Tuesday, July 29, 2014

7-Day Guide to the Best Vacation Ever, in Placencia, Belize!

I have been working on a Frommer's-like guide to Placencia, Belize, to give guests and friends when they come here. This list will always be subject to change :) It really helps when you go to a place you have never been, to get personal advice from someone who lives there. In Belize, you are not subject to hearing things like, "You really have to hit the new Margaritaville/outlet shopping/Applebee's/water park/etc"....everything is very authentic, no chains of any kind, which is why it is SUCH a special place. Here is my first draft!

7-Day Guide to the Best Vacation Ever, in Placencia, Belize!

Day One
-You'll likely arrive in the late afternoon, so get your stuff unpacked, and have a local coconut rum and coconut water--out of a real coconut you picked from a tree :) (at least, that is how our guests start out..I probably wouldn't take one off someone's tree)
-Walk the beautiful beach, wander the sidewalk a little
-Hit a grocery store and farmer's stand (walking distance from us) for coffee/water/fruit/booze.....if you are a beer drinker, ask Wallen's to deliver you 2 cases of beer for the week (if you have a fridge....it is $52 bz a case)
-Go for a casual dinner at either Tipsy Tuna or Barefoot Bar. At Barefoot, do yourself a favor and order a crazy coconut drink (coconut water, coconut rum, and lime), a pantyripper (the national drink-pineapple juice and coconut rum) or a margarita (theirs are REALLY strong and good.) Most people love Barefoot's smoked chicken nachos. At Tipsy, get a mojito, and if you order dinner at Tipsy, consider the vegetable burrito bowl-my personal favorite :) It is magical. These two places are a great start and give you a feel for the village--locals and tourists all hanging out together, local music, beach dogs running around everywhere, general happiness and a great atmosphere.
-If you are still hungry go to Tutti Fruitti, for the first of your 15 visits here on your trip  (best gelato ever.)
Stock Photo. Yours will look a lot sloppier.
 She seems nice. Drink Belikin. (or its sister Lighthouse Lager. These are about the only beers allowed to be sold in Belize.)
Barefoot....
 Tipsy.....you just really feel like you are somewhere.
Day Two
-If you are not too hungover, get yourself up and watch the sunrise. The sunrise is consistently around 5:30-5:45 the whole year (Belize does not do Daylight Savings.) Since we face the East, we get spectacular sunrises. If it looks cloudy, pull the blinds and get more sleep.
-Get up and have breakfast at Detatch, right on the beach. Then wander into town--if you still need it, get a coffee at Brewed Awakenings or Above Grounds (or both). Tour operators have offices all over town--if you haven't booked, wander around and see if any of the tour offerings look good. Make a decision and book SOMETHING (see recommendations below) for Days 3, 4, and 6. I would book either Silk/Laughingbird Caye for Day 3. Also go down and look at the pier, and enjoy the many souvenir shops all over town.
-If it were me--I would then pull out my Kindle, get a beach chair and totally relax. Most people wish they scheduled in more time for a lazy beach day. At our resort, we have beach chairs, tubes, floats, noodles, snorkel gear, hammocks, palapas, etc, and it is important to make a day really enjoying the water and beach.
-If you are a restless type, rent a kayak from Captain Jak's and take it out on the lagoon--you can stop at some of the little islands and even bring your lunch with you. You can also rent bikes or a golf cart and explore the peninsula. Or, get a massage in town.
-Go to a nice dinner in the evening! Some favorites are Rumfish, Secret Garden, La Dolce Vita, Mojo's, and Maya Beach Bistro.
Actual Placencia Sunrise.
 Detatch.
Day Three
-Spend the day snorkeling....the Silk/Laughingbird Caye tours usually leave from the pier....you get multiple guided snorkels, a lunch barbeque on the beach, the boat rides there and back, and a donation to the park (Laughingbird Caye is a national park.)
-If you have the energy, go to dinner at one of the above mentioned places :) If you want to do something quicker and more casual, go to Cozy Corner or one of the places on main street (Charo's, Omar's, etc)
Laughingbird Caye
Silk Caye
Day Four
I would book the Cockscomb tour on this day. Doyle Gardiner is a friend of ours, and an amazing tour guide. It is a truly unique and spectacular experience. The tour starts with a nature hike where you will taste and touch all kinds of weird things....you hike through a tropical forest....do jaguar watches....get on a tube and get a sweet hour long ride through the jungle....and, if you are up for it, you can swim in a waterfall and slide down rock formations. It is a very memorable day! You also get a great Belizean homemade lunch.


