Living in Caye Caulker as an expatriate

Caffeinate Your Caye Caulker Expat Journey: Find Essential Info and Connect with Expatriates Today

Image of Caye Caulker

Tucked between the Caribbean Sea and the Belize Barrier Reef, Caye Caulker is a small, picturesque island that's only four miles long and a third of a mile wide. Despite its small size, Caye Caulker boasts lively streets, street art, and unique landmarks, including a famous split in the middle of the island that's slowly growing apart each year. Known for its laid-back vibe, Caye Caulker is perfect for anyone seeking an authentic Caribbean experience.

Tips for expats in Caye Caulker

Visa requirements

To live in Belize for an extended period, foreign nationals require a residency permit. The process involves submitting an application, providing documents such as a police certificate, a completed medical questionnaire, and paying a fee. Belize grants residency permits for a variety of reasons, including employment, retirement, investment, or education. For those seeking self-employment opportunities, a business permit is required, and steps must be taken to register the business and obtain any necessary licenses.

Language resources

English is widely spoken on Caye Caulker and across Belize. However, some locals, particularly in rural areas, may communicate in Creole or Spanish. Expats looking to learn the local dialects may want to take Creole or Spanish classes at the Belize Community College or the Sacbe Community School, both located in San Ignacio. Private language tutors or language exchange partners can also be found through online resources or networks.

Cost of living for expats in Caye Caulker

Housing

Accommodation costs on Caye Caulker are reasonable, especially if shared. Expect to pay around $300 to $750 per month for a private room in a shared house, depending on the location and rental period. A one-bedroom apartment with basic amenities, such as electricity, water, and internet, starts around $700 to $1,200 per month, while a two-bedroom apartment goes for $1,000 to $2,000 monthly. Renting a three-bedroom house with outdoor space or sea views starts at $1,500 to $3,000 per month.

Groceries

Fresh produce and basic groceries can be found at small local shops or the weekly farmers' market. Expect to pay around $150 to $400 per month for a basic grocery budget, depending on your dietary habits and preferences.

Transportation

Owning a car on Caye Caulker isn't feasible due to the lack of freshwater sources and the island's small size. However, golf carts are readily available and can be rented for around $60 to $120 per week or $40 to $80 per day. Bicycles are another affordable option, with most rentals starting around $10 to $20 per day.

Climate in Caye Caulker

Caye Caulker enjoys a tropical climate, characterized by warm temperatures and abundant rainfall. The best time to visit is between November and April, during the dry season, when temperatures hover around 80°F (27°C), and rain is minimal. The rainy season, which lasts from May to October, causes occasional water shortages due to the lack of freshwater sources, but it also brings an explosion of lush greenery and wildlife. In the southern Caribbean, hurricane season begins in June and ends in November.

Job market in Caye Caulker

Employment opportunities on Caye Caulker are limited, and most locals make their living through fishing, lobster diving, or tourism-related businesses like restaurants, bars, and tourist shops. However, those in the medical, education, or construction fields may find work on the island, as well as remote positions for individuals in the tech industry. Many expats seek self-employment opportunities, such as freelance work, consulting, or online businesses.

Healthcare in Caye Caulker

Caye Caulker has a small clinic that provides basic medical care, but serious health complications may require medical evacuation to Belize City or other mainland facilities. Belize City has several hospitals and clinics, such as the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, which offers a range of healthcare services, including emergency care, surgeries, and specialist consultations. Mental health services are limited, and expats may need to travel to see a mental health professional.

Transport in Caye Caulker

As a small island, Caye Caulker is compact enough to explore on foot, bicycle, or golf cart. Bicycles are widely available for rent, and many expats prefer this mode of transportation due to the island's flat terrain. Golf carts are also popular, especially for families or those carrying larger items. Ferry services connect Caye Caulker to the mainland, and boats or water taxis can be taken between the island's different areas.

