Walking down Caye Caulker’s main oceanside street, you’re bombarded— in a very laidback, Caribbean way— with touts offering the island’s many snorkel tours. But for my mom and I, there was no convincing needed. In fact, we arrived on the island already decided on where we wanted to go: the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, a 3-square-mile area of the Caribbean encompassing reefs, mangroves, and seagrass beds.
Better yet, we quickly settled on a tour operator: Ragamuffin Tours. Their tours of the Reserve— snorkel gear, snacks, and drinks included— were comparable, cost-wise, with other shops that didn’t offer the booze cruise amenities. And beyond that, they were the best-reviewed shop on the island. Looking back, the price we paid would have been worth it for the snorkel tour alone. But as it turned out, the super gregarious guides, clean and spacious boat, and constant flow of rum punch made it the best money we spent in Belize.
When my mom decided to visit me along my Central America route, Belize stood out as the perfect meeting point. She was planning for an indulgent vacation; I was very much backpacking Belize on a budget– and this country can accommodate both.
While I would’ve been content with any beach town along my trip, my mom was understandably a bit choosier about where she spent her limited vacation time. For her, comfortable accommodations, proximity to a beach, and (relatively) easy access to the airport were all key considerations. And in Belize, the beach town of Hopkins Village and the island of Caye Caulker were the perfect stops. We could visit both without frittering too much time in transit, we wouldn’t have to worry about a language barrier, and as it turns out, the beaches were some of the most beautiful I’ve seen.
I am verrrrry behind in getting this website up—like 2 years behind. Back in 2016, I was all gung-ho about documenting my trip through Central America, Mexico, Colombia, and Hawaii. But then… I didn’t. And life kept happening. Now, as I’m solidifying plans for my next big trip, I’m playing catch up. Before I kick off my next international trip, I’ll be writing up some of the stops I made through Central America and Hawaii, formally cataloging all the photos and notes that I’ve been sitting on for the last year.
Before I dive into the details, here’s a quick roundup of what I spent 7 months in Latin America doing.