Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Gorgeous pics and new stuff to do in Placencia, Belize!

The weather has been awesome lately! April and May for the last few years have been great months weather-wise in Belize, very little rain, and since it is still technically high season-ish, everything is open! So I'm just going to sprinkle in a bunch of recent pics while you catch up on some Placencia happenings....
 One of the things to love here....decide your own level of risk
 This place is building up and getting good reviews
An often photographed area :)
One of the the things I have heard again and again that Placencia is a wine one is opening! Right near Above Grounds, "The Little Wine Bar" is a welcome addition to what the village offers :)
 Placencia Fast Food
 Placencia artists :)
EnE got a lil facelift!
One of the things to LOVE about Placencia, that is truly, truly unique to this little village, is how the village connects on Facebook. EVERYTHING there is to know about what's happening in town, good, bad, awesome, or ugly, can be found on the Facebook groups. One of the things that I miss when I am anywhere else, is with one scroll through, let's say, "Placencia Restaurants/Food!" you can find out who is open, who is delivering, who has specials, see their menus; even pics of the dinners places are offering. And most of the posts are from little locally-owned food stands, which is one of the greatest experiences for food in the village. Don't scroll through it if you are hungry. But definitely scroll if you are coming here to get caught up on where to eat! You will always find something new, or an idea of where to go that you haven't been in a while. You can also learn about the vast array of local food available in the village.
**You will also realize that you can become dependent on these news feeds, and then when you are other places, find yourself saying, what am I going to do??? I don't know where is open or where to go! :-D
***Want more group info? Check out these:
Placencia WHAT'S UP
Placencia What's Happening
 One of the best beach atmosphere places to eat
 Nice people and nice golf carts
 Heart of town
You haven't lived until you've done Sunday Karaoke here
The village is in preparation right now for Lobsterfest, which is one of the high points of the year every year. Lobsterfest is an example of the kind of tropical activity/event that you can't really do in the same way when you live in other climates. There have been a few examples recently of events that I think are just so exotic, fun, and unique - another example is this Parrothead Beach Bar Belize - wow, a 3 day festival/concert on a private island, seriously?? Ranguana Caye is amazing without this added fun so this is pretty much head exploding. Recently, in the village, there was another amazing party with bikers from all over the region, check this out, what an amazing international events, the stories that must have been passed around!!
Placencia from the lagoon side
Oh, and there is some crazy whale shark sightings of the premier activities people come to Belize to do.

In other news, Belikin is partnering with Heineken - we are all wondering what this will mean about availability of different beers in Belize, or Belikin in the US??? Will have to wait and see...

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Spotlight on the "Tres Cocos" neighborhood of Ambergris Caye, Belize...

Since we have opened PUR, in the Tres Cocos neighborhood of Belize, I have had a LOT of questions coming my way about what Tres Cocos neighborhood is like, where it is, why is it up and coming, why should they choose it as a place to stay, what are they missing if they don't stay in town? There isn't much info online about this neighborhood so I thought I'd give a fresh perspective about this area!
Tres Cocos is the area just north of the bridge in San Pedro. San Pedro is the biggest town on Ambergris Caye, and there are different neighborhoods around the island that you will hear talked about. One of the more famous destination neighborhoods is called Boca Del Rio - which is the heart of town, where the majority of beach bars and docks are. This is a definite must-do, it has some of the anchor places on the island, like Palapa Bar, Sandy Toes, Wayo's, all the excursion docks, Melt, Sandbar, and many more. The other great parts of town to visit are south of there, where you'll find Estelle's, Nook, Blue Water Grill, and then farther south, an entirely different neighborhood with the fun of Crazy Canuck's, Road Kill, AJ's and more....this is why Belize gets many repeat guests, as each area has its own vibe and I am barely scratching the surface of all the places to go, eat, see, and do.

Back to Tres Cocos. Tres Cocos is really, really pretty - and looks different than the rest of the island. It is newer and less developed, and less busy. One definite positive most will agree is that the road north is amazing compared to the rest of the island. Much of the road on the island is cobblestones and bumps and is pretty rough to drive on, not to mention, BUSY! Once you get north of the bridge, you find a very polite, straightforward, smooth, two lane road with mostly golf carts and bikes. The road was just paved within the last couple years, which has helped the growth.
This cute market is just north of the bridge...
 One of many beachfront scenes you'll see on your drive up...
 One of the first cute restaurants, Pirates Treasure....
 Another cute place to stop - 
This neighborhood has recently started to be on everyone's destination list partly because of Truck Stop and Croc's, which are two super unique experiences to have on the island. Truck Stop is a veritable carnival of fun, with games, movies, food trucks, and is a must do - it is always a hub of activity.
Great photo opp at Truck stop
Croc's is an amazing 3 story tiki bar - HUGE! - that overlooks the lagoon and has amazing sunsets. It has become the place to be for many major events - the Superbowl this year was so packed on every floor that there was barely a seat available.
Many, many condo developments can be found in Tres Cocos, along with an amazing, tranquil beach walk that is a must-do. It is just gorgeous. You can walk to Ak'bol Yoga on the beach, and do yoga on a palapa over the sea.

