You Won’t Belize It!!
Belize has always been a bucket list trip for AniGraham Travels, and we decided that 2022 was the year to do it! Belize is known for its beautiful beaches, vast jungles, delicious food and is home to the largest living barrier reef in the world! Belize is a small nation on the eastern coast of Central America with Caribbean Sea shorelines to the east and dense jungles to the west. The Maya civilization spread into the area beginning in 1500 BC and is still prevalent in current culture.
Our trip began in Belize City where we landed at Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport with our destination being Placencia, located in southern part of the country. Placencia is a smaller fishing village that is becoming a popular tourist spot as it offers kayaking, snorkeling, diving, fly fishing, whale shark watching and beautiful beaches. When traveling further distances in Belize, you have the option to rent a car or book at flight small puddle hopper plane. We elected to rent a car because we planned on doing some exploring. For car rentals, we highly recommend Krystal Car Rental, which is located at the airport. Plus, the drive on the Hummingbird Highway is breathtaking!
Our home for the week was the La Casita cabana at Caribbean Beach Cabanas, which is located right on the beach in Placencia, just a short walk from the town center. The resort had everything we needed, including adult only cabanas, a pool, private beach access, a bar, and a lovely chief named Jasmine. Placencia is home to a wide variety of eateries including more tourist locations such as The Tipsy Tuna and Barefoot Beach Bar to more local spots such as The Secret Garden, De Tatch, and Rick's Café. For dessert, Tutti Frutti Gelateria is a can't miss spot for those with a sweet tooth.
Placencia has a variety of activities within a short drive of the village. First, which requires no driving at all is the beach! During our stay, the beaches, along the water were covered in sargassum, however, it could easily be stepped over for one to enjoy the warmth of the Caribbean Sea. For less sargassum swimming, it is a short walk to the pier, where there is a beach that is seagrass free. Walking the village and admiring the local art, which is available for purchase is another great activity that doesn't require driving. One of our favorites was Belizean Handicrafts owned by Tyrone Lockwood. We had the privilege of purchasing two wooden bowls and a variety of sea creatures, all hand-carved by Tyrone himself.
A drive or a short walk from Caribbean Beach Cabanas to the pier can be the first steps towards a wonderful ocean adventure on one of Placencia's s locally owned boats. Several local companies include Daytripper, Nautical Adventures Belize, and Captain Jaks. We chose Nautical Adventures Belize for a private catamaran tour with Captain Jimmy and First mate Mike. Placencia is conveniently located 10-12 miles from several beautiful islands such as Laughing Bird Caye, Caye Ranguana, and Moho Caye. We chose to sail out 12 miles to Moho Caye where we spent the day snorkeling, drinking rum punch out of coconuts and enjoying a Belizean feast prepared by Captain Jimmy.
Only about a 30-minute drive away from Placencia, nestled in the mountains of the Southeast Coast is Maya King Waterfall, which is one of the most photographed in Belize. Maya King is made up of two cascading falls that form three swimming holes. This natural beauty is located on private property and only cost $10.00 USD per person. The drive from the entrance to the actual waterfall is a journey within itself, which takes you down a winding road passing hundreds of rows of orange and lime trees. We arrived midmorning and there were 7 other individuals at the top waterfall, however, within an hour, we had the entire place to ourselves, simply magical.
For adventures further away from Placencia, Xunantunich Mayan Ruins and cave tubing at Nohoch Che'en Caves are must dos! Xunantunich is roughly 3 ½ drive from Placencia, mostly on the Hummingbird Highway and is totally worth the drive. We had a private tour set up through Truly Wild Belize so we can't speak to group tours. However, regardless of tour size, we highly recommend a guided tour so you can get more history of the ruins. Alex Shaide with Truly Wild Belize is a very passionate and knowledgeable guide. Xunantunich's name means "Maiden of the Rock" and served as a Maya civic ceremonial center in the Belize Valley and at its peak, housed nearly 200,000 people. Standing within the middle of one of the oldest established cultures in the world is something we will never forget. While ruins don't require a guide, cave tubing does due to the risk of getting lost in the cave. While we initially thought cave tubing would be cool, we never realized just how cool. Alex guided us through a mile-long cave tubing adventure that words cannot describe. The inside of the cave was decorated with crystal formations, stalagmites, and stalactites. He even took the time to pull off at some of his favorite spots for us to explore deeper into the cave on foot and then swim back to our tubes.
Whether your heart is craving adventure, the beach, or great food, Placencia, Belize is truly a place that has it all! We are not sure how to accurately sum up Belize other than YOU WON'T BELIZE IT!!!