I had a hard time choosing which island to go to when I was planning to go to the Caye Islands in Belize. In my travels through Mexico I came across 2 friends who were travelling together, one liked Ambergris Caye better and one liked Caye Caulker better. There are so many different opinions about both. I was so undecided. I ended up staying 4 nights on each island. I wanted to get a feel for both and decide for myself which island I was better suited to. I can see why there is a 50/50 split on which island is better. Both are similar, but completely different at the same time. Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker are both totally unique in their own way.
The bigger island of the two, Ambergris Caye is a bustling island. I knew I loved it here as soon as I got off the ferry. I found San Pedro, Ambergris Caye very special. It is easy to get around on golf cart, bike or foot. There’s shopping, delicious food and who doesn’t love a drink in an over water bar!? Diving is the activity to do here and sailing comes in a close second.
I didn’t think it was possible to get more chilled than San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. But it does in Caye Caulker. With no cars, just bikes and golf carts, it comes across as less busy. Snorkelling tours are the activity to do here and I would recommend not to miss out on a snorkel tour when you are visiting here. All the locals are quick to welcome you to their island paradise. Going slow in Caye Caulker is easy to achieve.
Caye Caulker comes across as a whole lot more quieter than Ambergris Caye. Maybe because there are no cars being used on Caye Caulker. Both are extremely touristy places, so on either island you will not be able to escape the tourism side of things. Night life on Caye Caulker is definitely a little wilder and I think it’s due to the amount of backpackers that head to Caye Caulker. The locals are what makes both islands special. They are super friendly on both islands, welcoming you and saying hello all the time. Their big smiles and “Respect, Man,’ attitude is infectious. In no time you will have adopted a chilled out vibe and go slow caribbean life.
I had read a lot before I visited the islands that Caye Caulker was cheaper than Ambergris Caye. I personally did not find this to be true. In my opinion, I found that Ambergris Caye had the cheaper food options for us budget savvy travellers. There are so many more local hole in the wall options, which the locals call cheapy cheap. Granted, Ambergris Caye is a much bigger island, but I struggled to find decent cheap food on Caye Caulker. The local fry jacks place is great for a hearty breakfast (good luck trying to eat these greasy things everyday for breakfast!) and of a night there are a few street food vendors that come out along the main street. The bars and restaurants offered cheaper options in Ambergris Caye as well and a lot more happy hour options. Caye Caulker was a little pricier in that department, again less options than Ambergris Caye. Shopping was about the same price on both islands.
Both islands offer an abundance of tours and activities. There is so much to choose from you’ll never get bored on either island. Ambergris Caye offers lots of diving, sailing and fishing. Caye Caulker offers more water sports and snorkelling tours.
You should have no problem finding accommodation on either island. Both offering a range of options from high end hotels, guesthouses, and hostels. Both are in the same pricing category, depending of course, what kind of accommodation you go for.
Which One Did I Prefer?
Don’t make me choose!!! I honestly could not pick which island I preferred. I know, that is totally annoying, especially if you are in two minds about which one to stay at. I would suggest to make the time to stay at both. I’m so glad I did, as it’s is so worth experiencing both islands. Both are similar, yet so different in a way. I promise you won’t regret splitting your time between the two!
Where I Stayed
Ambergris Caye, I stayed at Hostel La Vista. This is hands down one of the best hostels I have ever stayed at. It is on a big open property, directly across from the main park, where you will find cheap delicious street food vendors of a night. It’s not a party hostel, but there is still a great social vibe. Every night at 7pm they offer free (yep, free!) rum punch. Hector, the guy that works there made this place for me. He was such a cutie and went out of his was to get anything any guest needed.
Caye Caulker, I stayed at Pause. Be warned, if you don’t like animals, especially cats, DO NOT stay here! I am an avid animal lover, with cats being my favourite. Madi, the owner, has created a hostel in a cat rescue environment. These rescue cats call this hostel home. As well as 5 dogs and one awesome duck, that you could actually pat! It’s in an awesome location, right on the water and they offer free kayaks to take out and watch that beautiful sunset from the water.
Have you been to Ambergris Caye or Caye Caulker? Which island did you prefer?
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