Monday, October 1, 2012

Placencia and Laughing Bird Caye - Part 1

For those of you who don't know, Placencia is the last village at the end of a skinny peninsula in southern Belize.

If you look at this map right here you can see the area that I live near - Pomona - on the Hummingbird Highway.

It took us about 2 1/2 hours to get down to Placencia.



 Once you turn off of the Southern Highway and start making your way down the peninsula, it feels like you're driving down Route 72 in New Jersey to get to Long Beach Island....That's what it feels like to me, anyway - a long stretch of road with pine trees on either side.

There are two main villages you pass through on your way down to Placencia - Maya Beach and Seine Bight. (This is where the pine trees seem to end and the palm trees start to be more prevalent.)

Maya Beach is much more upscale than Seine Bight - just check out this one new neighborhood called The Placencia

it gets better....

They have waterways through the neighborhood so you an just drive your boat in!


If it was finished, it would be a very impressive neighborhood, but it doesn't look like any work has been done in there since the last time I was in Placenia, about 8 or 9 months ago. 
I guess people aren't snatching up the lots as fast as the builder was hoping for.

I've never spent the night in Maya Beach, but it looks like there are a lot of nice places to stay - 

Jaguar Lanes Bowling!!
I might have to make my friend Kathy check it out with me when she comes to visit next year...

Seine Bight is the small, "local" village that you pass through after Maya Beach. This is where most of the Belizean people who live on the peninsula have their homes, and they're nothing fancy or over the top like the mansions in Maya Beach:

a large wooden house, what more do you need, really?

Again, I've never personally stayed in Seine Bight, but there are at least two nice resorts open for business,Blue Crab Resort, Nautical Inn, and I saw plenty of places to get some local Belizean food.

You enter Placencia after driving around the Placencia airstrip:

 I've never been able to get a decent picture from here because you aren't allowed to stop because I plane could come flying in and run right into you, so I borrowed this one from panaramio.com.
Still not a great picture - you can't see the water on the right hand side or behind you.

We parked in a lot that we usually park in and got a room at the first hotel that we stopped at, the SeaSpray Hotel
It's on the beach, close enough to walk to anywhere in town (but far enough away not to be bothered by the noise) and they have a good summer rate - $92bz ( $46us) for a room with a view of the sea, two beds, two fans, a refrigerator, cable tv, hot and cold water, a coffee maker, and wifi.

1st floor, right on the beach.

A little outside lounge area, complete with hammock.

The last time I was in Placencia was back in January of this year  - Just a quick Hello from Placencia - and I was complaining about the garbage and the sea grass. I must have been down there after a storm or something, because that's when litter in the sea seems to get really bad in this country. (It comes in from Honduras.... murder capital of the world)

It wasn't so bad this time, though - there's still seagrass washed up on the beach, but only a few pieces of trash were mixed in with it, and the sea was still clear, warm, and beautiful.

dried up seagrass

perfectly clear water

Quick fun fact, Placencia claims to have the the longest sidewalk in the world

and this is part of it.

After checking into the hotel we walked down the sidewalk and cut over to the main road to have lunch at one of the new bars, The Purple Space Monkey Bar and Grill

I've been seeing signs for this place for at least a year, I'm so happy they're finally open!

Large, open air dining room

stocked bar with large, flat screen tv

I'm pretty sure they have bands play there in front of the Marley painting during busy season

The food and drinks were good, too. (A little pricey on the drink menu, in my opinion - $12bz for a rum punch? Hmm.)

a frozen Hibiscus Margarita

a Hemingway Margarita

a Sex on da Beach

Trip's $12 Rum Punch and Medianoche Cubano
Cuban marinated and roasted pork loin, sliced ham, pickles and yellow mustard

Mmmm, my Shrimp Tempura Sushi
(Thank you, Purple Space Monkey - I've been craving sushi!!)

At night we had dinner and drinks at the Barefoot Bar, which is always a good time.

The Steak Sandwich special...
Maybe I'm picky since I'm from Philly and Philly has the best steak sandwiches ever... but this was more like a chewy hamburger patty on a fairly decent bun. The salad was excellent.

 The Stewed Chicken Quesidilla
A little plain, but not bad.

We went for a short walk to meet our boat captain for the next day's trip out to Laughing Bird Caye, which I'll post about next.
For now, here are some random pictures of things in Placencia

tourism center

a very cute gift store, the Placencia Bazaar

their fence

a new tapas bar - De Barcelona

the shabby Social Security Office and Post Office

Omar's Creole Grub
This place must be good because it's always PACKED for dinner.

another little gift shop, and Placencia Ice Cream

coffee shop and farmer's market

I think these signs around town are new, I don't remember seeing them before

another new place - Stone Cold Daquires... 
we stopped for some strawberry ones on our way to meet the captain

My feet, chillin with a palm tree.

the full moon over the water....
which my camera turned into a star.

I always have such a good time in Placencia - especially this time of year. Almost half of all the business were closed for the slow season, and more of them are shutting down for the first few weeks of October, but there was still plenty to do and hardly any noise or traffic to ruin the mellow feel of the place. It's like a mainland Caye Caulker.

Here's a list of 10 Things to do in Placencia, Belize (other than eat and drink) from globotreks.com.









6 comments:

  1. We stayed in that same room at the Sea Spray when we were in Placencia in July! We enjoy Placencia too. Even in January, it was so much less busy than San Pedro. By the way, the rum punches are only $4 BZ at DeTatch, right next door to the Sea Spray. Not huge, but the price is right. Stone Cold Daiquiris was not open when we were there, but we spent most of our time at Tutti-Frutti Gelato (twice in one day!) anyway... :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I must protest!!! The Placencia is NOT part of Maya Beach!!! It is it's own "neighbourhood" (albeit, a created one using dredged sand). Many people in Maya Beach thing that "The Placencia" or whatever the heck they are calling it now is ugly, pretentious and out-of-place in Belize. I think that if people want to recreate Miami they should have just stayed in Miama! Maya beach is an area that was surveyed and subdivided by 2 men way back in the 60s (or maybe the 70s). At first there were a few lots sold, a few houses built (but not planned houses like the Placencia) and a little bar and a little store opened, but for the most part a lot of building didn't occur until the 90s. Electricity came to Maya Beach only 14 years ago!

    ReplyDelete
  3. DeTatch was one of the places closed - we would've spent all of our time right there if they were open, haha!
    Did I say somewhere that Placencia is part of Maya Beach? I hope I didn't mess that up because I know better - it goes Maya Beach, Seine Bight, Placencia - three different villages, all very different from each other.

    I wish I had seen it when Corozal Dave was there and it was JUST a sleepy little fishing village with no road access... is there anywhere like that here anymore? Maybe down past PG?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah...too bad DeTatch was closed -- that was so incredibly convenient to the Sea Spray! Glad you had fun, though.

      Delete
    2. I meant that the development "The Placencia" with all those McMansions is not part of Maya Beach. THat's all.

      Delete
  4. Oooh, Im sorry - I totally misunderstood you. That obnoxious neighborhood isn't in Maya Beach? And THEY'RE the ones "building the airport" that has had zero progress lately?
    Who the heck owns that place?

    ReplyDelete