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. (
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. (
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. (
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!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Trying to stay healthy while vacationing in Belize, or while living here? Low carb dieting and yoga discoveries in Placencia!

There are a lot of arguments over the "best" and healthiest way to lose weight. Personally, I find that yoga 3-4x a week, and eating a relatively low-carb diet keeps my weight low enough to feel ok in a bathing suit, but we all have our own body chemistry and what works for us!

For those that move here, or are just here on vacation, and are low-carb fans, I have some ideas about how I've maintained a low carb diet while here (And feel free to say to h*ll with dieting, I'm on vacation....however, you may not feel like you are dieting with these ideas!!)

Some ideas for low-carb menu items around the village! 
***also note, I have researched the lowest carb alcohol drinks one can get here - I drink these two exclusively - Pinot Grigio or other white wine, or a Vodka (Hyper is the local brand but watch the hangover) with club soda and a lime. Most of the mixed drinks are just filled with sugar here. For beer, I'd probably stick to Lighthouse Lager. No info on the carb count of the beer here...and only Bowen and Bowen beers are available in the country. 

Dolce Vita - They have the best wine list in town, and many of their menu items are paired with either a salad or pasta, so it was no big deal to order low carb here. The portions are HUGE and this is highly recommended for dinner!
Rick's Cafe- YUM....lots of healthy, organic, vegan options. My favorite is the Vegan salad, to which I non-vegan-ly add chicken, but it is so filling and delicious. Totally recommended and there are plenty of carb-y options for your spouse.
Rick's, off the sidewalk, about halfway between pier and northern edge of village
Wende's Creole Cafe or Cozy Corner - Sit on the porch/deck, these are seriously fun local places...I always order one of the fish entrees which are straight off the boats. I order double veggies and it is a huge portion. 
Rumfish, Mojo, or Secret Garden - these are three of most popular places to eat in the village, they all have great atmospheres, unique & vacation-ey - and very easy to order the fresh fish of the day with just veggies on the side and maybe add a salad. You will NOT feel you are missing out. However, at Rumfish and Mojo you WILL feel you are missing out on the awesome drinks they offer, but their wine is good and you'll live.

Something more casual - Barefoot Bar or Tipsy Tuna - easy to order dry rub wings, a burger with no bun, or a salad at either place. You'll be happy! 
**The sleepers!! EnE Chinese facebook page, you will see it as you enter the village on Main Street from CBC. You have to try their egg drop soup and egg fu yung, sooo good. You can order it to go. Another place that just reopened - Dragonfly on Main Street - I had their egg drop soup and it was filled with chicken and was the best soup I have had in a long time, a huge bowl, for $4US!!! This has a fun patio to sit at and watch the village go by.
Also - at the street food stands, Mim's, etc - order stewed chicken, double portion, maybe with cole slaw- yes a bit of sugar in the cole slaw but things could be worse. Hot Chicks Deli also has rotisserie chicken.
Brewed Awakenings - Espresso madness drink - this is better than the best thing at Starbucks and it has seaweed, that you will never know is in there. Although it tastes a bit sweet, it is the cacao you taste and there is no added sugar. SUCH a treat.  
Me and Sticks grabbing a seaweed shake.
Breakfast - I usually order a veggie omelette with a side of sausage or bacon, most places have it - I just ordered this at The Shak and it was AMAZING.
Finally, if you are curious what low-carb options are available at the grocery stores, vs. what you should plan on improvising or bringing from home....

Things I often buy at the grocery store, that are almost always available....(grocery stores here are kind of....inconsistent, in what is available :) )
---85% local dark chocolate from Goss -often kept in the coolers (this has a little bit of sugar but not much at all, and I usually get 4 servings out of one bar, so this is negligible sugar - it is RICH)
---Plenty of nuts (but the imported ones are expensive!), local cashews, peanut butter, sunflower seeds, lunch meat, eggs, breakfast meats, local pumpkin seeds, & sunflower seeds are available.
---Splenda is available, but no Stevia. There is plenty of diet coke, called "coke light" here (Ming's has the best selection of diet colas.) Almond milk with no sugar added is almost always available, along with cream, cool whip (only has 2 carbs per serving!), plain yogurt - the local kind called Mr. Natural is the BEST. Top Value often has nitrate-free hot dogs, and all places carry tons of chicken and meat. Salad stuff and veggies can be found at the farmer's markets all through town.  
--When I come down I will sometimes bring down low carb wraps, liquid Stevia, maple extract, and protein bars/powder. This really depends on how you cook and what you really think you'll miss.
 Make sure yours has a sticker that says "85%" (
One of many markets you'll see throughout the village
Which brings me to my last point. I have figured out a pretty solid list for cooking down here based on what I know will be available. Anyone who has done a low-carb diet knows that preparation is the key to sticking with this diet, as when you are hungry, it is too easy to grab whatever is easy, and that bit of preparation can stop you from blowing it. 

