Belizian food might be my favorite

Even tastier eaten off a dock!

The cuisine is Belize has been awesome. My mouth and stomach are in heaven every time I eat their Sunday supper standard: stew chicken, rice & beans, and coleslaw. Totally my favorite and I ate a plate (or two!) of it every day. Because hey, I’m on holiday! I have already given accolades to the cuisine in previous posts–taking my first bites of Belizian food with my friend Maggie and exploring the Caye Caulker food scene–but I must devote some attention to some of the fundamentals of my perfect Belizian meal.

Rice & beans is the base of most plate dishes and it is something I plan to incorporate into my cooking repertoire when I have a kitchen again. It isn’t just rice mixed with beans. Oh, no, it is far more than that. White rice and kidney beans are actually cooked together along with spices, sometimes meat, sometimes coconut, giving the rice a red tinge and more full flavor profile. It is hearty and delish! Along with some spicy chicken, coleslaw, and a Belikin… magnifique!

Pretty much the perfect lunch.

A ubiquitous condiment on all Belizian tables is Marie Sharp’s habanero hot sauce. Made in Belize, it is a delicious and all-natural sauce with a base of carrots instead of tomatoes. But the number one ingredient is always habanero mash. I developed an addiction.

And you cannot come to Belize without going crazy for Belikin. The beer of a nation, there is no choice. I am a huge fan of the Belikin stout, in the same heavy brown bottle as the beer but identifiable by the bright blue bottle cap. Interestingly, Guinness Stout is also brewed here in Belize, but a different recipe than other brews of Guinness available in the US or Europe. It has the silky mouthfeel as normal Guinness, but a decidedly sharp taste that I found weird. Only ordered it once, then switched back to good ol’ Belikin stout.

As an addendum, I must say that inland Latin American flavors shine as well. In San Ignacio, I ate killer El Salvadorean papusas stuffed with a pork-bean paste at the Saturday market and drank the best horchata of my life at a little Mexican hole-in-the-wall in town. The horchata was like imbibing manna; every sip made me shiver. It was that good. Oh Belize, how are you so wonderfully delicious? Good thing I am coming back later in the summer. 🙂

Papusa!
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Spelunking San Ignacio: the insanely awesome Crystal Cave

The Dream Team in Wonderland, two miles under ground. *

I said it before, but I’ll say it again: ATM is for tourists, Crystal is for adventurers. Crystal is different. It was a challenge the memory of which still gets my blood pumping. It is impossible to overstate how incredibly breathtaking it is. It was one of the most exciting and intimate ways I have ever experienced the earth. I will never forget it.

In San Ignacio, I was lucky enough to cross paths again with my friend Ryan from Caye Caulker and meet his new travel buddies Seamus and Oxy. Not only are they all super cool, but were best buds with Caveman Carlos (the guide I tried unsuccessfully to go with to ATM; connect with him via J&R Guest House) plus had a rental car and generously welcomed another passenger. It was Seamus and Oxy’s last day in Belize, so they called up Carlos and asked what we should do. He recommended Crystal ($75Bz each, plus $28Bz park entry fee) and we signed right up. We grabbed lunch to go and hopped in the car, off on an adventure.

Before & After

After a detour through Mennonite farm country for ice cream (reminded me of my childhood aspirations to be a Sunnyside dairy princess!) and beer, we arrived at the National Park, also home to Blue Hole, one of the only cenotes in Belize. We pilfered oranges from the neighboring orchard and hiked 30 minutes in near 100-degree weather to the cave entrance, sweat already starting to pour off of us. I sang my favorite walking tra la la la song to myself.

Unlike ATM, which is a tunnel without altitude change, Crystal delves deep right from the get go. At the greatest depth we were two miles under ground. It is a serious cave: you climb, you crawl, you slither, you squeeze, and you do NOT get your hand held. Do not even think of attempting it without a guide. No one else was in the cave with us; everyone was at ATM. From the huge pit of an entrance, we descended quickly.

