‘This mobile is for you – We’ve added $5 credit and our number – just in case you wish to make local calls or need to get in touch with us while you’re out’
Well that’s a first for us!
Welcome to Placencia!
This fishing village is well worth the bit of effort it takes to reach it. Its just a short flight from Belize City and a few hours by road via the lovely Hummingbird Highway and along a narrow peninsula. Actually that part of the trip was a surprise – the road was lined with holiday villas and some resort hotels (including one owned by Francis Ford Copula). It wasn’t what we’d anticipated and we were apprehensive to say the least by the time we reached the end of the peninsula. But we needn’t have worried – the village is lovely and there isn’t enough room for major development with the sea on one side and lagoon on the other. Not as busy as San Pedro, its nonetheless almost totally dependent on the tourist trade. There are plenty of restaurants, bars, shops and lodgings to suit every budget and a fabulous stretch of white beach to enjoy.
Out and About
Between the lagoon and the Caribbean there is the main street winding down towards the pier and a parallel boardwalk. Interspersed are palm trees and alleyways with colourful wooden buildings on stilts. And they LOVE colour! Nothing can be too bright or have too many shades! There’s no real centre and no landmarks or major sights that need to be ticked off – the most taxing decisions are based on where to eat and which company to book your snorkeling trip with!
(The sidewalk runs parallel to the main street – At one stage it was listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the narrowest street in the world)
Having been spoiled with the standard of accommodation on our trip, we weren’t sure about this one. Described as a bed and breakfast hotel with just 5 rooms, we reckoned it couldn’t hurt us for a few nights. The initial approach didn’t reassure – we seemed to wander through a maze of back lanes and alleyways before we spotted it.
And it was PERFECT – right on the beach with all 5 units overlooking the Caribbean. A beautifully kitted out apartment with a veranda on which I could have stayed forever. Breakfast on the roof, sunbeds and canoes, restaurants and shops within a stone’s throw – and the mobile phone! And of course it wasn’t hard to find at all – we were right in the middle of the village once we did our recon and got our bearings.
(I’m never leaving this chair!)
(Step off the veranda and look to the right…..)
(….and the left!)
(View from our breakfast terrace)
(Bikes are freely available should one feel the need for exercise!)
Food and Drink
There are too many places to work through in just a few days but with names like ‘Tipsy Tuna, Barefoot Beach Bar, Rumfish and Vino, and Pickled Parrot, you can guess that there’s an emphasis on great fish and cocktails! There are also coffee shops, an ice cream parlour and smoothie bar.
(Most restaurants combine open air seating with enclosed spaces. There’s something for all budgets – Omars has a BYOB option)
(A seaweed punch for me please!)
(Rum with everything!)
We arrived straight after Easter and lots of shops were closed for a few days having granted themselves a mini break. We couldn’t believe the place when we went for a walk on the Wednesday morning – buildings we hadn’t even noticed before were displaying colourful arts, crafts and jewellery. Street traders appeared from nowhere and spread their wares along the pier and sidewalks. It wasn’t for our benefit though – a cruise ship had docked! Seemingly they get a few each week and its big business for the village. It wasn’t just the shops that benefited – cafes and restaurants were also busy which we found surprising as we assumed that all meals would be included on board (we’ve obviously never been on a cruise!!)
(Plenty of Marie Sharpe’s sauce in the supermarket)
(Traders setting up at the pier)
There are some nature trips and cookery lessons but most activities are obviously water based. There is fishing, sea kayaking and sailing . The reef is further out here than in the north of the country so snorkeling and diving tours are a bit pricier but snorkeling is definitely the most popular activity and there are several tour options available.
(The beach is the main attraction in town)
You can expect to pay around $70 for a snorkelling trip to the nearest cayes. We opted for Laughing Bird Caye – about 40 minutes out. Boats hold 8-10 people and a guide accompanies the group. A bbq lunch is included and snorkelling is off the beach – both before and after lunch.
(There are plenty of tour companies down by the pier)
(Leaving Placencia on our trip)
(We passed some cayes that looked quite developed and busy)
(Laughing Bird Caye coming up!)
(A pelican perches on our boat – look at that water!!)
(Sunrise – Placencia beach)