Wednesday, February 13, 2019

It's getting hard to keep up with all the new stuff opening up in Belize!

With two locations in Belize now, San Pedro and Placencia, our team has really had our eyes opened to how much new stuff happens and/or opens each season. There are a lot of very smart/hardworking locals, or people who come to Belize, with good intentions. They see unmet needs, and many of them are successful in filling these. While we wish every great new place would stick around forever - and many great ones do - we will try to keep you updated, on the very best experiences you can have while you are here!!

So just in little Placencia - here's a taste of the already opened, or coming soon, new places to try. If you were here even last high season, you would have a ton of memorable new experiences...

Tranquilo - Tranquilo broke our hearts when it closed a couple years ago - it happens, but we all crossed our fingers that it would open again soon. YAY! It opened back up this month, better than ever! We are so thrilled that our guests get to experience taking a little boat over to Placencia Caye to watch the sunset - it is such a simple yet memorable and unique experience.
From their Facebook page...
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Placencia Beach Club - another heartbreaker was Fusion Beach - a super popular, Miami Beach-style club that was a go-to for an afternoon on your vacation here. The open air concept, modern feel, great infinity pool and location were all perfect. We were all worried as it sat vacant for the last year or so....until now! It is not open yet, but it looks like there are super committed and energetic new owners -who look like they are doing all the right things. We will definitely be there opening day to support you! Yay!

Little Wine Bar - Ah, not brand new - but for returning visitors who haven't been here in a while - this is a can't miss. Between Jana's warmth, artistic talent, and hospitality - & wine knowledge - & the coziness of this place - you'll find yourself there before dinner every night :).
From their Facebook page...
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Mon's Kitchen (Old Brenda's :( ) - A huge part of the Placencia experience for many visitors was seeing Brenda down at the pier. The village lost this legend this year, but her daughter Mon has picked up the torch and you can visit her in the same spot!!!
From their Facebook page...
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Mariposa Breezeway Beach Bar - Mariposa has quietly grown and grown over the last many years, with great owners Bruce and Sharon. They are adding some super fun things - & they allow outside visitors to use their pool. Recently, they added this Pool Bar to make it an even more appealing place to spend an afternoon!!!
From their Facebook page...
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Mango's reopening - Mango's is a staple up in Maya Beach and everyone freaked out when it closed for a while. It is just such an amazing location and space/experience, we need it! Good reviews on the re-opening!!
From their Facebook page...
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Omar's Paint Night (and remodeling) - Omar's was super charming to look at before - at first I was sad to see the change, but now I have to admit - it looks even more amazing! This is a true Placencia staple. He also added "Wine and Paint" Nights to the Placencia activities and people are going nuts for it. You know all the patrons because of the identical artwork in everyone's homes now...
From their Facebook page...
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Mademoiselle French Bakery - plus Bistro seating outside Afrodite - if you have walked the Placencia sidewalk, picture the new line of Tipsy Shops, where Afrodite Cafe is  - arguably the new heart of the village. So recently, there is a new pergola, bistro seating, and a freakin' French bakery opening there!! It is an amazing change and the perfect use for that space. It is still a bit of a work in progress, but so close - if it were me I'd schedule a whole afternoon to just plop down right there and people watch. I'm not seeing the new bakery online yet but have seen some pics of the food - wow. Pics to come.

Placencia E-Bikes - this lil' village is just getting super trendy. Check out this new option for getting around - combine a bike and a golf cart and you get...E-Bike!
From their Facebook page...
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Pyramid House - Ok, also not brand spankin' new but a newer addition. There was so much moaning about the lack of wine bars in Placencia that two opened this year - and frankly, people don't know what to do with themselves. This one has amazing views and great reviews - a must do!
From their Facebook page...
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Hobbs Brew Pub - I think I can all say, we can't believe that we will be sipping a microbrew in Belize??? Can this really happen??? Just saw that this is to open in 2 weeks at the new Serenity Resort!!! I think there might be a wait list to get in....
From their Facebook page...
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Potliquors - This IS brand spankin' new up in Maya Beach. Super cute name (that's the local name for the beach dogs...with a twist.....) Lagoon front sunset beach bar, super Maya Beach location....super tranquil!

