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Life on South Caye  Caulker

Camp is ideal for anyone that could do with some peace and serenity from the stresses of life, but one can also find a rivalling contrast on South Caye Caulker, providing a great balance of both relaxation and entertainment. Either a local boat or ferry ride will bring you to the sandy docks or ‘Front Street’ of Caye Caulker, featuring most of the upmarket cabanas and houses of expats that have come to reside here. ‘Middle Street’ offers an expanse of restaurants and local eateries which tend to attract tourists in the day looking for somewhere to eat in the evening after a day at the Hol Chan Reef.

Each jewellery stall or curb barbecue that line ‘Middle Street’ will introduce themselves and make a friend of you if they see you often enough, making it hard to pass each one in the day without striking conversation. Other places of the world hassle and argue for custom, but here people want to share the love of their culture and get to know those that help them to make an honest living.

While Caye Caulker is not short of diversity, it’s Belizean charms are blended into a melting pot of both great food and even better people, putting the cynicism of a weary backpacker at ease. When the heat of the glorious Caribbean sunshine is not tainted by the clouds, eating jerk chicken straight from a flaming grill on the beach is a great cultural feat for anyone new to Marie Sharps hot sauce or reggae. ‘Back Road’ features more of the maintenance and housing for local people, more affordable eateries and at least five house-run laundromats on the same road.

The smoke-filled paths of local cuisine climb to the end of the island at ‘The Split’ A concrete pier that stretches around the upper edge of the island and attracts most of the tourists for sunset.  There is more than one story surrounding the nature of ‘The Split’ besides Hurricane Hattie in ’61 or further damage by Hurricane Earl in 2016, but it’s story is now one with a much commercial tourist capacity. ‘Coco King’ is a complex of bars built on the North side of the split past The Lazy Lizard, a ten minute swim or free boat ride from its dock on the Back Road, one paving a path for even more tourism and spending. I am yet to visit Coco King, but weather permitting we do plan on going later this evening to celebrate a birthday of one of our past volunteers, the review to which I’m sure will come some controversy.

By Jake Darcy - Belize Journalism Volunteer

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