There are 2 ways to get to the island of Caye Caulker from Belize airport – water taxi or flying.
This is the less expensive option and how we traveled from the airport to Caye Caulker.
Taxi to the water taxi
In order to get from the airport to the water taxi terminal you need to get a taxi. I looked into doing this via public transportation but there is no way around it, you have to take a taxi.
Before I take a taxi in a foreign country, I always check to see what the cost of the taxi should be by either looking on Google or contacting someone at the hotel that I am staying at. I always agree to a price before any bags are put into a cab. This way, if someone tries to rip me off, I can say no and find a more honest cab driver.
I knew that the $25 per taxi price was standard and was hoping to get other people in the taxi line that were going to the same place to share the cost with us. There was no real taxi line and not many people from our flight near the taxi area. Instead of waiting to maybe save $12.50, we got into a taxi and took off.
The drive through Belize City reminded us of Costa Rica. I’m sure that it could be somewhat shocking for foreigners who have not traveled outside of resort towns, but didn’t phase us too much. After a 20 minute drive, we arrived at the water taxi terminal.
We arrived at 1:29pm which was perfect timing as there was a Belize Water Taxi leaving at 1:30pm. If we missed this boat, we would have to wait for the next water taxi which left at 3pm. I pulled out my credit card and quickly purchased 2 round trip tickets for 100 Belize or $50 US. Purchasing round trip tickets are slightly cheaper than purchasing single tickets. For us, whenever we can save we do. Andy headed over towards the ferry to make sure that it didn’t leave without us even though the lady selling the tickets had already radioed over to them.
Once we were on the boat we gave each other a high five. Not only did we catch the ferry with 1 minute to spare, but we had made it through the longest possible routing from Denver to Caye Caulker!
We grabbed 2 seats on the cushioned plastic bench next to the window and relaxed for the 1 hour boat ride to Caye Caulker. There is no air conditioning on the ferry but it was covered and had a nice breeze which really helped keep it cool. Even though the seats were plastic benches with a thin cushion, it was not bumpy nor was it uncomfortable.
As we looked around, we found it somewhat strange that we were the only people on the boat with luggage. We had our backpacks which are easy to haul around but got to thinking how hard it must be for tourists that need to get their large suitcases on this boat. On our way back to Belize City to catch our bus to Flores, Guatemala we realized that you could check your bags if you get there early and they store them on the top deck of the boat or the lower deck under the seating.
On our way back to Belize City our taxi had a motor malfunction and we continued at a very low speed until they sent another taxi to pick us up. We had to transfer from one taxi to another in the middle of the sea, and they transfered all of the luggage over as well. This delay got us to our destination about 30 minutes later than expected. If you have to be some place by a specific time (for a flight, bus, etc.) I would definitely add in extra time in case something like this were to happen during your trip.
Getting around Caye Caulker
Once we arrived in Caye Caulker, we were greeted by a guy on the dock who asked us if we needed a taxi. I asked for the pricing and it matched the $2.50 per person that I was told by our Airbnb host. We hopped in the golf cart and we were off. In addition to getting us from point A to point B, we were also given a guided tour of the island. The cab driver showed us where the only ATM on the island was, where the grocery store was as well as showing us which 3 roads on the island were the main roads (front, back, and middle is exactly how he referred to them).
If you prefer to fly instead of take a water taxi, there are 2 airlines which fly from Belize City to Caye Caulker – Maya Island Air and Tropic Air. While the prices likely vary from high season and low season, a quick search for flights tomorrow priced in between $75-$85 per person. For a couple, this is $120 more expensive than taking the ferry.
I have not seen the planes that these airlines fly but have to imagine that they are quite small. If you’re an uneasy flyer, you should consider taking the water taxi instead.
If you are not in a hurry to catch your boat, grab things that you need in Belize City. Once you hit Caye Caulker things are 30% more expensive. Items that are particularly expensive on the island are sunscreen, bug repellent and American junk food snacks such as chips.
Feel free to grab a beer or several beers for the ride – we saw many people starting their vacations off with a beverage in hand. There were signs on the boat that said no beverages, but I don’t think many people follow the rules in Central America anyway.