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Image by trip leader Marie McGrory

Catching Up with the Locals on Caye Caulker

Nat Geo student explorers spent five days in Caye Caulker during their trip to Belize, getting a chance to chat with some of the friendly locals. Read on to learn about life on the island through the eyes of its people—from tackling plastic pollution to world’s best gym class!

When we arrived in Caye Caulker, we instantly experienced a culture shock: after spending several days on the near deserted island that is Calabash Caye, the bright lights, vibrant colors, and abundance of people in Caye Caulker admittedly stunned the group. However, we quickly adjusted to our new home and looked forward to meeting the warm, welcoming people who live here.

This morning, a few of us popped into a local boutique and met 18-year-old Annabella, who told us about what school is like in Belize. She said that students often spend their gym class snorkeling, paddle boarding, and windsurfing! Annabella also goes fishing in her free time, and told us that sometimes the fish she catches have plastic in their stomachs.

Image by trip leader Marie McGrory

We also met the boutique owner, Minnelli. She grew up in Caye Caulker and only left to go to university on the mainland. She said she’s noticed a lot of change in the ocean over the years, with increasing amounts of plastic and sargassum washing up on the shores. Minelli tries to do her part to reduce the plastic problem by recycling what she can, utilizing reusable cutlery and dishes, and taking cloth bags to the grocery store.

From the little we’ve seen of Caye Caulker, this tiny island seems to us a treasure trove of captivating people, diverse cultures, and natural beauty. We can hardly wait to discover what lies ahead!