Went with a group of friends & my boyfriend. We're all mid-late 20's - early 30's. Have lived in New York for 10 years and traveled around the world. I work in the hotel & entertainment industry. Have stayed in hostels and 5 star hotels alike.
I stayed at Mara's with my boyfriend and a group of friends. My boyfriend & I had the front cabana, which had a nice ocean breeze. However it was a bit off putting that one of the locals sat beneath our window trying to sell things to passer-bys (Drugs being one). Another couple stayed in a cabana on the 2nd floor towards the rear and it also had a nice breeze. I thought the upstairs location was nice. It felt safe - it always add a little security. A few guy friends had the room right under the home of the owners, which was a bit dark and they said the family & kids woke them up in the morning with noise and running around upstairs. One of he ladies at Mara's was so helpful when my friend needed to do some laundry. She brought a bucket up, along with detergent. (my friend wanted to hand wash everything herself) The price & value are great at Mara's. The hammocks are also a great touch. No a/c, but wasn't needed. Water pressure was so-so.
The rooms were kept clean. Unfortunately because the owners live on property, you have to be respectful and keep it quiet at night. They have a picnic bench which is nice to sit around at night & have a beer, but just don't make it very late.
The location is a bit of a walk from the water taxi dock and most of the town, but it's worth it in my opinion. Mara's is close to the "split" & the Lazy Lizard which is really the one place to be during the day to hang out & swim if you want to. There's also a local who comes by & feeds fish to the birds. It's a nice sight to see. There's a few restaurants pretty close with great smoothies and breakfast where we went every morning, but just don't be in a hurry, because everything moves a lot slower on the island.
There wasn't much nightlife on Caye Caulker. There are a few bars, one being the I&I bar. It's about half locals & half tourists. It's really cool with swings upstairs to sit on & drink. In general you should be a bit cautious while out at night though. One local who was initially really friendly to my boyfriend instantly turned on him because he offered to buy him a drink after talking to him for a while. The local was very offended for some reason and in an instant my boyfriend found himself surrounded by locals on the roof of the bar. They were all high, too. Kinda scary. (I k now this because they were all smoking weed up there.) Thankfully, we were a large group and were nearby. It's also good that my boyfriend is a very peaceful guy and was able to keep the situation from turning very ugly, which it very well could have.
There were a few situations like this that happened over the course of the week we were in Belize, so a joke when we returned to the U.S. was that going out was boring now unless we felt our lives were threatened! The locals in general came off very agressive, which just left a bad taste of the country in my mouth to be perfectly honest. If I was walking by myself through town or just laying out in the sun at the Lazy Lizard by myself, I felt a little harrassed. I don't like feeling like a piece of meat. Also, if we walked by a street vendor and didn't buy anything, they would get angry & spit out a few bad words.
On another night, we decided to partake in a a trivia game at a bar/restaurant. It was fun, but the game was totally rigged. They lure you in with the notion that you could actually win your dinner & drinks, but some locals came in halfway through the game, didn't get many questions right, but somehow "won". Yeah, right. I'd rather the bar make the game just for fun or make the prize smaller. We just felt conned, yet again. Why does eveyrthing have to feel like someone's trying to cheat you or rip you off here? Take note, Belizeans. It just makes me not want to spend my money here. Needless to say, we didn't go back to that spot.
Part of our trip itenerary was to head over to San Pedro for a few nights. It's larger and lots of fun riding around in golf carts, which are defintiely recommended. Keep in mind that unless you are staying at one of the resorts to the south or north, there isn't much beach area. also keep in mind that San Pedro is like cruise ship central. so if that's your thing, knock yourself out. it felt a bit fratty for us, so we went back to Caye Caulker the next day!
A few of my friends tried windsurfing & had fun. We took a snorkelling trip which was a highlight. I also rented a bike & went for a ride around the island, which was worth it. Being out on the water is definitely one of the best things you can do while in Belize. It's just so beautiful. Caye Caulker got a little chilly & breezy at night, though. So keep that in mind. Also, watch out for sand fleas. Definitely bring your Deets.
All in all, Caye Caulker was a great trip. I was in great company and Belize is a beautiful country. If you go knowing that they are a bit more agressive people and are prepared for that, it's worth it. There's lots of island hopping to do, ruins inland and snorkeling & scuba diving. Do it all.
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- Also Known As:
- Mara`s Place Hotel Caye Caulker