Caye Caulker, Belize: A remote worker’s dream

My first trip of 2017 was an incredible success.

For 35,000 miles on United, I booked a round-trip ticket to Belize City, just in time to escape some nasty weather in San Francisco.  I didn’t travel for all of December, so that I could focus on my health and fitness (more on that in a later post!), so I was really excited and anxious to leave the city.

I thought it would be a great idea to book a flight leaving at 12:50am Friday and landing around 9am Friday, but didn’t think it through.  Although getting a full Friday in Belize was great, a 12:50am Friday flight meant I’d have to stay up until 12:50am on Thursday to check-in and to (hopefully) upgrade to Economy Plus using my Silver Premier status.  Okay, I probably didn’t have to, but I am pretty neurotic about checking in for my flights exactly 24 hours before I depart.  Fortunately, not only was able to land Economy Plus on my flight from SFO to Houston, but was upgraded to business class on my flight from Houston to Belize City, which was a great way to start the trip.

View flying into Belize City

I had visited Belize in 2008 on a cruise, but didn’t really get to experience. I became interested in going again when someone I followed on Instagram posted a picture from an idyllic beach with his laptop and the hashtag #remotework.  I knew I had to go there.

From the Belize City Airport, you can either fly to Caye Caulker (around $89 one-way for a 10 minute trip) or take a water taxi, and I chose the latter.  It was a $25 cab ride to get from the airport to the water taxi station, which is easy to arrange from inside the airport (a lot of visitors do this).

All of the hammocks

Something that is really cool about Belize is that they accept USD everywhere, and their money is pegged to the U.S. dollar ($1 Belize dollar = $2 USD). In Belize, you can pay for things in USD and receive Belize dollars in change, although it usually doesn’t work the other way around.

In any event, it was about a 15-minute ride to the water taxi, where I purchased a roughly $20 round-trip ticket.  The water taxi station was hot, with not a lot of air-conditioning, but coming from cold San Francisco, I enjoyed it a bit.  The boat itself was a bit cramped, both with tourists going to Caye Caulker and the more populated Ambergris Caye (home to San Pedro), and with locals.

After about 30 minutes, I arrived in Caye Caulker, and my first view when I got off the boat was this.


I knew right then and there that I made a good choice in picking Caye Caulker.

I booked 5 nights through Airbnb at a hotel called OASI, run by a wonderful woman named Luciana. The price was reasonable (less than $100 per night), I had an entire floor to myself, a hammock, great WiFi, a huge kitchen, a beautiful pool, and free access to bikes to use.

View from my hammock

Note that in Caye Caulker, there aren’t really roads or cars (except those working on construction).  Instead, the “taxi” system is golf carts which are $5 Belize dollars/$2.50 USD per ride, but, really, everyone bikes everywhere.  The island has only 3 streets running from east to west, so it’s really hard to get lost, even with little sense of direction.


The weather was absolutely perfect during my time there.  It was sunny (minus one day of showers), it wasn’t humid, and there was a really great breeze. It was exactly what I needed.

My days in Caye Caulker were pretty regimented.  I would wake up naturally (around 10am), and made breakfast.  I’d then get ready slowly, hop on my bike, and go explore.  But really, exploring just meant plopping down on the beach in front of Margarita Mike’s, where, if you ordered a drink, you’d have access to their free WiFi.  I would grab lunch, tan some more, and by around 4pm, head back to my pad so I could get some work done.

Beach near Margarita Mike’s

January is a tricky time to plan travel if you’re running your own business, as business is usually picking up after a December slump around then.  So, even though I was on a tropical island getting a ton of work coming my way, I was thrilled about it, since my December had been a bit slow.  Aside from that, having lived on Guam for 2 years, I learned how to get work done while being on a gorgeous tropical island (not a bad skill to have).


I decided that I had to take a tour out to the reef, since the Belize Barrier Reef is the second largest in the world.  Although I am SCUBA certified, I am a little rusty, so I didn’t feel comfortable tackling the Belize Blue Hole yet, and hope to go back to do it.  But the snorkel tour I did take, which I did through Caveman Snorkeling Tours, was incredible.  I did the afternoon tour, which cost $35 USD, lasted 3 hours, and had 8 people on a fairly small boat.

One of my favorite parts of the trip was going snorkeling in Shark Ray Alley, which is exactly like it sounds – you are swimming with nurse sharks and rays, in the most amazing turquoise water.