Some easy recipes if you live here, are staying a while, or are just super dedicated to low carb :): 
---Here is my Pinterest Board called "Belize Low Carb Recipes" - feel free to follow as I will always be updating this. This has recipes that I can assure you, you will usually be able to find all of the ingredients here. 
Here are some of my favorites:
Low carb tortillas
Egg drop soup (no spinach, add fresh ginger!)
Taco salad - so simple. Just lettuce, with tomatoes, onion, cilantro, jalapeno, then brown up some ground chicken or beef and add a taco seasoning packet (or your own spices.) Top it with sour cream, cheese, and avocado. I make this like once a week. Sometimes I'll also sautee onion and green pepper with the meat.
Hard boiled eggs - self explanatory and easy :)
Chicken or beef patties with a fried egg on top, also self explanatory.
Here are my two favorite low carb recipe sites:

***Also, for those who do yoga, you will be a happy camper here :). You have two great yoga instructors in the village. 
---Stephanie from Eucalipto - her classes are right in the village, next to Brewed Awakenings. You can walk there from CBC, and her little studio is a tropical dream come true with a bamboo ceiling and floor, and curtains for walls so you can see tropical foliage all around you during class. Her classes are M-W 6:30am for Vinyasa (ok for beginners, you can sit out/improvise more advanced poses - moderate and advanced can definitely get a sweat on), F at 7am relaxed Vinyasa for all levels, and T-Th 8am for all levels Hatha. 
Check out that floor!! (
---Agnes from BB Yoga Flow - you can take a short bike ride up the main road, past Chabil Mar and Turtle Inn, and you'll see her little studio on the right hand side of the road. Agnes is awesome, you'll love her classes -- 6am M-W (Moderate) Vinyasa, also fine for beginners, M-W also at 9am, Basic and Gentle Flow - nice for those on vacation!!, also F she has 6am Gentle and 9am Basic. T-Th there is 9am classes as well - Vinyasa on T and Ashtanga on Th.  
Love her place...BB Yoga...(
---Note - for those you want a regular gym, two options -  Evolution Beach in the village, and up in Maya Beach, the Maya Beach Heath & Wellness Center.  Note also that a great way to stay in shape here is to just walk the beach - the beach here is a workout to walk on, and the beach is ALL public, so you can walk your butt up 14 miles if you care to. You can also take your bike 14 miles up the peninsula, but don't forget that you have to ride it back too :). For an easier but fun walk, just do the loop of the sidewalk to the pier and back on the street. It is about a half hour walk and you will always have an experience.  

***If you like doing DIY yoga, a couple thoughts. Stay somewhere where there is a semi-private and/or large enough veranda for you to spread your mat - bring your own, or find a quiet part of the beach and spread a towel. (The yoga studios provide mats here.) You can always YouTube yoga, my favorite is Adrienne, she is too cute. 
Her positive attitude makes you want to exercise. (
***Also, if you are coming down with a significant other who is less than interested in healthy eating/moderate portions, and yoga --- check out THIS link for my husband Dave's recommendations for where to get the largest, man-liest, tastiest portions of food in the village!!

And finally....
Stay away from Tutti Frutti if you are a determined low-carber. If you go, you will then know what you are missing, so just don't do it!! (No sugar free gelato there at this time:) )
Who could resist??? (

Thursday, September 15, 2016

What is there to do, smack in the middle of low season in Placencia, Belize? Plenty!!

Many guests will write me asking if it is worth it to come to Belize in low season - low season being defined as (arguably) anywhere from May-end of June, through end of Oct or even into November.

I have lived here through a couple low seasons and I can confidently say there is PLENTY to do during a visit. In fact, you can't possibly do it all in one trip - there will be plenty left on the table when you leave for your next trip! Throughout the blog I am posting pictures from Placencia What's Happening to give you an idea of what's actually happening this week! (link at the bottom if you want to join this group!)
You might see this from time to time.....but only for the day!!
What is shut down?? OK right now in the village, Barefoot Bar is closed for about 2-3 weeks as they are renovating. Yes, everyone is grieving this as this is one of the most popular spots. But, last weekend we just went next door to Tipsy Tuna where there was live music and plenty of fun! And, right down the street, Yoli's was having music, and Fusion Beach was having a party. One of the most wonderful things about vacationing here - you KNOW where to go to have fun - you will have a handful of choices, always, but not such an overwhelming matrix of events that you feel a bit flooded and feel like no matter what you pick, you are missing out. Plus, in the village at least, you can walk everywhere, so you don't need to zip across town in a cab (unless you are staying way north of the village!) -- just follow the music and you will find the people :)
What else is closed? BB Yoga Flow was closed, just reopened, but Stephanie from Eucalipto right in the village had awesome yoga going 5 days a week....

