My former roommate and fellow blogger, Meg (Her Fine Mess), and I always seem to have a jam-packed summer. Meg is a teacher so once school is out she is visiting family and taking her RV on the road. As for myself, it is summer and summer in Colorado is the best. Heading up to the mountains to hike is one of my favorite past times. So, trying to get together with Meg becomes increasingly more difficult during the summer. However, we decided we needed some girlfriend time and planned a trip to Guatemala and Belize.
Meg wanted beaches and relaxation, I wanted scuba and snorkeling. Belize has the best of both. What I thought would be a relaxing trip turned out to be full of culture, wildlife, and adventure. Between our days snorkeling, exploring secret beaches, and swimming with sharks we found some relaxation in Placencia, Belize.
Here are my top five ways to relax in Placencia:
1. Stroll the boardwalk
Placencia has a paved boardwalk that goes from one end of the village to the other. You will find shops selling souvenirs, handicrafts, and art, along with a plethora of restaurants and hotels. Check out Tuti Fruity for a tasty afternoon ice cream treat, they buy most of their fresh fruits from local farmers. Hop in and out of the many bars that dot the coast, most have direct access to the beach complete with lounge chairs so you can enjoy a frosty Belikin beer while sinking your toes in the sand.
2. Hang out at the beach
If you are staying in Placencia village there are several beach access points along the boardwalk. We were lucky enough to have a beach right outside our room at Caribbean Beach Cabanas. Many mornings we’d make coffee, grab our books and lounge out on our deck. However, here is my struggle with reading on the beach, I usually have a beverage or two, I am in the sun, and it is all very tiring. Next thing I know I wake up with drool running down my face and I am the color of cooked lobster.
3. Kayak around the mangroves
Rent a kayak (they also may be provided by your hotel) and explore the mangroves. Make sure you bring your snorkel gear, there are several great reefs near the shore and mangroves. You can see giant purple and orange starfish along the ocean floor.
4. Eat seaweed
Yep, you heard me right, seaweed. Several of the restaurants sell seaweed smoothies. Seaweed is high in protein and minerals. It is said to lower blood pressure, improve the immune system, and improve liver function (which is essential after a day of drinking at the beach bars).
5. Watch the sunset
Go to the main pier and take in the sunset, there is/was a cool little bar called Tranquilo that had the best sunset views. I’m not sure if it is still open. It is located on a small island near the pier and the owner gladly will pick you up in his boat to drive you over. Ask around town to get more information.
Looking for some adventure?
Not only is Placencia perfect for relaxation it also has all the adventure you could want in a beach destination. Go to a nearby caye for a day of sunbathing on the beach, snorkeling and a freshly caught fish BBQ lunch, go manatee spotting, head to monkey river to see the howler monkeys, sign-up for deep water fishing, get your scuba diving certification, or head to the Mayan ruins. There is so much to do!
As much as I love the idea of laying on a beach all day I am a busy body and love to be out exploring. To mix up Meg’s need to relax and my hunger for adventure, Meg and I decided to go on a Monkey River tour to check out the local Howler monkeys.
Most of the tours are either a full day or half day and weather is always going to be a factor, just because it is sunny doesn’t mean that the ocean isn’t choppy. I would recommend booking your tours a couple days before you leave Placencia just in case they get cancelled due to the water being rough.
Most tours can be booked through your hotel. You can also find tour companies along the boardwalk.
Things to know:
- Sunscreen and bug spray are a MUST. There is a lot of sun and a lot of mosquitoes in Placencia.
- There are a few grocery stores in the village where you can buy food and booze.
- Talk to the locals.
- Bring a flashlight. The main road in Placencia village does not have a sidewalk so flash your light to alert oncoming cars of your presence when it gets dark.
- You will run into stray dogs and cats, most of them will have collars which are provided by an animal shelter in town. All of the animals we encountered were very friendly and not shy to come and say “hi”.
Overall Thoughts on Placencia
I could have spent another week in Placencia, hell, I could live in Placencia. The weather was great (we went during rainy season…no rain), the food was local, the people were genuine, and it didn’t feel touristy; it was perfect.
So relax and enjoy the Caribbean life. Take a dip in the ocean, work on your tan (lather up with SPF often), read a book, take a nap, watch House Hunters (yes, Meg and I spent a good portion of one morning hanging in our cabana watching TV because it was vacation and we can do what we want). Just take it slow. You deserve it!