I have been living in Belize for about five years now. I made my home base in Placencia, a laidback community in the southern part of Belize. And I chose this spot for good reason.
Placencia is known as the prettiest village in the country. It’s beautifully situated on a 16-mile peninsula that is mostly very skinny—in some places you can see the sparkling Caribbean on both sides of the one road into town. The whole way down, you’ll see an unbelievable mix of million-dollar beach homes, brightly colored boutique hotels, simple wood shacks on stilts, an authentic Central American village… And it ends in a funky, artistic, warm, and welcoming little village of 1,500 people—Placencia Village, at the southern tip of the peninsula.
Placencia is relaxed, known for being a rustic, simple paradise. There are lots of charming, open-air restaurants—Happy Hour is the craziest time of the day—and things close up rather early. There is a mix of young entrepreneurs and retired expats, enough tourists to keep it lively but not crowded, friendly locals, and plenty of happy beach dogs.
This past week, I experienced a very enjoyable—and typical—week of activities here. I spent Monday night playing “Name that Tune” at a friend’s bar, where about 80% of the patrons were expats and their dogs, catching up on the village gossip. The games are often run by charities that give back to causes in the village. This one took place at an open air, thatch-roof bar with a very tropical feel. I sat on a swing at the bar and drank a few of the local beers.
Wednesday was a friend’s birthday so several of us met at a well-loved restaurant north of the peninsula, in Maya Beach: the Maya Beach Bistro. Wonderful, fresh-caught seafood, great tropical drinks, open-air dining right on the sea with a touch of upscale class.
On Friday, my husband Dave and I were lucky enough to be invited to join a sunset cruise. This is a very common activity amongst expats, and many people in Placencia are here for the boater’s paradise that it offers. The lagoon side is a wonderful place to watch the sunset, it is calm, and there are often dolphins swimming around. If you want to stop on a private island, you can do so at dozens of nearby places ranging from rustic getaways to fancy island resorts.
On Saturday, I took a long walk through the village—the popular gelato shop called Tutti Frutti reopened for high season, and I wanted to do the “loop” through the village. I always stop for a seaweed shake at Brewed Awakenings (Espresso Madness is my favorite) and they always remember my name and order.
You can walk on the beach, the sidewalk, or the main street here in Placencia. The beach walk is a bit of a workout, but more than worth it as you take in tropical sights that look straight out of a movie. The sidewalk is a famous, Caribbean postcard-worthy walk with bars, restaurants, and shops lining the colorful path. Main street looks like a bustling Central American town, and there is always something going on, with kids practicing soccer on the field, farmers’ markets in full swing, music, bikes, and shopping everywhere you can see…
Just another typical week in Placencia.