Detatch is closed until Nov 1st (yes, everyone is missing this!), Tranquilo is closed for the season, Dawn's Grill n Go is closed for a little bit, Tutti Frutti is closed for a bit as they replenish their stock for next season, straight from Italy :), Hot Chicks Deli and Maya Beach Bistro reopen Oct 1st. Cozy Corner is closed until October.
So what is open??? Well Dragonfly just reopened with a different menu, and I recommend going there as we had an awesome dinner the other night! The Casino, all the excursions, Rumfish, Secret Garden, Dolce Vita, Rick's, Wende's, Fusion Beach and Mojo (under AWESOME new management!!!), Tipsy Tuna, almost all the grocery stores and souvenir shops, the Farmhouse Deli made a stop in Placencia this week, Habeneros just advertised a 2 for 1 Mexican buffet at Robert's Grove, and I haven't touched on all the other north of the village places, like Turtle Inn, Belize Ocean Club, the Flying Pig, and many more!
So, no one can tell me they can do all this in a week's vacation :). What about rainy season you ask???
In the last 3 weeks, it has rained a handful of times - and 90% of those times were at night. It rained for about an hour this morning and is now sunny. Rainy season usually means some thunderstorms, usually at night, and the rain rarely lasts for longer than that. It isn't going to stop anyone from having an awesome time!
Plus you get low season prices for rooms and airfare, so come on down!!! You can see for yourself what is happening in Placencia by joining the public group Placencia What's Happening; I highly recommend this while you are here so you can know all that is going on!

Oh, and I am not the only one writing about this, check out San Pedro Scoop's take on Ambergris Caye in October!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

A Placencia vacation through the eyes of other guests this week....since we don't don't have any right now!!

We are missing our guests here!! If you are looking forward to your trip here, I always suggest to search Instagram and Facebook for #placencia image tags, because you can see what people are doing each day around the peninsula. I do this all the time to see what others are seeing....and thought I might put together a little photo shoot of what guests are seeing and doing around here! (these are some latest Instagram photos!)

The flight into the village from Caitlin Furio....
Some great beach shots from Lucy Brown...

And another from Lucy Brown, of a typical scene in the village of the supermarkets here.....
Fusion Beach pool, from Donnie Tejani, who just moved here with his awesome family!
A typical Belize lunch of stewed pork from Sunny Mui...
Love this shot of one of the last few remaining beach lots near the village, just a couple properties North of Brienne Gabathuler
Silk Caye from underneath! by Thetwoweektraveler
Beautiful sunrise by Jimmie Walker...
Typical beach scene, seen all over the village, by Danni Coyote
A very popular shot/spot at Tipsy Tuna's Terrifictina11
And another by Donnie Tejani, of the typical walk to the planes you do here at the airports :)
And finally, an updated shot from 2 weeks in on our construction - it is still going faster than expected and we are thrilled to see the pool (left) and the villas (right) taking shape!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Beautiful Belize scenery...and ugly construction pics!!! :)

I was thankful last weekend to get a last minute invite to join some friends on a boat trip to Ranguana and Silk of the great joys of living here - it isn't long before you get these invites from new friends, as so many have access to boats!

We had heard that there was perhaps some damage to Silk Caye from Hurricane Earl, so we were all anxious to see it, as this is a HUGE draw for guests here. was absolute paradise. We had a laugh as the word "paradise" tends to be overused here.....but, check out the pics below....if this isn't paradise than I truly do not know what is, we all agreed that this is it!

Also, if you want to take these excursions while you are here - Silk Caye is very easy. From about $75-115us you can go with almost any tour operator. There are booths all throughout the village and this couldn't be easier to set up. The higher end prices would be if you went through Splash, where you can go out there on a bigger boat (in rough waves this can be a lot more pleasant.) Ranguana Caye - contact these guys:
They will pick you up in the village and take you for a day on a private island adventure, with kayaking, a beach bar, and one of the prettiest places you will ever see :)
The scenery on the way out, from the boat:

Pulling up to Silk Caye...
Lunch at the best spot (in the universe)
A very famous photo op on Silk Caye...

Pulling up to Ranguana Caye....

This bird will sit on your hand.
If you want more, do a search on facebook or Instagram for #placencia, #silkcaye, or #ranguanacaye.....this will get you even more excited :) Oh, and we saw dolphins, and swam (kind of close) with them (and also about 3 dozen sharks at Silk Caye!)....
And finally, here are some lovely sunrise pics from our own CBC....the wind really settled down this week and we had some spectacular sunrises this week.
OK after all that paradise, back to reality.....we broke ground on the new pool this week! The guys are working so hard and we are AHEAD of schedule (said no one building in Belize, ever!) The rain has held off so that has really helped...fingers crossed it stays this way :) It looks ugly now, but it is coming together even better than we hoped!! pool on the left and the Villa foundations on the right!!!
 A total and complete mess!!!
Poor Sol!! I promise it won't look this way for long :) Sol and Luna Cabanas are getting brand new baths, new tile throughout, new paint inside and out, a general overhaul of the little details, like new curtain rods, new appliances, all new kitchenware, new cabinet shelves, new exterior doors, removing some of those old bars from the windows, new roofs, new cushions, and more!!
 Luna isn't looking any prettier. 
We will keep the updates coming and can't wait to reopen!!