Caye Caulker is a small limestone coral island off the coast of Belize in the Caribbean Sea measuring about 5 miles (north to south) by less than 1 mile (east to west). The town on the island is known by the name Caye Caulker Village, though the correct name from old maps is Santa Elena. Some have said the island’s name is derived from the practice of caulking or sealing the seams in wooden boats to make them watertight, due to the high number of shipwrights on the island. “Caye Corker”, the alternative spelling of the name used by British cartographers, has largely fallen into disuse. This was a phonetic spelling which in older English was pronounced the same.
It is now generally agreed that the name was derived at a much earlier date from the Spanish name for the island “Cayo Hicaco”. This refers to the Hicaco plum which grows wild on the island and was gathered by Spanish seafarers to combat scurvy.
Caye Caulker is located approximately 20 miles (32 km) north-northeast of Belize City, and is accessible by high-speed water taxi or small plane. In recent years the island has become a popular destination for backpackers and other tourists. There are over 30 tiny hotels, and a number of restaurants and shops.