We hear that a new massage studio by the point, called Numada Holistic Massage and Spa, will be opening, along with an herbal cafe -- opening in the next couple of months.

In Ambergris Caye, (Placencia has about 1/3 the population for perspective)....there is ALWAYS a ton going on and makes your head spin. 

K's Diner - "South your Mouth" - This one, I DO happen to know the owner and she is totally sassy and so is this place. Perfect concept, perfect location - and it looks so adorable everyone is chomping at the bit to south their mouth. If you combine the tropics, plus 50's diner, plus southern food, which we all know is the best = we all win.
From their Facebook page - super charming!!!
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FIRST Ambergris Caye Half Marathon & 10K - When an island in Central America, in the Caribbean, organizes for a half marathon, this is  huge deal and something to be very proud of!!! Everyone is super excited for this coming April...

Sunset Lounge - this bar on top of Sancas' Plaza recently opened - just put it in your must do list. Everything about it is perfect - location, views, style, atmosphere, drinks. You do have do walk up several flights of stairs (and then back down, so don't get too sloppy). You can drop your kids off at Kidtopia in the same plaza, or stop for a workout beforehand at the gym in the floor beneath....orrrr.....just go straight to the bar.
From their Facebook page...
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French Kiss at Sunset (French) Restaurant - this adorable place also opened recently - there were so many cute photos I couldn't pick which one....but definitely put this on your list. French food plus totally creative atmosphere = you are not at your local Applebee's.
From their Facebook page...
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Losers - OK, so this place got a rough start being the first official "chain" bar on the island, this is the "Losers" out of Nashville. However - they did bring in a ton of new people who never would have checked out Belize, as they have their own following....and the place is pretty darn adorable. While you won't pry a lot of hands away from Palapa Bar and Wayo's, at least give it a shot, but, my one complaint - I personally got kicked out for bringing my dog in. Since I don't go many places without him, I have to watch from the shore for now. A lot of people are saying nice things though!
From their Facebook page...
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Aqua - New restaurant at Grand Caribe - word is the sushi is awesome. You can't beat the view and atmosphere!!
From their Facebook page...
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Bon Appetit - All you can eat meat? French Belizean Steakhouse? This is a brand new restaurant, and, as you can see, super great views and atmosphere!
From their Facebook page...
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Boogie's and Maxi's also reopened in the heart of San Pedro to major cheers :) Go to Maxi's for the excellent people watching and small plates....and check out Boogie's for their legendary meat pies!

Runner's Up to keep an eye on......word on the street is that there is a super cool-looking new Daiquiri Bar opening across from Truck Stop --along with a raw juice, iced juices, hot and cold herbal tea shop....and we also hear that the old Palapa Bar/Tiki Maya is being renovated into RumDog.....will keep you posted on these!! (Both north of the bridge.) There is a new ice cream and snack stand opening near Melt called Sandy Dawg. Also, Belikin Beer will be opening a new store right by the airport! More on all these new businesses in the near future!

In other hot news, Margaritaville is starting a new round of groans by opening in 2020 about 10 miles north of the bridge. They are taking over a previously unfinished site and turning into a Jimmy Buffet all huge new projects, it has a lot of eyes/thoughts on it, and everyone wants to see that it is done properly, eco-friendly, and with local support. No doubt we will all be hearing a lot about this, chains are slowly being introduced to the island and with that, comes worry about losing the vibe that brings people here again and again.

***As always, please let me know if I have left anyone off!

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Guest Blog - A quick adventure in Cayo - Bird Sanctuary, Rock Farm Guesthouse, and more!