There are some wonderful resorts north of Tres Cocos for spas and upscale dining, including rooftop dining at Rain. Coco Loco's is a very friendly, warm pool bar that has some fun events weekly, and Dive Bar is an amazing experience.
"Marbucks" is a great place for coffee and breakfast. 

Stella's is a romantic stop for wine....
Lisa's Kayak rental....
There are also little tiki bars tucked here and there, like Tiki Maya and Paco's Tiki Bar. There is a new bbq place and an Irish Bar. All of these places are popping up and there seems to always be something new!

There are plenty of stretches of really pretty landscaping, homes, and stretches of road...

 Really interesting houses to be seen!
I think it is fair to say that there is less authentic local culture north of the bridge, it is newer and many of the larger fancier resorts are just north of Tres Cocos. Downtown San Pedro has a very authentic feel, and it can be crazy - busy, loud, hectic...a little bit gritty - and always fun. North of the bridge in Tres Cocos is quite tranquil, you will awake to hear birds in the morning, and there is some space and nature between each establishment, as opposed to in town where things are right next to each other.
Some scenes from the tranquil beach path...

Scenes from the beach front...

One other reason that north of the bridge is great is that it is a perfect takeoff point to get to Secret Beach, which is most definitely not a secret, but may never lose that name. Secret Beach is a place where there is no sea grass, and the sandbar extends forever, so you can walk out in waist-deep water, and enjoy an amazing number of super fun beach bars that have popped up there. Belize has been getting Sargassum seaweed in large amounts recently, along with all of the Caribbean, and for beach fun, this is definitely the place to go when the sea grass hits the east side of the island.

You can always book something in town for half the trip and spend the other half in Tres Cocos!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Sargassum is gone....but there is still plenty of beauty to enjoy no matter what mother nature brings!

Sargassum has been an issue for a few weeks in parts of Belize - and it is a nuisance to everyone. It can come and go, or stick around pretty nastily for days at a time; it is very unpredictable. Many visitors in their first time to Belize had a lot of questions. Because having it wash in, in the amount it has been, is still a relatively new phenomenon, there are many different theories you will find. It is everywhere in the Caribbean - not just Belize by any stretch, and many places get it much worse.

Guests ask why Belize doesn't use nets or bulldozers, the way they would imagine it would be done in the US? Belize is unique in that it has a fragile barrier reef, the 2nd largest in the world, to protect. It typically gets more sea grass than an average beach because the sea grass helps support the marine life. Without it, there wouldn't be the amazing sea creatures that people come from all the over the world to snorkel with. It is part of the ecosystem and is not seen as a negative thing in reasonable quantities. We cannot use nets and heavy beach equipment because it destroys the fragile beaches (you can see much beachfront all over the world is seawalled - the seaweed helps build up the shore, and it doesn't take much to erode a beach.) Belize takes the protection of sea creatures very seriously, and the use of nets or other water devices will cause those same creatures to get caught up in them.

So Belize tends to take care of the seaweed the old-fashioned way - by person at a time, with a pitchfork and wheelbarrow, or just a shovel and rake. This means that it doesn't get cleared fast, and while we all hate the Sargassum, and we are all concerned about the garbage that tends to get caught up in the seaweed and wash in, it can be helpful to see the bigger picture and what is best in the long run for the environment. This post is meant to show the other beautiful things you can look at - even if the shore is messy. Also, the final pictures show what the beach is like when it inevitably goes away - and Belize is working towards environmentally friendly ways to balance the desire for our beaches to stay clear, and to do what's best for the long run!
You can take a walk through town - we have an amazing sidewalk with jaw dropping, postcard worthy snapshots....

We are fortunate in Placencia Village to have a wide enough beach in areas that even if the shore is messy - the views are still incredible.

You can always find a hotel that has a pool that provides you the exotic experience you came to Belize for....
 Paddleboarding is always an option if you can get past the shore!!
And one morning - poof! It's gone and back to normal :)
 And Sticks has been enjoying an extended vacation in Placencia...his favorite place in the world :) He has thoroughly been enjoying each and every dog-friendly guest!!