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I’ll cut right to it: personally, I would not choose to be a digital nomad on Caye Caulker.
I’ve been living as a digital nomad in Latin America and Eastern Europe for three years now and have experienced tons of different cities and lifestyles, from small towns in Transylvania to major metropolises like Istanbul and Mexico City.
When I took a vacation on Caye Caulker, I loved the beauty and low-key vibe of the tiny community so much I considered coming back for a long-term stay on the Belizean Island.
But after some critical thought, I’ve decided that life as a digital nomad on Caye Caulker would be less than ideal, and these are all my reasons why.
Caye Caulker looks like an ideal workplace… but is it really?
1. It’s remote.
Sure, the ferry from Belize City to Caye Caulker only takes 45 minutes.
But it also costs 28 usd for the round trip. Which means you’re either splashing out almost $30 per person every time you want to leave or you’re stuck on the five-mile island every. single. day.
Then, when you do get to the mainland, you’re in Belize City which isn’t exactly the highlight of the country and you’ll have to spend time and money traveling beyond that to see the best that the country has to offer.
Caye Caulker is also close to Mexico, but our roundtrip from Chetumal to the island and back again cost almost $200 each. Yikes.
If you’re thinking about using Caye Caulker as a base to explore Belize and Mexico, it will be time-consuming and expensive to do so.
Our tiny house on Caye Caulker
2. It’s Expensive
Central America is significantly more expensive than in South America.
On top of that, Caye Caulker is an island, which drives up the cost of food and drinks, and it’s tiny, which drives up the cost of accommodation.
I’ve been a digital nomad for three years and I still rent almost exclusively on Airbnb – it’s just easier.
Unfortunately, the average monthly price for Caye Caulker apartments on Airbnb (entire place / 2 guests) is $3,500. We stayed in this adorable tiny house for five nights and the total stay with the extra fees, etc. came out to ~55 usd per night.
It was fab for vacation, but way too small to live in long-term. Plus when not on vacation, Dan and I try to spend closer to around 30 usd a night for our apartments.
Food and drink on Caye Caulker are also somewhat expensive.
Beers around $3 in bars and mixed drinks $5 to $10.
Cheap street food, like fry jacks and burritos, are $2 to $3 each. A chicken or curry meal in an average restaurant is about $8 and lobster starts around $12 (ok, that one is a good deal) when it’s in season.
Swimming is always free though!
If I’m not underwater, I don’t want to be outside on Caye Caulker
3. It’s Hot
Like, really hot.
The average high temp in Caye Caulker is between 80 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit / 26 to 32 degrees Celsius every single month of the year. Most places don’t have air conditioning and if they do, they will charge you extra to use it per day.
I loved the heat when I was vacationing on Caye Caulker and spending all day every day in the water. If I was stuck inside working on a computer all day, I’d be unhappy.
The island is fun, but so small that a long-term stay could start to feel a bit claustrophobic.
4. The tourist visa only grants you a 30-day stay
This is probably the biggest downfall of becoming a digital nomad on Caye Caulker.
The Belize tourist visa is free on arrival but only lasts 30 days, which is pretty short compared to other countries.
Most nearby countries, like Colombia and Argentina, allow up to 90 days and some awesome ones, like Mexico, give you six months! So, Belize is somewhat of an anomaly with this short tourist visa.
If you want to stay longer, you need to renew it every month and pay a $50 fee each time.
Besides all the cons listed above, I can’t deny that Caye Caulker is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been
How fast is the internet in Caye Caulker?
Right now the Nomad List says the average is 13 Mbps and various other articles around the web mention speeds closer to 4 Mbps on Caye Caulker and neighboring San Pedro in recent years.
The country is getting Fiber Optic network and internet speeds are quickly catching up with the rest of the world. In 2018 a 20 Mbps plan cost $85 usd per month.
So, the speed is somewhat there, it’s just a matter of making sure your Airbnb host has shelled out for this plan if you need it! Because let’s be real, odds are they’re going to save money and opt for the 5 Mbps plan instead 🙂
The Pros of Becoming a Digital Nomad on Caye Caulker
So, this article isn’t all negative. There are definitely some upsides to working as a digital nomad on Caye Caulker. Some of the most compelling to me are:
- Life is peaceful – This island only has 2,000 people after all
- It’s beautiful – It’s literally a picture-perfect island in pretty much every way
- It’s great for active travelers – Water sports dominate, so you can swim, fish, snorkel, dive, kitesurf, and sail to your heart’s content.
- English is a national language – If you speak it too, communication will be easy peasy.
- You’re in US timezones – Working with US companies or clients is super easy (and keeping in touch with family and friends at home is as well) compared with living in working in far-flung places like Eastern Europe or Southeast Asia
The closest we’ll ever come to the digital nomad stereotype – Dan was in the middle of an interview process on Caye Caulker and got some work done under the palms
So, is Caye Caulker a good place for digital nomads?
Personally, I’d say no.
After vacationing there, I would never go back and settle down for an extended period of time.
I do understand that everyone is different and you just may have different tastes than me, but you can get beaches as beautiful as Caye Caulker in places like Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and Cartagena, Colombia where there’s more to do, it’s easier to travel, prices are cheaper, and the visa length is longer.
Because of that, I don’t recommend becoming a digital nomad on Caye Caulker.
If you decide to drop by on vacation, though – which I wholeheartedly recommend – use the Caye Caulker Travel Guide to plan the perfect trip!
Ready to go?
This article is part of the Captivating Caye Caulker series. Read the rest below:
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