Journey to Caye Caulker
It took about a day to get to Caye Caulker Island. We caught the 8:30 bus from the ADO in Tulum and it took about 3.5 hours to get to Chetumal, so we arrived at lunchtime. The Port for the ferry is called Muelle Fiscal and the ferry departs once a day (about 3 – 3:30) so that’s why we caught the earlier bus, better to be safe than sorry.
We ended up car pooling from the Chetumal to the port so we paid 60p in total between us and it was only a 10minute drive.
Important: when booking ferry tickets online the format is MM/DD/YY even though everything else in person is DD/MM/YY
When we got to the port we exchanged our paypal receipt for the ferry ticket and got the immigration forms. We had a bit of time spare so we left our bags at the ferry and walked to get something to eat. We stopped at Nuit Bistrobar, it’s to the right and one street up from the port (just past the OXXO on the opposite side of the road). Carne asado for 60p, was pretty nice, especially the guacamole. There is a bar upstairs from the ferry but it’s quite expensive, so you’re better off walking around. We filled in immigration forms at lunch too.
On the way back to the port we stopped at the bakery and got cakes and donuts. We went to immigration (opens somewhere between 1:30 and 2:00) and paid the FMM fee for our Mexican tourist cards (390p). Supposedly most airlines pay for it but you need an itemised receipt printed otherwise you have to pay. Got told on the way back if we come by land and stay less than 7 days we don’t have to pay for our new card but since we’re transiting to a third country you still have to pay. Calculated it’s still $70AUD cheaper to come back by land instead of the ferry to Chetumal so we did that on the return.
Online it says the boat leaves at 3:00 but actually leaves just before 3:30. We then had the 1.5 hours to San Pedro (one hour behind Chetumal too). You also have to pay 2.5BZD port fee in San Pedro and pass through Belize immigration. If paying in USD it’s 2 USD. We got told they don’t accept pesos but he didn’t accept my 50BZD and preferred pesos. Ended up working out to like 3BZD we paid given their dodgy exchange rate. Note the guy on the boat was taking USD and MXN for BZDs on the boat.
We arrived at 4 to San Pedro, immigration took about 30 mins then for some reason the boat doesn’t leave until 5:30 so we had to bum around at the port for 1 hour (nothing to do, not allowed out). We then boarded the 30 min ferry to Caye Caulker and arrived at 6.
* Ferry was fine. We heard mixed reviews for both companies but we had no problems. Originally we were meant to use San Pedro Water Taxis for our return but now going by land so we’re going to be using San Pedro Belize Express again. Note they operate on alternating days.
Dirty McNastys, Jerked Chicken & Free Punch
We stayed at Dirty McNastys, which was meant to be the party hostel and it definitely lived up to the name. We got our own private room, and I think that was one of the best decisions I’ve made. Although the room was crap and the bed felt like springs, we had a bit of privacy and we were able to fall asleep. We saw that the dorm rooms were directly underneath the kitchen/common area and heard horror stories.
That night we had dinner at Rainbow Bar and Grill on the beach – it was okay but nothing special. Ricky had the jerked chicken and it wasn’t spicy at all. When we got back to the hostel we quickly discovered that they give out free rum punch every night from about 8pm. We.Got.Smashed.
Exploring, Rescue Dogs & Free Punch
We were surprisingly fresh the next morning, I think it was from all of the juice in the punch. We got dressed and headed to the kitchen for breakfast. They had a few options, french toast, omelette or pancakes. I had the omelette and Ricky had the french toast, it was really good!
We dropped off our washing and walked around the north part of the island to explore. We then got an average coffee from Ice n Beans, however we got epic freshly made donuts that made up for it.
In the afternoon we relaxed in the hammocks at the hostel and did stuff on our laptops.
We then took some rescue dogs for a walk down the south end of the island (the shelter was right next to our hostel! We named mine MiniD and Ricky’s was black so we named her Inky!
That night we got dinner at a local place, the pork chops were average. We then got drunk back at the hostel again.
Shit Weather, Italian Food & Free Punch
We had the shittiest shite weather the next day. We waited until mid morning to surface and we just bummed around the hostel. We then went for a walk and found one of the puppies from the shelter wandering so we brought him back to the rescue shelter.
We booked diving, talking to a kite surfing place but quickly found that no-one budges on price, everything is fixed. We got food from the bakery and some 2minute noodles as a snack to tie us over until dinner.
For dinner we went to nice (but expensive) Italian restaurant for dinner had great homemade pasta and bruschetta. The guy only had 2 items on the menu which was great and because the tables were long and high you got to make friends easily.
Went for peanut butter and nutella crepe at the crepe place just up from the restaurant – equally amazing. Would recommend. Ice coffee from the crepe place was good too (free sample) – better than the other coffee shop.