Our entrance and sharp descent. *
Yep, we’re going that way, through that tiny hole in the upper right.
Our guide Carlos and Ryan, heading down.
Slipping through crevasses just barely people-sized. Sometimes sliding on your butt was the only way.

The pattern of Crystal is large cavern, small crawl space, large cavern, repeat. It led us to have moments of tight embrace of the rock followed by grand open awe. How very Frank Lloyd Wright…

The Carlosisms started coming fast and furious. Our names were shortened to our home states, which actually wasn’t specific, but worked well enough: Seamus and Oxy from Oregon, Ryan and me from California. “Take a break!” “Fear is a disease!” “Follow your heart!” “Keep the fire burning!” “Cave sex!” Soon enough we were all chiming in with the applicable Carlosism.

Being 6’7″ isn’t very helpful down here… *
Hear me roar! I was really into growling in the cave. (“Take a break, California…”)

These caves in Belize are said to be some of the entrances to Xibalba, the Mayan underworld or “place of fear”. Most locals refuse to enter them. Like ATM, Crystal Cave was also used as a ceremonial access point, and thousand-year-old skulls and pot shards grace its floors.

Pottery slowly being consumed by the cave.
The team in action, down then up. *
The munching O’Malleys. “This is the furthest below ground I have ever eaten a burrito.”

I felt spry and light on my feet, and enjoyed vaulting myself up. The further we went in, the slicker the clay covering the rocks got. We maintained three points on contact with the earth at all times. The act of finding holds, swinging yourself around corners, and pulling yourself up and over made me think of my rock climbing sister Laura. Is this what bouldering feels like? Because it was kind of super awesome…

The formations all around us through were breathtaking. The variation astounding: delicate crystals, cascading layers like melted wax, smooth ripples, many reminiscent of stone coral reefs.


But Carlos told us we hadn’t seen anything yet. We were headed to Wonderland and “you’re gonna pee your pants!” We took off our shoes, and I daintily trekked barefoot into the underworld.

The peanut brittle road to Wonderland.

He wasn’t joking. It was truly a wonder. Everywhere you turn was something spectacular. We discovered that beautiful ringing tones could be coaxed from certain stalagmites with a soft knock.

 The entrance to Wonderland. *
Making cave music.
Stunning beauty all around.
Enamored by the earth sparkling around me.

After gawking, we all sat in a row on a ledge, turned off our lights, spoke soft words of appreciation for this experience, and then were silent in the pure and complete dark. The Mayans say the spirits still dwell in the caves, and our group felt their presence. To me, the silence felt like a prayer without words. A meditation to the earth.

Stunning, as if delicately dipped in shredded coconut.

But the silence had to end, like all things do, and we left our beautiful crystal sanctuary to rejoin the living, feeling peaceful, alive, and pretty kick ass.

The crawl back to the surface. *
Our team, victorious. Yeah, I cave, and wield a machete. *
Use what yo mamma gave you! *

We finished sweaty, THIRSTY, hungry, and oh so happy. Those spare burritos saved from lunch hit the spot so hard. We then went for a sunset swim in Blue Hole cenote where we bathed in the cool water, chased crawdads, and watched the fire beetles come out after dark to dance. Refreshing! An absolutely killer and memorable day.

Cenote bound! *
Cave woman!! *
* photos courtesey of Seamus and Oxy O’Malley. 😉

Spelunking San Ignacio: Actun Tunichil Muknal

Pulling myself away from the beach, I backtracked west towards the Guatemalan border in search of caves, a famous attraction in this part of Belize. The cave on top of everyone’s list is Actun Tunichil Muknal, the Cave of the Crystal Sepulcher commonly referred to as ATM. It is both the most popular and most expensive cave to visit ($170Bz). I booked a tour through my hotel (J&R Guest House) with a well-known tour guide, Carlos, who my friends recommended highly. Unfortunately he had to cancel and sent a replacement from Hun Chi’ik tours.