Safety in Caye Caulker

Caye Caulker is generally safe, with a low crime rate. However, as with any destination, it's essential to follow safety protocols and be aware of your surroundings. Some tips to reduce the risk of theft include keeping valuables hidden, locking your golf cart or bike, and avoiding empty or dark areas at night. It's also crucial to drink responsibly and be cautious when consuming street food, as hygiene and food safety standards are lower than in developed countries.

Neighborhoods in Caye Caulker

  1. MLK

    MLK, short for Martin Luther King Jr., is one of Caye Caulker's most popular neighborhoods. Named after the famous civil rights activist, this lively area boasts a mix of locals and expats and is home to an array of bars, restaurants, shops, and cafes. Some recommended stops include Ragga Jungle, known for its nightlife and festive events; MRS Natural Food, offering healthy and delicious meals; and Go Bananas, catering to backpackers and budget travelers. MLK also offers easy access to the island's watersport activities, such as snorkeling and diving, thanks to its central location.

  2. Split

    Located near the island's southern tip, Split is a quirky and colorful neighborhood that's famous for the unusual geological feature splitting the island in two. The split is visible at low tide and is slowly growing apart each year. Split is home to a diverse range of residents, including fishermen, lobster divers, artists, and local families. Some recommended stops include Rftc Barefoot Bar and Restaurant, serving up delicious and affordable seafood and cocktails; Alan's Bakery, offering fresh baked goods and sandwiches; and Loco's Store, providing all the basic groceries and necessities.

  3. North Side

    The North Side, as the name suggests, is located near the island's northern tip. Less crowded than MLK and Split, it's an ideal location for those seeking a quieter and more peaceful atmosphere. The area offers stunning views of the ocean and the Belize Barrier Reef, as well as access to some of the island's best snorkeling spots. Some recommended stops include Ocean Sky Restaurant, serving up homemade pizza and pasta dishes; Mama's Organic Garden, offering fresh produce and herbs; and The Palapa Bar, a popular spot for sundowners and live music events.

Attractions in Caye Caulker

  1. Banco Chique

    Banco Chique is a submerged Mayan city located off the coast of Belize. Although most of the ruins are underwater, several pyramids, temples, and other structures have been discovered within the Banco Chique Archaeological Reserve. The shallow waters and clear visibility make Banco Chique an appealing destination for snorkelers and divers, offering a unique and fascinating glimpse into the Mayan civilization's past.

  2. Belize Barrier Reef

    The Belize Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef system in the northern hemisphere and is home to various marine species. Measuring around 190 miles in length, the Barrier Reef stretches along Belize's coastline, providing an array of snorkeling, diving, and fishing options. Some recommended stops include Hol Chan Marine Reserve, located near San Pedro in nearby Ambergris Caye; Lighthouse Reef Atoll, featuring the famous Great Blue Hole; and Glovers' Reef, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

  3. San Giorgio Castle

    San Giorgio Castle is a prominent landmark located near Caye Caulker's southern tip. Built-in the 19th century by Italian national Guiseppe "Joseph" Marconi, the castle was intended to serve as a grand mansion for Marconi's wife, Maria Mannarino Jannaccone. However, the structure remains unfinished and uninhabited, and it's now a popular spot for photography and exploration. Visitors can take a scenic route from Caye Caulker to the castle on the regular ferry service or by private boat.

International Schools in Caye Caulker

  1. The Academy

    Belize City

    The Academy is a well-established international school that offers a diverse and enriching curriculum to primary school students. The school provides a range of co-curricular activities, such as sports, music, and drama, in addition to an English language-based curriculum that aligns with international standards. This school's proximity to Belize City provides access to medical facilities, higher education institutions, and greater international connectivity.

  2. Collegiate School for Boys

    Orange Walk

    Collegiate School for Boys is an all-boys secondary school that provides a rigorous and holistic education to international students. The school's challenging academic program is complemented by an array of sports, clubs, and extracurricular activities that enable students to develop their leadership, intellectual, and social skills. The school's location in Orange Walk, a rural area known for agriculture and farming, provides a unique and immersive experience for students willing to explore the countryside and its culture.

Useful expat resources in Caye Caulker

Expat destinations in Belize