When you travel to foreign places to do diving, you take a lot of things on trust. Trust that the dive center is properly prepared to take you diving, that their divemasters are competent, and above all else, that your safety is priority, because diving can turn ugly fast and underwater can be a dangerous environment.
While we had a fantastic time using two different dive centers, Black Durgon Dives and Frenchie's Diving, we heard reports from other travelers before we even arrived at Caye Caulker about Big Fish Diving. Two backpackers at the Belize Zoo mentioned that someone had recently died on a dive to the Blue Hole with them. And another traveler down in the south of the country had also expressed severe doubt on their abilities and their safety record. It was said that PADI had pulled their license, even though it was still painted on their storefront.
Now, those were just rumors, to be fair. However, we stayed clear, and returning, I came across this complaint against them that also highlighted safety problems and danger while diving. Putting it all together, I think it's only fair to say to steer clear of Big Fish Diving, as there are plenty of caring, safety-conscious dive centers on the island.
We have been to Caye Caulker twice now. First time in 2008. Our room was broken into. There were even bars on all of the windows, so they bent the bars to get in. Police were a little help, but not much. Last year I went into the ladies room at the lazy lizard and wehn I was coming out a man pushed me back and held a knife to me. He told me if I screamed he would kill me. Luckly a golf cart full of people pulled up and he ran off. This was on the first night.
Caye Caulker has a way of showing you to watch your back. We had fun the rest of the time, my husband just would stand outside of the bathroom door and we were back to our rooms right after dinner. We do plan on going again, but not going to let us have the false sense of security.
Although located real near the air strip, C&N Golf Carts is owned by an ex-policeman who rips off tourists. When my daughter ran into a pot hole and bent the swing arm. he charged me $700 US for a $150 part saying I could have the used parts. When I went back to pick up the parts, he and his family beat my crippled wife and hit me with a bat. Of course, the island police were no help at all. There is a much nicer place near the electric generating station in town.
after reading much of what has been said about caye caulker, we were very surprised to find the vibe far from warm and friendly.
in fact most of the time it felt as if you were being 'cased'. being it was the low season, the local moral must have been down, but don't go to CC and think it's 'warm feelings' paradise. it's not.
several bike rides had 1 of our camp members feeling completely ogled by the locals, and uncomfortable. several times local hoods would troll behind us waiting to see where we were staying. (so we went way out to the edge of some property only to turn around and have 2 local boys casing us.
spend your money else where folks.
I HELPED A GROUP OF FOUR TOURISTS SEARCH UNDERNEATH A DECK FOR THEIR HOTEL ROOM KEYS. THEY THOUGHT THEY DROPPED THEM DOWN BETWEEN THE PLANKS. WE SEARCHED WITH FLASHLIGHTS FOR 3 HOURS AND FOUND NOTHING. THEY RETURNED TO THEIR HOTEL AND HAD TO PAY FOR THE NEW KEY.WHEN THEY SAW THEIR ROOMS - THEY REALIZED THAT ALL THEIR MONEY. ALL THEIR CAMERAS. ALL THEIR PASSPORTS. ALL THEIR BELONGINGS WERE GONE! SO REMEMBER WHEN YOU ARE OUT HAVING A GREAT TIME, AND SOME BELIZEANS MEET YOU, THEY ARE NOT THERE TO BE FRIENDS WITH YOU, THEY ARE ONLY KEEPING AN EYE ON YOU SO WHEN YOU DONT SEE IT COMING - THEY REACH IN YOUR POCKIT OR INTO YOUR PURSE AND IN THIS INSTANCE THE HOTEL KEY WAS STOLEN. WHEN YOU GO TO DO A SCUBA DIVE ADVENTURE AND THEY ASK YOU WHAT HOTEL YOU ARE STAYING IN, OR YOUR TELEPHONE NUMBER. GIVE THEM A FAKE HOTEL NAME, OR DO NOT GIVE IT TO THEM AT ALL!!!!!! FOR ANY MORE QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE, I WOULD BE HAPPY TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS. FEEL FREE TO EMAIL ME AT firstname.lastname@example.org
AND BY THE WAY,NOT ALL OF THE BELIZEANS ARE BAD PEOPLE, MOST OF THEM ARE VERY FRIENDLY AND TRUSTWORTHY.