The morning, my group of ten drove one hour east from San Ignacio, hiked an easy 20 minutes from the parking lot, and entered the cave swimming in between tall cavern walls. We continued wading through water and walking over rocks moving from room to room. Most spaces we were in were very open and the scale of the place felt impressive. The walls of quartz made me think of my Grandma and the geology lessons and projects she used to give us as kids. ❤ Twice we had to navigate a tight space, but not often was there any true physical challenge (once, we climbed a ladder!). It is an accessible cave for most visitors.

The entrance, the deepest swimming you do in the whole cave. Most other places it is shallow enough to walk.
Source: Google Images
Grand formations inside.
Source: Google Images

One of the special things about ATM is that it was used by the Mayans as a ceremonial space and when it was discovered twenty-some years ago artifacts were left where they were found, making the cave a living museum. The Mayans believed the spirits of their ancestors dwelt in the caves and performed rituals including human sacrifice inside ATM in their honor. In the main chamber you see pots and crystallized human remains. The apex of the tour is a full skeleton that has been claimed by the crystals.

The famous Crystal Maiden.
Source: Google Images

The tour experience on the other hand I found to be quite gentled. ATM is the top cave tour in the region, one that everyone goes on, and it showed. I was shocked by how crowded the cave felt. We were inside from about 11am-1:30pm and were constantly bumping into or waiting on other tour groups. The pace felt slow. We wore protective helmets, headlamps, and reef shoes. My young guide seemed uncomfortable going off script and I found his source material (many Discovery Channel-esque tv special references) suspect. The principle information we got was there’s a big rock here, watch your head here. I’m an adult. I can figure out where to put my feet. And If I don’t come out of a cave without a few scrapes then I don’t feel I have been exploring, you know? I felt like it was a good tour, but somewhat unsatisfied. Was it really worth the trip?

The next day I visited Crystal Cave and it blew my mind. Bottom line: ATM is for tourists, Crystal is for adventurers.

Prying myself away from the Cayes

Caye Caulker was addictive beachy quicksand for me. Preparing for departure, it was like I had forgotten how to move. Every day from my hammock I watched people arrive off the water taxi, struggling with their luggage and trying to get settled. After staying put for two weeks the sensation of new arrival began to feel foreign. I got to know things so well I had a newbie guide prepared (pro tip: the fry jack stand is across from the bank and people go to the Split for sunset!). Constantly I saw the influx of new people around town and had my group of friends turn completely over three times. Even standing still nothing stays the same.

But with my backpack zipper repaired, I got the itch to move on. How to spend my final day? What tribute should I offer this lovely place? I took out my camera and snapped a few shots for the food blog post, treated myself to an internet cafe (INCREDIBLY expensive here, apparently due to a government monopoly that screws everyone), and acted like a local: went to the grade school to eat lunch at their Cultural Day fair. I tried the Garifuna dish: fried fish with spiced coconut milk and mashed plantains. I bought a new bottle of purple nail polish but was then talked out of a pedicure. I prepared for my next stop–ATM cave near San Ignacio–by procuring caving reef shoes and selling a pair of yellow crocks back to a Chinese grocery for cost. No day in Caye Caulker is complete without appreciating the sunset. Spent it at the Split with my friends, enjoying the view from our usual spot on top of the bar.

Sauntering down Front Street.
A classic Split sunset.
The regulars.
Oh my!
Source: Google Images

It was a blustery day, and it may not have been the best idea to wear my pleated black mini skirt, but it’s just so fun and swishy I couldn’t resist. There were a few Marilyn moments, but that’s all part of the fun, no?

The evening brought with it a brilliant full moon; whale sharks should be gathering off the coast of Placencia soon. It rose golden over the ocean as we ate a dinner of $1Bz wings and beer. That night I stayed in, swinging in a hammock and chatting the evening away. Among other things, I had my spelling corrected, was encouraged to swear more, garnered dating advice, listened to stories, tipped a cheeky Brit out of a hammock leading to another injury (I’m telling you people, for all their easy-goingness, hammocks are dangerous!), drank Belikin stout with cookies, had a memorable Star Trek discussion, and stayed up respectably quite late for a last night.

