The Placencia Peninsula, an 11 mile strip of land sandwiched between the Caribbean Sea and the Placencia Lagoon, has beautiful white sandy beaches and - because of its distance from the reef - it also has "real” (though not very high) surf. The water is clean and clear; the trade winds gentle and cooling. There are few sights more calming to the spirit than a Belizean sunset on a deserted Placencia Peninsula beach.
In October 2001, Hurricane Iris destroyed the village's famous "Main Street" - a 20 inch wide sidewalk that meandered through town and up the beach. Rebuilding this sidewalk has been prioritized as a major project for the village council and relevant government groups, although the focus post-Hurricane Iris was on rebuilding homes and resorts. Six months after Hurricane Iris, Placencia had rebuilt enough to successfully hold its famous annual Lobster Fest in mid-2002.
The Beaches Of Placencia
The beaches along the Placencia Peninsula are dotted with small resorts that can easily arrange dive and snorkel trips to the reef, which is about 17 miles away. They can also arrange day trips to many small, idyllic cayes, such as Laughing Bird Caye, a mini-atoll that offers protected snorkeling and swimming, a white sand beach and many cooling palm trees (it even has hammocks).
Laughing Bird Caye is also a favorite camping site for reek kayakers who base their expeditions in Placencia. A hotel can also arrange deep sea or reef fishing trips, or day sailing on a 36-foot catamaran. And animal lovers will get a kick out of the Placencia Lagoon, an important breeding area for saltwater crocodiles, marine turtles and the rare and endangered manatees; there are also numerous species of birds.
Placencia is now one of the country's main tourist destinations, and it is also well visited by Belizeans from across the country on local holidays. Small guest houses and budget accommodations are also available, including Paradise Vacation Resort, Sun Rider Guest House and the Sea Spray Hotel.
Some of the beachfront resorts in Placencia are Luba Hati (House of the Moon), and, Singing Sands Inn, Kitty's Place, Rum Point Inn, Ranguana Lodge and Maya Beach Hotel. The Sea Horse Dive Shop offers PADI and NAUI certified dive masters. Newer hotels include Barracuda and Jaguar Inn, Serenity Resort, Green Parrot Beach Houses and Restaurant and Westwind Hotel.
Placencia also has delicious restaurants, some of which are set up in the patios of private homes along the path between the beach and the lagoon. You can get a delicious plate heaped with stewed chicken, rice and beans for about U.S. $4. There are also several small gift shops, a post office and some night life. Nearby Mango Creek/Independence Village also has a disco and weekend activity, as well as a big football field which is home to one of Belize's top football clubs.
A trip to nearby Seine Bight, a traditional Garifuna village a few miles north of Placencia, provides a chance to sample Garifuna cooking and music (including traditional drumming and modern Punta Rock) at the Kulcha Shack Café. Try the Nautical Inn, a charming resort on the beach, or The Inn at Robert's Grove or the Hotel Seine Bight, which features one and two story beachfront cabanas and a gourmet restaurant and bar, or the Blue Crab Beach Resort, which features cabanas, rooms and campground.