Caye Caulker, Belize
Snorkel The Blue Bliss of Caye Caulker.
The Island of Caye Caulker in Belize has been on my bucket list for a good few years. I remember flipping through a travel magazine at a dinner party and was charmed by the colorful hotels and shops that lined the shore and the palm trees that delicately hung over the sunbathers. When I read that no cars, only the buzzing of golf cart taxis and the clicking of cruiser bicycles are the only modes of transportation, it heightened my desire even more. Finally, after years of Belize just being a word written on my list, I crossed it off. I arrived!
I met an Aussie fella while we were on the 5-day El Mirador Hike and as we were both heading to Caye Caulker we decided to travel together. After the quick 45-minute water taxi from Belize City Harbor, we found a room for three nights at La Isla Resort. After wandering the tiny island of Caye Caulker, enjoying a sunset drink and fried fish for dinner we headed back to the hotel to book our snorkel trip for the following morning.
Let me preface that I am not a water baby. I am happy to splash around for a bit in the ocean, maybe take a surf lesson or go for a quick lap in a pool. But by no means do I find pleasure swimming in deep water where my feet dangle above the unknown. Jon is a seasoned diver and I didn’t want to look like a complete amateur so I braved the waters with a confident smile and a life vest. I did warn Jon that under no circumstance will I go near stingrays or sharks, or for that matter anything larger than a goldfish. So why am I snorkeling? God only knows.
Our 3 hour morning snorkeling trip consisted of a German guy, a Belgium Couple, our guide and his teenage helper. Other boats were filled to capacity so it was nice that we were a small group. We had 4 stops on our 3-hour adventure – barrier reef, shark ray alley, coral gardens, and a Tarpon feeding area.
First Stop – Barrier reef
Our first stop was at the barrier reef for a 45-minute snorkel with our guide. It was incredible to see the beautiful rays of colors on the tropical fish and the coral. I was beyond proud that I survived the whole 2700 seconds without freaking out. Mega accomplishment. Maybe one day I’ll remove my life preserver and swim freely – although the chances of that are probably unlikely. Safety and comfort first!
Second Stop – Shark and Stingray Swimming
Our next stop was a few minutes away, where our guide enticed the sharks and stingrays through food. After my freak out in the Caymans swimming with Stingrays – a mother told her son not to go near ‘that’ lady (me) – I decided to safely stay aboard the boat. Besides, Jon took some incredible underwater photos, which made it seem like I was part of it too.
Third Stop – Coral Gardens
Our final snorkel spot was the coral gardens where we freely navigated around the coral for 25 minutes. Not as impressive as the barrier reef but still saw some cool looking fish.
Final Stop – Tarpon Fish Feeding
After a 10 minute drive to the other side of Caye Caulker, we slowly made our way towards the shore and fed Tarpon fish. If we held a piece of fish high above the water they would jump and snatch it. Well, my attempt ended quicker than expected. The fish fell in the water before I could even blink. We then hopped ashore to see seahorses peak their bodies out of the weeds. It was incredible. I don’t think I have ever seen them in the ‘wild’ before.
Our trip was complete. We headed back on the boat to the pier and returned our snorkel gear to the office. Jon and I both discussed how awesome of a time we had that we understood why the German fella did the tour twice. I was also proud that I snorkeled for more than 5 minutes – I beat my Panama record. That deserved a burger and beer!
- What: Morning Snorkel Tour
- Where: Caye Caulker Island
- Tour Company: Star Tours
- When: Morning tour – 1030am-130pm
- Price: $35