Easter in the States tends to be a quiet holiday spent with family, focused on kids and involves eating ham. Let me start by stating this is not your American Easter here in Belize.
In Belize Easter has many faces and all wrap up to a true experience. Let me give you a Gringo's feel for the Easter holiday here on Caye Caulker and perhaps a recommendation or two if you are planning on visiting Belize during this time of year in the future.
It Is A Religious Holiday!?
Well, at least, Good Friday is. There is no alcohol sold on Good Friday and the day tends to be very quiet. For those of us that have been here in previous years, we know this is a calm before a huge damn storm. Most of the locals get a holiday on Good Friday, and it is very normal for them to spend the time with their families.
You will find Good Friday also is a day of rest for many restaurant owners. Some of the best restaurants on the island (Habaneros, Coconut Reef and Caribbean Colors to name a few) close on Friday and remain closed throughout the weekend (to avoid what many feel is chaos).
Like every good Catholic holiday there is always liquor involved.
A Tale Of Two Islands
The area near the "Split" turns into a huge adult party over Easter weekend. Latter I will outline some of the things you should know about that, but now let's focus on south of the "Sportsbar". When you get south of that area Easter on Caye Caulker is completely different. Activities tend to be aimed at kids and innocent fun. Many of the companies on the island sponsor events like an Easter Egg hunt, water balloon fights and sack races. If you're coming to the island over Easter and bringing young kids this is the area you want to hang around.
Welcome To Spring Break!
The local kids (Belizean students) all have the week before and after Easter off for their spring break. This means that locals from Belize City often take a vacation during this time of year and the easiest place to enjoy the sun and water is here on the Cayes. You will see a crowd of locals enjoying the "Split" here on Caye Caulker.
Why Do You Call It "The Breakin"?
Many local homeowners call this weekend "The Breakin." This is a bit of joke but also there is some truth in it. We all are much more security aware during this weekend, and many of the local inn operators become very careful about who they will rent to. If you are going to come here, I highly suggest you make sure your doors are locked at the end of the day or if you're away from your room. Also, many of the rentals on the island offer an in-room safe and I would suggest you look for places that do.
Consider Staying Away From The Split!
If you are going to come for Easter Weekend, consider booking a place on the south side of the island. Anything north of the Airport and south of the school would put you in an area that is pretty quiet at night but close enough that a five-minute bike ride gets you to the split.
Our one-bedroom apartment we rent out was rented six months before the holiday. Making a list minute decision to come to the island is possible, but you probably will have limited choices on where you will get to stay. If you want help finding a place just drop us a line and we can give you some suggestions based on what you are looking for.
This year it was easier to get on and off the island. The water taxi companies did a great job, so that means if you wait too long you could book a room in Belize City and come to the island.
I Want A Taxi!
Some of the taxi drivers stop running after 9:00 pm. The ones that continue will probably charge you a "late-night" fee that is double the normal fare. If you plan ahead, however, you can often make a relationship with a local taxi driver and be assured you will get that ride home you want. If you are coming to the island and need help with that just let us know and we will introduce you to our favorite taxi driver Peter.
The Split Is Loud
You will find the music is blasting as you near the split. There are three to four different companies playing music and all are trying to compete for your ears. This year there was also a concert on "North Caye" and it really brought the crowds in. There were water taxi's running back to Belize City late into the night (4:00 am)
Monday Is Recovery Day
Monday is a holiday for many and most of the locals use it as a day of recovery. You will find many of the restaurants are still closed and it may be harder to find a tour operating. Don't get me wrong there is still plenty to do on our island but you are still not seeing it at its best.
Don't Judge A Book By Its Cover!
If you decide to spend Easter here on the island, please don't judge our little piece of paradise by this weekend. Usually, this is a very simple and quite place but on Easter weekend, it is an entirely different situation.