So you are going to Caye Caulker but you don’t know where to stay? Depending on your wallet size and travel style, there are countless accommodation alternatives on this sleepy island. If you are backpacking (traveling on a budget), there are two great hostels to choose from – Yuma’s and Bella’s. Decide which hostel is right for you.
Yuma’s House (Formerly Tina’s Backpacker’s Hostel) www.yumashousebelize.com/
Less than two years ago, Suzanne was living in New York City and desperately wanted a life changing opportunity, when a chance to own her own beachfront hostel practically fell right at her feet. It only took her a day to strike a deal with Tina (owner of Tina’s Backpacker’s Hostel) and she was on her way to starting a whole new life in the Caribbean. She bought, renovated and renamed Tina’s, changing its name to Yuma’s House in honour of her young son Yuma, who currently enjoys his new life near the water.
Yuma’s in a nutshell: Yuma’s is a quiet, artsy hostel conveniently located right on the beach between Caye Caulker’s two water-taxi docks. Without a doubt, the new owner Suzanne runs a very tight ship. A 24-hr no visitor policy and a quiet time period starting at 11pm are strictly enforced. For this reason Yuma’s is a very popular choice for divers in need of a solid night’s sleep before a long day on the water. Although Yuma’s receives guests of all ages, it will definitely appeal more to the relaxation seeker than to the booze thirsty party seeker. It is the perfect place to catch up on your long list of unanswered emails, complete a blog post, read the book you vowed to start at the beginning of your trip, or just lounge in one of the hammocks while listening to the waves which practically run into the front-yard garden.
There are 5 private rooms and 6 dorm rooms that are very basic and clean. Four of the five private rooms come with a double bed while one private has two single beds. All private rooms come with a fan but unlike dorm rooms, there are no in-room lockers. Privates ($28.50 USD/night), Dorms ($12.50 USD/night).
Safety at Yuma’s House: As mentioned, Yuma’s maintains a strict no-visitor policy and every night a security guard stays on the property to ensure that only paid guests enter the gates. Suzanne says that the no-visitor policy helps visitors to relax and trust that their belongings are safe from theft.
Facilities: Two clean kitchens equipped with pots, pans, cutlery and basic ingredients for cooking. In the front yard a barbecue grill overlooking the ocean can be used by guests upon request. There is FREE Wifi available but it can be quite slow when many people use it at the same time (hint: Skype has been blocked on Caye Caulker but some internet cafes on the island still manage to offer the service). In front of the hostel there is a private dock with two hammocks that swing peacefully over the blue water. Don’t forget to use the outdoor shower to wash off the sand before entering your room.
What I liked: The hostel was very clean, quiet, right on the beach, and very close to the water-taxi docks. I was confident that my bags where safe when I left the hostel. Feels more like a relaxed guest house than a typical hostel.
Bella’s Hostel Crocodile Street, Caye Caulker
Bella’s in a nutshell: Located at the end of Crocodile Street in Caye Caulker, Bella’s is the ‘party hostel’ on the island. Unlike Yuma’s, Bella’s literally has an open door policy – anyone can walk right into the big open gates. Many of the predominantly young guests say that they feel comfortable (‘right at home’) and they tend to get along well with Jeff (the owner of Bella’s) since he too is young and very laid back. Although Bella’s is a family run business, it is undeniably a social hostel where guests hang out, eat, drink, smoke, and party together well into the wee hours of the morning. If your sleep is in anyway affected by noise – Bella’s isn’t for you.
Safety at Bella’s: There is no security guard on site at Bella’s. Guests and non-guests alike come and go as they please. In the night when the music starts and the party gets going, it is common to see people from other hostels and locals from the island dropping by to take part in the festivities. Although private cabins have locks, dorms are basically left open and unguarded. Personally, I did not feel secure that my valuables were safe when I left the hostel.
Facilities: Like Yuma’s, Bella’s also has two communal kitchens and a charcoal bbq grill that can be used by all guests. At night, the kitchen area also doubles as an overflow room for drinkers and conversationalists from the adjacent common room. Wifi is available but I was told that there is a $5 BZD charge to get the Wifi password for the first time. Bicycles and canoes (yep canoes) are also available at no charge.
Dorm rooms in the downstairs section of the hostel are $7.50USD/night while dorms upstairs are $10USD/night. There is far less privacy in the downstairs dorm which is more of a chaotic open concept common area with a kitchen, television and beds than an actual dorm room. Private cabins start at $15 USD per person per night.