Some of the nurse sharks from the boat

Something I really loved about Caye Caulker was its animal shelter.  Across from Margarita Mike’s is the Caye Caulker Animal Shelter, where you can walk in any day to play with the dogs, walk them, and you can even take one with you for the day, the weekend, or forever.  I thought this was an incredible idea, and, as a dog lover, I had to stop by.

Me in a puppy pile (my shorts at the bottom)

I opened the gate, with nowhere there except DOGS. EVERYWHERE.  I was in heaven.  About 5 minutes into my petting every single puppy I could get my hands on, Kenny introduced himself, and we spoke for about 10 minutes about his work.  He was saying how passionate he was about the dogs, how he took them to the vet to make sure they were okay, and tried to convince me to adopt (I wish I could have).

Another great activity is spending time at the Lazy Lizard, a bar at the location where the island splits into two.  This is the most touristy place on the island (there are no resorts or anything like that), but even there the food and drinks were reasonably priced.

View from the Lazy Lizard

One benefit of working remotely from Caye Caulker, aside from the weather and beautiful, is the time zone.  Caye Caulker was on Central Time, which made it really easy to work with my clients in California, particularly as I am a night person.  Cell service was pretty poor, but aside from that, the WiFi and other infrastructure was perfect for me, and allowed me to complete a lot of work, while enjoying the comforts of tropical paradise.



Flight Review: United Airlines 737-800 Business Class | Houston to Belize City

Being a new United MileagePlus Premier Silver member, I was excited to take my first trip of 2017.

I had an approximately 7 hour flight ahead of me, starting at SFO, connecting in Houston (IAH), and ending up in Belize City (BZE). When I checked in at 12:50am (for some reason, I thought this red-eye flight was a great idea when I booked the trip), I saw that only 2 seats in Business Class and 4 seats in Economy Plus were reserved for the second leg of my journey, from Houston to Belize. I figured my chances of an upgrade were high, but was surprised that my upgrade had been confirmed by the time I woke up.

The view from my seat, as we prepare to leave Houston

Though the official flying time was only 2 hours and 28 minutes, I really enjoyed this flight. The plane, including Business Class, was only half full. After being upgraded, I had to call United to switch my seat, and I was able to select seat 2A – a window seat with no one sat next to me (and I crossed my fingers that it would stay this way). Coming off a red-eye from San Francisco where there was a screaming baby and a middle-seat armrest hogger, I really enjoyed the extra space on my Belize City flight.

That aside, this was one of the more enjoyable Business Class experiences that I’ve had on United in a while. The seat was very comfortable, and the crew was very friendly. I was greeted with a welcome drink (I picked my standard, a Bloody Mary), and there was plenty of space overhead for my carry-on luggage.

There were some amazing clouds the entire flight

There was a seatback  DirecTV system, making it so you could watch a lot of shows during the flight (including sports, news, and comedies). This was exciting enough, as I have taken a lot of United flights lately that have only “personal device entertainment” (which, in my experience, often is glitchy and/or does not work). Halfway through the flight, there was an announcement that many of the channels would no longer available as we left the U.S., but we were still left with a good selection of movies, which definitely made the flight go quicker.

Probably my favorite part of the flight was the meal service.

Fiesta scramble with a cinnamon bun, sausage, and biscuit

I wasn’t just hungry by the time meal service came around, I was straight-up hangry. They gave me an option of a fiesta scramble or french toast, and I went with the scramble because I’m trying to eat more protein so that I can become more swole. The food was so delicious. I destroyed the fiesta scramble and chicken sausage, and then I had 2 glorious pieces of bread awaiting my consumption. The first was a near perfect cinnamon bun, full of sticky, gooey, deliciousness.  I destroyed it. Next was the cheesy biscuit, which, really, was the most delicious thing I had eaten in a while – for real. I mean, it was the perfect texture, perfect warmth, the perfect everything. I’m hungry right now just thinking about it. But I digress.

After breakfast, the flight attendants distributed customs forms. These were a bit longer than I was used to filling out, but being so full and happy, I easily made it through this menial task.


Shortly after filling out the paperwork, we began our descent. I opened up my window and saw my first view of Belize and it was incredible.


When we landed, passengers could exit in the front or out the back of the airplane. To exit the plane, you go down a staircase, which puts you on the ground next to the plane. I was the third one off, but managed to be the first in line at customs (which was helpful, as I needed to make a tight connection).

Overall, this was a very enjoyable flight, and I am hoping to be upgraded on my flight back!