Chartering Your Own Boat: Our Tour to Caye Caulker, Belize

Visitors are in town  – and we love to take friends and family to our neighboring  island, Caye Caulker.  Just 25 minutes away by boat, the island is small and charming, sand streets lined with pastel houses and businesses and surrounded by sparkling blue water.   Caye Caulker is seeing some changes – like the renovation at the Split in the island and the new amazing Koko King Beach Club.

Since we were 7 people, we decided to charter a boat with my friends at Creative Tours – and it really is SUCH a great way to go.  They arrived to pick us up in the beautiful C-Monkey  and we were off.  The day and the boat was ours…anywhere we wanted to go.

They had everything we would need for just about anything we would want to do – they packed snacks, snorkel gear, beers, sodas, watermelon juice and rum punch.  Creative Tours packed sardines for the tarpon and the sharks.

Our loose game plan:  manatee, snorkel, Caye Caulker.  They provided the order – to avoid the busiest times – and then filled in all the details and some extras.

We were picked up at the dock.  And since the manatee was our top priority – we headed to Caye Caulker’s North Cut in the reef first.  Finding him or her is not a sure thing, but she has been spotted recently.  (Here are a few pictures taken by recent snorkelers – photos from Instagram accounts _xc_s0ccer_band_m0m_ and hanson.rowan29)

20 minutes later – we geared up and jumped in.  We paddled around for about 45 minutes – over the reef, along the coral covered walls (which are gorgeous!), we saw rays and a huge school of blue tang but the manatee eluded us.

We headed to Caye Caulker for a swim and lunch – and a walk around.  I love this island…

A very cool Belikin fountain at these beach cabanas.

Lunch at Sip n Dip – for nachos and tacos, ceviche and quesadillas…it was really tasty and reasonably priced.

Swings and hammocks, a basketball net and tubes to keep you busy.

We walked down to the Lazy Lizard and the Split to go swimming – and off the new high dive.

I went up the stairs and…

retreated.

The boat came to pick us up right at the Split (one of the kids declared it very “James Bond” – pick up by private boat)…we hopped in and went to feed the tarpon that hang out on the leeward side of the island.  You want a bag of sardines and very quick hands.  These guys are at least 4 feet long…

(You don’t need a boat to feed the tarpon but it makes it extra special.)

And then, at our request, we went to check out Koko King – the new beach club on the North side of Caye Caulker.  (Lots more pictures here)

And THEN a bit more snorkeling. Why not?  We have a boat and a crew at our disposal.

We headed to Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley.

The timing was perfect – fewer boats = more sharks and then the craziest thing ever!

The world wide web says: A group of sharks is called a gam, herd, frenzy, school or shiver.

I submit that a group of hungry nurse sharks should be called a pile or a heap.

 What a crazy fun day – island hopping, bar hopping, snorkeling 3 times, spotting sharks, rays, barracuda, schools of fish, colorful corals and more.

AND THEN we SO UNEXPECTEDLY saw a manatee at the Hol Chan Marine Reserve!  And even crazier?  We had 2 or 3 cameras pointed down towards her AND…all were out of batteries after our long day.  Sigh…why is that always the way?

Tired and sun crisped and seven hours later (we spent 3 hours exploring and swimming and eating on Caye Caulker), we arrived back home.

What a great day ESPECIALLY with our surprise manatee.

I’ve also visited the gorgeous west side of Ambergris Caye with Creative Tours – you can take a look at the here.

For more manatee information, check out this great post by Beyond Blighty – she even saw the elusive manatee courtship on her snorkel trip.





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