Recently we got a letter from some folks coming to the island this summer. They are planning on being on the island for seven days and asked for my advice for things to do. I started a reply back and realized it was a great story to share with everyone so I decided to share it with everyone.
This itinerary is designed to let a group (or couple) alternate between busy days and down days to relax. You could always add stuff on those down days but remember the sun down here can really burn you and wear you out so I would suggest considering my suggestions before making many changes.
As you review these suggestions keep in mind that music happens on the Caye Caulker every night so try to take advantage of that.
It is hard to get on the island before 2:00 pm, especially if you are going to take a water taxi. For that reason alone I would not try to plan any type of serious activity for this day. There are a couple of things that I would get taken care of on day one.
After you check in I would suggest you rent a bike for your week (if your hotel doesn't supply you one for free and many do). Bike is the best way to get around on the island on a daily basis. You can rent a bike for about $10 a day which also makes this form of transportation very affordable.
Please remember to lock your bikes any time you're not riding them. Bike's are the number one item stolen on the island and always because the bike was left unlocked.
This is the day I would explore the island and get in the water. I would highly recommend taking Peter's island tour. Peter is a local taxi driver that is just wonderful. His father is a Mayan Shaman, and Peter knows everything about everything. The tour lasts an hour and during the trip, he can give you some pointers on things to do and people to use. The trip costs $10 per person, and I think it is the best way to get an overview of our little place.
During Peter's tour, there will be a few things you will find to do including a great place on the lee side to swim. I would suggest getting in the ocean but be careful to keep the sunblock on so you don't start your trip with a sunburn that hurts for days.
Today is also a great day also to spend some time at the split and have a few drinks. The kids will love the split, especially the teenagers who will find a crowd of backpackers hanging out there to visit with.
While your on Peter's tour I would set up a snorkel trip. Peter can help you do that and get the "local" price at the same time. I would snorkel the reef on day 3 if you can because after doing it once you might realize (like we did) that once is not enough and want to do it again before you leave.
If you feel up for it (and your budget allows), I would eat at Habaneros on Sunday night. Habaneros has a very eclectic menu (not Mexican food like the name implies) and includes seafood. They are the most expensive place to eat on the island (probably $25 per person for a good meal). On Sunday night an amazing Cuban guitarist (Amaurys) plays starting at 7:00 and it makes for a great way to end the perfect day.
This is the day I would do the snorkel trip. You will start around 9:30 am and will go till about 4:30. You will stop at three or four locations and see stuff like sea turtles, stingrays, sharks, eels and so much more. On one of the stops, you will swim with sharks and rays and it will be an experience your kids will talk about forever (so will you).
Don't forget to take sun block with you and I suggest an extra shirt each that you can swim in just in case your back needs a break from the sun later in the day.
During the trip, you will also stop for lunch at San Pedro. This will give you a little feel of the island and help you decide if you want to invest one of your days hanging out there.
After you get back, I would go to dinner at Rainbow Grill. It is right on the water (on Front Street), great breeze and mid-range prices. I usually get whatever their special is for the day (I have never been disappointed).
Depending on energy level (and the amount of sun you have gotten) you might want to take it easy today. This may be a good day to travel around the island on your bikes and take pictures. If you decide to do this stop by our place (by the airport) and say hello during your travels.
For lunch, I would eat at one of the beach vendors. They are all amazing although we love Otis if he is cooking.
At the end of the day, I would go out on the sunset inner tube tour. "Anda wata" does this tour. It is about 90 minutes where they pull you around the island as you lounge in inner tubes and drink rum cocktails. Take a waterproof camera if you have one (if not stop by our place and borrow ours to take with).
This is the perfect day to do a mainland tour. I would suggest a Mayan ruin, Zipline and/or Cave Tubing tour. We have used Randy Jones with Ras Tours and just had a blast. You can reach him via email firstname.lastname@example.org Chat with him and he can put together any kind of tour for you.
Getting to the tour and back will all happen via the Water Taxi which is an adventure all itself.
I like leaving this day open to experience something you never expected. For me it is a second day to snorkel on the reef. For you it might be the perfect day to visit Ambergris Caye and check out San Pedro. If you decide to do this then I suggest renting a golf cart on that island for a few hours. It is way to big to explore on foot or bike.
Another possibility is to rent a Kayak and explore the island from the water around it. Kayaks are very affordable and are great to use.
Your last day and there are a few things you need to do.
Get up early and take some great pictures using the morning light. Our island is amazing in first thing in the morning and a great way to take some pics.
Remember to return your bikes so you don't have an unexpected charge waiting for you when you get home.