Are you located north or south of town? Near the bridge?
We are located north of the center of San Pedro; but, south of the bridge. We are in a quiet, yet popular, part of town. There are a bunch of over the water bars and restaurants nearby; but, it takes only minutes to walk along the beach to the center of San Pedro Town where most of the restaurants, shops, tour operators, art galleries and street vendors are located.
How do we get to you? Airport? Water taxi?
There are two ways to get from the International airport on the mainland to San Pedro on Ambergris Caye: fly or take a water taxi. Depending on what time your flight arrives, sometimes it’s best to fly. You’ll need to allow at least an hour to clear customs and immigration. Flights leave from the international airport to San Pedro every hour and take about 20 minutes. You can make reservations on line or we will be happy to do it for you. Tropic Air and Maya Island Air are the two airlines flying here. The water taxis have irregular schedules; and usually they take an hour and a half to get here. (As of now, they don’t take reservations.) Right now, there are three competing water taxi services. The last one leaves Belize City at 6:00. The schedules change. In addition to the time clearing customs and immigration, you’ll need to allow 45 minutes to get to the pier from the airport. If your plane lands after 3PM, you probably are better off flying. Once here on Ambergris Caye, take a land taxi to us (5 minutes).
What about money?
Our exchange rate is $1USD equals $2BZDs. US dollars are accepted everywhere as long as they are in good condition. Credit cards are also accepted most everywhere. Travelers checks are accepted but not encouraged. If you use them, you will need to provide passport information for identification. Bank checks are rarely accepted. There are plenty of ATM’s on the island. You will receive Belize dollars.
What's included in the price? Do you allow children? How about pets?
Included in the fee is transportation to and from the San Pedro airstrip or water taxi pier, daily maid service, ac, wireless, cable, linens, soap and shampoo, concierge services and a few welcoming drinks. Yes, we allow children; but, they must be supervised at all times by parents or guardians. There is no charge for infants under three. As for pets, we have a security dog on the premises; and therefore, we only allow pets confined to carriers. Please remember that most people are here to escape their families and their other responsibilities.
What are your hours?
Officially, we are open from 7AM to 7PM, Monday to Friday. 9AM to 7PM on the weekends. Unofficially, we are sometimes late for work or we leave early. If you will be arriving earlier or later, please let us know.
Do you offer long term rentals?
Yes and no. It is possible to rent a villa.The casitas and classics are not available for long term rentals at this time. The one bedroom villas are available for $5000.00US/month. The two bedroom villas are $7500.00US/month.
Do you have a restaurant?
Better than that. We have dozens to choose from – all within a short stroll along the beach. We are so conveniently located that walking barefoot in the sand, if I don’t stop to talk or admire the view, suddenly I’m in front of Hurricane’s, Wayo’s, Sandy Toes, the Palapa, Estel’s, Caliente, Caprice, Wild Mango”s, El Fogon, Elvis or Blue Water Grill. It’s a tough life.
Do you offer water sports on site?
That depends on the sport. We have boats on our dock to take guests snorkeling or fishing or exploring. You can swim from the dock or wade into the water from the beach. Friends rent paddle boards and kayaks if you want some exercise. The beach in front of Caye Casa and at the end of our pier is sandy surrounded by sea grass. Swimming is great in the sandy area. The sea grass is the nursery for fish and lobster and other good creatures, so we try to keep it as undisturbed as possible. You can snorkel there; however, it is not anywhere near as exciting as a 15 minute boat trip to the Hol Chan Marine Reserve on the Belize Barrier Reef where the snorkeling is fantastic. We’d be happy to arrange a trip there for you. You’ll be picked up at the end of our dock. Its fantastic to be able to swim beside the turtles and giant groupers and schools of jacks while trying to remember all the different kinds of corals.
Do you arrange tours to the mainland?
Absolutely. There are a number of wonderful tours which leave from here for day long excursions to Mayan ruins, cave tubing , zip lining, visiting the zoo, birding or horseback riding! We call and you’ll be picked up at our pier. Most include breakfast, lunch and a few beverages. We recommend that you wait until you arrive to book. It’s easy to do.
How about scuba diving? Can you help me with that?
