Friday, March 09, 2012



The following was taken from a tourist brochure:

Placencia is a beautiful peninsula in southern Belize with 16 miles of sandy beaches. The Caribbean sea is to the east and the Placencia lagoon lies to west looking to the mainland. The entire peninsula can be easily covered on a a beach cruiser bike. The busy part of Placencia is in the south where the visitor will find the greater concentration of coffee shops, bistros, Internet cafes, the harbor, guest houses, and local restaurants.

The northern portion of Placencia includes the Garifuna village of Seine Bight, is less densely populated and the outskirts include many of the more expensive resorts. 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 sunrise on a deserted Placencia Peninsula beach.

The Spaniards that traveled the southern coast of Belize gave Placencia its name. It was once named Punta Placencia (Spanish) or Point Pleasant (English). Placencia used to be primarily a fishing village but it has now become a major tourism and resort area offering many attractions and entertainment ranging from kayaking, snorkeling, diving, saltwater fly fishing, whale shark watching during the full moons between April and July of each year, light tackle saltwater fishing, and an annual Lobster Fest.

Cathie was really disappointed about missing the Lobster Fest, but lobster is currently out of season.  Our snorkeling guide, Prince said he could get us some for $100 (USD) each providing we paid his bail if he got arrested.  Guess there won't be any lobster on the barbie.

To give you an idea of what the town of looks like, here is a video of a bike ride through the town.

Of course the tourist brochures don't tell the whole story.  It seems most of the local inhabitants work in the tourist industry and live in some pretty simple conditions.  Wooden houses raised above the ground on stilts, some without electricity.  Most have shutters over the window to keep the weather and thieves out and open to allow for the cooling breeze off of the ocean.  Rain water is collected off the roof in most homes, including our rental, and stored in large plastic tanks.

Most of the vacation homes here are owned by Americans and a whole bunch of Canadians.  There is also a smattering of Europeans.  We have found that most of the businesses catering to the tourist are owned by foreigners.  We have yet to eat at a restaurant in Placencia that wasn't owned by an American, Canadian or European.  There is a great Italian Gelato spot in the center of town called Tutti Fruitti owned by an Italian.   Some of the smaller food stands are owned by locals and all the food choices have been excellent.  I was curious to find out what the wages are for the typical Belizean.  According to a government web site, the current minimum wage is $3.50 in Belize dollars.  That's only $1.75 (USD)! 

The exchange rate is one US dollar to 2 Belize dollar and it never changes.  Some things are cheaper, such as prepared food, but much is more expensive especially here in Placencia.  Things you buy in a store in Belize City are cheaper, but Placencia  is towards the end of the distribution chain, thus the higher price.  Gas is around $5.60 USD a gallon and is set by the government so $4.40 at home doesn't sound so bad.  The least expensive wine at the grocery store is around $13 USD (so much for 2 buck chuck) and it goes up from there.   If you like rum, you're in luck.  Lots of rum here in the Caribbean and it's what to drink if you want to save some cash.

Food has been great!  A real good mix, from Italian, Chinese, Creole and of course seafood.  We've eaten some of the local fare too, chicken tamales wrapped in banana leaves and just about everything in the local establishments comes with rice and beans.  Breakfast consist of just about everything you see on a menu in the US, but if you eat like the locals, it's scrambled eggs, black beans and Fried Jacks, a sort of pastry, unsweetened that is fried.  This morning for breakfast I had Stuffed Fried Jacks at the De Thatch Cafe which is right on the beach.



1 comment:

helena said...

If the frame isn't locked to the tire a thief could remove the front tire and get away with your bike.

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