The culture of Placencia is a mixture of the many groups of people that have inhabited Belize throughout its history. The country considers itself part of both Central America and the Caribbean, so influences from both regions are strong here.
Placencia, for many years, was a small fishing village isolated from the rest of the country. The population consisted of mostly Creoles (with both African slaves and European settlers as ancestors), though other ethnic groups such as the Spanish, Maya and mestizos also lived in the area. With tourism now the major source of income for the peninsula as well as the country, the people of Placencia have adapted well to all the foreign visitors and are, like many islands in the Caribbean, quite friendly and laid-back. The people also strive to live in harmony with their natural surroundings, which include some very beautiful attractions that visitors should not miss.
The English influence is strong in this country, as Belize was a former British colony and only gained full independence in 1981. It is the only country in Central America where English is the official language (though others, like Spanish and Creole, are widely spoken as well). The currency, however, is tagged to the American dollar at a fixed exchange rate of $1 US to $2 BZ.
The Placencia Peninsula also includes Seine Bight, which is a Garifuna village somewhat larger than Placencia. Placencia Village is located at the southern tip of the Peninsula, and Seine Bight Village is about 5-6 miles north of Placencia Village. The two cultures are very, very different.
The Peninsula has also seen a recent influx of Guatemalans and Hondurans who come to the Peninsula primarily for construction jobs. Some stay after their construction jobs are over, and Seine Bight particularly has seen quite a few local businesses being opened by the “Spanish” as they’re called locally.
The Asian population is also increasing on the Pennisula, with almost all grocery stores in Placencia Village now owned by the “Chinese” as Asians are referred to locally.
Photo credit: saveourpeninsula.org