Big Fish Dive Service and Amigos Del Mar
Big Fish is based out of Front Street on Caye Caulker. They are a smaller, more personalized dive charter that treats you like a grown-up, experienced diver. They only need two people to take a charter out, they give great advice for the local area. Had I known they were there (their store front is hidden), I would have avoided Frenchie's like the plague!
The dive site was about 5 minutes from their dock: Caye Chapel Canyons and Caye Caulker Canyons. We took our surface interval at Sting Ray Alley, a shallow patch of sand and seagrass to swim with sting rays.
Amigo Del Mar is one of the largest and most professionally run dive ops in Ambergris. Larger boats and excellent service do make a difference. They're pro shop is well equiped and they are easy to get to.
Caye Caulker , Go Slow!
The boat was very fast , and the sun was burning us , and a woman sitting next to me was eating her lunch. But very soon the heavens opened and a strong rain started to fall. The boat man gave us a kind of nylon to cover and we were all above it. The woman next to me didn’t stop to eat even under the nylon , it was so funny.
The boat reduced speed and I checked out of the nylon , the rain had stopped and we approached a tinny charming island. I took my bag ready to get out but it was caye Chapel. Very soon we arrived at caye Caulker. This tiny island is paradise. We really loved the laid back typical Belizean atmosphere , as well as the budget prices.
A man with tricycle transferred my bag and my son –not that we really needed it but those people need to work – to the hotel “De Real Macaw”. He said we were the first Greeks who visit the island – it must be true! This inexpensive guesthouse is so nice , friendly ,we even had a small fridge , tv (not need) , and a hammock (yes ,need) and a coffee maker (nice to have it).The room was cool , a nice breeze all night long , clean and cheap!
We walked to the north end , the split and sat for lunch at the “Lazy Lizard” an open-air bar , playing nice music “a sunny place for shady people” as the tag outside the bar says…
The split is a channel through the island - made by a hurricane – the most popular spot of the island because of the only nice swimming area. The color of the water is great and the only spot without sea grass….i was happy! We spend many hours here with my son , enjoying the azure warm water. In Caye Caulker not much happens above the waterline , but the real fun and action takes place underwater.
At the entrance of De Real Macaw the next morning a couple with their 2 sons were leaving for the Shark and Ray Alley and we decided to join them. It was the best day trip I’ve ever been!! First stop was at the “Coral Gardens”. AMAZING coral formations , amazing fish , even a shark that made me hesitant to fell in the water again.
The second stop as “Shark and Ray Alley”. When the boat stopped , about ten shark came close! Even when the boat man said they are harmless I (shame on me) was scared. Soon you get over your fear and you don’t want to get out of the water. My son with the under water camera , was chasing the sharks , the sting rays and the hundreds of fish which tend to congregate beneath the boat . It was like we took part in a Cousteau’s documentary , a unique experience for us! The third stop was at Hol Chan marine reserve , where you swim close to the reef following the guide and you can admire the marvelous coral formations and hundreds of fish of every color and size.
Back to the island and we rented bicycles and rode to the back streets were most of the locals live. There are several restaurants on the island ,with our favorite the “Rasta pasta” and some sidewalk stands offering local cuisine. Gift shops and mini markets selling anything you want but still with a relaxed , laid back character.
. If you are looking for your slice of paradise , Caye Caulker it is! We spend 3 marvelous days on the island and decided to visit the nearby Ambergris caye – the well known isla Bonita.