Laura Bute Photography

Caye Caulker and locally sourcing Marie Sharp’s

Some how our trip to Belize last year got lost in the shuffle and I never really followed up with any posts about it. Maybe it’s because we stayed in one place (as in, literally, one tiny island and the same accommodations) for the whole 10 days, or maybe it’s because we went with a big group so it felt a little more like a week-long beach party than the typical adventure-filled weeks jam-packed with about as much as we can fit into corporate America’s 2 week limitation on vacationing. What can I say, sometimes life happens and you forget about the little gems. So better late then never, right?


We stayed for a little over a week on this rastafarian island off the coast of Belize called Caye Caulker (pronounced “key”). The island was a scant two miles long and maybe 1 mile wide, which made an easy feat of learning your way around and getting to know the locals. The only mode of transportation was on foot, bike or golf cart, and the island’s motto of sorts is “Go slow!” The locals will shout this at tourists taking a morning run, or doing any kind of rushing around in general. We also figured out really quickly that this is not the place to wait until you are starving to grab a bite to eat. “Go Slow!” also applies to every kitchen on the damn island, so we adapted to moseying on to meals before we were finished digesting the last one.

A few of the island's locals, chillaxin' in the afternoon heat.

A few of the island’s locals, chillaxin’ in the afternoon heat.

What surprised me the most about Belize was the extent of the rich Caribbean culture. I typically forget about Belize as being Caribbean simply because it’s attached to Central America, just south of Mexico which is “Caribbean” in some respects but really has its own independent cultural flair unlike any other place. It’s sandwiched on the other side by Guatemala, a country that is also rich in culture but is not exactly a beacon of the Caribbean lifestyle.

A fruit stand that, at the moment, is almost more colorful than the fruit for sale.

A fruit stand that, at the moment, is almost more colorful than the fruit for sale.

So what did we do the whole time? First, that depends on who you ask. If you talk to my husband, the answer is “fishing.” If you talk to me, the answer is “mostly drinking” but we also snorkeled with sea turtles, kayaked around the whole island, tubed through a cave system with some dude named “Major Tom,” slept in hammocks and spent 9 lazy days getting good and bored while soaking up some good ‘ol fashioned fun in the sun. One of the best parts of Belize was the general ease of everything. They speak English so there wasn’t a language barrier to speak of, the accommodations were cheap (though you could spend more for the lap of luxury if you wanted to) and the flight was less than 3 hours from Dallas. You bet your ass that if cheap tickets pop up on my Airfare Watchdog alert, I’m long weekending it in this little slice of paradise again.

I don't know what it is about ship wrecks that I find so fascinating.

I don’t know what it is about ship wrecks that I find so fascinating.


Oh right, and then there was Marie Sharp’s habanero sauce. It’s like tabasco sauce but less vinegary, more delicious and it comes in I think about 11 different levels of spiciness, fromĀ mild to Beware. It was one of those things where it was so ubiquitous I didn’t realize how much I would miss it when we got home, and subsequently didn’t realize I should have brought a jug of it home with us. We get home, we polish off our lone, teeny tiny bottle promptly and so begins my search for landing some Marie Sharp’s in my cupboard again. Yes, you can find it online, but for some reason in every case the shipping costs as much or more than the little bottles of burn-your-face-off nectar cost themselves. I hit up every Latino grocery store in my immediate area but to no avail; I couldn’t find this stuff anywhere! Then me and (as chance would have it) one of my partners in crime from the trip were at the Dallas Farmer’s Market and happened upon this little Caribbean shop inside the shell that is indoors and guess what? They carry it! So, if any Dallasite out there is suffering from Marie Sharp’s withdrawal, you know where to find it. They are $4.25 per 5 oz bottle, and if you buy them out I will hunt you down and break your knees. You’re welcome.

Yes, it is a good thing I picked up two bottles or it would be gone already.

Yes, it is a good thing I picked up two bottles or it would be gone already.

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About Me

About me

After a photojournalism degree and a short stint as a lead photographer/photo editor at a news web site, I decided it was time to branch out on my own. I specialize in editorial food and travel photography but dabble in a little bit of everything.