Yes, of course, we’d be happy to help. A half dozen dive operators are located within a few blocks. All of them will come to our dock to pick you up. If you aren’t certified, they offer courses or you can even take a resort course to see if you like scuba. Belize offers some of the best diving in the world. There are literally hundreds of dive sites along the Belize Barrier Reef which is less than a half mile from Caye Casa. Ship wrecks. Canyons. Gorgeous coral. Yesterday, on the way home, some of my guests were entertained by a school of dolphins. Also, don’t forget, Belize is home to the Blue Hole (made famous by Jacques Cousteau) which is sort of a diver’s holy grail. Trips go there regularly and we’ll be happy to arrange one for you.
How's the fishing?
The fly fishing on Ambergris Caye is world famous. Deep sea fishing is also popular as is just regular trawling or “drop” fishing. Some of the best fly fishing guides on the island are a half block away. Many are booked years in advance – depending on the season.
Can we swim, snorkel out to the reef?
Yes, but I wouldn’t do it – primarily because ½ mile looks closer than it is; and, also because of all the boat traffic. It’s easy to hire a boat to get you there.
Can we rent a boat for ourselves?
No. The waters around the island and in the nation are tricky – filled with coral or limestone outcroppings. It’s easy to rent a boat with an experienced captain. We have one out front on our dock.
Where can I sunbathe?
You can sunbathe on a chaise in the beach out front of Caye Casa or drag it across the sand to the waters edge. Don’t forget sunscreen. Sometimes – most times – the ocean breeze makes you feel like the sun isn’t strong. It is. Combine the breeze with the reflection of the sun off the water… It’s heavenly. Particularly in February.
What about sightseeing?
Our island, Ambergris Caye, is nearly 28 miles long. San Pedro sits about 7 miles from the southern end. Traveling south, there is a paved road (cobble stones mostly) part of the way to the south; and a good sandy road for the rest of the trip – all the way to the Marco Gonzales Maya Ruin. Going north, over the bridge, the road is newly paved. Golf carts and bikes are a great way to explore. Since the beach and the docks belong to the Queen (we’re part of the Commonwealth – like Canada), anyone has access during the day to both. It’s fun to bike along the beach where you can see the fronts of the mega resorts and swim when the spirit moves you. Don’t forget to take water because many of the resorts won’t allow local non-guests. It’s also fun to discover “secret beach” which is best reached by golf cart. Located on the lagoon side of the island, it’s not a secret anymore. Tourists who stay north are isolated from the real San Pedro.
Do you have any particular advice for tourists?
Yes. Hustlers are in every country in the world. Unfortunately, we are no different. Here, they appear as friendly, charming people selling tours or carvings. Other than being annoying, most are fine. HOWEVER
If you are talked into a tour, make sure the guide has a tour guide license. It’s our way of keeping you safe.
Adorable children offer bracelets etc for sale all year round. They should be in school. The clever ones have learned to tell you the money will go for books or shoes. Think child trafficking.
A good rule: if you wouldn’t buy it, do it, or consider it at home, don’t do it here.
Can I rent a car? Do you rent golf carts? What about bikes?
You can rent a golf cart or a bike! Golf carts rent for about $50/day and bikes for about $10/day. There are cars and trucks on the island but no one is sure why. They can’t ever get out of first gear and they rust in the salt air! Bikes are fun, particularly, if you like to look at beachfront private homes or the huge isolated resorts (which could be anywhere in the world) because, unlike golf carts or cars, bikes can be ridden on the beach. However, the beach in front of Caye Casa is the last remaining part of the island accessible to golf carts.
How far away are the grocery stores?
Directly behind Caye Casa is a fruit and vegetable stand. Before you get to that stand, there is a grocery store which sells beer, some wine and food; and, if you keep on walking to the end of that block, there is a bakery. I try not to go that far. There are also some fine grocery stores and speciality wine and cheese shops in town. The Greenhouse and Premium Wines are near the town square; and, Wine de Vine is by the airstrip. I usually drive my golf cart to those places because it’s difficult to carry three bottles of wine, some cheese, a papaya and a few mangos. You could put your groceries in a taxi to Caye Casa and we’d put things in your room for you so you could continue exploring.