The water taxi porters just outside the hostel fence call out the departures every few hours, marking the course of the day like a call to prayer. “Belize City guys!” That’s my cue. See you later Caye Caulker, surely. It’s been grand.

Erin’s Caye Caulker food scene manifesto

Caye Caulker has felt more like a home than any other place on my journey yet. Something that surprised me: a thriving cheap food scene. And, as I would with any home town, I have the food beat down. It is of course small, but just big enough to give a medium-term traveler the perfect amount to wrap her head/mouth around. I was there for two weeks–that’s over 50 meals and snacks. And I have opinions. Take a deep breath; I hope you’re hungry. Here we go.

BREAKFAST

There are many excellent options for the budget traveler to start the day with. I’ll start with the classic and cliche Belizian delicacy, the fry jack. A savory fried dough stuffed with eggs, beans, cheese, ham, chicken, and any combination thereof, it is a filling and cheap ($2-4Bz; the exchange rate is $2Bz::$1USD) way to start the day. Many restaurants serve fry jack as a side like toast, but if you’re serious you need to head to Get Hooked Up, a bait and tackle stand that serves fry jack out of their back window in the morning. Join the cult. It’s on Middle Street across from the bank.

NOM!
Get hooked up with fry jack!

But say you get sick of fried dough. I did. My fave pre-dive breakfast: Glenda’s cinnamon rolls. Perfect for take away and just $1Bz each, so what if they are kind of wimpy? Two do the trick and keep you fueled through a morning of diving. If you want to kick it up many notches in deliciousness, get their breakfast sandwich ($7Bz), so worth it! Seriously. On the love child of a bun and a biscuit, it’s a tasty morsel with egg, fresh tomato, fried cured meat, melty processed cheese, and hot sauce. DELISH. Find Glenda’s on Back Street, one block past Sid’s. (Caye Caulker Bakery is another possibility for breads and pastries, but IMHO they are not as good.)

Glenda’s bakery.
Glenda’s breakfast sandwich, a mouthful of yum.

Another option, for a moderate step up in price, is Amor y Cafe. With a chill open-air coffee house feel, they serve up a tasty tomato and cream cheese on toasted multigrain toast-biscuit-bagel ($8Bz) and a good unsweetened ice tea ($3Bz). Yeah, I said it, MULTIGRAIN. Whoa…

An odd breakfast phenomena are the taco trucks ($1Bz corn, $1.50Bz flour) that come out early in the morning on the south part of Front Street. I’ve looked for them later in the day but they disappear. Haven’t tried too hard to track them down though, as I have heard rumors of food poisoning.

For all you health nuts, there are plentiful fruit and vegetable stands around the island. Fresh juice is the way to go (1L for $5Bz). I recommend pineapple, lime, or grapefruit. Stay away from the watermelon juice–it all tastes funny. Quality of produce does differ from stand to stand however. I found the stand next to Get Hooked Up to be consistently overripe on the border of going bad. My favorite was the stand just across from the basketball court.

Pick the pineapple juice!

LUNCH

Lunch tends to be significantly cheaper than dinner, so if you are on a budget I recommend eating out during the day and cooking at night. I preferred Belizian stewed chicken dishes because they were tasty and usually the cheapest plate meal. I always strayed from Front Street, which can be more than double the price than a comparable dish just a few blocks down on Middle.

Hot sauce galore.

Meldy’s on Middle Street serves a solid plate of stewed chicken with rice & beans and coleslaw ($7Bz). Watch out for the habanero pickled onion condiment on the table; not only is it way spicy but also inedibly overly salted. Use the ubiquitous Marie Sharp hot sauce instead.

