Hopkins Itinerary

Backpacking and diving haven

Duration: at least 4 days

Budget: $ 75 per day


Once you set foot on the island, it feels like you have entered a slightly cheesy Caribbean movie. The vibe is dominated by a mix of friendly, carefree Creole and Rastafarian culture.

Caye Caulker is an excellent place to start your trip to Belize, especially when coming from Mexico. The island seems to combine all ingredients for a fantastic time: Friendly locals, delicious seafood, water fun, and nightlife (which is hard to find elsewhere in Belize) Belize’s backpacking hub!

Even though it must be one of the most visited islands in the country, Caye Caulker maintains an authentic vibe. While it is far from representative, it shows you life’s fun, carefree side. Creole, Rastafarians, and travelers perfectly blend (for now). There are no cars and certainly no hassle. On top of that, Belize’s barrier reef and the incredible blue hole offer unlimited diving and snorkeling.

Since tourism is booming exponentially, Caye Caulker faces the evolving challenge of over-tourism. So, it’s even more important to travel sustainably.

Explore the underwater world

Dive Belize’s blue hole from Caye Caulker. The is the island closest to the world-famous blue hole. It takes about 2,5 hours from Caye Caulker by boat. Jaques Gasteaeu discovered the great blue hole in 1971. The about 400 feet deep hole measures about 1000 feet in diameter. On top of it, Belize’s great hole is surrounded by colorful corals. You’ll be able to find impressive stalactites and stalagmites under the overhangs. Since we didn’t dive (it’s one of the very few things both are afraid of), we didn’t go. However, fellow travelers told us the price is about 300 for three dives per day.

Cavalerio church in Leon, Nicaragua
Granada, Nicaragua: market

Shark Alley

Many snorkeling tours include a trip to Shark Alley. We loved our snorkeling day trip and found the sharks impressive. So many sharks have never surrounded us!

Sadly, they rush to the boat because they have fed them for so long. Make sure to book a responsible company that does not provide food to attract the sharks.

Hol Chan Marine Reserve

A snorkeling trip on Caye Caulker is seldom complete without visiting the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. If you are lucky, you’ll be able to observe manatees there! At first sight, we mistook them for rocks until they started moving. Those gentle creatures are so amazing to watch. They almost seem surreal!

Leon, Nicaragua: barrio Sutiavia
Caye Caulker, Koko King

Enjoy the good life at Koko King

We were a little shocked when we discovered that there was no stretch of beach on our part of the islands. It sounded even worse that we had to visit a beach with a bar. But Koko King turned out to be a pleasant surprise. It’s not overcrowded nor loud, food and drinks are delicious! The water is beautiful to swim in, and the crowd consists of a chilled mix of foreign tourists, locals, and Belizean tourists. We have spent several carefree days hanging out, enjoying our time.

Dance the night away

Caye Caulker is quiet but still has a lot of energy and exciting nightlife. Dominated by reggae music, you’ll be able to find a fun place to spend the dance the night away. The crowd is a delightful mix of locals and tourists anywhere on the island.

Caye Caulker is quiet but still has a lot of energy and exciting nightlife. Dominated by reggae music, you’ll be able to find a fun place to spend the dance the night away. The crowd is a delightful mix of locals and tourists anywhere on the island.


Practical travel tips for Caye Caulker

How to get to Caye Caulker?


You can get to Caye Caulker by boat from Belize City. It's a comfortable ride of about 40 min. Boats leave several times per day. You'll most likely reach Belize City by bus from Cancun (10 hours overnight) or Dangriga if you come from Hopkins.

You could also catch a flight from Belize City.

Are the beaches on Caye Caulker nice?


A hurricane split Caye Caulker in 1961. The South part of the island is inhabited and the center for tourists. However, there is no beach for swimming in this part of the island. To enjoy the crystal clear water, you must take a boat to the island's Northern part. The ride is free if you order some drinks or food at Coco King.

What is the best time to visit Caye Caulker?


Avoid hurricane season from June to October. The high season starts in December. As always, we urge you to go doing shoulder season.

Is Caye Caulker safe for travelers?


Caye Caulker lives from tourism, and locals take good care of their visitors. Just be aware that such a high concentration of visitors also always attracts ungenuine people who look for a quick buck.

How can I protect myself from sandflies?


Once you get to Hopkins, buy some handmade coconut oil to protect yourself from sandfly bites! They are especially active during morning and evening hours.

Can I drink tap water in Belize?


In the towns, the water is supposedly drinkable. But as you will spend a lot of time on the water and Cayes in Belize, bring a water filter or a self-cleaning bottle to be safe and avoid causing plastic pollution. The bottles will keep your water fresh and cool, too!

What's the biggest challenge for the conscious traveler?


Eating fish: To protect marine life in Belize, fishing is regulated by seasons to guarantee the species' time to recover. Therefore, make a point of not eating lobster or conch when not in season! Conch season runs from October to June. Lobster season is from July to February.

Sunscreen: Protect the unique marine life in Belize, and always wear reef-friendly sunscreen. Check out our guide to coral-safe sunscreens here.

Plastic: Bring your self-cleaning bottle to avoid causing trash by consuming bottled water.

tanzania travel Zanzibar beaches

Packing List Belize

Check out our packing list to prepare for all Belize has to offer. You’ll find anything from clothing to travel gadgets and eco-friendly toiletries.

Places to visit in Belize

A small country with a big personality!