My fears of open water and heights were really tested on this trip. No different upon entering Belize. I returned from Semuc Champey to Puerto Barrios in the late afternoon and would be departing the next morning for Belize. I checked into the same hotel, went to the gym, got a decent nights sleep and awoke before my alarm to pack up and head to the same boat port that leaves to Livingston. We set off and passed the bay that leads up to Livingston and kept going out towards the Belize coastline of Punta Gorda far in the distance.
Walk to the beach. Belize Placencia
Another windy day presented some big swells and again, I was in another tiny wooden boat that sounded like a door was being kicked in every time we hit a wave head on. Rolling up and falling down 6 foot high swells will really test what your stomach is made of and thank goodness I have an iron stomach but a few others were not so lucky. The saving grace was that at least on this boat trip, the coastline was pretty much always in the distance which gives you a false, but calming sense of safety. The waves never seem to let up even when we arrived to dock, which made parking the boat and getting off a bit of a challenge. So happy to have solid land under my feet I had no problem waiting in line at the tiny hut for immigration into Belize. As I exited, the difference between the two connected countries of Belize and Guatemala presented itself. Whereas Guatemala is what you think of when you think of Latin America, Spanish speaking, rice and beans, and accordion music, Belize was more of a smooth slang English, jerk chicken and reggae music kind of place.
Colourful, chill and beautiful Placencia, Belize
I spent a night in Punta Gorda, took part in the little Caribbean festival they had on going, walking between food tents and trying everything on show. The next morning I woke up still full to head on the bus to Placencia! I took out some Belize dollars, which I was surprised to see had the Queen printed on them, and took the cheap, couple hour bus ride up to the town of Independance and Mango Creek. Being that Placencia is a long arm peninsula, it is from here where you can hop on yet another boat,The Hokey Pokey water taxi, and zip around the calm waters to the town and avoid driving up another 70km and down to the tip.
Anywhere that has golf carts as a mode of transportation is good in my books and stepping off the boat in Placencia I noticed a bunch of them carrying expats slowly, and in a civilized fashion around the sandy streets. Myself and an Aussie girl I met on the boat thumbed a very short lift in a cart to the boardwalk looking for a place to stay. A blessing in disguise, most of the hostels that we checked were full, but that led us to the little beach hut dream we found! Our own little patio, with a hammock, kitchen and big room with a couple beds was about the same price ($16 USD) per person per night but with a lot more comfort and privacy.
Forget Placencia Belize Hotels, find a beach hut!
The weather in Placencia was different to say the least. I went to the beach for a morning swim the first day in terrific sunshine. It seemed like I went under the surface and by the time I came up for a breath, it had changed to a thunderstorm. It wasn't quite that sudden but gives you the idea of how quickly things can change. I sat on the beach watching the black wall of clouds roll in and welcomed the rain on top of me. I had nowhere to be and I was already wet! When the rumbling in my stomach overpowered the rumbling in the clouds I went looking for some seafood. Not knowing any restaurants and my stomach not allowing me much time to decide I entered Tipsy Tuna Sports bar. A small bar near the beach full of people and ever more full of character. Chairs and wood panels painted very bright continues with the theme here in Placencia, and access to the beach looked terrific if the clouds hadn't opened up. I elected for a fish sandwich of sorts, not really asking what type of fish, just letting my stomach doing the choosing, and it was basic, fresh, un-battered and a good amount of food. Nothing more disappointing then ordering your main course and getting something the size of an appetizer.
Fueled up, and as the clouds parted and the sun came out, I rented a bicycle and zipped around as much of Placencia as I could explore. My Aussie friend decided to stay behind for another night as she had a dive planned the following day, but I had my things packed for the next morning to head on towards Caye Caulker where I would be reuniting with my Danish friend Matias, who I met in Honduras.