A Magical Manatee, Caye Caulker & The Changes At the Split

Yesterday was THE DAY to get in the water.  Hot and perfectly still in the morning, Carl of Imagine Tours met us at the gas station dock in town.  It was just four of us…and the day was ours.  We had one REAL goal.  To swim with a manatee.

Lunch in Caye Caulker…especially Fried Chicken Friday at Syd’s! was just gravy…


We headed out…the water CRYSTAL clear and 25 minutes later, at the “North Cut” in the reef by the north end of Caye Caulker, we got in the water.  The manatees usually spot.  Apparently they come hang out here in the summer during the mating season…usually just one but sometimes up to four.

We snorkeled all around the cut in the reef – mostly sand but some beautiful coral on one side – but she was busy.  Off doing manatee things.

Best to head to Caye Caulker for lunch…and see if she’d be back.

Here are my pictures from the caye…


A garage on Middle Street.


The childrens’ school parade had just ended but red, white and blue was everywhere.


Sy’d makes some gorgeous fried chicken.  I think it’s the best in Belize (and I have tried SOME CHICKEN) – Lily’s Treasure Chest in San Pedro is a close second if you are craving…

I went for the mashed potatoes.


Oh wait…you wanted pictures of Caye Caulker and not my food.  Let me continue…


Flat like a pancake.  Kids and the SS Minnow.


This beautiful old place in need of some love…I wonder if it’s for sale?


We walked by Mr. Dole’s office and he has a beautiful new map of his Estuary (I visited a few months ago…) on North Caye Caulker.  He does daily trips and…I have to say…it’s a very cool spot.  He now has a facebook page too – The Estuary at Caye Caulker.


The always beautiful and always colorful hostel – Yuma’s.


A SLIGHT breeze was picking up…thank goodness!


We stopped in to visit the lovely man who cares for the homeless dogs and cats of the island…or at least quite a few of them.  His animals are fixed…and someone had just dropped off a box of kittens.  He has over 40 cats and 6 dogs.

They even have a website.


He said that during the busy season – he sends up to 20 dogs and cats to the states with new owners.  Awesome.

Onward!  We have a manatee to see!

They have done a great job of organizing the market area in Caye Caulker…it’s really inviting.


These coconut piggy banks are the cutest souvenir.


Almost to the Split…the cut in the island that looks gorgeous from the ground or the air.

da split

A pretty hotel I never noticed…Costa Maya Beach Cabanas



And then Mara’s Place…the ever growing bar and dock.

Bar on one side of the street…


And across the street, Kirsten testing out the big chair.  For photos only, it says, not for relaxing.


Paradiso Sandwich Shop has moved!  The old spot is totally gone and construction is being for apartments?  Condos?  A hotel?

And they are in a new building right before The Split.  (Here’s a look at the old spot…super cute too.)

IMG_4965 IMG_4966

And then…OH MY GOD!  The giant concrete never-finished “hotel” is coming down!!!!!!!!!!

IMG_4978 IMG_4979

And then to the right, on the water, an Italian place and gelato?  This is madness!  CHANGE!


I mean…phew…the Lazy Lizard is still here.


And the water…some sargasso…but still here…


And this classic…


And the bar was looking…to my delight…pretty much the same.


We piled in the boat and headed just around to the lagoon side to see some good sized tarpon.  Three and four feet long?  70 to 80lbs?  Big guys who hang out by a commercial fisherman’s dock.  Lazy tarpon.


We looked for some sea horses…they hang out in the mangroves back there…but seahorses?  Who needs seahorses when a manatee is waiting for us?

We headed back out.  And there was small boat hanging out there.  Carl called out to the operator…and he told us that she was right down there.  HURRAY!

These pictures are from Instgram.  From others who swam with the Caye Caulker manatee(s) over the last week or so…but all you need to know that when she lazily turns her paddle fin around and faces you?

And her tiny tiny beady eye checks you out?  It’s PURE magic.

Great picture by @emilycaligirl


And these are amazing.  Though in the second one, it might be a bit harder for some to see the manatee.   By @Drakeskakes

manatee two
manatee one



  • mysteryboy

    I luv yourt life……

  • Erik Terdal

    Thanks for the update!

    • Sure…now I need to cross the Split and check out the electricity!

  • and i have to wonder…..did your tour guide boat have a ”prop guard” on it’s motor….?

    • We just ripped around the area until we heard a thump and then we jumped in.

  • Fred

    you’re right scoop, the last picture did not even have a manatee in it. or did it?