Monday, September 26, 2016

Top 10 differences between high and low season, in Placencia, Belize!

We are almost getting to the end of September, which is the low of low season around here. There have been some really nice posts I have found about guests coming here and having a great time recently, and I try to encourage guests not to rule out a trip here this time of year, despite the negative stuff you might read. I thought since this is such a timely topic, here is an honest take on some of the negatives that make it "low" season. Everyone has their own level of sensitivity to these issues, so hopefully this will help you decide if these factors will make a difference for you!

1.) Temperature - Summer and early Fall here are HOT and muggy. It is hard to quantify if it is that different from the rest of the year. I can say that in the winter months, I spend plenty of time in the evenings wearing a long sleeve tee shirt, and I never go near one this time of year. In the middle of the day, hot is just hot.....there isn't a SUBSTANTIAL difference between high and low season in the middle of the day - you are not going to want to hang out in the sun all day unless you are under an umbrella or in a pool. In low season, you are going to feel muggier and warmer at night, and you will NOT need any warm clothes. While you can get away with no a/c in the winter, it is pretty miserable to try that in the summer. The humidity is the difference, which brings me to the next hot topic....

2.) Rainfall - Low season is also called rainy season for a reason. There is usually a mini drought in August, which we had, and then September and October usually bring the clouds and rain, which it was right on point with this year. In the last 3 weeks, it has rained almost every day, and before you freak out and cancel your trip - please note, the rain is 90% of the time between about 4-6am in the morning. Probably 1/3 of those days, the rain held on till mid morning. I would say about 90% of the days have been sunny in the afternoon. We have been doing construction and it has had zero impact on our ability to work every single day outside. In fact, the weather (arguably!!!) is a bit more predictable, you can count on the showers ending for long periods during the day. It has not remained cloudy and rainy for an entire day for at least three weeks. BUT there is one BIG difference to me.....
Actual rainfall days, noting that most of these mean brief shower. (weather-and-climate.com)
3.) Thunderstorms - if you are a thunderstorm freak, book your tickets this time of year. You will enjoy a thunderstorm probably at least 70% of the evenings or early mornings. MOST are quite short, but they are other-worldly. I really enjoy them and find them cozy, but they are substantially more loud and crazy than what I experienced in the Northern US. ONE of the negatives I can't deny is.....
My dog Stick's opinion of the thunder. Not acting.
4.) Puddles - these flat out get on my nerves, I have to admit :(. We are in a developing area that doesn't have the best drainage in the world yet, and at this point in rainy season, there are a LOT of puddles everywhere. I would say most days they do dry up, but it is not unusual at all to have really large puddles hang out for a day or so at a time. Why are they annoying? It is difficult to ride your bike or walk through some areas sometimes, it is messy, you are constantly trying to keep the wet sand off you, and they bring out one of the low season headaches....

5.) Mosquitoes :(. Yes, they are worse this time of year. Mosquitoes are known to enjoy coming out after a rain, and this is the worst time of year for them (Sept/Oct). The village is spraying this week, which people have different opinions about, but it is significantly worse when you have the rain (and standing puddles.) However, if you are careful with the OFF you don't need to freak out about it (Zika and Dengue fever and others are still VERY rare, I don't know anyone here who has dealt with either since I moved here.)

6.) Frogs - on a positive note, if you enjoy the sounds of the rainforest, I can tell you that you could make an export-quality soundtrack here this time of year. Every night, if you sit outside (with your DEET on of course) you will hear the sounds of frogs (and God knows what else) to a level that you will never hear any other time of year. It is just really amazing and you have to experience it. It sounds like there is a densely packed jungle of crazy animals all around you (in a good way - you will really feel like you are doing something.)
Make-Your-Own Soundtrack. (cduniverse.com)
7.) Crowds - Where? If you are looking to be on a pretty much private beach, and have no lines at restaurants, and actually meet locals and expats who will take the time to talk with you, you will love this time of year. It truly is quiet and slow here, and because many places close, there are literally only a handful of places open each night - which are easy to find, and super fun! While it is fun to be at a megaresort with 100,000,000's of other guests, picture actually meeting and talking with people, getting a feel for local culture, hearing people's stories, and finding it easy to talk with those around you. It is one of the best things about this village....I have gone to other tourist destinations where I did not talk to or meet even ONE person because I was just a face in the crowd. Here, on my first trip, I had two beach dogs follow me everywhere I went, and I met so many people who live and love it here that I ended up buying here (OK that may not be for everyone, but real estate is crazy here for a reason!)
You can look at this under a microscope and not find the people. (belizeadventure.com)
8.) Hurricanes - Can't argue with this, it IS hurricane season and we did have one come through already, and there is talk of another tropical depression coming this weekend. This is scary and upsetting, and it is heartbreaking to having your trip canceled because of a hurricane, and this DID happen to people with Earl. Statistically, your chances of having a trip canceled due to weather is low, and other than about 2 days of rescheduled flights during a legit hurricane, most places get it together quickly and get people moving. The chance of a hurricane being so big that it ruins your trip are low, and if you are caught here during the hurricane, every place has a hurricane plan, and you are sure to leave with a great story, at a minimum. During the winter you are much more likely to have trips canceled due to snow, so I wouldn't let this deter me from scheduling this time of year.
Having a fun attitude and sense of humor is always the right way.
9.) Excursions - there is a small chance that some excursions may not go out because of rainfall or water levels being too high. Belize is known for its water excursions, and large waves can also happen any time of year, making going out on a boat unsavory. Unless you have your heart set on a very specific excursion like cave tubing, or one that really depends on water levels, while there is a slight chance of less tours going out this time of year, there is only a small chance that this time of year will screw it up for you. You can always email the tour companies, they all have online presence, and find out if the tour you want will be able to go out certain times of year.

10.) Construction noise - Placencia is growing like crazy. Many people say it is Cancun 30 years ago, and if you can picture that all of the development does have to happen at some point, low season is that time. Placencia is nothing like Cancun or other large built up places, which is why people love it. It is still mom and pop, small wood structures for the most part. Much of the land is still empty and unspoiled. BUT, throughout the village, if you were here right now, about every fifth lot is having building done on it. While your resort/hotel may not have construction happening, they unfortunately can't always predict if the place right next door is going to decide to build. If this is super annoying to you, you may want to be careful about where you choose to stay. Many places close in September to do their work, and reopen in October or November, and honestly, most guests don't really notice it too much. Our beaches are huge and quiet and you can't hear much of anything but the waves by the beach. You will hear it more as you walk through the village. Most construction stops by the afternoon, so by the time you get done at the beach or with your excursion, you'll never know it was there. Come now and see it as it is, and then come every year thereafter and be an expert on the changes!!! :)
Answer: All of the times!




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