During our exploration walk around Caye Caulker, after enjoying the main tourist areas along the reef side of the island, we ended up on Back Street and passed through the area where many of the resident locals live, mostly in small stilt houses similar to this one. The West side of the island is not as well developed as the Eastern (reef) side and, in fact, sand is trucked from there around to the other side to keep the tourists happy! While wandering here I began to hear a loud noise and soon found the local power station, with three Caterpillar diesel-generators roaring away. It was just a small little power station keeping the lights on, but it reminded me of the many ones like it I had dealt with while working for the Papua New Guinea Electricity Commission 25 years ago!
The birds love the cayes, also.
We asked to be taken on a tour to see seabirds and a guide took us on his boat out to Bird Caye.
He may have made this name up but there were many birds there on that little caye and nothing else.
Ambergris is directly in the Mississippi Flyway and the Belize mainland is in a bottleneck of the Central, Pacific and Mississippi Flyways, a unique vantage point to observe migration.
Just 20 minutes away by boat but back several years in time, is Caye Caulker. It is mostly swam ans mangroves. Life here is in slow motion with rows of clapboard houses and sandy streets.
We got off our boat there to have a look around the island. Not much to do there except snorkel, swim, or go out on a boat tour.
We did see this beautiful starfish at the waters edge.
Caye Caulker is a short jet boat trip from Belize City. While most people have heard of Ambergris Caye, we much preferred Caulker...quite and nice local lifestyle.
Great breakfast place (The Lunch box? Sand Box?) where for a few dollars you get cinnamon rolls just out of the oven along with fresh yogurt over FRESH fruit and coffee.. (locals get take out there)
We hired a local fellow to take us out to the Coral Reef (I believe it's one fo the top three in the world) to snorkel and swim with the rays .. nice, very nice. We flew on to Ambergris on a small plane ...
On Caye Caulker, I spoke to several of the fishermen that I saw around the island. I speak english and spanish and was suprised to find that a couple of them spoke neither language well. Some spoke broken spanish and looked indiginous central american to me. I didn't ask, because I didn't want to mention that their spanish was not great (I hardly speak flawlessly myself). I am only guessing, but I assume the native language of some of the fishermen was a mayan language, which I thought was pretty cool.
In San Pedro, try and make it to the weird but entertaining event, if you can. This bar on the beach puts on this contest for people called a Chicken Drop. Basically, they put down a rope grid on the ground. Each square has a number in it. You can buy squares, pulling numbers out of a hat. Once all of the squares have been bought, they release a chicken into this gridded area. The person who has the number that the chicken 'drops' his waste on gets the pot. I don't have a picture of this, which is a shame, but if you have an open mind, its a great time.
Because the British Army had personnel based in Belize in 1991, they had close links to our conservation project. They sailed an RPL to our island once a month for a week-end of r + r. We all got along well and partied on the beach into the late hours, after enjoying an excellent b-b-q (they brought food supplies, which we welcomed with open arms!) We were lucky enough to enjoy a trip on the RPL to Glovers Reef for a spot of recreational diving.
The people perch is an observation tower built three stories high to rise above the surrounding jungle. From its platform you can enjoy the rich variety of birds that live and visit this tropic isle.
San Pedro on Ambergris Caye, a sleepy little Caribbean fishing village with sandy streets, gently swaying palm trees and brilliant blue waters.