Kitty-corner from Meldy’s, Sid’s is famous for their plate-o-fried chicken ($9Bz). A massive crispy half chicken with two sides, it is a huge and cheap meal good for lunch or dinner. I also had some pretty good conch fingers ($12Bz), but goodness-to-price wasn’t close to the fried chicken. Follow the signs to find them on Middle Street, mid-town.

On my first day in Caye Caulker, my friend Gina and I were walking town hunting for an early dinner. Everywhere seemed closed or way too expensive. Until we found a shabby looking house with a handwritten menu on a piece of cardboard posted outside. We wandered through the open front door into the living room and begged to be fed. Our hostess/cook looked at the pots on her stove and told us she had one dish ready. We enthusiastically agreed to whatever she was serving. I received a ginormous plate of hearty stewed chicken and meatballs ($8Bz). Gina got heart, liver, and a foot. We couldn’t decide which of us she liked more. On the way out, I asked what johnny cakes were (listed on her breakfast menu). She proceeded to give me a demonstration, make us a pack for take away, and would not accept any money. They are essentially breakfast sandwiches on a dense, dry biscuit. I was initially intrigued but later found they fell flat. (Could be excellent drenched in honey and butter though…) Still, I greatly appreciate her generosity and the gesture.

Knock knock? Feed us please!
Hungry Gina happily digging in.

Fast food Chinese restaurants litter downtown Caye Caulker. The one favored by my hostel mates was Pirates, across from Chang’s grocery on Middle. But I have to say, Chinese restaurants are not my pick in general. (Tyler, I hope we can still be friends!) Plus, no coleslaw!? In my book, coleslaw is a key component in a Belizian meal, lack of which is instant grounds for restaurant rejection. I do however respect their legit panko-breaded chicken fingers ($13Bz).

Going diving to Turneffe Atoll or Lighthouse Reef? You’re going to be gone all day and get lunch on the boat. Belize Dive Services provides a delicious sweet and spicy stewed chicken lunch. I asked if we could have second lunch on the ride back from Turneffe and kicked myself later when I realized I forgot to take home the leftovers.

SNACKS

What about happy hour snacks? Very important when day drinking at the Split. If you see a dude wheeling a cart down the street with industrial looking containers, 50% it’s construction supplies and 50% it’s tamales. Ask. On the street and at the Split you’ll find dudes with carts or coolers filled with tamales ($5Bz), beef patties (2 for $6Bz), curry chicken pies ($4Bz), cashews ($10Bz), or coconut tarts ($4Bz). Most of these I think are a rip-off. In Belmopan the same coconut tarts are sold at the bus station for $1Bz. $4-6Bz for a few bites? Come on! I can practically get a full plate of stew chicken for that. Unless you smile real pretty and bargain down to half price for the broken ones! 😉 (Pro tip: smiling real pretty AWAYS helps! As does saying please and thank you. Take it from a development professional.)

Another good spot: 88 Degrees West, the restaurant at the Belize Diving Services dive shop. Their food is high quality and, if you catch the right time, not too expensive. I recommend their Taco Tuesdays ($2Bz). I also had celebratory conch curry ($18Bz) there on my first day of dive class that was the best conch I had on the island. They also have a great blackened chicken sandwich ($20Bz). Wing Thursday is okay but the meat wasn’t as tender as it should be; after all this stewed chicken, I like my poultry falling off the bone please. Dry just doesn’t cut it.

DINNER 

For dinner, even though it is killer touristy, it is super way fun to do a barbeque crawl down Front Street. Saturday night is the night to do it; that’s when the most bbq outfits are set up and grilling for anyone who wants to come by for a bite. My friend Ryan was game enough to go halfsies with me and we did very well if I do say so myself. Our crawl began with a bbq chicken plate ($10Bz) from Otis and Paula’s bbq stand (only there on Saturday); I thought this was the tastiest bit of the lot.

Super delicious, plus a little toe action.
Mmmm… barbeque.

We moved on to bbq and spicy garlic shrimp skewers ($5Bz each) from a man up on Front Street near the Split whose sign says he is there “most days from lunch til dusk”. I saw him this one time in all of two weeks and I walked that drag constantly. But he serves up a tasty little morsel when you can find him.

