I decided to head to Caye Caulker with a couple other volunteers for the weekend. I had never been to Belize City yet, and desperately wanted to experience the “Vacation Belize” that most people think of when they hear about Belize. I hoped a bus to Belize City on Friday with my friend Erika who had come up from PG to have lunch in my village with me. The bus to Belize city is only about 2.5 hours. Adam, a PCV in Belize City met us at the station. He walked us to his house where we left our bags. All volunteers talk about this place called the Tavern in Belize City that is like an American Sports bar. It has the only beer in Belize, Beliken Beer, on tap and your classic American food- all for a price of course. Everything about the Tavern felt like we were in America. We noshed on burgers and onion rings, drank beer on tap and watched BBall on flat screen TVs. It was crazy, but felt so great to escape for a few hours from rice and beans, little electricity, and creek water.
The next morning, we woke up and headed to the Water Taxi stand. Caye Caulker is only a 45 minute water taxi ride off of Belize City. San Pedro is a little bit further and more expensive and ritzy. Caye Caulker is known for being cheaper and laid back as it has long been a part of the backpackers belt down Central America. As soon as we hit the water and sped away from the city, the water began to get clearer and sparkled with more azul colors than I have ever seen before. You could see clear through to the bottom all the way out to the Cayes. We had heard of stilted Cabanas on the water for 30 BZE a night for the entire cabana, complete with a private bathroom and shower. It was perfect and the cheapest place to stay on the island. We spent the rest of the day swimming and hanging by the water. The water was so warm and clear. It felt like bath water- but it was super salty!!! That night we ate lobster tails- and they were amazing. I really wanted to go snorkeling out on the reefs. So we signed up for an all day sailing and snorkeling trip for the next day. It was the best decision I have made since arriving in country!!!! The started out overcast, and we were unsure what we were getting ourselves into, as it was 80 BZE for the entire day. This included Snorkeling gear, lunch, 3 stops to snorkel and all the rum-punch you can drink on the way home served with fresh Ceviche. Ceviche is like a salsa casera made with chopped tomatoes, onions, garlic, lime and fresh peeled shrimp or conk. You serve it with corn chips. It is absolutely delicious! The day was perfect. There were about 19 of us on this sail boat- all travelers from all over the world. Three rasta guys ran the boat, called Ragga Queen! Haha. They were great and really knowledgeable about the ocean and all the fish we saw! We swam with nurse sharks, stingrays, turtles, eels and tons of fish.
Caye Caulker is the exact opposite of how we live further inland Belize. It really is the tourist Belize that people were thinking of when I told them I would serve in the Peace Corps in Belize. It was a nice get away and comforting to know that it is so close and affordable when the village life wears on me.