Sue and Carlos are well known to our past guests, they occasionally will take side trips to check out other parts of Belize. Sue had one of these adventures last week in Cayo, and was kind enough to do a write up and pictures of your trip! Side note, a lot of people who live here find they have to make trips to Belmopan for paperwork, licenses, etc - and this is a great reason to extend your time, since you are making the trip anyway, to visit one of the many amazing, rustic to luxury jungle resorts. You can find a huge range of prices and experiences.

Thanks Sue!!


One of the perks of living in Belize, is that when we have a couple of days off we are able to enjoy other parts of this beautiful country.

We needed to go to immigration in the capital city of Belmopan first. We spent one night at Rock Farm Guesthouse. Which is also the home of Belize Bird Sanctuary. Only a 15 minute drive from Belmopan. It was the perfect place start. Having your coffee on the porch as the birds are starting their day is not only an amazing site, but the sounds they make are amazing to listen to.

Sharing breakfast with a chachalaca.
From there went headed to San Ignacio, a charming city in the hills of the Cayo district. We had a great time just relaxing by strolling down Burns Avenue where there is a nice pedistrian street with shops, bars and restaurants. 

Lunch at Guava Limb Cafe
Our final day we went on a wonderful pontoon waterfall tour with Jungle Splash Eco Tours. An amazing trip on the Macal River with stops to climb and swim in different waterfalls.

Our pontoon, complete with a bbq grill for lunch on the river.

Preparing lunch

We had a great time getting to know more of the country we live in and can’t wait to explore more in the future.

Flight from Belize City to San Pedro

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Top places to eat in Placencia, Belize, for whatever you are in the mood for!

These are the top places as rated by our guests!

Try Friends Near the Pier and The Shak, closer to the pier, have a great ambience - you can watch the pier at The Shak. Cozy Corner is about halfway down the sidewalk, it IS very cozy and has great views of the beach. Detatch also has heavenly beach views and is close to Barefoot. Aphrodite’s on the sidewalk and Buba Wuba’s on the harbor across the main road are also good options. We also recommend the breakfast burritos at the “Belize Mexican” stand near the police station. Merl’s Cafe is located farther south at the “point.” Wendy’s on the main road is also a good option. You can sometimes find light eats at Brewed Awakenings or Above Grounds
View from Cozy Corner
 The Shak
 Outside Above Grounds
 Friends Near the Pier
 View from The Shak
Our guest's favorites for dinner...
Higher-end options in town…
Rumfish - a classic favorite for the Caribbean deck and and amazing drinks.
Turtle Inn - Francis Ford Coppola’s tranquil resort - wonderful for a romantic or special dinner.
Wendy's - great people watching on their veranda - a classic, great fish.
Detatch - for the view and the fish.
Secret Garden is a classic favorite, and Yucatan Tacos is a new option with a great view of town.

More casual options in town…Dawn's - a great low key choice, classic local food.
Omar's - another classic favorite for local fish-they will even cook yours if you bring it.
Cozy Corner - great view and conch fritters.
Cha Chi's - great second floor live music and great pizza options- will even deliver.
Rick's - amazing organic food, wonderful chef.
Aphrodite’s - great people watching on the sidewalk, super fun ambiance!
Wine Bar - a newer wonderful option in the village, great cheese plates to start the night. 

**For some super casual food stand options- Sidewinders for subs and chicken, Lil Bites for great local food, Carmens for “fast food”, Mr Qs for local barbeque, Belize Mexican stand for burritos, or the Burger Joint for local burgers. Mim’s is right at the street and is amazing local food (try the stewed chicken) for a $5usd lunch. All can be found with a walk through the village.