Our third plate was the most disappointing: King Kabob. Don’t be fooled. He overmarkets himself and has a skimpy overcooked product. He charges an outrageous $10-15Bz for one skewer he has cooked the shit out of and pithy sides. His sign says “with vegetables!”. Yeah, that  means the two pieces of bell pepper on your lonely miserable single skewer. We had one lousy conch kabob. Apparently the key to conch is tenderizing it before cooking; I think he neglects this step because it was like eating an old tire. In the end, we had one last piece and no one wanted it. Sad face. Really his claim to fame is that he is devoted to being open for business always so gets customers who want bbq but have no other option; I give him props for this. Just don’t you be the one to take the bait and eat his overpriced unsatisfying food.

Rawr, conch!! Chewy to the max.
Watch out for this dude…
Even eating mediocre food is damn fun if you’re doing it on the end of a dock.

After sunsetting at the Split (of course), we finished the night off with the rest of our group at Fran’s “we do it with love” bbq stand. The grilled snapper ($20Bz) was the most challenging fish I have ever eaten in my life! Eating such a bony fish in the dark while drunk (complimentary rum punch = dangerous) took all of my concentration not to choke. The meat was good, but I had a severe lack of brain power to savor it. Whatever way you want to slice it though, I considered our crawl a fabulous success.

Grilled snapper and free-flowing rum punch.

Don’t want to walk and eat? Here’s a meal that is practically a bbq crawl in itself that comes to you. When my adopted tour group from the Split invited me to join them for dinner, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. We gluttonously feasted on a smorgasbord of grilled meat at Wish Willy ($30Bz) of shrimp, conch, snapper, pork, steak, chicken, and all the sides you could want. Also served with free-flowing rum punch, I must have eaten parts of a dozen different animals and they were all delicious.

Looking for someplace to impress a date? A charming spot a little different from the typical fare: Sandro’s Piccola Cucina. I split lamb shanks (decadent!), risotto, and penne amatriciana with a cute Scottish man from Aberdeen. Really a lovely place for a meal, especially with the right company.

Another unusual restaurant I would like to recommend is Freinds, serving Lebanese food. They are conveniently located mid Front Street, have good food at reasonable prices, yet their dining room always seem to be empty. We must change that, people! I had some killer babaghanoush ($7Bz) and a tasty falafel plate with hummus and tabbouleh ($10Bz). Nice to eat some fresh vegetables for a change.

Sports Bar is a fun option for trivia three nights a week. I had the cheapest thing on their menu: the hot dog with relish ($4Bz). My kick-ass team “I Can’t Belize it’s Not Butter” won first prize that night and knocked $30Bz from our bill, so I was pretty thrilled with my free hot dog and two beers. Now, how to make this into a real money-making venture…

Oh, and every single place that says it sells pizza by the slice doesn’t actually btw.

DO-IT-YOURSELF

Cooking for yourself is also an option, one that I favored to off-set the pricier dinner costs. Yuma’s has truly great kitchens and it was such a boon to be cooking for myself again. As I have mentioned, there are a handful of produce stands in downtown Caye Caulker, but you’ll find most of your pantry staples in the many Chinese groceries. They may all look similar, but in actuality have shockingly different inventories. Some specialize in cooking staples or spices, some have Latino or Asian flavors, beauty supplies, arts and crafts, gardening tools, computer accessories, etc. You can probably find whatever item you are looking for in one of the groceries if you look hard enough, but more often than not your request for a specialty item will be met with “try next shop!”.

Fresh fish is best either caught yourself (fishing poles are for rent and fishing tours happen daily) or purchased directly from a fisherman. Head to the docks in the afternoon and try to make friends; you should get a deal easy enough. In the off chance you’re unlucky there, head to the fish co-op near the power plant on Back Street.

DESSERT

Cake Lady doing her thang.

