Which Belizean island—Ambergris Caye or Caye Caulker—will you pick? Several islands, also known as caye’s, are situated right in front of Belize’s coastline. San Pedro (also called Ambergris Caye) and Caye Caulker are the most well-known islands.
Ambergris Caye or Caye Caulker?
Both of the cayes are amazing, which is the right response to this frequently asked question. Whether you select Ambergris Caye or Caye Caulker, you will have an AMAZING vacation.
They are both sandy cayes situated along the second-largest barrier reef in the world, which is the main similarity between them. They are only a few miles apart and both are in Belize.
You can go out and visit the Blue Hole from both cayes, so you won’t miss any of the water sports while staying on either island. Both cayes give you access to the reef, which is only a few hundred feet away.
But there are distinctions, and this list should make it easier for you to decide which is best for you.
Ambergris Caye or Caye Caulker: Main Difference
Bordering Mexico is the island of Ambergris Caye, also known as San Pedro after the island’s sole city. Despite what you might think, it is actually a peninsula rather than an island. From Belize City, it takes 1.5 hours by boat to get to Ambergris Caye. Tips for having fun on Ambergris Caye can be read here.
Caye Caulker is a tiny island that is only one kilometer wide and less than eight kilometers long. From Belize City, the boat ride takes about 45 minutes. Visit this page to read our Caye Caulker travel guide!
Compared to Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker is a tiny island. Although we have seen a few cars, golf carts are the most common mode of transportation on Ambergris Caye. On Caye Caulker, almost everything is accomplished on foot or by bicycle. Despite being so close to one another, the two islands are very different from one another.
The sea, the reef, and the stunning underwater world are three things that are equally beautiful on both islands. You can find the answers to the question of whether to choose Ambergris Caye or Caye Caulker below.
Traveling Facts to Ambergris Caye
With a population of between 15,000 and 20,000 people and a length of more than 25 miles, Ambergris Caye is the largest caye in terms of both area and population (by a wide margin!) from Belize
Accommodation: Hostels, hotels, rental homes, Airbnbs, and condos are all types of lodging. From the VERY popular beachfront Sandbar Hostel, Restaurant and Bar to the stunning Matachica Resort, there is a HUGE selection for all tastes and price ranges. Another option is to “glamp it” on a serene beachfront or check into a far-flung fly-fishing camp that can only be reached by boat. It’s a sizable island with an AMAZING variety of options for all kinds of travelers.
Tourists: While Ambergris Caye draws tourists of all ages, they tend to be a little bit older and American or Canadian. Ambergris Caye is the busiest tourist destination in Belize.
Hospitality: Want to try something new every night? Want to explore Ambergris Caye’s many over-the-water bars, restaurants, lounges, and bars while looking for live entertainment, unique cuisine, or later nightclubs? There are many options in Ambergris. There are many excellent places to eat, and Belize Food Tours is a fantastic way to learn about the local cuisine and some of the best places to experience it.
Fitness Center: While on vacation, you want to visit a CrossFit facility or a fitness center. Ambergris Caye offers a wide range of health center options.
Golf Carts: Most people consider using a golf cart to get around Ambergris Caye to be the best option. Depending on where you stay, you can rent a golf cart for a day or a week. It gives you the chance to visit locations like Secret Beach, the island’s deep south, and everywhere in between.
Top 5 Reasons For Ambergris Caye
- The most stunning resorts can be found on Ambergris Caye. It’s difficult to find smiliar level of luxury on Caye Caulker. That’s probably also the cause of the large number of families traveling to Ambergris Caye.
- Compared to Caye Caulker, Ambergris Caye is much larger. As a result, there are many more facilities available here, including sizable (Western) supermarkets, fitness centers, a clinic (even if you choose not to use it), a huge number of (fancy) restaurants, and even a variety of actual nightlife options.
- On Ambergris Caye, there are a lot of upscale (and pricey) dining establishments. The restaurant serves food from all over the world, and if your wallet is full, you can come here for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There are also plenty of restaurants on Caye Caulker, but they are typically not very upscale. Cheap prices and simple meals.
- Since Ambergris Caye is not a backpacker island, Caye Caulker is somewhat of one (without the bad parties). Don’t go to Caye Caulker if you are already annoyed by the thought of carrying a backpack.