On the afternoon of our first full day on Caulker, we spent a good part of it relaxing on the hotel's beachfront property, watching the world go by. I had dragged a couple of their wooden chairs across the sand to a row of coconut palms lining the beach, where we sat sipping our drinks in the pleasant tropical breezes off the Caribbean Sea! When we sat down, I did notice that the clusters of coconuts up near the tree-tops seemed to be a yellowish ripe colour, so purposely decided that we had best not place the chairs directly beneath the trees. This proved to be a good idea, because it was not long before the breeze dislodged one of the nuts and it landed just off to the side of our chairs!
It may sound silly, but check out this item from the news: (They are exotic, good to eat, but deadlier than sharks. Coconuts can weigh from two to four kilograms (8.8 lbs) and fall off 25-meter (80 feet) trees with the kinetic force of one metric ton. That is, with the speed of about 80 kilometres an hour. Imagine the blow.
'Anyone walking or sleeping under a coconut palm is at risk,' warns Montreal injury-prevention expert Peter Barss, a former McGill prof who now teaches at the United Arab Emirates University. 'The most frequent cause of hospitalization in the remote Melanesian villages I worked in were tree-related, not shark-related.'
According to George Burgess, director of the International Shark Attack File housed at the University of Florida, 'coconuts kill about 150 people a year - that is 15 times the number of deaths attributed to sharks in the year 2000.')
There are some great sunrises and sunsets to be seen on Caye Caulker. Unfortunately, dawn and dusk are when the sandfleas and mosquitoes are most active, especially if there is no breeze. Take appropriate precautions or you will end up with lots of itchy red bumps on your body. The sandfleas seem to particularly enjoy biting feet.
Belize is filled with drugs, Marihuana, Coke, Crack etc...It is very dangerous, not only using it, because you never really know what exactly you got, you could get mugged or even pass out, die etc... Our Taxidriver in Belize City told us that here is a lot af Crack addicts that are mugging tourists and locals, he told us that we should stay inside in the evening, we didnt and could not see anything dangerous, but it is a god advice not to bring a lot of money, only enough for a meal or drink, and if you get mugged just leve the money to the guy and stay safe.
At home I can walk on gravel, or go barefoot in the snow. I go barefoot all the time and have tough feet.
But in Caye Caulker, the first time I tried going barefoot, I found that the harsh sand wore the skin off my feet. So I had to wear shoes, which was a bummer. Caye Caulker is the perfect place to go barefoot.
The sink and the shower just discharged their water (and soap etc) directly onto the sand under the cabin. The toilet did not so presumeably it went to some kind of septic tank or holding tank. We were told not to flush toilet paper, and that was also the case in other places on Caye Caulker as well. So you wipe yourself and put the paper in the trash can.
It is very important that you follow those directions.
If you aren't a strong swimmer and the tide is turning, you may have difficulty swimming across the split. Fortunately, there are always lots of people there and they can probably help you before you get swept away. If you snorkel off the north half, be careful not to touch the non-sandy edges. There is fire coral in the mangrove roots which raises red welts. Mine didn't itch but maybe they do for others.
The only mode of wheeled transportation besides bicycles on the island. The motto is "go slow" but you do have to watch for golf carts since you cannot hear their motor, they sometimes sneak up on you and most of the people driving them do give you ample warning that they are coming!!
The Split is THE swimming/snorkeling/hangout on Caye Caulker.
Be careful if walking on the far left side (facing across to the other side of the Split)where boats often tie up.
Lot of broken glass over there.
There are pretty big (about 1m in diameter) sting rays swimming around.
Also, they say there are alligators.
Haven't seem one, but hey... if you really want to find out...