Caye Caulker is a small limestone coral island off the coast of Belize in the Caribbean Sea measuring about 5 miles (8.0 km) (north to south) by less than 1 mile (1.6 km) (east to west). The town on the island is known by the name Caye Caulker Village.
Caye Caulker is located approximately 20 miles (32 km) north-northeast of Belize City, and is accessible by high-speed water taxi or small plane. In recent years the island has become a popular destination for backpackers and other tourists. There are over 30 tiny hotels, and a number of restaurants and shops.
The island is basically a sand bar over a limestone shelf. Underwater caves are found in the limestone (which have claimed the lives of several scuba divers exploring them). In front of the village, a shallow lagoon, between 6 inches (150 mm) and 14 feet (4.3 m) deep, meets the Belize Barrier Reef to the east. In front of the village, the reef is known as a dry reef with the reef exposed at the surface, while further north the reef is a deep reef and lies under 2 to 8 feet (2.4 m) of water. This area is popular with windsurfers.
Much of the activity on the island centers around snorkelling and diving (about a dozen operators offering trips) and scuba diving. The prices at all the shops are basically the same. The local diving is at Hol Chan Marine Reserve, a 30 min boat ride away. A little further out is Spanish Bay, Caye Chapel, and some other sites. Long distance trips to Turneffe Atoll and the famous Blue Hole are regularly available.
Longer "full-day" snorkeling tours are offered by numerous local businesses, for approximately $130Bz. They usually leave around 10AM and return around 4:30PM. Stops include the Coral Garden, Shark and Ray Alley, and Hol Chan Marine Reserve. Be sure to check whether your tour guide will include lunch, since some only include snacks. Some of them include lunch, snacks, and a Rum Punch "happy hour" on the way back. With all operators, check to make sure they have equipment that is in good shape.
Caye Caulker is popular with divers and there are several dive shops on the island. Contact them a few days in advance to find out what their schedule is. PADI certified dive shops are available offering both recreational diving and open water courses. These courses normally take 3-4 days, providing the weather is fair. The certification includes 2 shallow-water dives, and 4 open-water dives. All dives are done in the ocean.