- Okay, to be completely honest, we didn’t find the beaches to be that impressive. Many of them are laid out, and the sea suffers from tons of washed-up, rotting seaweed during some seasons. Real beaches can be found on Ambergris Caye, though. Contrast this with Caye Caulker, where there isn’t a beach. For us, this did not really matter because the Split in Caye Caulker gives you the impression that you are on the beach.
Traveling Facts to Caye Caulker
The smallest island, Caye Caulker, is only a few thousand people long and about 5 miles wide. Caye Caulker is incredibly charming because it has so many older-style Belizean homes, many of which are pastel-painted.
Even though renting a golf cart is an option, you won’t find many of them there. (In contrast to Ambergris Caye, where it is possible to get stuck in a golf cart traffic jam, especially during local schools’ lunch hours. Fortunately, it only lasts a short while.)
It is best to get around Caye Caulker on a bicycle or even on foot (shoes are optional).
Unlike many of the streets on Ambergris Caye, which are paved or cobblestoned, those in Caye Caulker are made of packed sand. In general, Caye Caulker offers lodging at a lower cost than Ambergris Caye. Hostels, guest houses, condominiums, and a few boutique hotels are available.
All ages of people travel to Caye Caulker, but the majority are younger and from abroad. Caye Caulker is very well-liked by backpackers from all over the world because of the lower prices. You’re just as likely to hear Dutch or Hebrew as English while enjoying the Split, a well-known bar and swimming area where the island was split in half years ago by a storm and with some human assistance.
You might feel as though you are familiar with everyone on the island after a few days! Due to the island’s size, you begin to notice the same couples or groups everywhere. Everyone gathers at Koko King Beach to socialize and watch the sunset over Iguana Reef. Caye Caulker quickly feels very familiar—in a good way!
GO SLOW is the island of Caye Caulker’s unofficial motto. You will see it all over Caye Caulker, and as you are driving down the main road, you might be reminded by a few rastas. It’s a way of life, not just a motto. It’s possible to unwind and take it easy on Caye Caulker.
There is no need to consider what to wear tonight (well, which tank top or sundress is clean), or which new restaurant to try. In Caye Caulker, wearing your bathing suit while walking down the main street is completely normal. It’s a place where you’ll be completely content to be reading on your balcony at 8 o’clock on a Tuesday night rather than out enjoying a cocktail at a lounge.
Top 5 Reasons For Caye Caulker
- Compared to Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker is a bit less expensive. You can tell this by the costs of lodging, dining out (we paid significantly less for lobster on Caye Caulker than in San Pedro), and activities like diving or flying over The Great Blue Hole. Are you searching for inexpensive food on Ambergris Caye? At the port, where prices are reasonable, a number of food trucks start operating in the evening.
- Caye Caulker is extremely small, measuring only 8 kilometers long. There are no real highways, automobiles, or resorts here. Everything is amazingly compact, and you can get around on foot everywhere.
- The average age of visitors to Caye Caulker is a little bit lower.
- Caye Caulker is a tiny island with only a few laid-back bars, a lot of hammocks, and pleasant music. There isn’t much to do, making it ideal for relaxing. However, this does not imply that there is nothing to do!
- Caye Caulker is primarily a tourist island, but the Caribbean vibe is much more noticeable. There are large barbecues, football tournaments from the neighborhood school, and easy opportunities to engage in conversation with locals on the streets. On Ambergris Caye, this is undoubtedly also feasible, but to us, it seemed much more difficult. This island emphasized the wealthy (American) tourist more.
Ambergris Caye or Caye Caulker: Conclusion
When it comes to providing a fantastic vacation, these two Caribbean islands are both capable of packing a punch. The main differences between the two locations are the size and vibe, but since they are so close to one another, there is no advantage to picking one over the other in terms of climate.
Maybe Caye Caulker is a better option if you’re looking for a super-chill backpacker vibe and a laid-back pace of life. The Ambergris Caye should be more suitable for you if you would rather have a little more going on and more options for bars, restaurants, resorts, and nightlife.
No matter where you go, make sure to bring your flip-flops, sunscreen, and a set of snorkeling gear so you can unwind and enjoy the Caribbean culture. To enjoy your leisurely and laid-back Caribbean vacation, take it easy and slowly.
If you’re still having trouble deciding, why not divide your time between the two? Spend a few days unwinding on Ambergris, getting away from your busy life, and then take the derry across to Caye Caulker to relax and soak up the laid-back atmosphere of the region.