Do you have a bar?
It takes about the same amount of time to walk from our front steps to the ocean as it takes to walk to one of my favorite beach bars on the island – Wayo’s. After you stop there, if you can continue or want to, just down the beach are more bars and restaurants. If you prefer to drink at home, at Caye Casa, a local liquor store will deliver.
Where can I do laundry?
Our housekeepers will be happy to do your laundry after the resort laundry is finished. The price is 15US/load.
Do you have a fitness center? Do you have a spa?
Around the corner from Caye Casa is a fantastic fitness center called The Train Station. It’s two floors. Right beside Caye Casa on the beach is a small thatch covered palapa. Shirlene, the masseuse, offers the latest techniques and even couples massages. They’re heavenly.
What kind of electricity do you have? Should I bring my own hair dryer?
If you are from the United States or Canada, don’t worry about the electricity. If you’re visiting from Europe, you’ll need adapters. We have hair dryers for guests.
How big is San Pedro?
San Pedro Town is only about 4 square miles. The island of Ambergris Caye on which it is located is approximately 28 miles long and only a mile or so wide in most places. The population for the entire island is estimated to be around 28,000 people.
You speak English on the island, right?
Yes. English is the official language; but it is the second language for most of the population of Belize. First languages include: Spanish, Creole, Garifuna, 5 Maya dialects, German and Chinese.
What is the weather like?
There are two answers to that question – both supplied by good friends, #1. “There will be sun from all directions, followed by night with some stars, mostly above us. The following days will be just like that.” Ebbe Weile. #2. “The two seasons in Belize can be described either as the Wet or Dry season; the Hurricane or non-Hirricane season; the tourist season or slow season; or, air conditioning season or non-ac season.” Joanne Zore Buettner.
What makes Caye Casa so special?
Location. Location. Location. We’re close to town; yet far enough away to hear the birds in the morning and watch the blue herons fish during the day. We offer all the charm of San Pedro with the privacy of your own beach. You can choose from dozens of restaurants and bars – you’re not captive. Plus the old British Colonial design matched with timeless tropical touches create an incredible combination which reduces stress. Here you are an individual. Caye Casa offers all the amenities most people desire and provides you with the convenience you require – like running water, high speed internet, air conditioning, food, restaurants, bars, shopping. Sometimes I think we should eliminate the wifi so our guests can really make the world go away – just for a few days. Not to worry. This business runs on wifi and wonderful guests.
Julie Babcock was first exposed to the Belize bug on a visit in 1997. In 1998, she returned for a year to write the great American novel. She lived first in Corozal then in San Pedro. That one year quickly developed into five while she lived in Dangriga, on Tobacco Caye, and on Caye Caulker.
In 2003, Julie bought a two story concrete and wooden building on half of the present property. Still working at being discovered as a best-selling author, she lived upstairs while renting the downstairs to a few adventurous travellers. She called her new home: Caye Casa. In those days, people used a hand drawn ferry to cross to the northern part of the island. The coconut palm trees blocked the view of the reef from the second floor
In 2005, still not discovered, Julie bought the other half of this property where she built two casitas. She decorated them with welcoming thatch covered porches. She bought her first used golf cart – one of a handful on the island. There were no paved roads.
A year later, true to her background in Vermont as a more successful builder/developer than author, Julie tore down the original buildings and moved to one of the casitas. She established an office in the other casita while supervising the construction of the new Caye Casa. Her design reflected that she was seriously infected with the Belize bug.
When it reopened in November 2007, the two casitas were surrounded by four, two bedroom villas and two classic hotel rooms. Although Julie shares ownership with five others, one of her proudest moments occurred when she overheard two local women talking while admiring Caye Casa. One said to the other, “a woman built that.”
The palm trees no longer hide the view of the ocean and the reef. The pier was replaced after Hurricane Earl. There is a new bridge, some roads are paved, and there are a few more golf carts around; but, the thatch covered porches continue to welcome adventurous northerners. Caye Casa is still thriving.
Fatally infected by the Belize bug, Julie writes clever emails for the benefit of her sons and grandchildren. She inconspicuously manages the Caye Casa Boutique Hotel.