Day Five
I would schedule another low key day OR if you are determined to have an active vacation---some options--go to the fish co-op and have a beach barbeque, go on an early morning fishing excursion and cook the fish you caught, take a golf cart to Maya Beach and wander the fun to be had up there (Mango's, Maya Beach Bistro, Jaguar Lanes, stop and see Robert's Grove on the way back). Another shorter tour option is to hit the Monkey River tour on this day, as it is only a half day. This tour takes you through the rain forest and town of Monkey River, where you will likely see a LOT of wildlife and possibly have monkeys poop on you. Most people report great stories from this tour, in spite of this. Also, try to get to the Shak for breakfast and a seaweed shake. Go to Yoli's if it is a Friday night.
Maya Beach Bistro...
Monkey River...
Yes, Captain Obvious, this is The Shak
Yoli's
Day Six
You are getting down to the wire on having fun, so make the most of this day. This will depend on how adventurous you are. I would highly recommend you pick one important tour that also may be a drive. ATM cave tour, Blue Hole, Cave Tubing/Ziplining, Deep Sea Fishing, Whale watching/diving, Catamaran cruise, or a Mayan ruin are good choices. These will be tiring, full day tours, but WELL worth it.
ATM tour human sacrificial remains...you can't take cameras anymore because some jackass dropped his camera on a skull.
 Blue Hole
 You can swim with me. In Belize.
 Mayan Ruin. Not sure which one.
 Cave tubing.
Day Seven
Call Chris from Remax and schedule some visits to his listings, because by now you want to move here. Oh, wait, that was the end of OUR first trip here. For most rational people, you will probably either be leaving on this day or definitely need to schedule a low energy day. If you are lucky, and this is a Sunday, a MUST DO is to go to Belize Ocean Club for their pool party. This is not your college kid, pee in the pool, meathead kind of pool party. It is at a beautiful resort, right on the beach, clean, and all ages. They have food, and you can even paddleboard or kayak from their beach. It will make you extra depressed to leave Placencia.
Be careful or this could happen to you.
 Belize Ocean Club
I'd love feedback from other visitors or residents....I plan on making a formal copy (getting rid of the bad jokes) for guests.

In other Placencia news, we had the worst thunderstorm that I have ever been in last night. I thought our little casita was going to blow right off its hinges, but thanks to the swell construction, we are ok. It was actually AWESOME...if not for the chihuahua scared out of his mind, and the rain coming in through a few random cracks in the windows that we are chasing down, it would have been super. Everything was calm and beautiful this morning though...
Sign from the sidewalk
 He had to smell EVERY.SINGLE.PLANT. this morning before he would dare pee.
 Impressive palm fan in the back...wish I knew what it was called.
 The more you chop up the beach plants, the faster and better they grow! It is fun to chop up the plants and get a rise out of your spouse before you are really sure this is true.
 Not so calm last night, were you?
 Coconuts that couldn't hang on in the storm.
 Cutest face a dog can make.





4 comments:

  1. Ruin is Xunantunich. Tree is Travellers Palm.

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  2. Fantastic photos and great info!

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  3. I will be visiting Belize for my first time this summer and I am really enjoying your blog. I almost scratched Placencia off the itinerary simply because I don't want to feel rushed visiting places while on vacation, but I have read enough that I don't think skipping it is an option any longer!

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