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  • The Caribbean Sea caresses miles of secluded beach on the Placencia Peninsula. When the warm brown sugar-like sand gets between your toes, it feels like nature’s own spa treatment.

    Thirty years ago, Placencia was a quiet fishing village with a narrow meandering sidewalk that served as its main—and only—street. Today this burgeoning destination retains its traditional charm (and sidewalk) while offering first class amenities and activities.

    Few docks jut out from the shore, leaving uninterrupted views of the Caribbean and unimpeded routes for walking. Scores of islands off the Placencia coast make for exotic day trips or romantic overnights. Below the surface, whether by snorkel or SCUBA, divers will discover forests of coral and schools of colorful fish, including the biggest of them all, the majestic whale shark.

    Fly fishers stalk the picky permit in search of a Grand Slam while hardy kayakers paddle from one post card to the next. For more leisurely island hopping, climb aboard a luxury catamaran, complete with captain and catering staff.

    Those seeking inland adventure take the new Placencia Road to the country’s most towering rainforests and their seldom visited rivers, pools and waterfalls. The peninsula itself runs for twelve miles and is home to the villages of Placencia and Seine Bight as well as smaller concentrations of new residential and touristic development. Accommodations on this narrow ribbon of land range from eco-luxury resorts to basic beach cabanas and everything in between.

    The peninsula’s people remain its greatest asset. A microcosm of the nation at large, in Placencia you will encounter Belizeans of every ethnicity including Creole, Garifuna, Mestizo, Maya, Mennonite, East Indian and Chinese. For the visitor this means an experience that is unabashedly authentic. In Placencia, no one remains a stranger very long. From your first barefoot step in the sand you are a welcome member of the community.

    WHAT TO DO
    • Laughing Bird Caye National Park: The diving and snorkeling off this long narrow island is no laughing matter. As a protected area within the World Heritage Site, the waters around the caye are full of colorful and amazing marine life. Its close proximity to Placencia Village, only eleven miles, has made it a popular tourist destination.
    • Dive with the Whale Shark: During the months of April and July, prime specimens of the biggest fish in the sea, the Whale Shark, are commonly spotted near Gladden Spit. Swimming beside these gentle creatures is a serene experience. Look for special dive packages during these months.
    • Sail Away: Several Placencia-based companies offer all the conveniences of a resort while sailing on catamarans and monohulls. Guests enjoy stunning sunrises and breathtaking sunsets while guides navigate through mangrove and white sand cayes. Choose a personal crew or a bareboat charter.
    • Fishing: Spend the day drop fishing for snappers or trolling for kingfish and wahoo in some of the best fishing grounds in Belize. As an added treat, beach barbecues are included in most tours. After you’ve tasted seafood cooked minutes after it’s been pulled from the water, you will be hooked for life.
    • Monkey River Tour: This tour starts off with a boat ride to the mouth of a jungle river. The mass of mangrove limbs are home to iguanas and numerous birds while their roots shelter turtles and fish. When the boat stops on the bank, you’ll take a nature trail to search the rainforest canopy for Howler Monkeys…which is how the nearby Monkey River Village got its name.
    WHAT TO EAT
    • Shrimp: Placencia chefs let their imaginations be their guides when preparing shrimp. From coconut-curried shrimp to cheesy shrimp quesadillas to grilled shrimp pizza to spicy jerk shrimp, your menu options will just keep going and going and going.
    • Guava: Guava is said to boost your immune system but when you bite into a guava jelly covered fryjack, all you’ll be thinking about is how good it tastes. Homemade as well as factory-produced guava jams and jellies are available from local vendors and stores.
    • Lobster: Placencia fishers are experts at catching the spiny lobsters hiding in the coral offshore. In mid-June (the start of the lobster season) Placencia hosts “Lobsterfest,” a weekend-long fair where lobster, prepared in every way possible, is the main meal.
    • Seaweed Shake: You might know it as Irish Moss. In Belize, this nutrient rich salt water plant is harvested, dried and then blended into delicious milk based drinks and shakes. While nutmeg and cinnamon are always used, some vendors include peanut or brandy for extra flavor.
    • Ice Cream: If you’re a fan of ice cream or gelato, your visit is bound to include multiple stops at Tutti-Frutti. The Italian proprietors make classics like French Vanilla and Stracciatella (chocolate chip) and are keen to use in season fruits, like the soursop, as well as locally made rums in their soft serve offerings.

    Reference: Destinations Belize 2012

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