by Blake Burton
Tiny Belize sits in the middle of Central America, facing the Caribbean Sea. In late 2017, I visited an even tinier speck of land in Belize called Caye Caulker. Drawn to the island’s slogan of “Go Slow,” I was eager to take a break from a hectic life in the city and unwind in a tropical paradise.
Getting to Caye Caulker involves taking a water taxi from the marina at Belize City. Arriving at the dock, you are greeted by about a dozen pedicabs eager to take you to the tiny hotels & lodgings scattered around the island. It’s clear from the very beginning that this island enjoys a slower kind of lifestyle. There are no automobiles allowed on the island, aside from public service vehicles. Signs everywhere tout the “Go Slow” approach. It’s exactly what I’m looking for.
Early mornings are quiet, with tiny coffee shops pumping out delicious iced lattes and pastries to start your day off right. The locals hang out in the streets, conversing and laughing and dancing. In the middle of the island there is a break in the land, appropriately named “The Split” where a hurricane from decades before changed the landscape. It is here where you can enjoy a bucket of local beer for about $5 and relax in the water while you sit under a thatched hut. Before long, the music is pumping and there are dozens of backpackers and locals enjoying the perfect weather and cold drink specials.
Dinner is an equally informal affair. A restaurant on the western side of the island is merely a collection of picnic tables situated around a grill. Fresh lobster is the way to go, and the cook begins his work right next to us. A local boy arrives on a bicycle and shows the chef the contents of a black bag. It’s his daily catch and he wants to sell it to the restaurant. The chef asks me “you want to try some barracuda?” I promptly say yes, and the chef takes a portion of the boy’s catch and grills my barracuda steak to accompany my lobster. The beer keeps coming, and the sun goes down over the Caribbean as I take my sweet time feasting on fresh catch. After all, there’s no rush here.
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Blake Burton is a photographer and architect from Atlanta, GA specializing in long-form documentary projects and travel. You can view more of his work by visiting his website or Instagram @blakeburton