Caye Caulker is a little island just off the coast of mainland Belize, there are no paved roads and the main method of transport on the island is golf cart or bicycle! The cheapest way to reach Caye Caulker is by water taxi! Here’s my guide on how to get to Caye Caulker from Belize International Airport…with step by step instructions taking you right from the airplane door to this paradise island!
How To Get To Caye Caulker
Phillip S.W. Goldson International Airport is located just outside of Belize City and has direct flights to the USA by airlines such as American Airlines, Delta, United, Southwest and WestJet.
Just 30 minutes after touch down and I was out the terminal and in the (very warm) Belizean sunshine! There was a short wait at immigration and travelling with only hand luggage, I didn’t have to wait at the baggage carousel!
In Belize, licensed taxis have a GREEN number plate and wait just outside of the arrivals door. The standard rate to anywhere in Belize City is $25USD. It wasn’t metered, this is just the set rate. (My guest house charged the same price, they said it’s set by the airport). It takes around 20 minutes to travel from the airport to the water taxi dock.
Getting To Caye Caulker From Belize City
TIP – There are TWO water taxi docks in Belize City that service Caye Caulker: the San Pedro Express (that goes to Caye Caulker too) and Ocean Ferry. The taxis will automatically take you to the San Pedro Express if you say you are going to Caye Caulker. For extreme budget watchers, you’ll save $3USD by using Ocean Ferry. A return to Caye Caulker from the San Pedro Express is: $25USD.
Return tickets are open ended and are valid for 3 months. Just don’t lose it! Mine got a little bit wet and wrinkly (even though I kept it in my wallet!) but it was still accepted.
San Pedro Express Schedule (correct November 2018)
Check http://www.belizewatertaxi.com/schedule for the latest timetable
Ocean Ferry Schedule (correct June 2017)
Check http://www.oceanferrybelize.com for the latest timetable. As you can see, the San Pedro Express has more departures!
The ticket counter at San Pedro Express terminal is right at the end (near the water) on the right hand side. There are several souvenir shops and places to eat.
The toilets have a $1BZD charge (the rule of thumb is $2BZD = $1USD…if only travelling with USD you’ll have to pay with a dollar bill as they won’t accept coins even though it converts to $0.50USD).
A 1litre bottle of water at the water taxi terminal is $2BZD/$1USD. It is cheaper here than at the shops on Caye Caulker island. (And a lot cheaper than the $4USD bottle I bought at Miami Airport which was half the size…and then left under the chair in the departure lounge…FAIL)
If you are travelling with luggage/a suitcase, these actually travel on a different boat. You will need to check it in at the entrance of the terminal and collect it at the end of the dock on arrival. I had a backpack and a personal item and these were allowed to stay with me on the boat. A lot of other travellers were confused by the whole ‘luggage travelling separately’. I heard a lot of questions being asked as to where to pick their cases.
Considering it’s called the ‘San Pedro Express’, I was expecting to get on a boat that goes to/from San Pedro that maybe just stopped at Caye Caulker on route. The San Pedro boat is actually much larger and has more indoor seating areas, the Caye Caulker boat is tiny in comparison. Maybe I’m wrong and some boats do stop on both islands but it didn’t seem that way on my travel days!
I travelled in low season (June) and the boat was quite tiny, there’s also not a lot of shade on board. The journey to Caye Caulker takes around 45 minutes. I was lucky the days I travelled, the ride was quite smooth. When I was back in Belize City, I met up with a couple that said their ride over the following day was really choppy! I even saw dolphins on one of my journeys!
TIP – Be aware of ‘island time’. It may have been because I was in low season, but I rocked up at the boat dock in Caye Caulker to get the 3.30pm water taxi back to Belize City and I was told it was leaving at 3.10pm instead. Thankfully I had arrived in plenty of time! Things like weather can also cause delays.
On arrival in Caye Caulker golf carts will be waiting just outside the terminal to take people to their accommodation. I was told a journey costs $5USD, I can’t say for sure though as I walked everywhere on the island…it’s less than 1 mile wide and even though it’s 5 miles long, there’s not really any accommodation more than a 15 minute walk away from the dock.
However, if travelling with a suitcase, the ground on Caye Caulker isn’t exactly flat or smooth. The quickest way to get to my accommodation was via the beach, I can’t imagine dragging a suitcase across sand would be fun.
And that’s all there is to it! I was travelling solo and found this whole process of getting to Caye Caulker very easy!
Flying to Caye Caulker
For those with more of a budget, it is possible to fly to Caye Caulker. Obviously this is quicker but is more expensive! Tropic Air roughly have 6 flights a day from Belize International Airport to Caye Caulker (I would call it Caye Caulker airport…but it’s literally a runway in a field…).
The flight time is just 10 minutes compared to the 1hr 5 minutes of land/water travel (minus the waiting time between the taxi’s arrival at the terminal and the ferry departing!). The longer route costs $75USD for the complete return trip, return flights are around $150-200USD.
How To Get To Caye Caulker From Other Destinations
There are other ways to get to Caye Caulker than aren’t from Belize City. The San Pedro Express has boats from San Pedro to Caye Caulker. The journey takes around 30 minutes and costs $18USD for an adult single ticket.
An international route also runs from Chetumal in Mexico to Caye Caulker via San Pedro. The boat takes 1hr 40 to get between Chetumal and San Pedro, where it has to clear immigration before continuing on for another 30 minutes to Caye Caulker. A one way ticket costs $55USD BUT there is a departure fee of 534 Mexican pesos (around $25USD) to pay on top of this.
The route between Chetumal and Caye Caulker only runs once every other day.
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