Caye Caulker, Belize


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Published: April 14th 2017
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Sunday, 9 April

10am - I had not pre-booked the water taxi as all the blogs said you could just rock up. At first the booking agent said they only had 2 seats but she called the captain and he said he had 4 seats. So we made a reservation and was told to go to the bus station to collect the tickets. We then drove around town trying to find the mystical bus station, only to discover it had completely shut down, as in, no longer in use. So back we went to our hotel, called the water taxi people and they told us to pay online via paypal. We then sorted secure parking for our rental car for 3 days. Subway for lunch.

2pm – we arrive early to check in for our 3.30pm water taxi, only to be told that they only have 2 seats. We explain that we purchased tickets on the captain’s word and he said “I called the bus station after you left and told them not to sell you the tickets because the seats were full. Let’s see if everyone turns up.”

3.30pm – everyone has checked in and the captain tells us we can’t go until Tuesday. We make the snap decision to put Mum and Dad on the water taxi, since the accomm on Caye Caulker is paid for. Dwayne and I will bus to Belize City, stay overnight and catch the 8am ferry to the island.

4.30pm – we arrive at the Belizean border and are told to get on the bus going to Belize city. They say they accept pesos as payment. Half way into the trip, the same conductor tells us that we have to change buses and that the price is triple the normal fare because we are paying in pesos. What should have been a $7pp fare, turns into a $30pp fare.

5.45pm – the 1st bus terminates. I am told we can’t pay the next one in pesos, we have to pay in Belizean dollars (BZ). I walk 2km round trip to find an ATM and whilst the first two won’t accept my card, the 3rd one thankfully does. In the meantime, we miss the express to BC.

6.15pm – the last bus of the day arrives and we set off to Belize City. The country is the poorest we’ve been in – similar to what I would expect in places like Puerto Rico or Dominican Republic.

8.45pm – we arrive in Belize City and get a taxi to our hotel and as we arrive, I hear those blood curdling words from Dwayne – “I’ve left my backpack in the bus!!”. There goes his iPad, camera with all our photos, charging cables and the house keys. The taxi quickly drives back to the stop hoping the bus is still there but it’s gone. He tries the bus depot but it’s also closed for the night. We return to the hotel, send a message to the Bus company and climb into bed. The plan is for Dwayne to get up at 6.30am tomorrow and wait at the bus stop until 12pm to see if the same driver and bus show up. WORST. DAY. EVER!!!!

Monday, 10 April

Dwayne only slept an hour overnight due to all the stress. He got up at 6am and walked to the terminal. At 8.30am he meets a bus driver from the same bus company who knows the driver of our bus and where he lives. They ring the driver and he confirms the backpack is still on the rack. The man kindly drives Dwayne an hour to the house of the bus driver, collects the backpack and comes back to the hotel.

It costs us BZ 105 (A$75) for the whole saga but everything is now back to normal.

We catch a 10.30am ferry to the island, reunite with Mum and Dad, have some lunch and take in the azure seas of the Caribbean Sea. We’ve got less than 48 hours to enjoy island time.

Tuesday, 11 April

Caye Caulker is stunningly beautiful and laid back. It’s a pedestrian only island, with bicycles and golf carts drifting along. It’s 5km long and only 100m wide at its narrowest point. The water is turquoise and azure in colour and oh so warm! A Caribbean cruise has just jumped up my wish list significantly. We went for a swim in the morning expecting to only be in for 30-45 minutes, and we were out for over 1.5 hours. Hello sunburn.

It’s been a lazy day swimming, eating and resting, which was exactly what was needed after the issues we’d faced trying to get here. I had wanted to take a flight out to the Blue Hole or cruise to the Hol Chan marine reserve, but we were just too spent to busy ourselves with more activity. Also, we’re going through our budget a lot quicker than expected. The mini marts here don’t really stock self-catering food so you have to eat out for every meal if you don’t want potato chips and soft drink. Not to mention all the tourist taxes when going between countries. It’s about $225 a day per couple, as opposed to $100 a day in Mexico (excluding activities and taxes).

Our Airbnb host has a restaurant called “Wish Willy” so we decided to have dinner there tonight. It’s a bit different in that there is no menu. The chef – the host’s husband - decides what to make based on what ingredients he can get that day. On the menu tonight was BBQ tuna with rice and veggies. Mum and Dad were hesitant to order it because they don’t like canned tuna, but we jumped in and were thankful we did as the fish was scrumptious. I’d asked Dwayne to order the chicken so we could try dishes, and unfortunately, I should have the let him order the fish as the chicken was quite mediocre.

Despite the high cost of this part of the holiday, Caye Caulker is a corker of a destination. Love it!

Next stop – the Mexican Riviera.

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