Have a sweet tooth? You’re in luck. The Cake Lady is roaming the streets from 3-9pm every day with a flat truck of, you guessed it, cakes. The first one I tried from her is by far my favorite: rum cake with a super sugary glaze ($4Bz). The coconut, chocolate coconut, and key lime pies are mediocre, as I think her other cakes might be too. She does have competition: a Cake Man who comes by earlier in the day selling pineapple cake, banana bread, and meat pies. I think his banana bread beats hers; it’s fluffier and more flavorful. He came by my hostel daily in the morning when it’s fresh and extra tempting. So I guess he counts as a possible breakfast option too! 😛

Coconut pie and PADI homework, not a bad combo.
Cake Man on his daily morning rounds past Yuma’s.

A somewhat socially sketch option that I did indulge in occasionally are bags of crazy sweet coconut fudge (more like a soft caramel sugar brittle) sold by young kids supposedly as a fundraiser for a school trip–leaving tomorrow!–that they never seem to go on…

Silly faces for ice cream!

But perhaps you need to cool off with your dessert. There are a number of ice cream stands in town. They all serve virtually the same menu, from the same ice cream maker, at the same price. I have yet to find one that is special. I mean, it’s ice cream, and it’s hot out so it is good, but not nearly as good as ice cream should be. Funny though that they are *always* out of flavors, even if you know they opened up a new tub of pistachio yesterday. Suspicious… And P.S. watch out for the rum cake at Lighthouse Ice cream. It may look moist, but there is actually shockingly little rum in it.

A menu with tons of flavors they never have in stock. I am in love with the poorly Photoshopped pic in the bottom right. Totally necessary because there aren’t *any* other pictures of kids eating ice cream ever.

LATE NIGHT

After dinner, you may take in a movie at the town’s Outdoor Cinema. If you do, I recommend bringing your own snacks as they do let in outside food (not drinks) and the popcorn they sell is crazy expensive ($6Bz).

For hanging back at the hostel, the nearby convinience store is open very late and has a good supply of frozen candy bars. In the tropics, as a chaser to my pineapple and rum juice dark chocolate Mounds bars ($2Bz) are my favorite! Cadbury dairy milk and Dove dark are close behind though.

Need a second-dinner bite while out dancing your butt off at Oceanside? There’s a solution right next door: hamburgers ($6-10Bz). Decent fast-food style, they’ve got all the hamburger bases covered and hit the spot late at night.

—————–

Whew, you made it through! There are of course a number of higher priced places targeted at tourists and other budget spots that I did not go to. Good luck, and enjoy getting to know the food of Caye Caulker for yourself!

A whole row of restaurants I never visited.

Exploring Caye Caulker’s quiet side

Not too many people branch out off the main drag of Caye Caulker, but biking the south end of the island makes for an excellent change of pace. We rented bikes ($5Bz for one hour, 10Bz all afternoon) from the shop just to the right of Cayeboard Connection on Front Street. They were the highest quality rental bikes I have seen in Central America. Full tires, a smooth ride, and my handle bars were tipped by metallic skulls with flaming red eyes. Sweet.

Off we go.

Tyler brought along a portable speaker, popped it in his basket with an iPhone, and played us a chill island soundtrack. We took a gentle path past the airport down to the south end of the island. Past a few beautiful secluded homes we found beautiful inlets, crab colonies, rickety docks, and beautifully blue yet far too shallow water. Conch shells littered people’s yards, making for prettier debris than old tires perhaps but with a more pungent smell.

“I think something died back here…”
On the side of the road. Who could be on the other end?
The 1:30pm flight from Belize City coming in for a landing.
 Kickin’ back on docks, blue as far as the eye can see.

Getting to the end doesn’t take as long as you would think; we made the whole loop in just over an hour and road down every path possible. On the way back to town we headed through the more populated back side of the island through local neighborhoods where chocolate bananas were sold from porches and there was a surprising amount of construction happening. I think Caye Caulker is on the rise…