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Impressions of Placencia Belize

Placencia, Belize

Placencia is for those looking for that island vibe while still being on the mainland. The skinny peninsula stretches out and along the coast ending in the tiny fishing village of Placencia. It is so skinny that in some places you can see both the Caribbean Ocean and the lagoon lapping on either side.

The area boasts 16 miles of beach and at “4,071 feet long and 4 feet wide–according to the Guiness Book of World Records–the narrowest main street in the world”. The sidewalk was re surfaced and widened this year, so that record may not still stand.

The sidewalk is still the hub of activity, despite the fact that the village does now have a paved road all the way down to the newly constructed dock. A stroll along the sidewalk still rewards you with glimpses into gaily-painted homes, gardens awash with glorious color or bare expanses of sand, wood carvers, jewellery artisans, coffee shops, restaurants, beach side cabanas and souvenir shops.

You are also guaranteed to be greeted and welcomed by many of the locals, whether members of the local Garifuna, Mayan ladies selling their crafts, or the thriving population of local expats

Community

The wide mix of peoples and the multi-cultural tolerance displayed is what makes this community very special. The friendliness of the locals is why many tourists return repeatedly and eventually settle here, which is what, happened to our hosts at Captain Jaks

Volunteers can get involved with the local humane society, the local church communities, or the Rotary Club—unfortunately we did not receive a very warm welcome when we attended one bingo night session, which is why we did not go back–hopefully this was a unusual occurrence as Rotary Clubs do a lot of good in many projects throughout the world.

The biggest social scene is the bar scene, Sunday night is ring toss at Yoli’s and Saturday afternoon is the horse shoe contest at The Barefoot Beach Bar. Live music–featuring local bands and transplanted musicians from Canada and the States—plays throughout the week and Karaoke is a Sunday night favourite.

Infrastructure

The area is undergoing considerable development especially in the areas north of the village, this is causing rising real estate prices and the influx of expats is driving up commodity prices as well.

The village has 5 Chinese owned and run markets, prices are similar in all of them, the main differences are in size and cleanliness. The market across from the Atlantic Bank as you come into the village, is the newest and has a wider selection of goods.

There are 3 banks, hairdressers, spas, a plethora of restaurants and lots of rooms, unless you are visiting at peak times like Christmas and New Year, when availability goes down and prices go up.

Activities

Fishing, diving, snorkelling, sun worshipping, people watching and drinking are the main activities of this very popular vacation destination.

You can also rent a Kayak and explore nearby Placecnia Caye or head over to the lagoon side and explore the mangrove-fringed lagoon, where you may be lucky enough to spot Manatees.

Tours to Monkey River, the Jaguar Reserve or Belize Zoo are all popular destinations. Alternatively head north and explore Hopkins, Seine Bight or Dangriga. Our favourite trip was the short ride over to Independence on the Hokey Pokey, the water taxi that connects this little spit of land with the mainland and the nearest Immigration office.

Beeronomics Index  US$

  • A Belikin a local beer in a restaurant is about $2
  • Case of 24 Belikin from wholesaler $25
  • Restaurant meals $6 to $20 and up
  • 1 kg Boneless chicken breasts $8
  • Dozen Eggs $3
  • 1 kg Tomatoes $2.50
  •  5 Bananas $1

Current Property Prices US$ (October 2013)

  1. Caribbean Sea to Lagoon Combo Lots $225,000
  2. 2 bed 2.5 bath home in new beachside development $699,000
  3. 3,000 sq. f.t Beachfront Villa, on outskirts of Placencia Village $1,100,000 (this property was on the market when we first visited too)
  4. Apartment building in the village, (4 apartments) on sale for $299,000 in July 2013

Rentals

For anything, less than a month rental you are going to be paying vacation prices, which vary from $25 to $100 per night.

When we were there in November 2011, a small-furnished, one-bedroom apartment in the village was $600 a month. We met expats who were paying $800 for a charming wooden beach house, although these bargains are hard to find.

Current listings include:

  • One bedroom house on the lagoon $1250 per month
  • Three bedroom house at Maya Beach $2500

What’s to love?

The people, the beaches, fresh fish direct from the local fishermen, fresh lobster too if you are lucky. For fresh coconut water ask for Marlon and he will provide it by the gallon jug.

The ease of making new friends, even though we were only there for a few weeks on our first visit, we made many friends who were delighted to see us on our return. The people of Placecnia love a good party, we were fortunate enough to be there for Lobsterfest and had a blast!

Spotting pods of dolphins as they cut through the split between Placencia and Placencia Caye.

Early morning walks on the beach and the welcome sea breeze during the hotter, stickier months of July & August.

What’s not to love?

What makes Placencia so beautiful, the beach, the sea and the proximity of both is also what could be a concern for an investor. None of Placencia is more than a few feet above sea level meaning that big storms and high tides are a concern. Hurricane Iris hit Placencia on October 8th 2001 causing damage to 95% of the village’s buildings.

Prices have continued to rise since the developers rushed in and bought up large tracts in the hurricanes aftermath. Development continues north of the village and rumours abound over proposed Cruise Ship visits.

Our Perfect Abode Checklist Comparison

A stable government and economy        √

Affordable properties with foreseeable appreciation   √

Sunny and warm climate   √

Friendly locals   √

Ease of obtaining residency or buying property   √

Affordability, total living costs have to be less than $2000 per month   X

A home with a view, either mountain, lake or ocean    √

Close enough to the ocean to fulfill our SCUBA urges    √

Prefer a small village or town rather than a big city      √

Readily available fresh produce and/or room to grow our own   ?

Some expats nearby, especially in a non-English speaking country    √

A vibrant community spirit that we could be involved with    ?

Placenicia & Belize, score high on our checklist, however there is still a lot of the world to explore.

How would this list compare to your own?

Note: We spent all of November 2012 here and July & August of 2013—obviously we liked it here.

As always we recommend spending a minimum of a month, in anyone place. Unless you have already decided that, it is not for you. 

Useful contacts, links

Expat exchange site

http://www.belizespecialists.com/Placencia.htm

Placencia Classifieds on FB

About the author: Born in the UK, with what must be more than a dash of Romany blood in her veins, Yvonne loved to travel even before she met Michael. Yvonne has a varied career history, which includes several laborious years as a laboratory manager, followed by a fun few years as a scuba instructor and crew in the British Virgin Islands, and then many boring years in financial services. Her discontent along with the passing of a dear friend was the prod that led to the realisation that there was a lot more do in life. It has taken almost 40 years to come full circle to realize what Yvonne’s English teacher saw all those years ago……… Yvonne’s true passion (apart from travel) is writing and now finds herself fortunate to have the time to follow her bliss and combine the two as a blogger and travel writer. Yvonne writes most of the content and talk to lots of strangers (the best way to get the real scoop on the place). Yvonne is a “rainmaker” and males things happen!

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