Of course.....for dessert.....the famous Tutti Frutti, right by Rumfish and Cha Chis!
*Of course Barefoot BarPickled Parrot, and Tipsy Tuna, any night of the week! Barefoot’s lobster grilled cheese is a guest favorite.
**A little out of town, try: Dolce Vita - for great Italian and wine, located about 2 miles north in Los Porticos. Flying Pig for Spaghetti and Movie nights and great casual food, or Mariposa for great views on their second floor, and prime rib nights. Just out of town is the new The Pyramid House, getting rave reviews about their wine and views!
Cha Chi's and Tutti Frutti
 Heart of village
 View from second floor at Tipsy
 Beach outside Barefoot
 Carmen's fast food
 Lil Bites
 Carmen's menu
 Pickled Parrot
 Tipsy Tuna
 Eating on second floor in Cha Chis

Willing to drive about 20 minutes to Maya Beach? These are the favorites...
Maya Beach Bistro - one of the most highly-rated restaurants on the peninsula, for seaside dining - up in Maya Beach.
Naia - a newer resort, for a special dinner at "1981".

***Coming soon? Tranquilo is opening back up soon! This was a past guest favorite, under new management, but taking the short boat ride to the Placencia Caye and watching the sunset make this a super memorable experience!

If there are any I forgot please let me know!

Friday, December 28, 2018

A look at the Taste Belize Tour - Spice Farm, Mayan Hearth Cooking, and Ixcacao Chocolate experience!

Taste Belize Tours is an award-winning tour you can take from Placencia, Belize. We highly recommend it for those guests looking to experience an authentic way to see, hear, feel, taste, and smell all things Belize, from a tropical Spice Farm where you will taste and touch plants right off the stems, to interacting and eating a meal with a Mayan family, to visiting an authentic Mayan-family run chocolate kitchen. Lyra is a highly knowledgeable guide who has great passion for all things Belize, and is a wonderful resource throughout your tour - ask her your history questions and you are in for a great learning experience! You can also choose from a vast array of experiences that you can read about on her website HERE - we chose the Spice Farm, following by Mayan Hearth cooking, then the Ixcacao Chocolate experience.

The Spice Farm was breathtaking - pictures don't do it justice. You will feel like you just landed at a farm from 100 years ago - it is tranquil and you can smell dozens of different amazing scents as you walk around. You will get the history of how certain spices made it to Belize, how they are grown and harvested, how they are used, and much more. 
You know you are somewhere special when you start by walking through this arch!
We were astounded by the organized sections and care that is taken with each plant - the guide was so knowledgeable and passionate...
 This palm-fringed path is really long and takes you to the different sections - it was so peaceful, so serene - the landscaping is something you do not see everyday!
 Everywhere you look, small hand-painted signs, blooming flowers, tropical foliage...
This bridge overlooks a totally unique lily-pad filled pond - like something out of a historic novel - they even do weddings there! 

The Spice Farm was about an hour or so, and then we took a short drive to the Ketchi Mayan Family, the Cocs. The family is just wonderful - warm, welcoming, and they even have coconut drinks waiting for you! Everything they do is so sustainable - and most of their food is right from their gardens. We all agreed it was one of the most delicious and unique meals we have ever had. They cooked the chicken in huge palm fronds over a fire, while we make heart of palm, and they cooked up a root vegetable side, and we all learned how to make corn tortillas from scratch! It was so much fun and we got to learn a lot of history about Mayans and also their lifestyle today. They also served a unique hot cacao drink. 
The Coc Home as you pull up
Lovely drinks!
Wrapping the chicken up!
Hearth cooking
It was an unforgettable meal!
Finally, there was a bit of a drive to Ixcacao - there is such great and peaceful scenery as you drive through the Toledo district, it is a great way to see one of the least developed places in Belize. Ixcacao is rated as one of the best organic chocolate makers in Belize - and if you are a chocolate lover, this will be heaven for you. You get to taste chocolate in ALL its forms, from bean to bar - and taste test all their flavors! You will actually make chocolate the old-fashioned way, and get a wonderful rich history about Belize chocolate. Juan and Abelina are so charming and talented; this is a remarkable experience.
 You get to pull a cacao fruit right off the tree...
 Charming little kitchen!
You get to try ALL these!!

Lyra recommends that you book her tours in advance as she does book up, especially in high season. You can do that right from her website above. She is also doing tasting tours right in the village if you have less time, with coffee and other Belize foods, so for a quick 2 hour experience you can do it steps away as well!