About Caye Caulker
Caye Caulker, Belize in brief….
Recent history of Caye Caulker began when Mestizo refugees from the Mexican Caste Wars arrived. The area that became the village on Caye Caulker was formally purchased by Luciano Reyes around 1870. Lots were sold to other families, most of which still have descendants on the island today. The influence of these families is still very apparent.
Large scale lobster fisheries arose in the 1920’s, when the lobster trap was introduced to the caye by Canadian Captain Cook and modified for use with the spiny lobster by Marcial Alamina. In 1960 the Northern Fishermen’s Co-operative Society Ltd. was formed with thirty plus members including some women, which allowed fishermen to export both fish and lobster, eliminating the middleman. Due to its great success, the cooperative became a model for other cooperatives in Belize.
Fishing continues to be an important industry, but tourism has gradually become an important force on the caye as well. Since the 60’s and 70’s, when small numbers of hippies found their way to the caye, tourism has grown each year and many islanders now also operate restaurants, hotels, or other businesses in the tourism industry.
Despite the growth of tourism, Caye Caulker remains a small village with a distinct cultural flavor not necessarily found in large-scale tourist development. Almost all the businesses are locally owned, vehicles larger than golf carts almost never roam the streets, and lodging is small scale and relatively inexpensive compared to many other tourist destinations. We prefer to keep it this way. We frown upon large-scale development and focus upon the preservation of our unique heritage.
March – Fishing Tournament sponsored by the Caye Caulker Tour Guide Association
Easter – Caye Caulker is a popular destination for Belizeans celebrating Easter.Religious activities include the Stations of the Cross, Good Friday services and Easter Masses. Secularactivities include dances, games and the Easter Regatta (sailboat, motorboat, canoe and wind surf races)
June – July – Lobster Fest – Caye Caulker’s lobster fishing success is celebrated each year after the lobster season re-opens on June 15th.
August – Our Lady of the Ascension – August 15 is our Patron Saint Day with a Church procession around the village and Village Fair sponsored by the School Teachers
September Celebrations – National celebrations begin with the 10th of September, St. George’s Caye Day, and culminate in Independence Day on the 21st. The season of celebrations includes parades with float contests, queen contests, Children’s Day, dances, and fireworks.
November – Garifuna Settlement Day – November 19th is the Re-enactment of the Garifuna Arrival to the shores of Belize includes Garifuna Mass, Drumming and Dancing
Christmas and New Year – Our Lady of Guadalupe Celebrations, School Christmas Program and one of the busiest times for tourism businesses,Christmas and New Years are celebrated here with religious services, seculardances and fireworks.
The Caye Caulker Marine Reserve includes the turtle grass lagoon adjacent to the Caye Caulker Forest Reserve and the Belize Barrier Reef that runs parallel to the entire Caye, extending approximately a mile beyond the reef. This area has been used for snorkeling, scuba diving and sport fishing for some time. The Reserves are co-managed by the Forest and Marine Reserves Association of Caye Caulker (FAMRACC), an NGO composed of community representatives formed for this purpose, along with the Fisheries Department. An excellent museum of reef ecology can be seen in the Belize Marine Terminal. Here are some scenes to show you the spectacular beauty to be found in the Caye Caulker Marine Reserve.
The Caye Caulker Forest Reserve, the northernmost 100 acres of the island, was declared in May of 1998 and co-management agreement signed between the Forest Department and FAMRACC (Forest and Marine Reserves Association of Caye Caulker) on May 14, 2001. Thanks to the volunteer efforts of Trekforce, technical support from the Forest and Fisheries Departments, and financial support from Coastal Zone Management Authority/Institute, a Reserve Headquarters building was built during July and August of 2001. The building will serve as a visitor center, staff residence and research center for both the Caye Caulker Forest and Marine Reserves. Caye Caulker is grateful to the 23 Trekforce volunteers who camped at the site for six weeks and turned a tangled mess of hurricane damage into a beautiful picnic area, a great site for a picnic lunch during a snorkelling trip to the reef.
The littoral forest is home to many birds, including some birds rarely seen elsewhere, such as the white-crowned pigeon, rufus-necked rail and black catbird. Some birds remain year round, but many are transients that pass through in the Spring and/or Fall or spend the winter here. Mangrove warblers (shown here) can be seen flitting around in the mangrove all year long.