with a German couple, who stayed at our hostel the night before and then moved to a nice hotel, for dinner at Wish Willy, a restaurant run by a sassy Caribbean couple out of their backyard. Our meals were delicious and shortly after we finished eating, the power went out on the whole island, allowing all of the stars to shine at their brightest capacity. I was able to spot several satellites and see the Milky Way for the first time in my life. It was the perfect ending to an amazing stay on Caye Caulker!