water taxi

Caye Caulker, Belize: Go slow.

I love to travel. Actually, I’m obsessed with it. I need to feel lost and confronted with another reality to be stimulated. Our journey to the small island of Caye Caulker certainly gave me the feeling of self-abandon. Caye Caulker is a small island (about 1,5 km large by 7 km long) off the coast of Belize in the Caribbean sea only a few kilometers away from the worlds second largest coral barrier. Belize, formally british Honduras, is located south of Mexico and bordered by Guatemala. It is the only English speaking country in Latin America.

Getting to Caye Caulker from Mexico wasn’t an easy task. We left Playa del Carmen early in the morning to catch a (very comfortable) ADO bus which took us to Chetumal in about 4.5 hours. Chetumal is the last town in the Yucatan before entering Belize. When we arrived at the bus station a man asked us if we needed to take a water taxi to Belize. We knew we had to take the (allegedly 2 hour) boat ride to the island, so we followed the man from the WATER JETS INTERNATIONAL (wrong!). We bought our 38us$ one way tickets (same price indicated in lonely planet) and we took a short taxi ride to the port. When we got there the not-so-lovely-woman from Water Jets told us we needed to pay a ‘port fee’ of 150 pesos each in order to get in the boat. We refused and insisted that it was a scam since we checked the other company BELIZE EXPRESS and they didn’t charge this extra fee. After arguing for 30 minutes, we ended up paying since she wouldn’t let us in the boat. Let me tell you that it was a boat ride from hell: it was raining and the ride was VERY rocky. Urrg… After 2 hours we finally arrived on the island of San Pedro where we had to go through immigration and customs. Water Jets had us waiting another hour on this island to finally ship us on a smaller boat. It was now 5:30 pm, pitch black outside and raining. The ride was supposed to take 30 min but took 1.5 hour. The captain got lost in the sea and a British traveler used his IPHONE to save the day!! (go apple!)

As soon as we arrived in CC our stress drifted away and we let ourselves go to the beat of reggae music. No cars, no shoes, no pavement, just sand, kids playing, reggae blasting from households and Rasta men busting moves and signing their heart out in the middle of the street. GO SLOW is their motto and we certainly did: we enjoyed the clear and turquoise sea, the breeze, the amazing seafood and the cheap drinks. Travelers were all backpackers with an open mind attitude and the locals were warm and friendly. Are we in Paradise?