Caye Caulker: A Good Place to Go Slow
Just off the coast of Belize lies a sleepy little island. Pastel wooden houses on stilts line the seashore. Palm trees sway slowly in the breeze. People of every shade of the rainbow call this island home, from Rastafarians pushing fruit carts to blond-haired, blue-eyed cafe owners and Chinese shopkeepers.
Welcome to Caye Caulker, Belize.
Don’t think of Caye Caulker as your run-of-the-mill Caribbean island, however.
You don’t come to Caye Caulker to lounge on beaches. The closest things you’ll find to beaches are meter-long strips of brief sand interspersed with docks.
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You don’t come to Caye Caulker for a resort experience. None exist here. The best accommodation you can find is a high-end guesthouse with a pool, of which there are a few.
You don’t come to Caye Caulker for nightlife. Not that you can’t party here — you certainly can. It’s more of a lounge-and-drink place than a stay-out-all-night-and-make-bad-decisions place.
So what do you do here? You soak up the sunshine, all while moving at the speed of molasses. “Go slow” is the motto of Caye Caulker and its denizens take it seriously. Seriously, the locals will call you out if you’re walking too fast for their liking.
It takes practice for a Boston girl to learn how to slow down. During my semester abroad in Florence, I learned the art of the passegiatta — the evening stroll. Throughout Italy and much of the Mediterranean, people leave their homes to walk through the neighborhood just before sunset. It’s the place to see and be seen, and you’ll stick out like a sore thumb if you’re power-walking to your next destination.
So when I arrived in Caye Caulker, I lived like it was a 24-hour passegiatta. Quite a good decision.