Archive for the ‘Exploring Caye Caulker’ Category
Vacations to Caye Caulker are always going to be amazing and memorable, but beyond the list of “things to do” in lonely planet, what can really make a trip here unforgettable is to immerse yourself in a true local experience…..and one way you can do that is by eating like the locals do.
To begin your day off you can head to Glenda’s Restaurant on Back Street for some freshly baked Creole bread or cinnamons rolls for just US25c. Glenda’s is known for having the best bread on the island so when it opens at 7am the smell of bread cooking in the ovens draws in a crowd of locals, including lots of school kids and quite often everything is sold out by 8am! But never fear, they set some aside especially for the people who wake up a little later and come to dine in for breakfast. You can also pay a couple of dollars more for a side of eggs, beans, cheese or just some butter and jam. I promise you that after you go there for breakfast once you will definitely go back again!
For lunch many of the locals will opt for either tamales (a Mexican dish of seasoned meat or vegetables wrapped in cornmeal dough and steamed in banana leaves) or dukunu (a dish made with sweetened starch, usually cornmeal but can also be sweet corn wrapped and boiled in aluminum foil or a banana leaf), which tastes a lot like creamed corn. Tamales cost roughly US$2.00 each and dukunu costs US50c each. You will know the people selling these tasty lunch meals because they will go back and forth down the streets yelling out their slogans which go something like this….”Hot tamales. Chicken, pork and vegetable tamales” and “ HHHOOttttttt dukunu. HHHOOttttttt dukunu”. You can’t miss them . And to wash your meal down we recommend you buy yourself a seaweed drink from the Seaweed Man. Now I know many of screwed up your faces at the sound of that but i promise you it is delicious (and very good for you) and it doesn’t taste like the sea . It is like a thick milkshake and comes in a range of flavors such as vanilla, chocolate, rum, brandy, peanut and coconut and costs just US$1.50 for a bottle. The Seaweed Man also has his own slogan simply yelling out “SeaWEED”, but don’t get confused because you may think that he is saying “sweet”.
So after a busy day working ( or exploring in your case) everybody needs a nice big dinner to fill them up and all the locals will tell you there is only one person to go and see for a good Belizean meal, and that person is Mama Rose! Mama Rose is renowned for her amazing home cooking including rice and beans with potato salad with either stew chicken, stew beef, stew pork or fried fish. A plate of food only costs US$4.00 and she gives you enough for two meals! Mama Rose takes her big pots of food through the streets on a cart and usually stops outside Oceanside. You will have no problem finding her because she generally has a crowd of locals gathered around her waiting to get served….and if you try her food you will understand why!
So if you are coming to visit Caye Caulker for the first time this year or if you are returning for another holiday make sure you try some of these foods that the locals here love, meals that you may not have known existed here otherwise, and expand you Belizean experience….Because there are lots of little secrets on this island waiting to be discovered by you .
If you have visited Caye Caulker before then you will know that bikes are the most common form of transport on the island. If you are planning to stay here for a few days then I definitely recommend that you hire a bike from one of the many stores that rent them out, because it will give you the opportunity to see more then you would by foot.
Although Caye Caulker feels like a really small place, it is actually a lot larger then you would think, and there are parts of the island that you will only see if you go looking for them. For example there is a bike track that runs along the water’s edge and takes you right down to the south end of the island. You can begin this ride from the Caye Caulker Water Taxi terminal and from there you simply keep heading south along the beach. You will pass hotels and stunning holiday houses as well as passing through a plant sanctuary (keep an eye out for the signs giving the names of the different plant species in the area) and the airstrip where you can stop and watch the light plans take off over the top of you.
The further you ride the more peaceful and remote it becomes, and soon you will come across some long, wooden piers stretching out over the crystal clear water, where you can walk out and enjoy the beautiful breeze in complete silence……Just make sure you check it’s ok with the owners if they are there.
Caye Caulker is such a magical place that can also get very busy, so sometimes it is nice to get away from the crowds and take a quick ride south where it’s quiet. You can even take some drinks and snacks with you and find a nice spot for a picnic.
There is so much to see on this little Caribbean paradise, and if you take the time to really look around there are some amazing things to be discovered here!
If you are holidaying on Caye Caulker then a trip out to the reef will obviously be on your list of things to do as it is widely renowned for its abundant marine life and beautiful coral formations….But there is another marine abundant sanctuary right on the island that few visitors are aware of, but that is equally impressive!
To get to this “secret” spot you turn left down the street just before the Raggamuffin office and head to the back of the island. At the end of the street you will arrive at ‘Purnell’s Property’ (a local fisherman). Ask permission before entering the property and then head out to the pier….There in the water you will find over 100 3-4 foot tarpon swimming around! If you don’t know tarpon are a large sporting fish which are catch and release only. It really is an incredible site to see so many large fish swimming in one area together, but it ‘s something that you need to see for yourself to really appreciate. You can also kayak around to this spot which only adds to the experience.
The owners of the property did not create this reserve for tourism purposes, but simply to create a safe-haven for the fish where they could live in peace and be feed regularly. Starting off with only a handful of fish the numbers have continued to increase over the years. There is a strict ‘no fishing’ policy in this area to protect them.
To see these fish in action you can purchase sardines and bring them down with you and feed the tarpon. They are incredibly fast and agile. And if you are brave enough you can even hop in the water and swim with them! Don’t worry they don’t bite A few meters out from the dock there is a sink hole where the tarpon and other types of fish gather. If you sit still enough in the water above the cave the fish will swim all around you.
If you get a chance while you are on the island I definitely recommend going down to see these beautiful creatures. Whether take the plunge and go swimming with them is entirely up to you. No pressure
(* Photos by Underwater Ally Productions)